Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

A Rant. Please Skip.

Many things annoy me, as I’m sure you’re aware. Tourists. People trying to quietly unwrap boiled sweets in cinemas. Dragons really get my goat, too. I really should think about putting a roof on the goat’s pen.

The latest is equating ‘gay’ to ‘this means it’s interesting to you, so listen’. When talking to people, they will aside a sexuality: “And my friend Andy – he’s gay – well, he’s just taken up water-skiing…” By simply inserting that one word, they expect me to sit up and beg for more information.

One desperate side effect of being a mary is when you’re outed to people, they will relate the fact that you are a cack-pipe cosmonaut with any scrap of information they have on the subject. I’m aware that this is how people communicate, but some of the responses I have garnered over the years have edged into sheer stupidity. The usual response is “Ah! Right. My brother/father/cousin/former room-mate is gay”. I assume that it shows that they are accepting of it as they have already come across someone in their life who’s a mary and filed it away. What the reaction to this is, I’m still not sure. Do you then go “What, Brian? Your brother/father/cousin/former room-mate? I thought he was when I slept with him, but didn’t want to say…”

It reminds of an incident when my normally ape-like father revealed a hitherto unforeseen wit while we were in America. He was cornered in a gift shop by the ancient female owner, who insisted he ‘speak British’ to her. She then started asking whether he knew Betty.
“You must know her,” said she. “Betty. About this tall. Grey hair. You know, Betty from Blackpool.”
Rather than point out the size of Britain, and the fact that there are a couple of million people living on this little old island, he started playing along.
“Betty. Hmm. Pleasant woman. Sparkling eyes?”
The woman clapped her hands. “That’s her!”
“Yeah. She’s dead.”

If it’s not the brother/father/cousin/former room-mate that gets brought into conversation, you get all sorts of stereotypical impositions. I have been collecting the more desperate reactions for some years. Thus:

“Oh! You’re gay! I met John Inman in panto in Birmingham!”

“Really? Gay? I once tried on my wife’s shoes, you know…”

“Gay? Ah. You sure? Your voice is quite deep…” (that little nugget was from my father)

My all-time favourite was:

“Gay? Really? We had a poodle we thought was that way, once…”

Sigh.

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