I’m Not Gay, I was Just Checking Out Her Ass

“You’re so gay,” she said to me. Just seconds earlier, my car had stopped at just the right moment in time, when a female pedestrian wearing something that provoked a positive reaction in me crossed the intersection. In fact, it was such that I commented on how much I liked what the young woman walking was wearing.

I’ve spent my entire life as an artist and in my adult life I added designer to my title card. A positive and engaging aesthetic is always going to catch my eye. This extends to food, film, fashion, home, interior design and even the design of football uniforms. My city’s team is one of the worst in the NFL, for the record. I just appreciate a great visual.

And that’s just it. I just can’t turn that aspect of my brain off. It’s a spectacular trait allowing me to do what I do day in and out. I find design inspiration everywhere and I guess to a greater extent I actively seek it. What I admired about that woman in that moment was not her figure, the ideal of sexual attraction (that surfaced shortly thereafter), but rather the execution, the color, and a tessellation pattern that suggested a deeper understanding of all that was in play; she had not worn the dress simply because it was in her closet. But I guess men, straight men, are supposed to appreciate something else. At least that’s the idea that I gathered from the response I received upon explaining my reaction to the woman’s outfit.

When I heard that sentiment it left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I wasn’t insulted at the idea that people might think I am gay. To me, it’s just as trivial as if someone assumed I was British. How can anyone tell without my birth certificate? At the end of the day, who really cares what side of the pond I stick my, er… toes into? The larger issue in such a rationale is that one is so willing to make such a generalizing statement that suggests there is something wrong or at least unfavorable with homosexuality. The second largest issue is that it’s a declaration that there is a specific manner in which a man should act and behave and anything in conflict with that suggests the man has to be gay.

Is this how we are dealing with our bias now? “It’s so passé to marginalize people to their faces so we shall cast stones at those who we know are not stakeholders in this minority so we can get these damaging views out.” 

From the liberal use of the word “faggot” or “fag”amongst friends to the use of “gay” to describe an unfavorable situation, there is no positive outcome. We just are taking the unnecessary divide that already exists amongst people and placing it elsewhere.

Recently, Jenna Lyons, the president and executive creative director of J. Crew, wasn’t afforded an opportunity to openly display what was a heartwarming moment with her toddler son Beckett without coming under fire for promoting some ideal of gender neutrality and/or raising Beckett to be gay. Her son’s favorite color is pink; she painted his toenails in his favorite shade and the child looked thrilled. Heaven forbid a mother have a healthy relationship with her son. When I think about it, I’m pretty jealous. All I ever asked for in my youth was a bag of Tropical Skittles. I had a fifty-fifty percent success rate with that request and even when I did receive my treat it was those disgusting Wildberry ones. You know, the purple bag. If Beckett is anything, it’s spoiled.

Cutting to the chase, we should be done with this line of thinking: socialization by gender and homophobia (latent, subversive or otherwise) or as I like to call it: plain idiocy. TC mark


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  • http://twitter.com/srslydrew Andrew F.

    Word! Nobody likes the gay-to-pig spectrum of masculinity.

  • xra

    best way to go about this is to get girls to stop telling guys to “be a man” and all that type of shit

  • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

    All the sexless ingrates who criticized Lyons don't know that, if he turns out straight, she's actually priming him for a healthy active sexual life, because women don't love pink on accident.

    Anyway, I get this a lot too, or used to more when I was in a steady thing for awhile. She would get mad when I asked about her clothes. The names of them, the colors, their purpose. I was never sure if it was because she felt the mystery of her fantastic (she is an extremely beautiful woman and would know I was referring to her if she were to read this — hey H.) wardrobe added to that whole “feminine mystique” thing or if she simply didn't like the way it made me sound. She never used the word “gay” or “fag” but the outcome was basically the same.

    Point is, I feel you bro. Don't let it get you down. And there's a major difference between prejudice and daily parlance, in my view. I know excessively tolerant people who simply feel it's their right to say whatever the fuck they want when they want to (it is) and so make no exceptions for non-PC words like “fag” or “gay” or “cunt” or “cocksucker.”

    Incidentally, my gay landlord/housemate doesn't get startled when I am angry about someone and call them a cocksucker.

    • http://christophermluna.com Christopher Michael Luna

      I love cognitive science studies like the ones you posted because they so often seem to have this bizarre sort of circularity to them, and sometimes they go in very weird directions with the conclusions:

      “Ling speculates that the color preference and women's ability to better discriminate red from green could have evolved due to sex-specific divisions of labor: while men hunted, women gatherered, and they had to be able to spot ripe berries and fruits. Another theory suggests that women, as caregivers who need to be particularly sensitive to, say, a child flushed with fever, have developed a sensitivity to reddish changes in skin color, a skill that enhances their abilities as the “emphathizer.””

      We go from “women seem to like 'redder' blues than man” to “How does this make women better caregivers/gatherers?” We question one gender stereotype and attempt to explain it with another.

      But the takeaway from that article is that “[o]n average… all people generally prefer blue, something researchers have long known.” Which means instead of painting your son's nails pink so he has a better sex-life in the future, maybe we should buy our daughters blue clothes instead of pink.

      • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

        ** <http: phmadore.com=””>Not going to argue with you. Pardon my lapse in

        ratiocinated logic.</http:>

    • http://somuchtocome.blogspot.com Aja

      When I meet a guy who shows genuine interests in my wardrobe, I think “oh what a keeper”. I put time and effort into my appearance and when a significant other notices and takes an interest, it feels really nice!

      I knew it was only a matter of time before the conservatives sullied that beautiful picture of Jenna Lyons and her son. As a matter of fact, as soon as I saw it, it made me smile and then my smile faded and I cued the count down until the cry of outrage from the right. It must be painfully sad to be so predictable.

      • http://phmadore.com P. H. Madore

        Cool. Good to know there are women who appreciate it.

  • Guy

    “It’s so passé to marginalize people to their faces so we shall cast stones at those who we know are not stakeholders in this minority so we can get these damaging views out.”


  • http://christophermluna.com Christopher Michael Luna

    I like the article, and I also think people are too neurotic about even a hint of gender-play in children… but on a totally different note, the author here is listed as “Justin Temple,” which sounds like a man's name, and the picture in the profile also look like a man, while the article seems to be about someone calling the subject of the article gay for checking out a woman.

    So, this is just curiosity: is this fictional, or an anecdote passed to you from someone else, or just a rhetorical way to talk about the issue?

    Somehow I am struck by how potential readers might have read it differently (probably for the same reasons you're talking about in your article), if it was about a man commenting on skinny-jeans rather than a woman commenting on a hot dress.

    Color me a little confused!

    • http://christophermluna.com Christopher Michael Luna

      Ohhhhhhhh… I get it now. She was saying you were gay because you were a man talking about a woman's outfit being nice.

      *previously clueless*

  • T6

    I am totally on your page man. If there were more guys like you around, who were less concerned with wielding their machismo as a sword, I'd have more guy friends for sure. You made really great points in this article, I just wish it had been longer, more in depth. You could really tap into some closed minds if you took this a little further.

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    I’m Not Gay, I was Just Checking Out Her Ass | Thought Catalog

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