Not A Very Good Gay

Even though I may have appeared on a Mardi Gras float or two in my life, a good friend claims that I just don’t act “gay” enough. In fact, part of her argument about why I’m “still single” is that I just don’t give off enough of a “gay vibe”. She argues I’m missing out on potential suitors because they just don’t know that I’m gay.

It would be wrong to use the phrase “straight acting” to describe myself. First, because I think it’s actually quite a negative, possibly homophobic phrase which carries with it some quite bizarre notions about appropriate gender behaviour. And second, because it’s simply not true: for everything aspect of my life that’s “straight acting” there’s probably another aspect of my life that’s “quite girly”.

Although I think we’re all a bit of everything, I’m not one for the “I don’t like labels” ideology that seems to be fairly common these days. I think if you’re straight, you’re straight (or gay or bisexual or whatever) and you should be happy enough in yourself to be able to say “yep, that’s what I am”. Although I understand notions of labelling theory, that once you declare yourself something, you can begin to fulfill the stereotype, I don’t think that needs to be the case in the modern world in which we live. I think we label ourselves in so many other ways, it’s crazy not to label potentially one of the most important aspect of our lives: who we fall in love.

It’s interesting though, as just a few years ago I was in Estonia where I went to a local club, “Angel”. On entering the door, they actually gave you a badge declaring your sexuality. They gave me a “gay” badge: I don’t know how they knew :) As I wrote at the time…

Swedish T-Shirt and Estonian Gay Badge
Swedish T-Shirt and Estonian Gay Badge

Looking around the room it was fascinating to see how people were defining themselves. The hip-hop dancers on stage had badges declaring themselves “bi”. Two blokes at the bar had badges declaring themselves “hetero”. Quite a few, though not as many as I’d hoped, had badges declaring themselves “gay”. And finally, there were lots of people declaring themselves “bi”. For just a moment I was standing next to a bloke wearing a “bi” badge. He was a nice looking bloke, dark blonde, a bit nerdy, about 30 years old, but pretty gay looking if you ask me. Obviously it must have caught the attention of someone else nearby who leaned over and began to speak to him. I’m guessing by the body language he asked about the “bi” definition. At that point the bloke pulled out his mobile phone and showed a photograph of a baby. Question answered…

On more than one occasion, I’ve had approaches from similarly aged females who for whatever reason find me attractive, interesting, whatever. Famously, my friend and I were at a dinner together in the country several years ago, and we were joined – in a large group – by a woman who had obviously expressed an interest in meeting me in a romantic manner, such that neither she nor her friend (who I had known for a while) had picked up on the obvious fact that I like blokes. I don’t think she felt embarrassed any more than I have been for all of the times I’ve expressed an interest in a bloke who I thought was obviously gay, but who turned out to have a wife and kids.

So getting back to my point. I think my friend is right, I think I need to be a little more obvious about this stuff, and I need to get out there and get a little more involved, and not just come home and sit in front of the computer/television/radio.

I guess it doesn’t help that so far this year, I’ve done absolutely nothing this year related to “Mardi Gras”. I was telling a colleague today – also gay – that I’ve almost completely missed Mardi Gras. No films. No plays. No events. Nothing. Even though one of my favourite annual events is the “Gay History Walk”, I even missed that this year. The closest I’m going to come is seeing Lily Tomlin on Friday night, and perhaps going for a look at the parade for a moment on Saturday (and even then I’m not sure, since I’m not one for crowds).

With a few days left I’m gonna have to make more of an effort, I reckon.

12 Replies to “Not A Very Good Gay”

  1. I am not a very good gay either any more. Not only did I miss our Midsumma carnival this year, I did not even know it was on until the weekend after.

  2. There was a time that the impending Mardi Gras was obvious to all simply by the crowds of gay men on Oxford Street in the weeks leading up to the parade.

    Those indicators seem to be completely missing this year or else I have been in some form of mental hibernation.

  3. I normally dislike Mardi Gras, but my boyfriend has enlisted me to march with him in the parade this year. I figure, what the hell, I’ll try it once. But we have to arrive at TWO O’CLOCK. That is ridiculous, and I’m already dreading it.

  4. Andrew/Victor – it kinda worries me that Mardi Gras is a “time of life” event and not all inclusive. Yes, times change, and there are events for all ages, but it does seem like a “young person’s event”. It shouldn’t be, but it kinda is.
    Liam – go for it! you’ll have a great time. 2o’clock is oddly early though.

  5. So you’re not Gay enough, eh? A guy at work reckons I’m a disgrace to my people (The Gays) because I’m a slob, dress badly and don’t seem very Gay at all. I don’t think I can argue with his comment at all!

    The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is something I was really into in the late 80s/early 90s – but since then it’s gone through so many political and ego-fuelled power struggles that it doesn’t really resonate with me anymore. It feels like a bunch of A-Grade Gays took it over, turned it into a mega-corporation, then went bankrupt and what we are now left with is the confused dregs of what was once a great event.

    We’ve had an international visitor staying with us so I too haven’t been to any films or really participated in anything. I went to Fair Day briefly but that’s about the sum total of my involvement.

    Like you, I do think Mardi Gras is not an inclusive event anymore – it feels like something put on by a certain few for a certain type of “Gay”. That’s sad but that’s life.

  6. James, this new theme is great – please keep it and stop changing it every time they release a new theme. You need a consistent image for the blog – this one looks very cool.

      1. I never said I hated it. I just don’t like the summaries. I like to see everything.

        And didn’t you ask me what I thought of the new look? I assumed it had been changed recently not 6 months ago!

  7. I love this clean look with the summaries – the fonts out layout are better than anything you’ve had before. It has style!

  8. I agree with twistinthedark. I find it irritating to have open the summaries to read your complete posts. Anything to reduce the number of keystrokes is a good thing in my view.

    1. Hi Victor, unfortunately with the complete post look it’s near impossible to find the comment button, so I think this works best. If you read just one of the items, there are links forward and back to the next chrono one. James

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