April 1998

Boy Oh Boye Oh Boi!

Or. . .

What's In A Name?

This month I'm going to discuss one of my pet peeves with the gay culture -- the things we call ourselves. Of all the different names I've heard used by gays there's one that just totally drives me bonkers.

Boy, a simple three-lettered word, has to be one of the most overused and abused words within the gay culture! It appears everywhere, from gay band's lyrics to gay pornography sites on the Internet. It is spelled different ways, ranging from the standard spelling to the currently popular boi , used by younger gays as a way to appear somewhat sophisticated among their peers. Not to mention that the plural form is bois , which happens to be French for the word "wood". . . is that a coincidence? Who knows.

I think that sounds stupid.

If you look up the word boy in a dictionary chances are you'll see it defined as something like "a male child" or "a male child from birth to puberty" or something along those lines. I go along with that term, and I refer to a teenaged male as a young man, not a boy.

Naturally I can see the humor in gays calling themselves "boys" but I wonder how far this can be done without sounding ridiculous? For example, I recall seeing a gay Internet site advertised that boasted having pictures of "Very Young Nude Boys" and then when I saw the pictures I couldn't stop laughing! They were of a guy that was in his mid twenties, complete with a 5 o'clock shadow. . . not exactly what I'd consider a "very young boy"? Teen is another word liberally applied with gay sites, but that's another whole column's worth of discussion!

I mean, think about it. . . a man in his late twenties calling himself a "boy"? Now, I can see someone calling themselves "boyish", meaning they probably look younger than they are or have removed their body hair (a. k. a. smooth) but a guy that hasn't been a boy in the true sense of the word for years who refers to himself as one needs to go to a doctor and see if he's suffering from Peter Pan Syndrome!

The (ab)use of this word is noticeable in the newsgroups, especially in alt.binaries.pictures.boys, a group devoted to showing pictures of boys as they are defined by the dictionary. . . don't get me started on that one folks! If you look at the headers in there you'll see tons of SPAM ads for gay web sites, which doesn't make sense to me. Why on earth would you put something like that in a newsgroup for male children ? Are the posters so stupid that they think a.b.p.b. is a newsgroup for gay men? After all it says "boys", doesn't it? If you want to see something even funnier, go look at the headers in the retromoderated version of this group and you'll see crosspostings from the same gay spammers. Duh! Are they totally clueless to that newsgroup's posting guidelines, or are they just stupid? You tell me.

(By the way, I have no interest in alt.binaries.pictures.boys, I just used that as an example for this column)

If you look at the filenames for gay pictures, chances are good that you'll run across some that have the word boy in them -- it's almost de rigueur in the gay world, along with the essential exclamation mark (!). I can recall one poster of these pictures in a newsgroup saying how he hated that all the images in this particular series were called boy(number). jpg. There were quite a few of them too! I often hear that gays are so creative, but if we are why can't we be more original when it comes to giving pictures filenames? And why can't we come up with better names for ourselves, if we even need to use them in the first place? It literally turns my stomach when I hear a gay man call himself a "fag" -- haven't we progressed beyond that term yet???

Apparently not.

There's hope with the younger generation though. When I asked Ty what word he uses to describe himself to others, how he lets people know about his sexuality, he gave me a simple answer:

"I call myself Ty. . . that's all"

Maybe he has the right idea folks?


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