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Room For Squares
by Philip Wong on Jul 19, 2007
Labels. What would we be without them? We wear them, we use them, and whether we know it or not, we actually need some of them. Without terms like gay, lesbian and bisexual, many of us would cease to matter. Labels like those are pretty self explanatory; they give us some idea about who we are, and without them we’d be largely discounted by society. But don’t get me wrong. By no stretch of the imagination should any of us seek to identify ourselves solely by our sexual orientations.
I’d like to believe that as a community, we’re a little more multi-faceted than that. For instance, in addition to being gay, I am also a self-proclaimed anglophile, bibliophile, and by virtue of nomenclature, a hippo-phile -- all characteristics to which I believe I am no less disposed than to that of my sexuality. After all, who identifies with only one aspect of his or her personality? If we left it up to our stereotypes to decide though, sooner or later we’d all be pegged as one of these comic caricatures.
The Show Queen. Of all the queer stereotypes, this one takes the cake for being the most obvious. After all, we all grew up with these guys. Look for flamboyant Show Queens in the drama club and at auditions for every Spring musical in every high school across the country. Dreaming of their names in lights, these queens love Broadway show tunes, everything Steven Sondheim and Barbra Streisand. Strangely, not unlike Rosie O’Donnell, who herself is a bit of a…
… Power Dyke. An amalgamation of sorts of the truck-driving lesbian and the ball-busting corporate attorney, she ain’t your grandmother’s flannel Fanny. No way. As a product of the feminist boom, she’s a bitch, she’s a lover, she’s a child and she’s a mother. In short, she can do it all, and she isn’t afraid to tell you so. May no man, gay or straight, stand in her way.
aaahh….The Lipstick Lesbian. Every straight man’s fantasy. These ladies love ladies, but unlike the Power Dykes, they don’t need to wear business suits to prove it. To the untrained eye, these 21st century fashionistas are often indiscernible from your regular street corner prostitute -- for so dramatic and exaggerated are their female features. But don’t be fooled, fellas…these lovely ladies mean business, just not that kind.
The Label Queen. Perhaps the most hated of all gay stereotypes (and consequently the one with the most truth behind it), these bitches are fierce. If it was on a catwalk this season, they’ve got to have it. By turn, Label Queens are catty and critical. By nature, they are always on show, even when no one’s watching. But hey, at least they’re better dressed than you.
The U-Haul Lesbian. This one is my personal favorite. Symptomatic of a woman’s prerogative to change her mind and change it fast, these lesbians champion lightning quick intimacy in place of proper relationship development. The joke goes something like this. “What does a lesbian bring on a second date? A U-Haul.” So ladies, two words of caution when shopping for a mate: Buyer beware.
The Roid Warrior. Gays. If they’re not in the salon, they’re pumping iron in the gym. These muscled demigods pray to the altar of their own bodies and their own bodies alone. So devout are some that they may even resort to performance enhancing substances to maximize effect. What results may be more Hulk than hunk, but rest assured they’re not green with envy for your body.
These labels may appear stereotypical, but they have to have come from somewhere. And while they are certainly exaggerated portrayals of typical people, they lead us to believe that there exists a Doily Dyke for every Power Dyke, an Off-the-rack King for every Label Queen and a Chapstick Lesbian for every Lipstick one.
Like it or not, we can’t say that these people don’t exist. What we can say, however, is that they don’t each exist as one person. Some aspect of these characters exists in each of us. That’s what makes them both likeable and despicable. So while these stereotypes have immersed themselves into mainstream psyche as well as Lindsay Lohan has in an AA meeting, it doesn’t mean you should get too hung up on the label. You can always take it off, hang it up and try on a different one.
by Philip Wong on Jul 19, 2007