[oasis][stories]

Now It Can Be Told--Maybe

By Kevin Isom

I was thinking of exposing us all for Thanksgiving. You know, revealing to the straight world those shocking rituals we gay people engage in on Thanksgiving. Yep, I was going to tell them that every Thanksgiving, we gay people go out, buy a large bird, thaw it, stuff it, baste it, prod it, and in an orgiastic finale--eat it. Along with cornbread dressing and cranberry sauce in the South, of course. Scandalous, ain't it?

The first time I ever had to engage in this gay tradition of cooking a Thanksgiving turkey myself (can you deny it's a gay tradition? I thought not), I ended up having to put out a minor fire in the oven. As a neophyte to the ritual, I'd pulled out the stuff wedged into the turkey's neck after I thawed it, and that was the only place I'd looked. I wasn't about to put my fingers in the other end. At least, not without dinner and a movie first. But the hint of charred wax paper gave a special taste to my first solo bird.

Now, I did feel some trepidation in exposing this odd turkey thing of ours to the straight world, but I felt they had plenty of 'splainin' to do themselves, after all. Remember lip gloss? For women who wanted that sexy "mmm-what-a-tasty-quart-of-Quaker-State-that-was" look?

Or Laura Ashley? What exactly was that floral-paisley-flouncy explosion all about? I remember one overly hair-sprayed woman (I prayed nobody would light a match near her hair) telling me that a new Laura Ashley print was just to die for. I replied that I hoped my response wouldn't be quite so terminal.

Not that straight men are any paragons of normalcy. Need I say more than "World Federation Wrestling"? Large sweaty men in gold lamé, body-slamming each other in front of cheering fans, in a display broadcast to millions on TV? Sheesh. (I'm from Memphis, where a lot of that stuff is filmed, but my hometown redeemed itself by giving the world Cybill Shepherd, a major cool chick, even if she did get chummy with Elvis at one point. Besides, in Memphis, who didn't?) If WFW isn't enough to send them cowering, then how about this whole Hooters Family Restaurant brouhaha. Or should I say bra-haha? Or lack-thereof-haha? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission insists that Hooters stop discriminating against men in their hiring of women and only women as servers. The straight male response is outrage. How dare they (the EEOC) attack this family restaurant! Do they want men parading in skimpy outfits as servers? In a family restaurant?! Pardon me, but I don't remember my mother serving dinner in a midriff top barely covering her size double D cups. Family? Please.

But back to the exposé, no pun intended. As I thought more about revealing our turkey ritual to the rest of the world, I began to wonder if perhaps it wasn't too tame? Compared to WFW, Hooters, and lip gloss, stuffing a turkey seemed a little mundane, and I rather enjoy feeling somewhat different and outré. I took great personal delight, for example, in buying a thick belt in SoHo (London, not New York), returning home to wear it, and having straight friends comment about its size. I'd look up at them, look down at the belt, smile innocently, and say, "The bigger the belt, the better the spanking." The reactions were always priceless. They never knew whether I was kidding or not. Never mind that I looked like a GAP Kid with a fat belt.

On second thought, then, I decided to keep our turkey thing secret. I wouldn't want them to think us dull. Gay people eating turkey at Thanksgiving. Geez. You'd think we'd be a bit more interesting. Maybe if we told them we baked the birds in Hooters t-shirts first...


Kevin Isom is an attorney and writer in Atlanta. His humor commentaries appear in 15 gay and lesbian newspapers and magazines throughout the U.S. and Canada. His fiction credits include short stories in Paris Transcontinental (Sorbonne, Paris), Queer View Mirror (anthology, Arsenal Pulp Press, Canada), and Zone 9 (science fiction magazine, U.S.), among others. He can be reached online at isomonline@aol.com.
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