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The Gay Straits
Room for Squares
by Philip Wong on Jun 14, 2008
Between the worlds of straight and gay, there has always been a great divide. Let’s imagine that on one side of the gap stands the Brawny man and on the other, sitting pretty in his Jack Purcells, is Jack McFarland. One is straighter than an arrow and the other is gayer than a pair of cutoff jeans on a navy vessel at a Cher concert. But between the two there runs an entire gamut of gay acting straight guys and straight acting gays.
I suppose somewhere in the middle would fall the modern metrosexual, that straight guy who by some unknown fortune has been given the foresight to look the part of what must certainly be the face of future masculinity. Like it or not, he is the best example of what bridges the gap between gay and straight. A man so secure in his masculinity that he isn’t afraid to use the right moisturizer. For everyone on either side of him, however, the distinction can be as simple as a flick of the wrist.
I say this because I hate hearing the terms “straight acting” and “too gay.” They don’t accurately describe anybody. Their only purpose is to make the distance between straight and gay bigger. And since most of the world still adheres to medieval notions of masculinity, those of us who are on the far side of straight are basically screwed, and not in the good sense. One eye roll too many, one suspiciously slurred “s” sound and to the masses you may as well be undergoing gender reassignment. Simply put, you no longer have any manly appeal.
What does it mean when people say that someone is “straight acting” anyway? These people do know that the dude’s gay, right? I mean, I assume the term is only applicable to gay men who aren’t, for lack of a better term, “gay acting.” I guess what they mean to say is that this particular gay guy doesn’t dress gay, doesn’t walk gay and doesn’t talk gay. Hell, he probably plays basketball with the guys and doesn’t even venture to steal a glimpse in the locker room afterwards. In fact, he doesn’t do anything gay; if it’ll make you feel better, you can even imagine that he doesn’t sleep with gay men. It’s absurd. How is a guy “straight acting” if he likes to (pardon my French) fcuk other men?
There is something inherently wrong with that term. It assumes that someone’s sexuality can be determined by the way he crosses his legs or rolls up his sleeves as opposed to who he chooses to sleep with. Nobody acts straight or acts gay, you either are or you aren’t. I mean, straight actors may play gay characters and vice versa, but that’s different; they’re playing other people, not abstract traits. So basically, the implication is that a gay guy who is said to be “straight acting” isn’t exactly being his genuine self.
Still, that hasn’t stopped a number of guys I know from being attracted only to the “straight acting” guys. Essentially, all this straight chasing amounts to just one thing: trying to attain the unattainable, as if a straight acting gay guy is the next best thing to a real straight guy. And if a straight guy is the ultimate prize, then the best that we ourselves will ever be is second rate. Talk about internalized hatred.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t claim to be gay but remain attracted only to guys who aren’t. You can’t be gay and be repulsed by others who are as well. C’mon, if you’re gonna be gay, shouldn’t you be gay all the way? There has to be an all or nothing clause somewhere in our contracts.
by Philip Wong on Jun 14, 2008