"Chapter One of the Gay Agenda: Getting In Touch With Your Inner Gaydar"
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Okay. I lied. This month's Oasis topic won't be "Why Do Straights Have Problems With The Emphasis In Catch-Phrases Like 'Whatever' And 'You Go, Girl'?" So sue me. Actually, I think you now can, in most states and provinces.
But if you're not suing me, and you're still reading this, I guess I should take the time to thank you. So thank you -- for not pressing charges -- and for your continued support. This preamble is supposed to make up for my inadequacies as a thematic writer. (You can find stuff on gaydar and cruising about ten pages down). The underlying theme of all my columns is stupidity, and how stupid people can be. Not Oasis readers, just others. And I can tell that Oasis readers aren't stupid, because I've gotten quite a few emails from last month's Oasis column. You can't be too stupid if you can send email, unless, of course, you're on AOL.
Many wrote in to say that they could relate to what I said. One noticed my foul-up of the words "compliment/complement" and Canadian spelling variations of "colour", "humour", "favourite" and politely told me that I was an "ideeot who can't spell worth a dam!" One person claimed that my writing style is the evil incarnate of Matt Groening. Another said I would be a "dead ringer" for Dave Barry. Another, Ellen DeGeneres. Rodney Dangerfield. Judy Tenuta. Homer Simpson. Jerry Seinfeld. And so on. That's when I realized two things: 1) One can only attempt to be humourous in so many ways before one gets compared to someone else. 2) All of these names have the vowel "e" in them. The planets must be aligned or Alanis Morrisette must have reached nirvana while meditating in Tibet or something. Despite all of this, I managed to reply to everyone. This is because I like to reach out personally to each and every person who comments to my writing, by sending out form letters.
To prove that I do care about you, I'm introducing a new feature this month for your viewing pleasure. It's called, "Oasis Cutie of the Month". Simply put, I pick an Oasis writer/columnist/other and highlight an article of his/hers that I happen to like. If he/she is relatively new, I may elect to choose a piece of his/hers elsewhere instead. The criteria are just as simple: writing style (tone/subject/grammar/spelling/ability) and looks. Sending me large sums of money will help speed up the process. I'm doing it for fun. And I get to drive Oasis' resident HTMLizer, Jeff Walsh, crazy for about 10 seconds.
Oasis Cutie of the Month: Keith Caulfield
Yup. It's you, Keith. I can already picture other Oasis writers thinking, "Oh, it'll be me next month, I just know it!" Don't worry. Patrick D. (my Oasis neighbour), Erwin Jaeger, Beverly Greene and Jase Pittman-Wells are all waiting in the wings. Yes, even Jase. Who care's if he's not a columnist? He's still really cute, albeit married and cute. (Plus, you have to dig anyone with a hyphenated last name.) Even Ty will get his turn, as soon as I find an article by him that doesn't casually mention 13-year-olds having sex in some exotic location. When I get bored with this gimmick, I'll stop. Look for this annoying feature to go away in October 1997, 1998, or 1999.
In the meantime, tell me how you feel about this feature through email. I really do appreciate comments, whether constructive, positive, or negative, on anything I write about in Oasis. However, I will refrain from asking things like "Anyone a Simpsons fan?" and "Do you like Tori Amos?" in the column just to get more email. I have a little more class than to try that. Something I am trying to do, however, is hold the record for "Highest Number Of Times That 'Oasis' Is Mentioned In A Column". Also, I get to annoy a lot of people who link to this page through a search engine only NOT to find pictures of Liam Gallagher and his whiny stage presence mew into a microphone. This trickery is just part of my plan to eventually become the Oasis columnist that rules the world. (The rest of you can apply as my sex slaves.) For now, I'll just try to submit my columns on time. Sorry Jeff. (Meaning I'm sorry, not that you're a sorry Jeff. I am still recuperating from post-Lilith Fair trauma.)
Oh, there's a couple more things before the actual article starts. Ladies, I have to apologize. The article is from a male viewpoint. This means a lot of "he", "him", "his", "guy", "man" throughout. Yes, I know this isn't very politically correct, but it could be worse. After all, I'm still a minority boy who has probably taken over the spot of a more qualified White Anglo-Saxon Protestant writer. Plus, I'm saving trees with this cyberspace column. Please forgive me, and please imagine the "he/him/his/guy/man" words to be "she", "her", "girl", and "woman". While you're at it, please also imagine the article to be ten times longer and ten times more funny.
So, to everyone, sit back, relax, enjoy the article, and leave all the angst, depression, loneliness, confusion, low-self esteem and sadness to me. This month, I have fun with stereotypes. Tune in month after month, and laugh as I gradually lose my edge and slip into mediocrity.
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"Chapter One of the Gay Agenda: Getting In Touch With Your Inner Gaydar"
'When I'm a walking, I strut my stuff, then I'm so strung out. I'm high as a kite, I just might, stop to check you out.' -- Violent Femmes, "Blister in the Sun"
The next time you find yourself in a public place, scan your surroundings and find someone of the same sex whom you think is cute. Sneak up from behind and pinch his butt. Did you notice how he turned around with his eyes flaring before he punched you in the face? This teaches you to read your gaydar more carefully next time. This also teaches you not to pinch a stranger's butt, unless an Oasis columnist tells you to. Naturally, many of you want to avoid being punched in the face in the future, so I'll explain certain terms and give tips to help you fine tune your gaydar. You can find more information in your gay agenda; the chapter on gaydar is the one right before "Recruiting All Six Billion People of the World". You may have questions running through your mind right now, like "What is gaydar?", "How can you tell if someone's gay?", "What are the indicators?" and more importantly, "Who's buying Hanson and how do we stop them?!?!" I'm sorry. I understand that many readers love Hanson to death. I already have.
If you've ever seen a gay-themed movie, well, besides Batman and Robin, then most likely you've seen some obviously gay characters. In real life, things aren't always so obvious. This is where gaydar comes in. Webster's dictionary describes gaydar as: "n. 1. A sixth sense instilled into fags and dykes that allows them to sit in outdoor patios all day sipping coffee and picking out gays amongst the passerbys." This is a fairly accurate definition.
Some people like to weigh in all the different factors when guessing, and state the possibility of gayness with a percentage. Someone who you think is probably gay, say Chandler from F.R.I.E.N.D.S, would be rated a 75%. Someone who you hope is not gay, say Richard Simmons, would rate somewhere around 110%. Some people who are out to their friends even develop an elaborate system of secret gaydar signals. For example, pointing your finger at someone and yelling "GAY!" could be a secret signal to tell your friends that you think this person is gay.
You may find that when you first start out, either nothing or everything sets off your gaydar. Then, as you get more experienced, it will be like intuition; your gaydar will flash not only by visual observations, but also by close contact with people. You will eventually discover that specific things get the gaydar abuzzing every time. Here are some of my observations:
The number one giveaway also happens to be the hardest to describe. The eyes can tell so much. They can scream "I'm one of the family!", or they can suggest come here, hellllllo, whoops, or go away. It takes time to master the eyes as well as reading them.
Look for stylish guys with Caesar haircuts and expensive or tight-fitting clothes. This is not to say that breeders can't look good. They're just wearing something designed by someone gay or the person who helps them dress is gay or they have a gay friend who is influencing them but they don't know. It's true. And if you're ever approached by man who also happens to have a moustache who also happens to have a flannel shirt on who also happens to have blue jeans on, quickly walk in the opposite direction.
Listen for "Talk to the hand, 'cause the face does not understand!" routine (complete with hand action), "You go, girlfriend!", "Lose that zero and find yourself a hero!" and other things that would otherwise be found on Ricki Lake and Oprah. Also check for other annoying gestures.
Left ear: Hetero. Right ear: Homo. None: Pinch his butt and find out. Both ears: a) He's bisexual b) He works nights as Barbara Streisand or c) He's desperate.
If you're in a music store, follow someone around and watch his music choices. Or, if you're in public, ask what's playing on his walkman. Listen for strains of Tori Amos, Madonna, Indigo Girls, etc. If you hear strains of showtunes, run away.
You lock eyes with someone else of the same sex, and strip each other mentally. This usually lasts 5 seconds. Do not confuse the gay stare with the straight stare. That is about 4.9 seconds shorter. Then there is also the "Got A Staring Problem?" stare. Avoid this one at all cost.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The person spots you for a split-second, doesn't think you're cute, looks away for a split-second, and then turns back when he realizes that you _are_ cute. Or, check to see if you have a bug crawling in your hair. The person will likely be really cute, and you'll be out shopping with your mom.
This is a close cousin of the double-take. The double-glance is characterized by the person in question glancing at you once. You look in his direction, and he turns away. You keep your gaze. When he thinks you're not looking, he glances your way again. This is a blatant sexual come-on. Silently count to ten. By now his wife and kids will have arrived.
You can blow out your gaydar fuse with this one. This consists of two people of the same sex walking past each other. Then, both of them silently count to four and turn around to check out each other's butt at the same time. Both people smile and turn beet red. This is very embarrassing, and very cute.
So that's gaydar, in a nutshell. If you're feeling adventurous, you can try your hand at the Gaydar Guessing Game. (Warning: Profanity and humour involved.) Let your girlish giggles out as you decide whether people are homo, hettie, Eurotrash (TM), or just plain freaks.
There are probably dozens of other factors that I left out, but that should get you started in the big wide world of gaydar. Be careful though, since there are a lot of people who can confuse your gaydar. I remember a time a few years when some people didn't even register on my gaydar. I think this has to do with the fact that they were fairly average-looking. Eventually, these people went on to form bands called the "Spice Girls" and "Backstreet Boys" and star in a movie called "Wild America." So try everything out, but be warned that your mileage may vary. And hey, if it doesn't work, that just means that you'll have to come back to Oasis and read this article over and over until you get it right, thus racking up thousands of hits for Oasis and pushing for sponsorship.
In conclusion, I'd like to explain why I wrote this article from a male viewpoint. It's because women are normal. Women usually don't have problems with gaydar. Often, they "just know." I find they, as sexual creatures, are more inquisitive, open, and less inhibited than men. Women don't need gaydar. Women talk in washrooms. Women are secure. They can say, "I love your hair, Cindy" without worrying that a "EWWWW, LESBO!!!!!" will follow. And men? We just hope that our butts don't swish when we walk down the street.
Have a comment? Hate my guts? Anyone an X-Files fan? Do you like Sarah McLachlan? Send me mail 20 times and we'll both feel better afterwards.