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Fall '05 Articles:
Bush's Misplaced Priorities
My Dog or Your Child?
Shadows on the Sidewalk
The New American Way?
The Muddlemarch: 1
The Muddlemarch: 2
Walk Like a (Straight) Man
(music reviews)

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Walk Like a (Straight) Man

by Adam Finley
art/Marty Kelley

The gay community still has a long way to go before it reaches full acceptance, but it has made some significant strides in the last several years. Shows like Queer Eye and Will and Grace have proven that homosexuals can be accepted by larger society as long as they're non-threatening and reveal their homosexual tendencies in subtle ways. Yes, gay people can be scary, almost terrifying, but not if they help you pick the right kind of drapes to go with your new sofa bed.

So far this has been the only way for anyone to gain acceptance in the world of straight white people. Many white people hated blacks until the advent of professional basketball, after which a plethora of racial terms once used to degrade blacks were all discarded for a kinder, more accepting term: Magic Ball Jesters of the Wood Floor. "You amuse us, and therefore we accept you, Magic Ball Jesters of the Wood Floor!" the masses would chant.

All of this has been good for human relations, and for humankind in general, but just because we've gone this far doesn't mean we should rest on our laurels. Now more than ever the gay community needs to work harder to impress and appease straight people. Here are some tips:

1. Be entertaining. I cannot stress this enough. If, while in the presence of straight people at a restaurant you find that your façade has slipped and your homosexuality is making them uncomfortable, immediately leap onto the table and begin tap dancing. If this isn't enough to distract people from your gayness, ask for a volunteer from the audience and perform an impromptu "sawing in half" trick. This requires you to travel everywhere with a small truck loaded with dance shoes and magic supplies, but it is the sacrifice you must make in order to maintain contentment among your fellow human beings.

2. Never refer to your significant other in a way that suggests the two of you have any kind of sexual relationship. This frightens straight people, many of whom have been known to scamper into trees when confronted with the unsettling fact that gay people make love to other gay people. For example, this is wrong:

"Hello, my name is Jerrod and this is my partner, Frank."

Instead, say this:

"Hello, my name is Jerrod, and because I never learned how traffic lights work I have hired this man, Frank, to follow me around the city and tell me when it's okay to cross the street. He must be with me all the time, otherwise, I could be killed."

3. Be aware of your mannerisms and speech. Gay men carry themselves in a much different way than their straight counterparts, and it's important to be aware of this. It's sometimes difficult for a gay man to walk and behave like a straight man, but it's not too difficult once you get the hang of it. One rule is to always walk with your elbows jutted outward slightly. This signifies that not only are you straight, but that you're ready to start punching somebody should they use words you don't understand. Remember, straight men play sports and stare at women's asses, they don't read Kierkegaard. Also, learn to swagger. This can be picked up by watching a few John Wayne movies. As you go about your daily routine, don't be afraid to stop and ask yourself, "Am I walking like a ranch hand who's suffering from brain damage because he once had his skull caved in by an angry cow?" If you're not, you need to try harder.

It may take years of practice to reach perfection, but it's well worth it. It wasn't that long ago that homosexuals were stigmatized by larger society, but as people become more enlightened, acceptance has grown. I predict that by the end of the next decade, the gay community will be welcomed with open arms by their straight contemporaries, as long as they don't act like a bunch of queers.

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Other articles by Adam Finley: