Monday, April 25, 2005

How Not To Look Gay

A recent remark in my comment box about boys and men wearing shorts for swimming because Speedos are thought to be gay set me thinking about the many things in my lifetime that have been thought indicative of gayness.

What a nightmare it has been for many straight men, terrified that people might 'get the wrong idea'. Conversely, most gay men have never had to worry about being thought straight because, unless you were Quentin Crisp, that was the automatic assumption. I remember some gay activists 30 years ago wearing button badges that said 'How dare you assume I'm heterosexual.'

When homosexuality was illegal, gay men adopted one or two discreet dress codes to help them recognise each other. Apart from that, most of the following are ridiculous. Most of the older ones are at the beginning:

Wearing suede shoes.
Wearing a ring on the little finger of your left hand.
Having long hair.
Using after-shave.
Drinking lager.
Drinking a glass of wine in a pub.
Using a face flannel.
Wearing white socks.
Crossing your legs when sitting.
Carrying an umbrella.
Holding a cigarette between the first and second fingers of your hand (instead of between your fingers and thumb).
Striking a match away from you instead of towards you.
Wearing pink.
Being able to cook anything beyond a boiled egg.
Owning a Pet Shop Boys album.
Liking Shirley Bassey, Madonna or similar 'divas/icons'.

Anyone know any more?


At 7:39 PM, Anonymous asta said...

The most common was wearing an earring on/in the left lobe.

The most ridiculous--
wearing green and yellow to school on Thursdays.

I haven't even the faintest clue as to how that one got started, but you would get screeched at in the schoolyard if you showed up wearing anything that had even a speck of those two colours on that day of the week.

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Peter said...

Those silvery name bracelets they had in the sixties. Dead give away.

But going back much further than even me, I once read that the "wristlet watch" to give it its original title, was regarded as quite feminine, compared to that bastion of masculinity, the pocket watch.

Even in the sixties, a sign of gayness, apparently, was to wear your (wristlet) watch on the right hand instead of left.

Not being able to whistle was also regarded as gay, but I think that's also just something I read.

Long hair, obviously, until long hair became the fashion for all. Not caring about football... having nicely trimmed nails... liking classical music... running away from fights... so many things.

At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A strange one this, but taken as absolute truth when I was in the sixth form:

Look at your fingernails, to see if they're dirty or chipped. Now, did you hold your hand with your fingers outstretched, palm away from you; or did you hold your hand palm towards you, fingers half curled? The former? Then you're gay, you are.

Oh, and of course, don't mention your collection of Judy Garland LPs.

- Tony -

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

asta, that's a bizarre one, probably deliberately so.

Peter, I didn't know the wrist watch one.
I can whistle, like football and was nearly thrown out the Cubs for having dirty fingernails. But I like classical music and avoid fights. Does that mean I'm bisexual?

Tony, On the fingernail test, I'm definitely straight.
Palm away from you is certainly a feminine gesture, as is holding your leg outstretched and wiggling your foot to examine your shoes. I've seen some gay men of an inherent or affected camp disposition do both.
I'm also straight on the Judy Garland test. Could never stand the woman.

At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Alan said...

When I was appearing in "My Night With Reg" (a play about six gay guys if you don't know it), there were four openly gay guys in the cast, me the token straight bloke, and a chap called Josh that none of us were sure about. One night, after rehearsals we were all in the pub and Josh had to leave early. After he was gone the conversation turned to "is he isn't he?" until after about twenty minutes one of the others suddenly said "he doesn't wear gay shoes", the others all nodded and that was the end of that.

Didn't see anything on your list about gay shoes though.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger peter said...

Alan: is there no end to your talents? Mountaineer, author, actor, blogger... (Fiver to a brick shithouse there's more than that as well...)

At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Alan said...

Peter: if it involves being a shameless attention seeker, I've probably done it at one point or another.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Alan, I could easily have added "being a shameless attention seeker" to my list!
Pity you didn't ask about the shoes. Wonder if there's any connection with Germaine Greer's famous quote about 'Fuck me shoes'? Never really understood that either.

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Peter said...

There are things about shoes that only women understand. Yet they do understand them, down to the last nuance.

Alan: I would really love to buy you a drink except I'd be too terrified to turn up. (I'm only really comfortable speaking to several hundred.)

At 6:18 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

And Peter, if hetero porn is to be believed, women always wear stiletto shoes when having sex. Could do you a nasty injury I should think. Gay sex is much safer.

At 9:02 PM, Anonymous Alan said...

Trust me, I've seen a lot of porn, but never yet seen any that even vaguely resembled any sex I've actually had. Peter, perhaps I'll sneak into the bingo one night!

At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Peter said...

I once saw some horse porn (purely research, you understand, and only for a very few moments.) The woman had white stilletos on. So it must be true if animals go for them. (Didn't notice what the horse was wearing, sorry.)

Noooooo! Not the bingo! That would be cheating. Plus you'd get a blogpost out of it and I wouldn't. Not fair.


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