Saturday, August 02, 2003

I like Andrew Sullivan and I like sociological analysis, so when the two get together it's well worth a read. Check out this piece on "bears", the regular-guy subset of gay men. I get along a lot better with this kind of down-to earth gay dude, of whom I've met several, than with the fussy fruity gays living up to the stereotype, who just drive me up the wall sometimes.

One disagreement with Sullivan--he says toward the end of the story that he thinks straights feel more comfortable around the flitty fairy type of gay or around cross-dressers because we know how to categorize them and so they're not a threat, and that bears are challenging precisely because they don't fit the stereotype.

I think a lot of us have graduated beyond that stage. Most of the people I know don't particularly care if you're gay and understand that gay people differ among themselves just as extensively as any other group, whether religious or ethnic or whatever. I, personally, and I think a lot of fairly clueless straight guys like me, feel much more comfortable around anybody, straight or gay, who isn't putting on an act. I just can't stand flirty silly girls, they're so obviously trying to be the center of attention, and I feel the same way about the Richard Simmons-like mincing frootloops. Drag queens make me particularly uncomfortable because they're so phony. I've met a couple, both Barcelona theater types. I mean, what do you talk about? "I think you really ought to try some much more subdued tones of makeup for the fall season. And eighty-six the mascara." Or, "So how exactly do you get into a panty girdle? Duct-tape your schlong to your butt or what?" Or, "I don't care what you're dressed like, I am not going to give you the ritual Spanish man-woman kiss on both cheeks." But I've got no problem with bears and with anybody else who isn't trying to make an impression at all costs. Bears aren't putting on a show, they're being themselves, and I think a lot of us straight people can appreciate that.

By the way, the article is from Salon and so you have to click through an ad before they'll let you in.

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