I like my menâ€¦umâ€¦straight. Not some brutish parody, all git your ass ovah heah, hand raised in a threatening pose, hair poking out the back of his undershirt. But the role of the girl will be played by me, and when I am done the show will close. Honestly, don’t ask me what I am thinking, don’t bump me out of the mirror and, for god’s sake, don’t grab my hand and start skipping. I say this and yet the last few guys I’ve gone out with were men who, at one point or another, I thought might have been gay (one of them I still do, playing Chat-Bite with all his male friends all the time was the clincher).
R. was a banker, a college sports star and a Betty Buckley fan. I believe that’s one of the gay commandments thou shalt listen the to show tunes. Upon further inspection I found Mandy Patinkin (are you kidding me?) and Hootie & the Blowfish (more a character flaw than a chink in his hetero-armour). Once in a while I would fake a bathroom emergency so I could run in without knocking and possibly catch him singing “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair”. But I never did. I asked him to explain the appeal of Broadway as interpreted by the Eight is Enough stepmom and The Princess Bride‘s Indigo Montoya for a man who couldn’t carry a tune with the help of a man-servant; he just shrugged his shoulders and giggled like the Pillsbury Doughboy.
J. was from France. The French possess many cultural habits that would keep the average American from picking up the proverbial dropped soap but it was the rhinestone logo’d t-shirt tighter than mine that evidenced (I thought) an accurate snap judgement. Also, he ran around grabbing his male friends’ packages. Chat-Bite is a game generally played in school yards, at 27 to touch the penis of any guy friend present, whether you are with your girlfriend or not, calls your motivation into question. He was young, sweet and (I thought) gay and I felt this need to coddle him. I couldn’t have been more surprised when he made a move so I chalked the Bedazzled shirt up to couture culture differences and dated him for several months during which I barely escaped drowning in a deluge of stereotypical behaviour. I couldn’t fix my own hair in the morning because once he was done primping he had to vogue to make sure he looked good at all angles. When I commented on his ass (which was niiiiice) he called it his “poo-poo” switching it from side to side like a seven year-old girl. And when trying to dance/seduce me while he was dj-ing he’d stick his [niiiiice] ass out and wiggle it like he was waiting for me to stick a dollar in his g-string.
I’ve dated other men with frou-frou tendencies- the guy who ate his buffalo wings with a fork and knife, who started to cry because they were too spicy. The one who wore women’s perfume because it smelled “prettier” than men’s. The one who used Vaseline on his lips because he liked them shiny and the one who wore women’s jeans because they made his “butt look better”.
I have to wonder what it is about me that attracts this type of man, or maybe, since I’m often the asker and not the asked, why I am attracted to this kind of man. Perhaps it’s that this is often the man who treats me with sensitivity. It could be that this is also the type of guy who lets me take care of him. Neither of which am I willing to sacrifice to have a so-called “macho man”.
* Ed.’s note: For an editorial response to criticism of this post, please see the comments section below under Jason C. McLean