Tag Archives: gay society

5 WAYS THAT “MEAN GIRLS” IS LIKE GAY LIFE

Mean Girls Modern Gay Life Style Fashion

Mean Girls, the 2004 comedy written by Tina Fey was so much more than a story about four high school girls, it was a witty and intelligent portrayal of teenage life and the social issues faced by teenagers. Starring Rachael McAdams, Amanda Seyfried and Lacey Chabert, Mean Girls was particularly responsible for launching one certain person into popular culture. And that person was Glen Coco. It also starred Lindsay Lohan.

Surprisingly being a gay man is quite like being a teenage girl in high school and as such we can learn a lot about gay life from Mean Girls.

Here is the list of 5 WAYS THAT MEAN GIRLS IS LIKE GAY LIFE

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1. “I’m new. I just moved here from Africa”

Mean Girls is the story of Cady Heron, a young girl starting at a new school and navigating her way through cliques, personalities and the unspoken rules of adolescense. Slightly aware of her own attractiveness, she’s immediately spotted by the popular group and taken under their wing. The popular girls teach her their high school ways and after a while she becomes a fully fledged member, wielding her own manipulative powers. In the end personalities cross, truths are revealed and mayhem ensues.

And so too goes the story of young gay guys entering the gay “scene”. Unknown gay boy leaves the suburbs and moves to the big city. Slightly aware of his twinky good looks he’s immediately adopted by the popular gays who teach him the ways of partying, sex, socialising and cliquey-ness . After a period of intense drama, cheating and backhanded bitchniness the popular group falls apart and the young gay boy, having slept with way too many people returns home or is forced to move to a new city.

Modern Gay Mean Girls Cady Heron

2. “Being with the plastics was like being famous… people looked at you all the time and everybody just knew stuff about you”

Just like high school, the gay community can feel quite small and after a while everyone seems to know everybody’s business. There also exists that “popular” group of gay guys, or “scene queens” in gay speak, who everyone knows about. They seem to be perpetually on holiday (somewhere warm) and when they are in town they’re probably drinking cocktails at a fabulous restaurant or lounging in speedos by someone’s pool. Although you don’t know them personally, thanks to social media, you’re kept well updated on all aspects of their social lives.

Mean Girls I hate My pores Gay Life Modern

3. “I used to think there was just fat and skinny. But apparently there’s lots of things that can be wrong on your body”

Have you ever met a gay guy who is 100% content with his appearances? Probably not. Sure he might look like an adonis to you but chances are he hates his body. Whether it’s small calves, an underdeveloped 6-pack or a slightly less defined left arm, apparently there’s a lot of things that can be wrong with gay men’s bodies. No matter how much time is spent in the gym, we’re never content.

Lindsay Lohan Modern Gay Guide to Life

4. “On Wednesdays we wear pink”

If you want to fit in with other gay guys then you have to dress like other gay guys. This usually means dressing as “straight” as possible. Any sign of unique style or a shirt that’s slightly too flamboyant and you immediately become unsexable (and sex is the ultimate goal right?). Oh and always remember, in gay clubs we don’t wear tops.

Gay Life Mean Girls Halloween Slut

5. “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it”

Halloween for gays is more of an occasion to dress as your ultimate sexual fantasy than it is to  dress in traditional “scary” garb. This is often achieved by taking a mucho sport/profession/superhero such as policeman, footballer, pirate etc and making it as slutty as possible. Some may say that gays dress like total sluts on most Saturday nights but nothing is more slutty than a gay on October 31st. In Sydney there’s even a gay party called “Halloween Whores”.

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RULE NO.21: YOU’RE NEVER FULLY OUT OF THE CLOSET

Gay Men Coming Out

If you thought that coming was a one time event, you were wrong. We are consistently required to enter and exit the metaphorical closet.

Two recent events reminded me that when it comes to letting the world know that you’re gay, you’re never truly “out”. The first incident was during a university lecture on E-Commerce. The lecturer was discussing self published websites and asked for all those in the audience who had their own blog to raise their hands. A small number of people responded including myself.  The lecturer managed to lock eyes with me even though I was seated in the far back.

“Tell us about your blog” he instructed.  Now, I’m sure avid readers have realised from previous posts that I’m very open about my sexuality but when it came to describing the nature of my “gay blog” to 200 complete strangers, I was reluctant.

“It’s about being a 20-something in the modern world” I sheepishly replied.  At the time, I didn’t feel that it was appropriate for me to come out to a theatre full of people that I didn’t know so I omitted the most important characteristic of my blog so as not to reveal my sexuality.

The second incident was one that occurs on a recurring basis. I was seated next to an older gentleman at a work dinner a few months ago. Our conversation was brilliant as we transversed topics such as sports, politics and food. It was sometime during dessert when he brought up the topic of marriage and how his daughter (who just so happens to be in my E-Commerce class) was recently engaged to her long-time boyfriend. “Have you got a wife or a girlfriend?” he questioned.

“I’m single” I responded.

“What do you think about marriage” he asked, “is it on the cards in the future?”.

At that moment I could have easily begun my political rant about gay marriage and how although I would like to be married one day, as a gay man it is currently illegal in Australia. But I didn’t. Again, I did not feel that the situation called for my coming out.

“One day, I hope” I said and proceeded to change the topic back to a more neutral category.

Gay men face situations like these on a daily basis whether it be at university, family functions, starting a new job, making new friends or any moment when you’re introduced to someone unfamiliar. Society continues to presume that we all subscribe to the heteronormative  roles that we’ve been unwittingly assigned and chances are that these views aren’t going to change drastically anytime soon. This means that we will constantly be placed in situations where we will need to choose how much of ourselves we reveal to others.

Sexuality is a private matter and I don’t believe it’s always necessary or even appropriate to reveal to everyone you meet that you are gay. Although I believe that gay pride is crucial to ensuring self-esteem, it’s important to realise that not every situation calls for a dramatic Jack McFarland entrance. Of course we must speak-up if we witness homophobic behaviour in our immediate environment and I believe that this particular situation calls for a degree of bravery that we may be unprepared for.  Generally speaking though we should feel comfortable with whom we decide to share our sexual identity before we reveal ourselves.

While I honestly believe that we should always be true to ourselves, we must be prepared that our coming out did not end after we took those first steps out of the closet and it is our ongoing decision who we tell that we’re gay and who we don’t.

Image by Kwannam Chu

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RULE NO.10: BEWARE OF LATE ON-SET ADOLESCENCE

Gay Youth

I’ve coined a new disorder that affects many gay men. It’s called “Late On-Set Adolescence”  and although I’m sure someone has already conducted a study into this phenomenon, I think that it is still widely undiagnosed. 

“Late On-Set Adolescence” (LOA) is the result of gay men having to hide their sexuality throughout their formative development years and missing out on the same experiences as their straight counterparts (sexual exploration, dating, forming friendship groups with likeminded peers etc). In doing so they experience a self-identity growth period that is not indicative of their true self. Whey they finally come out of the closet, they go through a second adolescence whereby they learn about their sexuality, experience sexual contact with the same-sex for the first time, begin dating, find similar friends, go out to gay venues, become more focused on their appearance and experiment with drugs etc. This may happen when they are 18 or 25 or 35 or 50 but for most gay men I know who have been closeted, it does happen at some stage. During this stage, gay men often find themselves drawn to other men who are experiencing LOA and this is one of the reasons that you see groups of friends who are of mixed ages; the 30 year old who socialises with 18 years olds, the 50 year old who hangs out with guys in their ’20s.

LOA is a period of experimentation and self discovery that gay men must experience. It can be an amazing time for growth and self acceptance but conversely, just like acne during puberty, there are down sides. Some men become fixated with “making up for lost time” and take their sexual experimentation to a whole new level, sleeping with many different partners and becoming obsessed with the pursuit of sex. Although I am a strong advocate for (safe) sex and sexual exploration, I believe  that any excessive behaviour is unhealthy and detrimental to one’s happiness.

Also, during this period one might see gay men become cliquey and “bitchy”, enjoying the drama that comes with dating, sleeping around and making new friends. Often their social lives become reminiscent of a high school playground with cattiness, drama and fighting. These traits are particularly unpleasant and contribute to the stereotype of gay men being bitchy queens.

For many, this period is short lived as they move into the next phase of deeper “inner” self discovery.  The problem arises however when gay men become stuck in LOA, when they sacrifice ambition for trivial pursuits such as time in the gym or on the dance floor or finding their next sexual conquest. They may mature in age but  they seem to always be chasing the next  guy who is experiencing LOA (perhaps in order to avoid growing up and facing the next stage of develpment?). You’ll notice these guys as the 30/40 somethings who still dress like teenagers (revealing singlets, short shorts, baseball caps and high tops) and always appear to be dating or surrounded by younger guys.

The cure for LOA is self-acceptance as soon as possible. Gay boys should be encouraged to experience adolescence when it was intended for them to do so. The most well-rounded gay men that I know are the those who “came out” the earliest or didn’t need to come out at all. As society becomes more accepting of homosexuality, it is my hope that more gay men learn to accept their sexuality at a younger age and eventually LOA will simply be ‘A’.

Photo credit: Willy Vanderperre

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RULE NO.4: GAY MEN SHOULD NOT CONGREGATE TOGETHER

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Generally it is estimated that one in ten people is homosexual. I would suggest that this is a safety mechanism, designed by nature to stop gays from destroying each other.

My experience of being around too many gay men at once is rather negative.  Before I go any further, I want to stress that I am a strong believer that one’s perspective affects one’s experience so the following observations may not be true for everyone. If that is the case, I would love to hear your thoughts.

It’s best to explore my argument with an example. There’s a local venue in my city that gay men frequent religiously on a Sunday afternoon. This particular venue has become quite the institution and is filled, no matter what the weather conditions may be, with gay men of various ages, persuasions and types. You would imagine that such a gathering would be open and friendly, and offer the potential to meet new people and mingle with old acquaintances. On the contrary. This venue is reminiscent of the school canteen (although everyone is a litter older and buffer). Boys are no less cliquey and judgemental than they were in high school. The lunch tables may be replaced with bar tops and the chocolate milk with $5 ciders but the atmosphere is just the same. It is an atmosphere of arrogance, separation, judgement and suspicion. Everyone may be tightly packed into the huge courtyard space but there is little communication between strangers and no sense of community that previous generations of gay men were known for. And what’s worse, it is as if by osmosis that I too act like one of these guys.

I’m not sure what it is that creates this disconnect between people. I’ve asked myself if perhaps it’s a phenomenon native to my city or if it’s because our communal insecure psyche is so strong when we’re gathered together. Or maybe we’re just inherently more judgemental and superficial than straight people? Whatever the reason may be, I leave the bar on a Sunday night feeling worse than when I arrived (and that has nothing to do with the amount of alcohol I’ve consumed). I promise myself that I wont be back the next week which is actually very disappointing when you think about it. We should be creating spaces that empower each other, that promote community and self-love. There are enough places in the real world where gay guys feel uncomfortable, what a shame it is that we’ve created gay spaces that make us feel the same way.

I was never one to frequent gay venues or to follow the gay social circuit. This was partly because most of my friends were straight and the few gay friends I had didn’t enjoy the “scene”. It was also partly due to the fact that I had lived in this city all my life and had observed the community from a distance, questioning whether I wanted to be a part of it or not. But when so many of my closest friends left me for exotic cities overseas I thought that friendlessness would offer me the opportunity to explore my local gay community. In retrospect, although I now know a lot more gay people than I did 5 years ago, I feel more insecure about myself when I spend time with them and  find myself engaging in idol chatter more frequently than I did when hanging out with my straight friends. What’s more is that I haven’t actually made that many meaningful relationships with those guys that I have met. The best gay relationships that I’ve had in the past whether they be with friends, boyfriends or one night stands, were with people that I met outside of typically gay situations. Which makes me wonder “are gay guys in groups toxic?”.

Let me know your thoughts.

Are gay guys in groups toxic?

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