I ran across a new term the other day, visibly gay. It was used by a guy, quite proudly I might add, who would have been called obviously gay in the past, or maybe even ‘not straight acting.’ I only mention this because of my recent time spent on Google searching Christmas Gifts For Gay Guys. All the suggestions for holiday presents were presented by either a visibly gay guy – and played on all of the stereotypical gay traits – or by a clueless straight person – which also played on all of the stereotypical gay traits. According to both, if it is pink, has rainbows on it, or in any manner the word ‘fashion’ can be attached, it’s the perfect gift for any gay man. Kinda makes you wish you were Jewish.
Whether visibly gay or not, I never realized we were so problematic in buying holiday gifts for. The question of what to buy for a gay guy is a popular one on Google. It’s like we are some foreign species who share nothing in common with breeders. And all recommended gifts focus on the gay instead of the guy. Maybe the question should really be what to buy a visibly gay guy for Christmas. Because when you start your answer with “Never buy a gay guy a power tool,” there’s something wrong. I like power tools. I consider a hardware store to be a toy store for adults. All of my lesbian friends do too. And the visibly gay guys I know who shudder at the sight of a hammer would be perfectly fine with a gift of a power tool if it was the 25th anniversary edition of Jeff Stryker’s most popular DVD.
I’m sure the ‘what do I buy for my gay friend for Christmas’ question is well-meant. I’d like to think so. But really it comes off not unlike when you try to show how you are not a racist by mentioning your black friend. Christmas for black gay guys must really suck. As does being the gay guy whose boyfriend turns to the internet asking, “What should I buy for my gay boyfriend for Christmas?” That one is easy to answer. Get him a new boyfriend. ‘Cuz it is obvious that he needs one.
Years ago a friend of mine who is visibly lesbian (she wears a lot of flannel) got a little black and white cow set of salt and pepper shakers as a gift for some holiday or celebration. This is the danger in making friends of people who think re-gifting is a good idea. Anyway, on the next gift-giving occasion that rolled around she got two more black and white cow gifts. Too polite to store said cows where they belonged (what day is trash day again?) her house was soon filled with black and white cow paraphernalia. I’m sure all of those cows came from either straight friends or lesbians because no gay man would ever consider such kitsch as something you’d actually spend money on. Or inflict on someone you know and like. The point is, she was never fond of black and white cows. In fact she grew to hate them. So guess what happens when a well-meaning straight friend gives you something with rainbows on it?
I’m sure there are visibly gay guys out there who would love a rainbow flag, rainbow T-shirt, or a set of rainbow salt and pepper shakers. Ditto for a gift basket of condoms and lube or anything and everything with a dick on it. For the rest of us, cash is best. Not a giftcard for GayMart mind you, but the green stuff. Don’t worry that cash is not personal enough of a gift, because when you decide to go the personal route, you scare us. If nothing else we can use it to pay for the therapy sessions we’ve need thanks to gifts you’ve given us in the past. For those of you who can not resist buying something that you can wrap – though seriously, y’all have absolutely no taste when it comes to wrapping presents so do you really want to hand your amateurish attempt to a professional? – here’s a list of what not to buy a gay guy for Christmas.
Rainbows. Did I really need to repeat that yet again? Obviously yes because there is far too much rainbow merchandise on the market. And you straight people just can’t stop yourselves from buying it. Rainbows symbolize gay pride. Cool. I’m as proud about being gay as I am about all of the other facets of my life. That doesn’t mean I want to wear a T-shirt with a picture of a nine inch ruler on it either. If you just can’t shake the urge to get me a rainbow for Christmas, a round trip ticket to Hawaii is the perfect gift.
Dick. Thanks, but I already have one. And know where to get more when I need it. Pictures, cards, statues, posters, and whatevers of hot naked men are not something I need as a gift. That’s what the internet is for. And if you give me a statue of a naked man and I don’t re-gift it back to you next year, my house will soon be filled with replicas of naked men, just like my lesbian friend’s house is filled with little black and white cows. Now if you want to buy me an actual hot naked man, that’s a different story. I’ll take a Mapplethorpe original too, but know that that puppy is going up for auction come December 26th.
Couture. Not being visibly gay, I had to look the spelling up for that word. High fashion to me means going with button fly Levi’s instead of jeans with a zipper. Yes, some gay guys would love anything with an Armani label on it. The rest of us will be wearing that shirt the next time we change the oil in our car. We are not all fashion divas. Some of us don’t qualify as any sort of diva. But even us non-divas know that a tie with rainbows on it does not qualify as high fashion.
Personal Grooming Items. Sorry, but the straight guys I know spend way more time and money on personal grooming items than I do. Even if it is mistakenly spent on Axe products. Yes, most gay guys look good. But that’s natural for us. Not because we’ve devoted our medicine cabinets to every cosmeticry know to man. As for cologne, if you know the brand I use but several times a year, no problemo. Otherwise you may be picking out the favorite brand of my old boyfriend, the scent of which will instantly remind me of that tragic night when he failed to douche . . . and we really don’t want to go there again. Ever.
Drag. Believe it or not the majority of gay men have never had the urge to slip on women’s garments. And those that do already have closets full of the stuff. If you can not resist going the drag route, Google Lesbian Drag. I have no problem slipping on a Pendleton shirt when it’s cold outside.
Gay Sex Toys. First, you really have no idea what most of those things are or what you are supposed to do with them. So let’s not, okay? Yes, gay men are interested in sex. Just like straight men are. That doesn’t mean we are all waiting in breathless anticipation for Santa to bring us a new dildo. You need to quit focusing on the ‘gay’ part of me because unless I’ve done you, you really haven’t a clue what the sex part of being gay entails when it comes to me. Unless you want me to focus on the straight part of you: since the majority of pedophiles are straight I guess that means you’ll be getting a year’s membership to 5 Year Old Vixens. com from me this year.
Gay. So you haven’t discovered what a rainbow stands for yet, huh? Look, we already established I’m gay. I don’t need something with the word ‘gay’ on it to remind me, or you, of that fact. I’m not going to wear a T-shirt that says GAY on it – if it was important to me to let everyone I meet know that I am gay I’d be visibly gay to start with. I’m gay but my car isn’t so the gay license plate holder is a non-starter too. I drink Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, so a gay coffee mug is a no-go (ya know how touchy those Jamaicans are about the gay thingy). And anyone who sees my boxer shorts up close and personal will already know I’m gay so there’s no need for the small print there either.
Gay CDs / DVDs: Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m gong to appreciate a CD of a bunch of 50-year-old queens from Vermont singing Silent Night. Stevie Nicks already cut the definitive version of that song. And I’m not a fan of Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber either, nor am I positive which of the two actually has a dick. Personally, I’m a blues fan, and I don’t know of any out blues guitarists. And even if B.B. King did come out, that’s not a visual I need to have floating in my head. As for the movies, every gay man has already seen Brokeback Mountain; few of us need or want the Glee DVD boxed set; and if you go the porn route you’ll probably pick out some movie filled with twinks which will be as exciting for me to watch as it would be for you.
Fruitcake. Really? Just couldn’t bring yourself to actually buy that bottle of anal lube, huh? Well, go for it. At least you won’t have to worry about having that fruitcake re-gifted to you next year because I won’t know you by next year. Which starts in just a few days.
So what should you buy for the gay man on your Christmas list? Well thought out items he is most likely to appreciate because of his personality, tastes, hobbies or career is the way to go. Unless you are buying a gift for a very, very close friend you know that it’s neither appropriate nor necessary to take somebody’s sexual preferences into account, as it has very little relevance to what gift would be suitable. You wouldn’t normally buy sex toys, erotic films and books, or what you think is sexy underwear for your straight friends, and neither should you for your gay friends (though we’ll swap that shit between ourselves well into the New Year). Your doing so may be perceived as patronizing or labelling. Because it is. It’s better to go for gifts that don’t make specific reference to your gay friend’s sexuality in the same way as it’s better to go for gifts that don’t make a specific point of somebody’s nationality, race, or color. If you like me enough to buy me a gift, like me enough to respect who I am. Whether I’m visibly gay or not.
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