I need a sassy gay friend

Not since my youth have I had anyone resembling a sassy gay friend. In fact, I doubt I knew that the sharply-dressed-neatly-manicured-makeup-wearing-best-dancer-in-our-group guy was a sassy gay friend.

Sure, he was sassy. I liked the way he purred the word sass-ay.  He was a friend. But did I realize he was gay?  Probably not.

There was so much gender bender stuff going on in the ’80s, how was a girl supposed to keep straight who was gay, straight or on both sides of the coin? So many guys were wearing makeup, spraying their hair and wearing puffy shirts and tight pants. Some of the best dance clubs in town were inside gay bars. You’d think standing next to two guys locking lips would give me some insight. But how could I be sure they really were two guys? Sometimes it was two women who looked like men. Sometimes one was a man, the other a woman, and each looked like the opposite.

I’m fairly certain I was born without gaydar. It’s hereditary. My parents inadvertently subjected me to a weekend vacation at a gay resort. Not that there’s anything wrong with a vacation at a gay resort. It’s just that the other guests at the darling bed and breakfast on Cape Cod seemed a bit — puckered and clenched —  by the idea that Clark Griswold and clan were sleeping on those 2,000 thread count sheets. I’m sure we threw the whole aesthetic out of whack.

I have one gay not-so-sassy acquaintance who has given me an earful about all sorts of things I’d never have the nerve to ask someone who is gay. So, that’s been helpful. But would he advise me on the right jeans to purchase? Would he declare my landscaping trailer park? Would he slap the knife out of my hand?

Where are you,  Sassy Gay Friend?

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What part of gay don't you understand?

Recent conversation with person of older generation regarding behavior patterns of the younger generation, as moderated by a middle-aged zombie:

Me: Girl from the West has a gay friend. I think that’s great that kids today can be out and open.
Older: Gay friend? She has a gay girlfriend??? (Subtext: Are you telling me your child is GAY????!!!!)
Me: No. I said: She has a gay friend. It’s a guy.
Older: Ohhh, they’re dating. Do you allow her to date?
Me: No. They are friends. He is gay. That means he is not interested in girls.
Older: Then why are they friends?

Trying a new tack, I steer the conversation toward my middle school days. I say that back then kids were beaten to a bloody pulp in the alley if they were even suspected of being gay. It was one of the ultimate social taboos, next to being poor. I told of a high school classmate who committed suicide when he came out to family and friends and was subsequently rejected. It broke my heart.

I told her I live in a predominantly gay community, have many gay friends and neighbors, although I do not refer to them as that or introduce them as such. I’m merely using the label to make a point. I raise my children to judge people by their actions, not their race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

I’m met with a long silence.

Older: Oh, so that’s why you don’t send her to school here.

Hear that noise? That’s me bashing my skull against a brick wall.