If Elevator Muzak Be the Food of Homosexuality. . . Drone On

As we go into the season of shopping, including groceries, I came across this weird news article from last year. Can anyone confirm if this is a true story or an urban myth. Looks real to me. I crawled around the Kroger site to no avail.

I can't say I pay that much attention to the music in my grocery store. I'm just working my shopping list, not making a list of what's on the ambient music play list. (And, yes, I am paying lots of attention to my coupons.)

--Gay Guy

O-k-l-a-h-o-m-a, You're a Homo, You're Gay. Yow!

Straight Guy,

A chunk of what we do here on the site is talk about stereotypes of gay and straight men. Last night, I was deep into one of the most familiar of gay stereotypes: show tunes.

On Mondays, a bar in my neighborhood (I live near a longstanding gay ‘hood) has show tunes night. About 9:30 or so, the usual videos go off — so long, Britney — and a stream of video clips from musicals come on. Mostly scenes from film versions, with some live clips from awards shows. It’s not like bar conversation comes to a complete halt, but heads do get riveted to the video screens. A few men sing along lustily, most softly sing or mumble along. The crowd definitely started picking up, no pun intended, as show time came closer.

What is it about show tunes? What draws gay men to musical theatre? It is a pretty true stereotype, I find. Maybe it’s an urban thing. Is it they often revolve around really strong, excessive women such as Auntie Mame, Dolly Levi, and Mamma Rose? Is it that they put a fundamental longing right into the middle of the stage? Think “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and Cabaret’s “Maybe This Time.” Is it the world manufactured of style and artifice? The dancing?

I don’t have some airtight theory on this one. I think it has something to do with gay lyricists and composers. If there’s a gay low down on Ira Gershwin it’s the lyrics to But Not for Me from Crazy in Love. The lyrics are filled with knowing and double entendre.

I like musical theater as much as most gay men, though I am shocked by how little I know compared to some gay men. Like the men last night. I don’t hit show tunes often, but I am glad when I do. And not just for the entertainment value. Show tunes are an equalizer. Gay culture isn’t immune from social strata: ages, race, socioeconomic statues, nelly and butch, tops and bottoms, and all the great stuff in between. It’s nice to see them all fumbling the lyrics.

I made it through hits from Meet Me in St. Louis, Cabaret, Pippin, Hairspray, and left on the high note of Evita. I didn’t leave the bar dancing, but it was nice to connect with a part of myself and with a common thread between strangers.

What about you Straight Guy? Any Pirates of Penzance or Sound of Music in your Ipod? And readers, gay and straight, do you have a musical you love? Can you solve the gay man/show tunes mystery?

--Gay Guy

No More Mr. Nice Gay

Great op/ed in the Washington Post today regarding responding to the passage of Proposition 8 in Californian. I feel like this speaks to a lot of us, well, at least to me.

I'll try to resume some not-so-political posts, but I am in a feisty mood. Or at least at feisty as I get.

--Gay Guy

The Pursuit of Happiness

Straight Guy,

I've had questions --from you, from friends, from readers here--about why I've not posted about the passage of Prop. 8 and how I feel about it. That's a question that I ask myself, too.

It's tiresome: Prop. 8 meant a lot to me and so its passage has some real sting to it. It's tiring to hear again that my feelings, my most profound feelings, don't really matter, aren't worthy of equal protection under law. That we gays don't get to follow "the pursuit of happiness" to its most logical and timeworn conclusion.

The passage of Prop. 8 is why civil rights shouldn't be decided by popular vote.

Readers, you've lucked out. I've read dozens, maybe hundreds, of essays and blog posts about Prop. 8, but here is the best. This essay on Prop. 8 by Anna Quindlen in the November 24 issue of Newsweek says it all, says it perfectly, and with warmth and grace. Plus it's just plain right.

I'm sad for my California friends. I expected better behavior from what is considered to be the most liberal behaving state in the U.S. My one chuckle in this all is remembering what a friend told about other friends, a gay couple who left California this summer to take new jobs elsewhere. This couple packed the car, waved goodbye, then stopped by City Hall to get married on their way out of town. Sort of like picking up dinner or checking the pressure in the tires. Or other stupid, boring things that married couples do.

--Gay Guy

Yes, yes, and yes, GG.

It's fine to stand by your convictions. But is no conservative ever swayed by the fact that, when it comes to discrimination and civil rights, the conservative side has NEVER been vindicated in the long term?

Jim Crow, women's sufferage, McCarthyism... the list is long and embarrassing for conservatives. Yes, religious conservatives, too. Though they haven't always been republicans, conservatives (for all of their bluster on privacy and state's rights) have often delayed the progress of civil rights. And here we are again.

Even Jonah Goldberg, of National Review agrees.
Conservatives should feel some embarrassment and shame that we are outraged at instances of racism, now that it is easy to be. Conservatives — though not Republicans — were often at best MIA on the issue of civil rights in the 1960s. Liberals were on the right side of history on the issue of race. And conservatives should probably admit that more often.

This is the strongest argument for moderation I can think of.

I'm sure some 1960s conservatives were fully convinced that they were on the right side, and God's side, in opposing the Civil Rights Act. Now we take it for granted that they were wrong, bordering on evil. Those who currently fight the progress of civil rights risk the same assessment.

Maybe they just can't see the end-game on the issue of gay marriage. I can. They will lose, and I hope, eventually, have some regrets. Even Strom Thurmond, the once segregationsist candidate for president, had to find some humility. Faced with his own mortality, he had to recalibrate his morality.

I don't expect that from every grumpy crank or religious crackpot. But is a "Whoops, my bad!" too much to ask from the multitudes who are currently wrong on this?

--Straight Guy

More Celebs Coming Out Over Prop 8

SNL was gay crazy this past weekend (lost count after 4 skits) including a bit with Justin Timberlake in heels.

I'm laughing. Tell me if I need to stop... or upload some Mango and Ambiguously Gay Duo skits.

--Straight Guy

"No Homo"-phobia... That's What He Said

Sorry to be selfish about this, but my biggest concern is that I needed the "Old Person's Guide" to get up to speed on this. Oh yeah, it's ultra-homophobic to boot.

Thursday Update: Still haven't found one example I would classify as "mad funny." Not even close. But here's a take from a student who's trying to break the habit.

Friday Update: It's taking over the NFL... check out this link provided in our comments.

--Straight Guy

Getting Spicy in the Nutmeg State

Connecticut officially allows gay couples to tie the knot. And so they did. I'll toss some rice to that happy idea.

--Gay Guy

Straight/Gay Q & A: Barbie dolls, Easy Bake Ovens

Here's a great question from our blogosphere friend, Kathryn at theinternalmakeover.com...
This evening involved a rather heated phone call with my male friend (whom I believe is straight) about gender toys and their influence on possible orientation as adults.

He said that if his daughter was playing with a G.I. Joe, no problem... he's happy, actually. So I wondered "What if your son wants to play with a Barbie? Or maybe a Dream House? Or, how about an Easy Bake Oven... and a hot pink one, at that?"

He got very quiet and I sensed some discomfort. I said "So. It's okay for the girl, but not for the guy? What do you think'll happen if he dresses up as Dora the Explorer for Halloween at age 3?"

All I heard after that was some strange noise...it might have been snickering...or gagging. I can't be sure.

GAY GUY RESPONDS: How hard is this? This is about parents acknowledging their deep-down fear... that they are boring. Too boring to inspire even pale imitation from their offspring. If boys play with girls' toys, it probably means they think women and girls are just more interesting than men and boys.

I enjoyed some boy toys -- blocks, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs. And, yes, I enjoyed some girl toys -- dolls, tea sets, house. Of course I played house. Duh. I lived in one. What was I supposed to play? Work? Budget reports? Annual performance review?

Girls' toys are fun to play with because they are about using imagination. Boys games are about memorizing rules: Where to throw the ball, who to throw it to, which direction to run.

(My favorite childhood game was "theatre" in which my stuffed toys were either in the cast or the audience. I didn't want to be an actor, I was always the director or producer. Sometimes I was the house manager. I still pat myself on the back for figuring out how to cancel the paper tickets by punching them through the lock on my mother's jewelry box.)

A funky little gene makes you gay, not Barbie. But, if Barbie could make you gay, she would make you the most fabulous gay boy ever.

STRAIGHT GUY RESPONDS: I believe there's a gay gene, too. It's nature not nurture. But many folks aren't quite there yet. (Hello, proposition 8 supporters! Now CA gay dudes have no choice but to marry your daughters. Hope that works out.)

I get the distinction the friend can't seem to articulate. "Tom-boys are cool. But Nancy-boys? Time for reprogramming." Hate to break it to you, but that ship has sailed.

Barbie will not make your son gay, but it might be a helpful early indicator for parents. Does your son say that Barbie is "Hot!" (straight), or a "Hot Mess!" (gay)? Is Barbie naked, half-buried in mulch in the backyard (straight) or planning a Dream House Tapas Party (hello)?

As far as the Easy Bake Oven is concerned... I don't care if Liberace is endorsing the thing. If it produces warm cookies and cake, straight boys will be lined up at the hot pink awning for a taste.

(Props to me: "Lined up at the hot pink awning" now outranks "rafting the tenderloin canyon" as best unintentional nasty metaphor coined here at GG/SG.)

Readers, what did your childhood toys reveal about you? Click COMMENTS below.
Note: This is an anniversary week for the GG/SG blog. Friday will mark one year of this odd experiment. Look for more updates soon, but please celebrate as you see fit.

We'd love to answer more of your questions! Send them to us at the email in the right hand column or post them as an anonymous comment to this or any post.

Hitting Straight Guys Where It Hurts

Here's a road safety PSA from New Zealand. Hardey har har.

I must say that I respect any nation that can spend its tax revenue on dick jokes. But still, the only safe target is the straight male, and his downstairs business. That's OK, we can take it.

Also, let's assume that Gay Guy drives like Aunt Bee only because of his massive gay junk. Most of the time, he's just too much man to deal with, and he just takes the bus. Thanks for putting safety first, GG.

--Straight Guy

I Vote, Therefore I Am Feeling Guilty

Straight Guy,

I just came back from voting. I know you voted this morning. My voting place was as crazy busy as I expected it to be.

Today, the process of actually casting my ballot --for all its inconveniences-- inspires me to become a tiny part of the political process next time. I don't know who volunteers at your polling place, but here's who was staffing mine: two white women under age 30, some middle-aged white women and Latinas, several elderly African American men, and many, many middle-aged to elderly African American women.

This is who volunteers every time I vote. Sure, some of it is the demographics of my neighborhood. But, isn't it the ultimate irony that the people who have been the least well served by the U.S. government, who have been the most disenfranchised by the political process, are the people who take on the responsibility of making sure that the voting process works for everyone.

I'm not a very political guy. I care, I watch the debates, I vote, but that's about it. As a gay man, I should be doing a lot more than that. I won't go all political here, but I am way too comfortable and complacent. I need motivate myself with these state-by-state maps of laws affecting the basic rights of GLBT persons. I'm fortunate to live in a liberal bunker and I do so by choice. Not everyone can or wants to.

Back to my polling place: On the way out, not only did I get an "I Voted" sticker from the volunteer, but she assured me, "You did a good thing today, baby." I will try to live up to her vote of confidence.

--Gay Guy

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