Which Gay Are You?

July 27, 2008

ultimate gay

A couple days ago, we powered up the trusty GL peg-leg grill and, and we grilled up some mini burgers, hot dogs, banana pepper poppers, and drank lots of High Life. As the night went on, we got to talking about the fall of the gay bar, as it once was- a community hub and sanctuary for free expression (in my idealized fantasy world). The only place I can think of, that most closely fulfills that promise is Berlin (besides the Cock in NYC, before they moved into their shiny new digs on 2nd ave in the east village back in ’06 or ’05…).

Berlin’s the 4am club on the edge of Boystown in Chicago, by Belmont/Sheffield. I can always rely on thumping industrial-sex-dance music, and the lovely mix of pan-sexual wierdos, femme boys, butch girls, trannies, boystown celebutantes, hustlers and their ‘johns’. In the eyes of a New Gay, Berlin, and places like The Eagle, or Touche on the N side seem the most to have some semblance of subcultures that flourished post-Stonewall, in the ’60s– jumpstarting the modern-day gay civil-rights movement across the world. Cultural traditions were passed on from daddy to twink, and those young, lost gays became the daddies of the following generation of disenfranchised gay boys, and so on. I still venture to Boystown, but often leave feeling more isolated, the scene seeming a mere reflection of the youth-obsessed, consumerist hierarchy of mainstream culture.
There’s a piece in the trend-hungry New York Observer on July 22, 2008 by Doree Shafrir, The New Old Gays. It’s about the current New York gay scene, focusing on the reactionary young gay men intentionally adopting traits of their flamboyant forefathers. Here are Doree’s culturally conscious classifications in a nutshell:

You Know You Are a New Gay When:
• You live in Williamsburg and the East Village.
• You wear pointy shoes and tight cutoff shorts.
• You studied queer theory and dabbled in heroin at Sarah Lawrence or Bard or Wesleyan.
• You listen to Chromeo and Girl Talk and Le Tigre.
• You watch America’s Next Top Model.

You Know You Are an Old Gay When:
• You are old, fat, and can’t, in all likelihood and despite your best efforts, get laid.
• In fact, you love everything about musicals, especially Cheyenne Jackson and the guy from the Broadway production of Footloose, after whom you named your cat.
• You put together a reading of a Wendy Wasserstein play. [To certain of our gay friends, you are so called out on this one.]
• All of your friends are musical-theater fanatics, as well.
• You watch The Golden Girls. [R.I.P., Sophia!

“New Old Gay” is defined thusly:

“To be classified as a New Old Gay requires more than an appreciation of Patti LuPone, though love of somewhat tragic, just a tad grotesque, totally fabulous divas is a requirement. In some ways the New Old Gay can be read as a reassertion of a gay identity that had all but been given up for dead: If gays can be married and have children and live contentedly in the suburbs, or on the other end of the spectrum, do the same drugs at the same loft parties as their Oberlin classmates, and if everyone thinks AIDS is no more serious than diabetes, then, really, what’s the difference between the gays and the straights? By dialing back to and reinventing the old gay stereotypes, they may have the best shot at reclaiming gayness as something actually different.”

‘Cause AIDS ain’t a thing, REALLY, throw some drugs at it and you’re good…Ms. Shafrir must be living like a baller, haggin’ it up with her entourage of fabulous rent-fags at Splash. I kid.

Yeah the gay scene is changing…in New York, Chicago…around the world, Pride Parades are increasingly becoming a string of corporate floats flagged by a battallion of muscled gay-for-pay guys in teeny thongs, thrusting to some sex jams…OW! I’m sure today’s young gays experience different traumas->neuroses that’ll manifest itself into a new lil cool subcultures as older cultures of last century phase out, which is a hot topic in gay rags…spurred by the trend of leather bar closures in NYC.

“Leather Daddy’s are a dying breed,” I said, “and by extension, the leather bars which served as meeting grounds.”

Adelle scoffed, “fetishism will live on! Places to get drunk and look for sex will live on!”

Hey, I’m counting on it!

Caroline pointed to the function these spaces serve for a community of people, and said something in the way of:

“However the subculture/culture needs these spaces and supports them, they will exist.”

word. Cheers to that.

– Young Joon

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