I have known many homosexual men in my time. Why do many of them act sortof effeminite? They don’t act like women, because women don’t exactly act that way (I’m talking richardsimmonslike). Is it learned? Any scholars out there?
I’m hardly a scholar on the subject, but I always felt that much of that (perhaps not all) is socially learned. I’ve looked on this as being similar to the way that surfer dudes and valley girls pick up speech patterns and mannerisms socially.
My dad’s case seems to support the idea. He stayed in the closet, rather isolated from the gay community until he was in his 40’s. No one would have guessed he was gay before then. Now, sometimes it does cross people’s minds.
One of my best friends is a flamer. I asked him why one day as we were putting on makeup in the ladies room, and he said simply, “Because it’s fun.”
Well, I have to agree with that. Some of the most hilarious stuff I’ve heard has been delivered by flamers (who were trying to be funny, I must say). The flaming manner of speech just seems to be closely associated with a person who is having fun and lacks malice towards others.
However, I have to wonder if that’s for the best. I mean, if you just laugh at a person all the time instead of taking them seriously, that could be bad… who knows?..
As a point of clarification, lest anyone be confused, there are enormous distinctions to be drawn, between homosexuals, transvestites and transsexuals. Although there is overlap, belonging to one category does not imply membership in either of the others. In fact, an enormous proportion of transvestites are heterosexual married men. Lissa, I take it your friend was a homosexual transvestite?
Not during the day, but at night . . . He played Frank, and I played Janet at the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Except for the Courtney Love-esque bleached-blond-with-black-roots hair, he was a perfectly normal guy as far as appearances go. No one would have guessed that at night he wore a red satin teddy with ripped fishnet stockings.
>>As a point of clarification, lest anyone be confused, there are enormous distinctions to be drawn, between homosexuals, transvestites and transsexuals.<<
There’s also a big difference between transvestites and drag queens, the former being, as you said, usually heterosexual, while the latter are pretty much all gay.
A drag queen of my acquaintance once joked that transvestites wear teddies under their business suits, while drag queens wear jockey shorts under their sequined ball gowns.
Oversimplified, but he makes a point.
Lissa’s friend was probably a drag queen. On the other hand, maybe he was just into gender-bending.
If my mother had been in charge of the War on Drugs, it would be "Just say 'No thank you.'"
Just because he was wearing makeup doesn’t mean he was wearing women’s clothing as well. I wear makeup once in a while. Why? It makes me look better. (Just a tiny smidge of foundation to hide the zits, and maybe a bit of eyebrow pencil to bring out my eyes. But only on special occasions, and only when my friends Nicole or Mark are available to put it on for me…)
Incidentally, I would tend to agree with Lissa: we flame because it’s fun. There’s also the fact that, being gay, we can “get away” with flaming. A lot of straight guys are afraid of flaming because they don’t want to look gay; obviously we don’t have this problem.
Correspondingly, most closeted people do not flame, although there are some exceptions. (“Me, gay? I don’t think tho, girlfriend…”)
It’s also a way for me to be funny and expressive. It makes me feel free and self-controlled.
Also, Richard Simmons is not flaming. He doesn’t flame; he just screams. There’s a difference.
What exactly is a flamer? I’m in Britain and I’ve never heard this expression.
I do believe that campness is socially learnt, though. One of my friends came out a few months ago and he’s turned into an incredibly effeminate man in that short space of time.
He finds it easily enough to revert back to his original character when his parents are around, though.
No, but if they were in the same restroom, it makes it a little more likely, don’t you think?
I suppose you could say that a “flamer” is a gay man who acts in a flamboyant, exaggerated effeminate manner.
That’s the best def I can come up with.
My Gay Pal, Chapter 3
In the restroom, together: he was in costume: a satin teddy, fishnet stockings, heels and pearls. But in no way could the other occupants of the ladies room have been fooled into thinking he was a girl. He looked like a short, rouged Harrison Ford dressed in torn lingerie.
During the day, he wore polo shirts and kakhis. Nothing unusual.
I really admired him because he was completely comfortable with who he was, and he was secure enough to have fun with it and be “queer.” (his words, not mine.) A really happy guy. He was a lot of fun to be around.
Slightly off topic, but I had to share:
I was walking down the street the other day when I saw a guy in front of me who was “obviously” gay. He saw a guy he apparently knew; they hugged and started conversing in sign language.
What amazed me so was that, without saying a word, he still had a flamer’s lisp; even with nothing but hand gestures, his “gay accent” came through loud and clear. I can’t quite put my finger on it now, but it was something in the flamboyancy of his arm gestures and the limpness in his wrists.
More on topic to the OP, I think the flamer’s way of talking is a completely learned behavior, in much the same way that UndeadDude suggests. I can twice remember being amazed when I found someone I knew was gay. Absolutely nothing in their dress, speech, or demeanor suggested it – they obviously wanted to hide it.
So I don’t think there’s anything inherent in homosexuality that makes one talk or act (aside from sexual acts, of course) in a certain way.
Oh, and Biggles, your British idiom got me! I can guess by context, but what exactly is “campness”?
~ Complacency is far more dangerous than outrage ~
Lissa, my mistake in assuming–I guess the “Rocky Horror” context is important. I was assuming based on the experience of people I personally know, that if they are in the ladies room, they are probably dressed like ladies.
Stark, I think we can safely assume that ‘flaming’ and ‘campness’ are one and the same.
Was it Oscar Wilde who said that we are two nations separated by a common language? I think that there’s something in that, I haven’t got a clue what you people are saying sometimes
>>I was walking down the street the other day when I saw a guy in front of me who was “obviously” gay. He saw a guy he apparently
knew; they hugged and started conversing in sign language.
What amazed me so was that, without saying a word, he still had a flamer's lisp; even with nothing but hand gestures, his "gay accent" came through loud and clear. I can't quite put my finger on it now, but it was something in the flamboyancy of his arm gestures and the limpness in his wrists.<<
Yes, gay people can flame. Surprise, surprise. There’s a gay student union at Gallaudet University. Lambda, lambda, lambda.
>> Oh, and Biggles, your British idiom got me! I can guess by context, but what exactly is “campness”?<<
In this context, “camp” is an American expression. Susan Sontag coined it.
Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny
I’d like to say that “Some of my best friends are Hetero’s.” I can’t though. It’s not true. I do like some of those people, but for the most part I find them boring.
Well I am a very open minded kind of guy and I have never held it against someone because they are straight (hetrosexuals)
I think everyone should be allowed to be themselves.