Week 35 – Brian Weeks

Posted: November 28, 2011 in Brian Weeks, Week 35

Thin, Blond, and Fabulous

 

“I don’t want to be a stereotype of a typical gay man,” he said softly as he arranged a fabulous flower arrangement; his frosted hair billowing in the Provincetown summer breeze, Barbra Streisand playing in the background.

“You are such a fag!” my friend Jayson said to me one day, as I was getting off the phone to go watch Days of Our Lives.
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
“Hello? You’re going to go watch soap operas? Could you be any more gay?”
“I wouldn’t be throwing any stones, Mr. Musical Theatre. Didn’t you tell me once that you can sing every song from any Broadway show ever produced? And you call me the fag.”

We both laughed, but the conversation got me thinking. There are so many stereotypes connected with gay men. We are a big, lisping group of disco-dancing, dress-wearing, flower-arranging, drug-addicted, interior-decorating hairdressers. We all secretly dream to actually BE Judy Garland (Wouldn’t that be faaaaaabulous?) and we were too close to our mothers. We all collectively throw like a girl and have AIDS. We can barely pump our own gas, but are exquisite cooks. We are all blond, have blue eyes, weigh 8 pounds, and are barely eighteen years old. We all attend the circuit parties, have S&M dungeons in our homes, and know Sigfried and Roy personally. Our lives are one big rainbow-colored disco ball. (And if you believe that, I’ve got bridge I’d like to sell you.)

At one time in my life, I thought that this was reality, and I had to become Liberace to be accepted by my queer brothers and sisters. I’m not by nature a stereotypical gay guy. Sure, some of the things I do and say can have me pegged as bent, but for the most part, I’m just a regular guy that likes other guys.

When I was 21, a drag queen and a lesbian I was friendly with took me to the Frontrunner, a gay club here in New Hampshire. Kevin was in a dress and heels, and Heather was in a crew cut and combat boots. We were in the ladies’ room (don’t ask), and I was introduced to a guy that Kevin knew. I can’t remember his name. He kissed the air by my cheek, and asked me if this was my first time in a gay club. I said it was, and he said he could tell. I didn’t look very comfortable. Kevin mentioned that I had come out a few years earlier, but hadn’t been out to any of the clubs yet because I’d just turned 21. He said, “You’re gay?” He looked me up and down. “Hmm,” he said, “I would have pegged you for straight.” Then he turned on his heel and left the rest room.

I was devastated. Weren’t these the very people who were supposed to open their arms and welcome me into the community? Where the hell was my toaster oven and rainbow flag? I felt rejected and alone. Later on, the guy came up and apologized to me for hurting my feelings. He explained that because of my clothing and build, he figured I was hetero. My clothing and build? I’m six foot one, 275 pounds, built like a football player, have a beer belly, and was wearing a sweater and khakis. I wondered if I was giving off “straight vibes” by being overweight and wearing basic non-designer clothing.

I also don’t find myself attracted to the stereotypical gay man, either. I like guys like me. Big, stocky, guys. More John Goodman than John Waters. Guys who can change their own oil and enjoy watching hockey. Guys that would rather be in a log cabin in the woods that high on Ecstasy on the dance floor. Regular, everyday average Joes who happen to be gay, like me.

Don’t get me wrong. Like I said, I do have some Obvious Gay Traits. I watch soap operas (One of them, every day.) I really like disco and techno music. I’m a great cook and am talented at interior design.
On the flip side, I cannot stand Barbra Striesand, I have no interest in ever going to see a Broadway musical, have never been to a Pride parade, and I dress like a homeless person. And the number one thing…. I HATE to shop.

When is he going to get to the point of this ranting, you may ask. Right now. There is no such thing as “normal”. Stereotypes are just that. Generalizations made without the benefit of fact on a small group of people. Some may measure a person’s “gayness” on a sliding scale depending on how many times he has watched “All About Eve”. I don’t.

While I don’t buy into most of the stereotypes, I don’t look down on anyone who does. That is a form of prejudice. And isn’t that what we as a community are fighting against? I’m Irish, too. Does that mean I’m a drunk? (The fact that I am a drunk has nothing to do with being Irish. It has to do with having too much free time on my hands and too many cheap drinks to be had in my town.)

I’ll leave you with this parting thought: When you label someone, you take away their individualism, and segregate them from everyone else. It shouldn’t be necessary to teach tolerance to guys like us, but sometimes it is.

And now that I’ve finished rambling on, I’d like to go back to my needlepoint.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s