I am a straight man. I think. These days it’s hard to tell.
Gay men could once be spotted a mile away – they were obviously gay because of how much pride they took in their appearance, their expensive hairstyles, facials, manicures and immaculate dress senses outed them as gay immediately. Then metrosexuals came along and ruined everything. Suddenly, there were thousands of straight men walking around looking exactly like gay men while at the same time stubbornly refusing to allow penises anywhere near their mouths.
This confused the gay community so much that some retaliated by going hairy and butch and unkempt, while others stayed fabulous, and eventually it was impossible to tell who was gay and who was straight, which made stereotyping people for the sake of comedy much harder. .
This problem is compounded by the way the term gay is now used. For example: ‘You listen to Justin Bieber? That’s so gay!’ According to this logic, the term ‘gay’ refers to any behavior that can be considered soft and effeminate.
This is problematic because it is possible (completely hypothetically of course) that there are gay men in the world who dress up in leather, attach clamps to their nipples, take hard drugs and then willingly allow other men to whip them savagely for a while before sodomising them. I don’t know any straight men who would do anything even remotely as hardcore as this. So by this logic, being a drugged-up homosexual bondage freak = not gay, while spending Saturday night playing sodoku, drinking tea, listening to old Jason Donovan albums and then writing sappy love poetry to a woman you like but who you have never actually spoken to = gay. It’s confusing.
The same goes for lesbians. Most heterosexual men will predictably tell you how hot they find lesbians. But they don’t mean real lesbians. They mean the so-called lesbians in heterosexual porn flicks, where it is generally accepted that the ‘actresses’ are more bi than lesbian – if there’s no chance of you, the male fantasizer, joining in eventually, it spoils the fantasy.
So there used to be a clear distinction between the type of so-called lesbians that exist in porn films to fulfil heterosexual male fantasies and real life lesbians. And the perception used to be that, unlike their porn star imposters, all real life lesbians were butch, tattooed, muscular types with shaved heads and multiple piercings who spend their days shopping for power tools and their nights going to anarchist poetry readings where everybody talks about saving the environment before inviting a singer-songwriter on stage to perform Ani Difranco covers.
Then the L-word came along and depicted actual lesbians, not porn star lesbians, as feminine, complex (if unrealistically attractive) people with (gasp) a range of different cultural practices and personalities and suddenly it dawned on the collective consciousness that not all lesbians are cardboard cut-out stereotypes. Which is shit news for comedians. The easiest comedy comes from people behaving typically. The fact that people are all complex individuals, whether gay or straight (or for that matter bisexual, transsexual, polysexual, asexual or pansexual) just gets in the way of perfectly good punchlines. And in comedy, punchlines are far more important than the truth.
Perhaps Blur’s frontman Damon Albarn said it best when he declared that “Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls who do boys like they’re girls who do girls like they’re boys, always should be someone you really love”. I have no idea what that means either, but for some reason it seems like a suitable way of summing up the loose collection of bizarre ideas I have the cheek to call this month’s column.
And as for the question of my own sexuality, I am told that this month’s Gaschette cover features Jena Dover in a bondage-inspired shoot. I’m going to the bathroom now to think about this in more detail, and I’m pretty sure when I emerge I’ll be able to confirm, conclusively, whether or not I am a heterosexual male. It isn’t easy, conducting this kind of important scientific research, but someone has to do it.
Award-winning musical comedian Deep Fried Man was dropped on his head several times as a young child, and this has had a profound effect on his songwriting style. He started out as a serious musician before realising that the audience was laughing at him, after which he decided to try and at least make them laugh on purpose. He has been rocking comedy gigs all around the country ever since, and has been lucky enough to perform at some of South Africa’s biggest comedy events – the Nando’s Jozi Comedy Fest, Heavyweight Comedy Jam, Mind the Gap and LNN Live at the Lyric Theatre to name a few.
What are you most excited about for the future?
Flying cars, hoverboards and shoes that tie themselves up. Basically, all the things that the Back To The Future trilogy promised but science has not yet delivered.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE