I was at the kitchen table, working on the final paper for my Philosophy of Sex & Love course (oooh!…no, actually, not nearly as interesting as it sounds), when Lance muttered, “Ugh. It’s those two gays again.”
Lance peered through the blinds of the window in our dining area, which overlooks the parking lot of our apartment complex. I quickly joined him; these gays are new-ish in the area and have been fairly elusive. The most I’ve gotten out of them is a knowing, “Hello” as I was walking Ripley.
“Wait a minute,” I whispered, my voice quivering. “Is that one wearing a graphic tee?…That’s…my thing…” I was forlorn.
The two of them walked toward their Acura, which gave us ammunition enough to hate them, though we don’t even know them or their names. (Aside from what we can infer from the Acura’s vanity plate…I mean, seriously: an Acura with a vanity plate? Do you wipe your butt with monogrammed goldleaf?)
“Well, that one is ugly,” stated Lance matter-of-factly, as the gays hopped into their luxury sedan.
We’re both at an impasse here. While we wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to make new friends, we are both a tad…something around other gays. Uncomfortable? Jealous? Suspicious?
I was going to go into a whole treatise about the psychology of young, urbanite gay culture, but I couldn’t figure out a way to write it that didn’t come across as generalizing and just petty. (This Gawker article does a good job at addressing one or two of my thoughts on the issue.) Ultimately, though, however alienated we feel by other gays, our kneejerk discomfort/catty bitchiness is as much our fault and “theirs.”
There are a whole slew of reasons for this, many of which I’m sure are rooted in our own individual neuroses and self-doubts, which we then project onto others in order to make ourselves feel better about our Ford Fiesta, or some unsightly pudge, etc. etc. We feel judged when we’re doing just as much, if not more, judging. Maybe we do this with other gays in particular since there’s a weird, added element of familiarity due to our common marginalization, which allows for a more direct comparison. I think this is particularly true with other young 20-something gays (well, “30-something” for Lance). Still, on the flipside, I know I often feel condescended towards by other gays, so it’s not just a one-way street. It’s a lose-lose situation.
In trying to identify just what it is about other gays that oftentimes makes us uncomfortable, I asked Lance for his input.
“I just don’t know how to pinpoint what it is without coming across as shallow and bitchy,” I admitted, a resigned tone in my voice. How could I demonstrate in words this seemingly legitimate sense of “cold shoulder”?
“Honey,” Lance said, turning toward me, “we are shallow and bitchy.”
Ah. So maybe it’s just us.