Last night, my good friend Liz and I treated ourselves to facials, red wine and olives, whilst writing a yet-to-be-released paper. As we were walking to my place from the store (where one tends to find red wine and olives) she said, “I keep forgetting not all gay men are you.” She was talking about a coworker at the time–the kind of young gay man who doesn’t know about anything not sold in Aveda.
To be fair, I forget all gay men are not me. I am continually taken aback when I meet vapid, superficial, misogynistic, blatantly racist and entirely vain gay men. To be fair, I also forget that all people are not me, regardless of orientation, and taken aback by said qualities when I encounter them in anyone. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that we are generally encouraged not consider anything beyond our hair and skin care products. (I am, of course looking at the first sentence, and must add that you can be smart and thoughtful and treat yourself to facials!)
I think the point to be made is that it’s not easy to meet other gay men outside of the designated bars, clubs and cafes. I’m sure that most of us have had the experience of meeting a guy who fits our physical taste, and then he opens his mouth and it’s all, “Britney! Britney! Britney!” I think it’s also shocking for straight people when they meet stylish, attractive gay men who are not living up to their “they’re all so sweet” stereotype.
What is this “gay community” we are all always hearing about? What is it that binds this community together? Are we really just talking about the gay bar culture, and if so, where does that leave the rest of us?
Well, there is no answer to this riddle. Not all people are nice. Not all people are well read or concerned about climate change or the death of democracy. Most Americans I know aren’t sweet or well informed, so why are we surprised when we meet gay men as shallow and uniformed as their straight counter parts?