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'Gay Guys Always Look Like Their Boyfriends,' and Other Myths Worth Bursting

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One of the staples of LGBT folklore is that gay guys always seek mirror-image boyfriends (or husbands), coming off insecure and/or narcissistic enough to crave an exact reflection of themselves. That’s had truth in the past, but it’s less so as gays don’t need as much artificial support. For a while, it seemed as if some gays were even looking like their dogs and their furnishings, but now that even varies. It’s possible that gays no longer need their own image looking back at them in order to feel validated. This might seem like another form of reductionism, but it’s more productive to say what gays don’t have to be rather than what they supposedly always are.

I’ve written about some of the stereotypes that are true—at least in my case, lol. But here are some other ones it’s time to send back to the gay warehouse.

*GAYS ONLY CARE ABOUT MOVIES AND TV SHOWS WITH QUEER CHARACTERS. Many gays are into all that, mind you—and binge-watch things that are gay-gay-gay—but hardly exclusively. If each demographic stuck to seeing things with “their own kind,” moviegoing would be as segregated as all-girl Bingo. Like I said, gays don’t want to only see mirror images!

*GAY GUYS ONLY LIKE STRAIGHT GUYS. That’s an old one from the self-loathing days.

*GAYS LOVE THAI FOOD. Yes, I’ve perpetrated that one, but it’s time for an expiration date on it. Give someone else a chance at that beef salad. Gays actually have a diverse palette, even if the restaurants in question don’t have the atmosphere of a bar in HK or WeHo.

*GAYS ADORE ATHLETICS. It’s hard to believe it, but stereotypes have come so full circle that the familiar feeling now is that gays absolutely love sports—a far cry from the days when the two were as separate as football jerseys and glitter tap shoes. So I now have to reverse the new stereotype and take it back to the old one, to remind you that gays don’t all love sports. I swear!

*GAYS ALWAYS VOTE FOR GAY RIGHTS. As we’ve seen through the years, that isn’t always the case, and it’s weird.

*THEY ALL LOVE GAY CRUISES AND FIRE ISLAND! THEY ALL LOVE KALE! THEY ALL LOVE ACCESSORIES!

*GAY GUYS ALL WANT TO GET MARRIED. No, not really. Some of them don’t even want to go to someone else’s wedding.

*GAYS ALL LIVE FOR SHOW TUNES  Not every gay male feels the constant urge to launch into numbers from Gypsy, Funny Girl, Little Shop of Horrors, Wicked, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and Hamilton. No, wait a minute. On second thought…

 

AND SPEAKING OF MUSICALS….

In Transit, an a cappella Broadway show about 11 intertwining characters in the NYC subway system, is in previews, preparing for a December 10 opening. The book and score are by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan, and Sara Wordsworth, and the cast includes Justin Guarini, Margo Seibert, James Snyder, and Telly Yeung. James-Allen Ford told me that he and the other three writers have an a cappella group (which originally had six members, but two of them left for other parts). He said they got together after 9/11 and started planting the seeds for this musical, which has 11 intertwining characters, including a gay couple (Guarini and Lueng) getting ready to get married. Not having musicians won’t be a controversy, said Ford, because it was cleared with the orchestra union. And he added that the set is pretty glam and doesn’t totally consist of the subway, and going downstairs when you enter the theater makes the experience all too apt. Thanks to the bounty of the musical theater, this is not a new idea at all, as it turns out. On The Town, (1944), Subways Are For Sleeping (1961), Metro, (1992), and off-Broadway’s Happiness (2009) are among the shows that feature mixed tunes and turnstiles. So get out your Metrocard for one more ride.

*Would the old Kander and Ebb mother/daughter musical The Rink be worth another look? I never thought so, but at her Carnegie Hall concert, Chita Rivera: Nowadays, last week (which I was there for much of), the two-time Tony winner razzled with a couple of songs from it (including one with guest Alan Cumming), and one got the feeling that with script revisions, this Rink could be far less extinct. Or maybe they can just magically find a whole new show by Kander and Ebb.

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