Summer school started today and while I aimlessly wait for textbooks to arrive in the mail and for my professors to get the course websites up and running, I decided to browse Facebook and see what’s going on in the world–or at least in the lives of twenty friends Facebook selected at random, which for today, can be my entire world.
I came across this Buzzfeed article called “30 Questions for Straight Guys” and thought it’d be a fun read. Except when I opened it, I quickly realized directing these questions only to straight guys ignores the fact that gay guys are, in fact, still guys.
To set restless minds at ease, here are 15 answers to 30 questions for straight guys.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a straight guy and cannot speak for straight males, nor for all guys in general. The questions I’ve left unanswered are, in my opinion, ones to which I cannot answer based upon my limited experiences as a white gay male in the United States.
1. Why do straight guys wear jeans with flip flops?
Jeans are comfortable. Flip flops are comfortable and require neither dirtying an extra pair of socks nor tying shoelaces. Any more questions?
9. Why do straight guys take such awkward selfies?
Selfies are hard. And if they’re not, you’ve taken too many.
13. Why do straight guys wear board shorts to the gym? Especially when it isn’t even summer?
Because we get hot working out. Breathable = better.
15. Why do straight guys wear underwear under their swimtrunks?
There was a time when “underwear” was built into swimtrunks. Now that this isn’t always true, extra support is sometimes needed. Additionally, the assonance of “wear underwear under” is quite pleasing. You should say it aloud a few times just for the fun of it.
16. Why do straight guys have to clarify their sexuality before complimenting another dude?
Our culture expects male dominance over everything not classically masculine; therefore, complimenting another man may imply that one is gay, undermining these cultural norms. The act of reaffirming one’s sexuality is a sad result of latent homophobia inborn in most males due to belonging to a radically heterosexist society. However, that some males may step far enough past the norm to compliment other males is, I feel, a step in the right direction, even if they must clarify their sexuality to feel brave enough to do it.
18. Why do straight guys always talk about how much alcohol they consume?
Why does anybody do this? Alcohol can be pleasurable when enjoyed safely in moderation, but that doesn’t mean we need glorify it and not only set a poor example to those who look up to us but also put our jobs, our health, and our future at risk.
19. Why do straight guys hate high-waisted anything on girls? Used to be the jam back in the day, ya know…
Media and corporations have oversexualized the human body, especially female but male as well, in an effort to sell more products for their own capitalistic gains–that is to be read, for their own limitless greed.
20. Why do straight guys have butts? They don’t even use them properly.
Straight guys are humans. Humans have butts. Therefore straight guys have butts. It’s a shame there’s no instruction manual demonstrating how to properly use one’s buttocks.
22. Why do straight guys like to hit each others’ balls?
See 16. Inflicting pain on other males is culturally encouraged as an act of dominance, reasserting one’s power over others and affirming one’s place in the world.
23. Why don’t straight guys ever have white iPhones?
See 16. Males are encouraged to like black. It’s more “masculine” than white.
24. Why do straight guys say “no homo”? Like our species is called homo sapiens. We are literally all homo.
See 16. Cross-reference: Lack of adequate science education.
Additionally, there’s a subtle nuance of language that can quickly clarify this confusion: The prefix “homo” (rhyming with “go” in the first syllable) is from the Latin, meaning “man,” so “homo sapien” literally means “thinking man.” The prefix “homo” (rhyming with “nom-oh”) is from the Greek, meaning “the same”; for example, “homogeneous” means “the same throughout” and “homophone” means “with the same sound.” Therefore, if we assume a Latin origin, “homosexual” means “one who has sex with humans,” and we’re thereby all homosexuals–gay or straight. This misplaced etymology is only part of the reason why “gay” and “lesbian” have become preferred over “homosexual”; the greater part is that “homosexual” carries with it many negative connotations hailing back to the days when homosexuality was considered a mental illness.
25. Why do straight guys post pictures of them holding fish?
See 16. Dominion over nature = expression of masculinity.
27. Why do straight guys make this face in photos?
See 9, 16. Males expressing a broad array of emotions is culturally discouraged.
28. Why do straight guys, on the whole, even when they are in shape… wear such badly cut pants?
The fashion industry has spent so long catering only to women, after making them all feel like shit with their unrealistic advertizing campaigns, that they have completely forgotten that men like to dress comfortably and fashionably as well. You can walk into any clothing store and if there’s even a men’s section, it’s probably a tenth the size of the women’s section. Guys just don’t have that many options when it comes to clothing these days.
30. Why do straight boys slap each others’ asses and then make fun of other guys for being gay?
So, as we can see, many of the strange phenomena of male behavior, especially straight male behavior, have a single root in the misshapen and flawed perceptions of masculinity and maleness in the United States (a plague that, in many ways, stretches far across the globe). To liberate our society from these conundrums we must first recognize the negative impacts that outdated gender stereotypes and sex roles have not only on women and those who identify as GLBT, but also on the straight men who are held back by these norms and are prevented from living their lives to the utmost fullest–expressing themselves openly with their friends and families but also being able to dress comfortably without being confined to limited options that stifle creativity and personal freedom.
Heterosexism, homophobia, and our society’s incessant clinging to the ideal of male dominance doesn’t just hurt women and minorities–it hurts everyone.