text mode CrossConnect previous next

Issue Contents
E-mail Us
   w h y    n o t    t u r n    t h e m    a l l    g a y?
Forget studies showing gays can go straight. What about straights getting gay?

---   J O H N   M C C A L L A  

My brother-in-law sits down when he pees.

I offer that fact not as salacious indictment of my sister's husband's masculinity or as kick-off point of a discussion as to whether the toilet seat is better left up or down.

I offer it as hope.

The gay and gay-friendly liberal intelligencia have been so busy of late—with their running around, denouncing the recent study by Dr. Robert Spitzer that says gays can turn straight—that we may have missed the flip side: If gays can "successfully" turn straight, can the reverse be any harder to prove? More important, if everyone would get more in touch with his or her "gay side," wouldn't it be a nicer world in which to live?

Take my brother-in-law—the construction manager, no less—for example. He's the most heterosexual man I know, married to my sister for 25 years. She reports they even still have (good) sex. With a wife and three daughters, however, let's just say he was able to tap into his feminine side enough to realize if the toilet seat was down already, why not leave it down, save a hassled speech or screech from the girls, have a seat and relax for a minute at the same time he relieves himself. I should mention, too, that in his 40s, the one-time wrestling champ also has taken to fanciful fits of tulip-arranging. Heterosexual, yes; trainable otherwise, absolutely. Anyone who has heard straight men at the office excitedly recount an episode of the HBO television series "Oz" and its graphic anal rapes knows of what I speak. If prison is an OK enough reason for straight men to be "situationally homosexual," what about a more dire situation, such as working too many years in the restaurant business?

Another thing going for the men is the sudden chic of the new male vanity. Preening, pumping and flexing in full-length gym mirrors, it's become almost impossible to distinguish the Barbra-loving boys from the breeders. Men now account for 11 percent of the plastic-surgery-seeking set, an increase of 48 percent in the past decade, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

In the case of turning women gay, one need look no further than the odd similarity in the hairstyles of housewives and lesbians. And, of course, Anne Heche, who latched on to a pink triangle faster than you can say "resume builder." And with good reason.

Gays and lesbians are—all false-humility aside—not only good enough and smart enough, they're smarter, better-looking, more stylish, better-mannered, more artistic, sexier, funnier and, in general, preferable at cocktail parties and cook-outs. This is not a secret. Why else are city governments encouraging more gay and lesbian home ownership? Gays are better for urban-renewal, aesthetically improving neighborhoods while at the same time contributing much and taking little from the tax base. More gays and lesbians on the planet would be, in corporate America cliche-speak, a "win-win" across the board. More gays would also mean fewer children in the way at Madonna and Brittany Spears concerts, higher profits at Banana Republic and at organic food stores (humus, anyone?), more VH-1 Divas specials, more movie leads for Antonio Sabato Jr. (and thankfully less for Tom Hanks), better television than "Will & Grace" and a lot more (and better paid) professional women's sports teams.

So, how to go about this new revolution?

Religious groups contend gays can become heterosexuals through prayer and counseling. For the reverse conversion, there's always Stoli and beer. If turning straight people gay by pumping them full of alcohol seems disdainful, then perhaps we could offer a bonus incentive—say, if we convince Andrew Sullivan and Camille Paglia to shut up; surely, there would be more gays sans their self-reverential rhetoric. As we know, not all gays and lesbians are Andrew or Camille, nor are they any of the stereotypes I get the biggest kick out of perpetuating (see any of above). And Dr. Spitzer should realize that. A telephone poll of a couple of hundred tortured souls who may or may not have "successfully" denied themselves access to their true natures proves nothing. If they're telling the truth. I may be eating salads for lunch this week in preparation for Provincetown—it doesn't mean I am not meant to eat chocolate brownies and vanilla ice cream. (And I know sexuality is not a choice like food, but even if it was, I believe that too is an American's right: to eat brownies and choose who you hump). And if you called me on the telephone and interviewed me if I had been "successful" with my diet and I was at all ashamed of my three-night run at More Than Just Ice Cream, I would surely deny it.

"Hello? Yes, this is John," I would say. "Sure, interview away.


Nuh-uh. What? No, I just had a refreshing cardboard and caffeine-pill salad. Gotta go."

Then I would go and throw up (toilet seat up or down, your call).

© crossconnect 1995-2001 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |