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The Gay Golem
Room For Squares
by Philip Wong on Aug 03, 2007
My gaydar is in need of some serious fine tuning. My trusted “beep beep” meter was always there to help when I needed to pull the puff from a pile of punks. And perhaps in less densely populated areas it still would. But when more and more men are starting to pick up what have always been thought of as fairy tendencies, it’s time for us to start questioning whether that “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” show really did us any favors.
I hold the Fab Five accountable for the literally millions of gay doppelgangers and golems in the world that are like us in every way but one. What used to be the calling cards of our sexual proclivity -- you know, things like man-bags, daily moisturizers and mandals -- are slowly but surely being siphoned away by that somewhat despicable 21st century invention: the metrosexual.
I say “somewhat” because metrosexuals on the whole aren’t all bad. For one thing, you have to applaud the strides heterosexual men have made in the departments of personal style and hygiene, obvious testaments to the lasting influence of the Fab Five. But in “bettering” our straight brothers, have we let altruism back in to bite us in the ass? In creating straight versions of ourselves, have we inadvertently created our own Frankensteins?
While it’s one thing to find enjoyment in progress (and trust me, I eagerly await the day when the unnatural union of dress shoes and white socks remains a forgotten mistake of the past), it’s another thing entirely to witness the often bloated egos of certain metrosexuals who’ve taken their new grooming skills too much to heart. Any night out in the Marina will give you an indication of what I’m talking about. It’s the phenomenon of the smooth talking, blazer wearing, pin-striped button up shirt, the man who believes that a little hair gel and a lot of cologne automatically gives him the ability to wear sunglasses indoors and the right to treat other people like bugs.
This "manster" is only one of the myriad of problems to which we gay men have been subjected thanks to the advent of the electronic nose-hair trimmer. All of a sudden, it’s no longer only gay men who care about their appearances. In the past, the sight of a man holding shopping bags from Barney’s, Bloomie’s, and various boutiques would have meant one of two things: either there was an empty handed girlfriend nearby or he was fair game. Nowadays though, it could simply mean that the dude had some free time to kill before meeting the Mrs. for a joint mani & pedi.
There have been some good things to come from this blurring of once well-defined sexual characteristics. Thanks in large part to the movement of the manorexics, we now have the XS option when browsing through the aisles of most department stores. In addition, most menus now offer a “lite” option for those of us who are sick of ordering our salads “bulimia on the side, hold the dressing”. Who knows, we might soon be able to find running shoes in colors that match our ipods.
It really is a game of give and take. As with most modern advancements, there has to be some good and some bad. While the gay awakening of the heterosexual male certainly has provided us a certain amount of ease when looking for more options in skin care products (much like how John Varvatos has helped to take the sting and stench out of those crowded morning elevator rides), it’s also made everyday life somewhat more confusing. In those now or never instances, where the chance to meet Mr. Right can flash right before your eyes, the last thing you need is to question whether or not you two play for the same team.
What was rarely a problem before has become an ongoing and increasing frustration in daily life. The cute guy on the bus with the new Prada Oxfords. Straight shoe-enthusiast or fashion-forward fairy? Mr. Adorkable at Whole Foods with a half-gallon of non-fat cottage cheese. Hetero health nut or calorie counting queer? Things like this used to be easy. But hey…what's the price on progress?
by Philip Wong on Aug 03, 2007