By JUSTIN JONES
Some say he was born on a shooting star. Others swear that he descended from a midnight moon. There are those who tell stories of him arriving on a summertime snowflake. A few insist that he just popped into existence out of a cloud of glitter. But no matter how he got here, his arrival in this world was fantastic. And gay. REAL gay.
Our guy in question starts his day with Whitney and Britney, to the accompaniment of hair flips and “BAMs” (wink). For breakfast, he eats little-to-nothing, and he takes pride in it. Although he’s more straight-laced at work—of course—he still gossips about the cutie who took over Cindy’s old cube (“Girl, did you see that ass?”). Later, he’ll be on the town for happy hour. He’ll kiss his friends when he greets them, order a passion fruit martini, and eye guys like he eyes shoes. On weekends, his attention is focused on helping his girlfriends do their shopping (and discussing their men).
He helps decorate houses and entertains with stemware that costs more than his sofa. And the parties—oh, the parties! Those fabulous parties that start with dinner, and end at breakfast. They’re filled with men! Shirtless, perfect, and tan men. Men he’ll bed in excess. Men who’ll give him as much love as a few hours will allow. You know this guy. What a darling he is, this man from the Land of Rainbows and Unicorns.
His style is fiery flamboyance. He’s a fairytale prince(ss) wrapped in a candycolored, Swarovski Crystal-emblazoned, techno-centric version of Man. He is “The Stereotype,” the representation of who we as gay men “are” in the minds of those who have no clue that this is precisely what most of us “aren’t.” What makes him so ever-present in the minds of certain people? Is he the “spokesman” they hear for “our side” when it comes time vote for or against LGBT rights? What is it exactly that turns people against him (and, incidentally, the rest of us)? And you—do you fit “his” mold?
Or are you one of the masculine-guys-only crowd? Does his description resonate with you, turn you on, or make you sick? And, either way, why does it matter? On the matter of his birth, shooting stars and midnight moons played no part. His arrival instead hastened in the glistening of an evolving society’s hesitant sweat. The caricature was born from a melding of partial truths, and a sampling of the most flamboyant element of the gay masses.
Traditionalists “painted” his “picture” and labeled us all, incidentally telling us that if we didn’t fit this portrayal of a gay man, we should hide our truths. If we disobeyed, we automatically became “him” in their eyes. Today, although this clownish image has waned (and “evolved”), the essential “portrait” of this cartoon-like gay man lingers. It follows older generations into voting booths, and acts as easilyaccessible, graphic propaganda to harden the opposition (so to speak). Personally, I couldn’t care less. Well, no less than thinking at length about the subject, and then writing about it.
For me—and for what I hope is this “evolving” society of ours—these images are images alone. They do not speak to the hardship of our teens, the contribution of our soldiers, the science of our doctors, or the creativity of our artists. The image forgets to inform that we are human beings, each with as much individuality as any of our straight counterparts, each with as much hope— and love—as anyone has ever known.
Justin Jones is a Minneapolis-based writer. Facebook.com/JustinJonesWriter