Do You: A Guide to Expressing Yourself Beyond Gay Stereotypes

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Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr

When I was in fifth grade, I landed the lead role in our school play, The Devil and Daniel Webster, without even auditioning. The music teacher just handed me the script and said she had me in mind when she wrote it. While looking back I am flattered she saw something of a star in me, I remember feeling as though I was given it because I was the “girliest” of boys, and it was the role that no other boy in class could do without calling it social suicide. I had and still have very low interest in musical theater and in fifth grade, I would have rather gone home and listened to Mazzy Star than Judy Garland.

In honor of this weekend’s San Francisco gay pride, here are seven tips on what to do when you can’t seem to find that common ground between you and Madonna and you feel the need to break out of gay stereotypes.

1. When you’re not into hating sports...

Because sports is testosterone-driven, sweaty, full of rumblings of men (and women!) in often tight uniforms running into each other, you’d think something like Monday Night Football would be on the top of every gay man’s list. Unfortunately, it’s not. Save for college rugby, many gay men would rather be exercising their karaoke vocal cords than watching the Stanley Cup Finals, whatever sport that is. But wait, if you read the words “Stanley” and “Cup” and knew it was hockey, I’m thinking you might be into this whole sports thing, and that’s cool. I can totally see the appeal. There are plenty of sports bars in your city I’m sure—or at least a TGIF’s—and there’s also ESPN, which apparently has sports 24/7. Go long, girl!


2. When you’d rather call your girl, friend...

Alright, let’s not jump to conclusions. There are moments when calling your gay male friend “girl” just doesn’t quite fit. There are alternatives like: “buddy” or “pal” or “man” or even “friend.” While they might not have the same ring as “girl,” they are equally terms of endearment. Your friend will totally get it and feel totally loved.

3. When your shirt must remain on at all costs...

So you’re at this circuit party unsure of where the circuits even are, and the smoke is thick and the music is pumping and everyone starts taking their shirts off. Until this point, you could handle the $35 cover and the fact that it’s 2:45 am and you have to work tomorrow. What you can’t handle is your love handles. Easy solution, wear a tank top under your jean jacket. It’s perfect. You can show off those triceps you’ve been working so hard, while still covering your chest and tummy, leaving things up for interpretation. And by the way, I’m sure you look good no matter what.

4. When you don’t consider house music to be God’s heartbeat...

The thumping beat hits you right in the chest as though another pulse is taking over your own. If you’re like me and have anxiety about that sort of thing, then the last thing you need is another heartbeat. If you’re still in the mood for da club but not super into dehydration and a trip to the ER, then try a bar with a rocking jukebox. This way, for a few dollars you can control the music and the dance floor. Get ready to show off your Dougie without feeling the pressure to drop Molly, black out and wake up sitting backwards on a bus that's headed to Sacramento.

5. When you’re not a Carrie, a Miranda, a Samantha or a Charlotte...

You go back, re-watch the entire six seasons of Sex and the City plus the two amazing movies and realize, nope, you can’t relate to any of the main characters, not even Stanford. No sweat! There are plenty of other television shows that have strong female (or male!) leads to whom you can potentially relate. On 30 Rock, Tina Fey plays an adorkable writer whose boss describes her as “overschedule” and “undersexed.” On The Mindy Project, Mindy Kaling plays Mindy Lahiri, an OB/GYN who knows of a gym near her house that has a cluster of elliptical machines but has never actually seen them. With television, the possibilities are endless!

6. When you’d rather be a Maxxinista than a Fashionista...

Speaking of sexy tank tops, if you’re having trouble affording the latest Marc Jacobs ready-to-wear or Diesel denim, there’s no reason to feel bad about yourself. There’s a Gap or Uniqlo right around the corner. Here you can dress for work and play appropriately, some chinos, a two-tone tie, a deal on boxer shorts. These clothes will fit nicely without having to suffocate your waistline or your wallet.

7. When you’ve grown out of your speech impediment...

There was a time when you were young and had to do an oral report on the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan in front of the entire class and each time you said the province’s name, the class chuckled a bit because of how lovely you rolled your S’s. And from there it was a downward spiral into the nickname Sasquatch and a learned fear of plural nouns. But nature hit, your voice deepened, and your S’s sound more like hard Z’s if anything. Embrace it. Those kids who made fun of you probably live in Canada now, and there’s like, nothing to do there.