Geek Love


By Richard Lawson

Back on Facebook, I see this in some fairly shallow ways. It's cool and almost de rigueur now to sport chunky glasses and dorky, unrevealing cardigans, even for the fittest Broadway dancer in town. But these guys also seem to have decided that it's cool, that it's sexy, to be loudly political, to post coy status messages about books rather than anything involving penis puns or circuit parties, to be as obsessed with media and gadget gossip as celebrity news. Of course, there's nothing wrong with phallic wordplay or shirtless raves or anything else traditionally deemed gay, but it is certainly interesting to see new patterns, whole different tropes, sprouting up everywhere.

Obviously, gay nerds and jocks and goths and artists and whoever else have existed forever; we were never all the same person. But as gayness has become more public, with more people living out than ever before, the breadth of the spectrum of personalities and interests and, yes, lust objects has become strikingly more apparent. And that phenomenon -- the less gay is able to conjure up one single, specific persona -- can only do well by universal acceptance and all that important, positive stuff.

Those who might cringe at the bawdiness of a particularly clothes-free gay pride parade might now turn and see themselves in the ambitious gay tech entrepreneur. Some Marie's Crisis cabaret performer may not stoke your average straight college radio dude's musical worship, but said dude probably sees a lot to idolize in Rostam Batmanglij, the gay member of hipster dream band Vampire Weekend. While we will always love and embrace our admittedly (and somewhat deliberately, if we're honest with ourselves) alienating parades and cabaret acts and triangle-torsoed titans of sex, that a more nuanced'and in today's case tweedier and more subdued'ideal is also becoming a prominent part of the culture is exciting. Because, duh, we were always a state like any other (well, mostly), but as gay ideals increasingly broaden and deepen, maybe the rest of the world will see that state like any other too. When they think gay, they won't just see Carl Paladino's Speedo-clad float dancers, but the rest of us too. The nerds, the dweebs, the prostitutes, and thieves. Everyone. n

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