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Happy Gay Shame From the Mean Landers

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

by Bossy Boots


Ok, I know it is too much to expect SLATE to be good. Everyone knows that it is the most boring online publication of all times, even if they try to disguise that fact by running the same (boring) stories a trillion times with a bunch of DIFFERENT semi-intriguing headlines to try to trick you into clicking on something you already fell asleep while reading (twice). But it’s one thing to be dull and another thing to be vile and bigoted. In honor of Gay Shame Month, I would like to direct your attention to this column by the loathsome dilettante known as DEAR PRUDENCE (aka Margo Howard), in which she advises a lesbian inquiring about proper protocol for girl-on-girl handholding/cheek kissing:

If you know someone who might be discomfited by seeing two girls display physicality, skip it. As the erudite Roger Rosenblatt has written, "If you find yourself making accommodations, that does not make you a hotel." In this case, it just makes you thoughtful.
--Prudie, Prudently

O man. What a phony, hateful bitch! To think this is the daughter of Ann Landers and the niece of Dear Abby. Thanks for ruining the family legacy, asshole! Anyway, I wrote her a crank letter and what she wrote me back made me vow to stop reading her column for life. Of course, now I'm even more obsessed with reading it, because I love to torment myself, but whatever. Here is what she wrote to me.

I am going to copy you a letter I just sent out. I think it speaks to your points. I hope you will consider it.
and I hope I am not making a mistake by using my personal e-mail. I would not welcome further argument about this.
MH
_________________________________

I am going to answer you personally because I got much disagreement on this answer - and your letter was one without insults or profanity. I mean, some of the letters could give gay guys a bad name ... [uh oh... I think she's talking about me!]
as to the points you raise: perhaps one part of the misunderstanding was that I had originally written "tough neighborhoods" instead of
"homophobic environment" which my editor substituted. so let's go with my original language. the onus would be on the gay couple because there is no way to put it on the homophobes! especially in tough neighborhood, two guys holding hands would be like poking a snake. it may be lower class macho thinking, but it is real, nonetheless. let us be realistic. not everyone thinks homosexual relationships are fine. this recent political juddgernaut [ed note: she puns too! Clever!] is quite explicit about this. when you ask why should a gay couple care about people being discomfited by same-sex physicality, here's one example. I was a flower girl (honest. and surely the oldest in matrimonial history) for two close, gay, male friends. I thought they wisely did not kiss at the alter [sic] because one of the groom's 83-year-old father was present. their consideration for the old gent's feelings I thought admirable. THEY knew that such an in-your-face gesture would have been a beat too much. I talked with the father later (whom I'd met previously) and said, "I know this must be kind of difficult for you," and he said, "Well, of course, but what am I going to do? Disown him?" and I can tell you that this old gent has been very loving and welcoming to his son's boyfriend for years -- but you must acknowledge that, even for people of goodwill, it can feel odd.
my credentials with the gay community are pretty good and I have received kudos for being supportive. I have always been for acceptance and integration. I think there will come a time when there is nothing second-class -- or unusual -- about same sex couplings; we're just not there yet, and I think it behooves you trailblazers to have people think of you as thoughtful and considerate to aid the change in thinking.
as for interracial couples -- in certain settings -- they would, indeed, be smart to not flaunt the romance. I guess what I'm saying is that to look for trouble is not smart, and neither is it helpful to "the cause." that is not the way to break down the barriers.
and your tone was not unpleasant, at all. (see above re most of the letters ...) [ed note: me again]
I hope my position is a little clearer, and you are a little less disappointed in me.
best,
MH

Because kissing at your own wedding is such a political “in-your-face” ACT-UP type gesture. Ugh. I could say a lot about this-- my original email to Prudie was long and crazy and I’ve since come up with about ten more reasons why her advice makes me want to kill myself-- but in the end I think her sanctimonious bigotry speaks for itself. I bet that as she was creaking/skipping down the aisle scattering those beautiful rose petals, the only word going through her mind was: SODOMY. SODOMY. SODOMY. I wonder if she wore a ribbon in her hair.

Anyway, it’s not like anyone takes anything on Slate seriously, but still. Advice columnists, especially ones pretending to be open-minded and “Prudent” have a lot of power. And as we learned from SPIDER-MAN, with great power comes great … something. I forget what, but the point is that I'm sure a few people will actually listen to this douchebag and get the impression that her advice is tolerant, wise, and sensible. Puke, puke, puke.

I’m glad I wasn’t at that gay wedding. Could the GROOMS’ names have been CHAD and BRAD, by any chance?