The other day I was listening to NPR’s Terry Gross interviewing film maker John Waters (Hairspray, Pink Flamingos). Among other things, he discussed his new CD “A Date with John Waters.” It’s a compilation of love songs including “Johnny Are You Queer?” by Josie Cotton.
Waters said one of the reasons he included the song is because he thinks many women — especially women in the arts — are attracted to gay men. The lyrics include:
Oh, why are you so weird, boy?
Johnny are you queer boy?
When you asked for a date
I thought that you were straight.
But Johnny are you queer?
He went on to say many of his women friends have told him that their first boyfriends turned out to be gay. He said he thought it would be good for women to ask the guy they’re out with if there is any question about his orientation.
While I’ve dated some “soft” straight men, I think they would be troubled if asked if they are gay. One man who, as he put it, “embraced his feminine side,” was asked if he was gay by a woman he went out with twice. He was deeply bothered by this, as he had no idea why she would ask that. He asked for my input and I gently pointed out his specific mannerisms that are usually associated with gay men.
I love most gay men. I had dinner with two of my favorites a few days ago and they were a wonderful example of a loving, caring couple. I was surprised to hear that many of Waters’ women friends had gay first boyfriends, as that was true for me. Many of my gay men friends are great dates for when I have an event for which I need an escort and I’m in between beaus. They are often natty dressers, attentive and fun — at least my friends are. And I don’t have to worry about them mauling me after a few drinks.
So what do you think of Waters’ suggestion a woman ask a man she’s interested in dating if he is gay? And men, how would you react if a woman asked you this?
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