Today's Mighty Oak

Wherein I talk about some (true) stereotypes



I came across two articles from GQ about gay stereotypes, and while they were both written with a tongue firmly in a cheek, they both admit there’s some truth to them (even if they can’t prove anything scientifically).

The first: that gay men walk fast.

If gay men feel self-conscious or fear attack, they could walk quickly to get away from perceived risks in order to feel safe again,” she explains. “They might also fear being judged or stared at, so want to move away from the ‘perceived risk’ as quickly as possible.”

Though Phillips also says that feeling confident can increase walking speed. “It is all about the feeling of safety and security in the body. If you feel safe somewhere, then you may feel like ‘strutting’, being more open and feeling more extroverted,” she explains.

MacRae tells me that walking fast might be a method for gay men to give a “visual cue” of their physical fitness and attractiveness, and that there’s a gendered element to how we perceive sexuality that may influence walking speed. “People generally perceive sexuality from women’s bodies when they’re standing still and men’s when they’re in motion,” he says. … So gay men upping the pace of their walking also amplifies their sexuality. Strutting, or walking at a rapid pace, can be a way of displaying homosexuality in safe spaces.”

And the second: that iced coffee is part of gay culture.

“Like, gays will do ridiculous things and there’s something so counterculture about drinking an iced coffee during the winter.” It’s also, he says, a sign of resisting homogenization. “Hot coffee is so normcore. Like, it’s for dads and old people commuting on the train.”

For Sam, iced versus hot coffee is the perfect symbolism between queer and straight culture. Essentially, iced coffee has become a queer avatar, and a way for gay people to signpost themselves against the uniformity of heterosexuality.

But there’s still an element of covert behavior that occurs in the queer community, be it sexual or, in the case of social media, through the development of digital languages like memes and modern slang. From things like the rise of the word “wig” and Wendy Williams GIFs, there’s an aspect of digital communication that feels exclusive to queer people, although these then tend to filter down into more mainstream culture. Iced coffee could just be an IRL manifestation of this playful covert language, signaling to any fellow gays in Starbucks that you’re one of them. As Dr. Bengry posits: “It has to be a shared experience.”

But really, the reason iced coffee is gay is actually quite simple. A number of people on Twitter got in touch with me to suggest that part of the gay appeal is quite literally the straw you drink it through. One user suggested that the straw meant that you could “maintain eye contact on your phone, some cute boys, [and] homophobes wanting to attack u [sic],”

The two articles are fun and playful, don’t think too much about them. But I do have to say, both are very true about me. And I’m okay with that. I can enjoy the signposting of both and look at them with a wry smile, understanding a bit more about myself if I truly want to dig a bit deeper.

All my best,

Mike

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