Bill Roundy

May 1998

"Join the Dark Side of the Force!"
-- Darth Vader

"Now there is only one man
I love to kiss when he is unshaven.
Heterosexuality! You are inexorably approaching
(how discourage her?)."

-- Frank O'Hara



OK, we obviously need more gay people in the world, because I haven't had a date for months. So we need to start a serious recruitment effort from the straight majority.

We're already getting accused of recruiting heterosexuals into our depraved lifestyle. This charge has been leveled at us by Christian leaders, local Republicans, and the irrepressibly evil Phyllis Schlafly. So I figure, as long as we're suffering from the negative press of recruiting, we may as well get some of the advantages. Furthermore, the Exodus Ministry is advertising and openly trying to convert gay people into straights. We need to strike back!

The first this we need to do is organize. I'm thinking: Membership cards, registries, and branch offices in every city. The home office, of course, would be in San Francisco. Every homosexual could register and be placed on the mailing list, so we could coordinate our efforts to corrupt America's youth and destroy the wholesome family institution. Unfortunately, we would also have to pay some membership dues, which would go to paying for...

Advertising. Radio ads would purr from every alternative rock station: "Are you gay? Would you like to be? Why not live the exciting homosexual lifestyle today?" and then music would blare: BE! All THAT YOU CAN BE!

Or we could have billboards. They would read: "Girls don't understand you? Come to where the boys are! Go Gay!"

Full media infiltration could portray homosexuals in the best positive light. We've already got Ellen, but I think we need more. Not those milksop, Tom-Hanks-in-"Philadelphia"-style queers, but brash, dynamic queens on every show -- especially Saturday morning cartoons. We have to get those kids while they're young and impressionable!

Once a young person decides "I think I'll become gay! It sounds cool!" we can send them to classes in "How to be a Homo." All formerly straight men would be tutored in color coordination, and they would have to take dance lessons. We would also need "Snapping 101" and "Remedial Music Appreciation: Madonna and Disco" (I may have to take this class myself). Once they finished reading either "Dancer from the Dance" or "The Front Runner" they would be initiated as full homosexuals.

(Of course, there would be a second program for lesbians, but insert the words "car repair," "vegetarian cooking," and "Indigo Girls" in the above paragraph.)

Every current homosexual who recruited a new member could get points. We could offer incentives for converting celebrities and the offspring of prominent politicians. These points could be redeemed for toaster ovens, or (with a lot of points) tickets to the next circuit party.

So, would it work?

Of course not. Don't be insane. I'm guilty of wishful thinking and egregious stereotyping of the gay community. But can people be converted? Where exactly is the line between gay and straight?

My friend Wendy refuses to let me meet any of her boyfriends, on the grounds that I will "turn them to the Dark Side." She has a point: when I met her friend Andrew, he dropped her and started wondering "You know, I've never been attracted to a guy before. What's this Bill like?" My last two boyfriends claimed to be straight when I met them (one was just in the closet - the other (maybe) actually was). Can I help it if I'm devastatingly attractive? *egotistical grin*

I don't think people can be converted from straight to gay, or vice versa. If they could, I'd have slept with my cute friend Steve by now, because I've been working on him for YEARS. But maybe the divisions just aren't that clear-cut.

I think sexual orientation is a mixture of biology and, well, opportunity. If the potential isn't there, then it's just not going to happen. But sometimes the potential is there. Most straight people are so inhibited about same-sex attraction that they won't acknowledge it when it happens, or act on it once they are interested. But if they do let go of their repression, just once, then it becomes easier to do it again. Hence, the myth of conversion. Look at Anne Heche: she was straight. Then she met Ellen and fell in love -- and once you love one person of the same sex, it's easier to acknowledge those feelings about others. But if you never have the opportunity to express those feelings, you won't identify yourself as gay or bisexual.

Why do I tend to "convert" straight men? Well, I associate with mostly straight people, and it's rare for most heterosexuals to encounter someone as incredibly relaxed about their sexuality as I am. So straight guys meet me and start to realize that yeah, it is okay to like other guys. Once that hurdle is crossed, they can explore whether or not they actually DO like men. And the fact that I'm an incorrigible flirt gives them a chance to act on it.

Are gay people any less rigid in our thinking? In almost every lesbian-themed movie I've seen ("Go Fish," "Chasing Amy", even the cartoon "Dykes to Watch Out For") there's a scene where a lesbian sleeps with a man, and her peers reject her because of it. I've sometimes wondered how my friends would react if I showed up with a girlfriend. Shock, I'm sure. But am I so into my gay identity that I wouldn't date a woman if I felt myself attracted?

We want to have a consistent paradigm -- to keep everything the way we know. But life is fluid and changeable. When we lose the ability to change, that's when we calcify. That's when we dry up. That's when, God help us, we get old.

That's all for this month. Hey, this is my one year anniversary with Oasis! Woo-hoo! Someone give me a cookie (and tickets to a circuit party, I've earned it). Anyone who want to respond or ask me on a date can write to roundywc@hotmail.com



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