by Leslie Robinson -
SGN Contributing Writer
'I'm doing your research for you.'
Anne was all smiles, but her words had made me all nervous. Someone choosing a topic for me to write about is often as welcome as someone choosing my clothes for the day. I could wind up in paisley.
My partner's enthusiasm was undeniable. Each time she finished a section of the Sunday New York Times she uttered something between an exclamation and a squeak. We were on vacation in Florida, so for the first time in ages she'd been able to read the whole paper.
'There is something Gay in every section,' she announced. 'A plethora of poofters in the paper!'
That did it. I was hooked. Paisley, here I come.
Anne pointed to the lead story in "Arts & Leisure" about Ellen DeGeneres holding her own as the newest judge on American Idol. Ellen's efforts on the nation's most popular program, according to the story, show "how determined she is to be openly but unthreateningly Gay."
In the same section, Anne spotted something threateningly Gay. The headline for a round-up of new albums read "Country Grief, Soulful Gospel and Gay Lust." The latter referred to the group Hunx and His Punx and its man-obsessed lyrics. This is not your father's New York Times - it's not even your older brother's New York Times.
"Sunday Styles" led with a piece on Alexander McQueen, the Gay British designer who recently took his own life. The section also examined Ricky Martin's coming out on his website rather than in a magazine like People. On the local gala page, a third of the photos came from the Imperial Court of New York's benefit drag ball. And in the wedding pages, a couple of fellas got hitched.
The only thing that would've made the section Gayer was rainbow-colored ink.
Okay, I said to Anne, but that's all the arty, style-y stuff. You expect to find us there. Anne, giddy with Gayness, declared there was more ahead.
She highlighted the "Week in Review" story about President Obama building on the legacy of President Clinton. DADT figured prominently. She pointed to the front page of the paper and the news that a sequel to "The Official Preppy Handbook" is forthcoming, this time with an essay by Edmund White on Gay prepsters.
Your evidence is getting thinner, I warned. She heaved a sigh, muttered something rude about my ceaseless need for proof, and waved The New York Times Magazine in my face.
On the cover sat two bunnies and the words "They Gay?" I now owe Anne dinner.
The cover story with the marvelous title "The Love that Dare Not Squawk its Name" tackled how scientifically and socially complicated same-sex animal couplings are.
Anne hadn't read the rest of the paper. "Shall we see if we show up in the book review?" she asked very rhetorically. She spotted a novel about a Bisexual young woman, and on the next page a history of disco, which, the reviewer said, traces "how disco helped groom and commercialize a formidable new Gay identity."
Now Anne was possessed. She even combed the "Sunday Business" section. Her eureka moment came when she saw that an essay on sabbaticals had been written by a professor working on a book about Oscar Wilde. "Close enough," she pronounced.
She looked through the sports but couldn't find anything Gay. "You're in here! We just don't know it yet!"
I pried what little of the paper remained from her hands. After she calmed down, Anne said, "I don't know if this is just our week, or we've actually become mainstream."
We won't know till our next vacation, when, if The Times has a repeat performance, so will she.
Leslie Robinson lives in Seattle. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and read more columns at www.generalgayety.com.
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