I think of myself as an agreeable, easygoing man who takes things as they come, goes with the flow, etc. But I confess that some things about gay men—or at least some gay men, predominantly, but not exclusively, younger gay men—annoy me.
Men Who Make a Big Deal Out of Being in Recovery
From crystal meth, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, heroin, whatever. My first reaction is: “Let me know when you’ve recovered.” My more truculent reaction is: “So, you’re really telling me that you were stupid enough to make yourself addicted in the first place, huh?”
We hear constant warnings about how addictive many drugs are. But they were the only person on earth who never heard any of those warnings? Or, they thought they were so special that they wouldn’t addict themselves? Then, too, an intense involvement in the process of “being in recovery” is pretty close to another form of addiction.
After all, despite the propaganda of the powerful Addiction Industry that drugs are almost impossible to quit, I figure most people will stop using a drug when the costs of using it—to health, to career, to friendships—outweigh the costs—in forgone pleasure—of not using it.
Men Who Wear Perfumes (Alias “Fragrances”)
I’m sure I’ve written about this before, or maybe just intended to, but if I am at a bar, and some guy walks past reeking of the perfume of the season, my lip curls in disgust. Louis XIV wore perfumes because he didn’t take baths, and was trying to cover up the inevitable result. Presumably, no one in the modern age has that excuse.
Why men douse themselves with some overpriced chemical concoction, I’ll never understand. Do they think it marks them as sophisticated? I’d say it marks them as gullible men who are way too influenced by advertising and image marketing. Perfume is in the same category as cigarette smoke. Enjoy it in the privacy of your own home, not when you are going to be in a closely confined space with others. Don’t pollute my air.
Then too, if the people who promote the pheromone theory of sexual attraction are right (although I don’t think they are), men shouldn’t want to overwhelm any subtle effects of their own pheromones.
Gay Men Who Talk Like Girls
By which I don’t mean voice pitch—most men’s voices deepen with age—but intonation. Primarily, this is in the form of ending a statement with a rising inflection as if it were a question. I have read that some young girls talk this way because they are socialized not to be too assertive.
Speech patterns are learned, so I doubt if it is some natural gay quality. Maybe young gay men pick it up from hanging around with girls when they are in school. For most, the speech pattern tends to drop away eventually, marking it as just another gender performance, and one of decreasing utility as they age.
And don’t get me started on the exaggerated verbal emphases in midsentence that some men fall into: “Cher was just sooo great when sang my favorite song, and wasn’t her costume simply to die for.” I suspect this is mostly a stereotype, but as with most stereotypes, this one has an element of reality behind it. Luckily, it seems to be dying out.
I always have been suspicious of “diva worship,” because there seems to be an element of exaggerated enthusiasm in it, looking an awful lot like a camp response. Often, it attaches to aging divas, one-hit wonders, divas on the way down, or singers with well-known personal problems, but all of them still carrying on as if all were well.
To put it in a very condensed form, gay men are for obvious reasons largely immune to the diva’s sexuality or sensuality, but can be attracted to or fascinated by the performance of that sensuality, her effort to generate it for the audience. Gay men certainly know all about the performance of an image, and the distance between that and reality.
In a way, gay men use the distance they perceive between the performance of the diva’s program and the “performance” of sensuality the diva intends—the performance of her image—as a way of entertaining themselves and their friends.
At bottom, it feels exploitative and derisive.