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Room For Squares

Godís Gift To Men

Has it ever occurred to you how much easier your life would have been if you were the same as all the straight boys in school? When I was in high school, one of the biggest roadblocks to my coming out was my fear of their reactions. Donít mistake me. I wasnít under any illusion that it would make them stop talking to me because, frankly, they never spoke to me in the first place.

Face it, we just werenít born the same. By exposing the one intrinsic difference between us -- namely that I was attracted to the same sex -- I was afraid that somehow theyíd deduce the following conclusion: If I wasnít attracted to the opposite sex, it stood to argue that I must have been attracted to them. How could they have been expected to understand anything more than this?

As far as we know, attraction between the sexes is a natural and physical response to hormones, pheromones, allomones or what have you. When two strangers of opposing sexes enter an elevator together, you can be sure that in the ensuing silence there plays an invisible and soundless cacophony of intermingled calls and hisses. To the straight female, this would presumably elicit a very tidy and curt smile or brush of hair before she exits the enclosed space. To the heterosexual male, however, the effects of such a close encounter run much deeper.

In no way do I mean to alienate the hordes and hordes of straight male readers Iím sure this column has, but just take a look at those Axe deodorant commercials for example. Or every one of those ridiculous cologne ads in menís magazines that have women piled on top of each other crawling all over a man. Undoubtedly, the conclusion we have been conditioned to draw from these images is that inherent in all straight men is this desire and ability to woo and seduce all manner of attractable and susceptible receptacles.

In real life, this philosophy transfers over into the view some heterosexual males have of themselves as being not only Godís gift to women (both lesbian and straight) but also to gay men. Usually, there are two manifestations of this belief. I donít know which is the more patronizing. The way straight guys want to prove how secure they are in their masculinity by flirting with you, or the way they think that just because youíre gay, you are automatically attracted to them. Either one somehow ends up making you feel belittled.

You start thinking to yourself: ďHang on a second. I never signed on to be a player in your heterosexual game of conquest.Ē The fact that I like other men does not equate me with a woman. Similarly, the fact that I like men does not definitely make you an object of my affection. I donít know what it is. As if by virtue of our homosexuality, our standards, types and tastes are systematically rendered obsolete.

I guess to them it looks rather simple. Because, as straight men, they are attracted to every living female, we as gay males must necessarily be attracted to all living males regardless of their looks and personalities. That would make a certain amount of sense if you bought into the assumption that all men regardless of sexuality are only after one thing, and that the composition of that one thing whether it be rubber, blow-up or flesh and bone, is irrelevant.

Come to think of it though, I canít really argue with that. I mean, admittedly, we all have experienced times, especially in the heat of spring, when all we would have needed to satisfy an urge was an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue and a hole in the wall. But that kind of thinking is scary and a little counterproductive.

After all, we do have to preserve some level of decorum if we are to prove to heterosexual males that they have nothing to fear from us gay men. The truth of the matter is though, Iím not quite sure if Iím ready yet to relegate myself to the idea that all men are indeed created equal.