Communication, Mixed Bag, Sex

So there IS such a thing as a stupid question: Are You Gay?

15 Comments 11 November 2009

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Facebook is a great place to be reminded of people you had happily forgotten. For example, I recently received a message from this girl I’d known years and years ago. (Like, when I was 8 years old) She’d apparently gone on a friend-anybody-I-remember-talking-to rampage and had decided to “reconnect” with me. Fair enough.

She asks me about how I’m doing, what I’d been up to, and what I was reading. It just so happened that I’d visited my parents the previous day and flipped through a copy of Martha Stewart Living my mom had left out. There was an image in the magazine of two kids with plaster masks playing in the woods. I have fantastic memories of tromping through the woods with my sister as kids.

So I mentioned this to my new Facebook friend-finder and was taken aback by her response:

She: Umm Martha Stewart?? masks??? are you gay?

Note: I don’t know about Martha Stewart, but masks have a long tradition of use by heterosexual males.

Me: I have a very low tolerance for such questions. I haven’t asked you about your sexuality in any way, shape, or form. Why bring it up? If I were gay, I’d be offended that you used “gay” in a pejorative sense. As it is, I’m just fatigued by the question because I can’t respond with a question in the same vein without being incredibly inappropriate. Savvy?

As to what I meant with, “respond with questions in the same vein…” A question like, “Are you gay?” is, to me, very weighty. I put it in the same category as questions like, “Do you have trouble reaching orgasm?” It’s not a question one asks random people without a lot of previous interaction and certainly is not a question to be asked in jest.

She responded:

She (part I): I’m so sorry. I never meant to offend you. I tease some of my guy friends sometimes when they like things that aren’t so normally guy things (Martha Stewart,masks,etc) but never in a derogatory way. Just teasing, I guess now I will think about how it could effect other people that I don’t know so well.

If I were gay, I’m sure I’d already be accustomed to such short-sighted bias. But I’m not so I found her response infuriating.

She teases guys for liking things outside stereotypical male fascinations? Okay. I understand why she does that. I grew up in the same sort of ultra-conservative household with very strict gender roles. It was just a mistake and she’s going to think about the things she says in the future. Excellent. That’s progress!

But it wasn’t progress. Her conclusion had an entirely different tone:

She (Part II): And by the way just so you don’t think I have something against gays, the guy that does my hair is gay, I think he’s very nice and I don’t condemn him for it. Quite frankly I chose him already knowing he was. I never meant it as any big question regarding your sexuality but even if it was true I would think that having made that decision you would be fully accepting it and not something that you would upset to be asked.

So now it’s up to the recipient of the biased remarks to happily accept them as part of the package? Classy. I hope her stylist shaves her head the next time she goes in for a trim.

What would you say to her? I’m thinking I’ll send her a reply sometime this week.

Live ferociously… and don’t let your friends get away with saying stupidly biased things!


Image: Darwin Bell

RT @datingpapers So there IS such a thing as a stupid question: Are You Gay?


- who has written 20 posts on The Dating Papers.

I like clothes that feel nice to wear, coffee without the bitter edge, granny smith apples, and making complex desserts. I like playing football in muddy fields, old pick-up trucks, and Belgian horses. I'd rather be alone than with somebody who is intentionally unkind. Details, I know... but we're all made of them. =)

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15 Comments so far

  1. Being a gay one, and married at that, I bring it as normally into any conversation. I love when people talk about my “preference.” It becomes a game. I prefer to shop at Target instead of Wal-mart because of how Wal-Mart treats its employees locally and nationally. Being gay, at least for me, just is. It’s not parties and light stick raves, but resides inside med often takes place in our home in Las Vegas, with our four dogs, my brother who lives with us, and an occasional stray person that comes our way needing refuge.

    Otherwise, my “preference” looks like this: Wake up. Make the Coffee. Start the Laundry. Do Homework> Go Volunteer. Work on trying to get things to grow in our back yard. Trips to the dog park. Cook dinner, talk with my husband about his day and then cuddle and do something personal, hit the sheets. Some times, we even have sex.

    In short, although I love my life and my husband, it’s as typical as any typical marriage, and it’s a lot of work to keep it healthy and loving. We will have been married two years in July, and together 11 in October, and I still remember the first time we met fondly, and will stay with him until we are called apart by life.

    The question “Are you gay” is jejune to the point of absurdity. Wake up and smell the 21st century! You’ll often know if someone’s gay–they’ll tell you. I can’t imagine asking people I’ve not seen, “Are you not gay?” Although the world might be better for it.

  2. PDJB says:

    Better response, “Nope. Are you?”

    It’s easy for people to assume someone is gay based on their appearance, since a good percentage of men are so far in the closet their choking on the scent of mothballs.

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