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Gay Talk 101


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Should someone ask this question of a heterosexual, the straight person would probably think hes being invited to share a bunk bed or split a pair of pajamas. If you're gay, however, the question is considerably more provocative.

In the gay world, "top"and "bottom" refer to the role you play between the sheets. One could suggest, though not without controversy, that a top occupies the traditional male role of the penetrator while the bottom takes the traditional female role by being penetrated. It doesn't require much imagination to determine exactly what that means or the anatomical parts involved, but you may need imagination to untangle the web that many homosexuals weave with the

English language.

Just as blacks have their own unique language, a sort of code that confuses, and may be intended to confuse, the white population, gays have their own lexicon. According to 365gay.com, Bill Leap, the Chair of the Anthropology Department at American University, calls it "Lavender Language" and it was the topic of discussion at a recent gathering of linguists in Washington D.C.

The trouble is Lavender Language may be as mysterious for some queers as jive is to whites. It can confuse and even intimidate gays who are just emerging from the closet (a gay term itself but one widely understood by the general population), and those who are not socially active. You may even avoid social contact with other gays for fear of being exposed to a foreign tongue in ways you did not anticipate. Having recently explored the question of what to call your gay boyfriend, I'll now offer a brief primer on gay talk:

Well-hung: I first heard this phrase in David Bowie's song "Ziggy Stardust." I had no idea what it meant at the time, but its meaning is now commonly known. It refers to a man's gift bag. (Am I the first queen to swipe that darling phrase from the recent Oscar bash? I doubt it). If a man has been blessed with a large endowment, he is well-hung. Being well-hung doesn't necessarily make a man a top, but many bottoms like a top that is.

Fag: Everyone, gay and straight alike, knows this word and exactly what it means. Like queer and fairy, it's slang for homosexual. It's usually meant as a putdown. For many straight men, nothing is more insulting than to be called a fag or a faggot. But like queer, and to a lesser extent, fairy, it has been reclaimed by homosexuals who often use it when

referring to themselves. But for many it remains the gay equivalent of the N word. The N word rolls effortlessly from the tongues of black youths these days, but it not only remains off-limits to whites, many older blacks cringe when they hear it and condemn those who use it. Fag has a similar status. You're well-advised to use it with caution.

Friend of Dorothy: One of the more unusual terms in the gay lexicon, the Dorothy in question is the heroine played by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, a movie much beloved by people of all ages and sexual orientations, but especially popular with gay men, some of whom identify with and idolize its fallen idol (and have since turned her daughter, Liza Minnelli, into a gay icon). Oz itself, with its munchkins and good witch Glinda, has a fairly obvious appeal: it's a pansy's paradise where alternative sexuality thrives. A Friend of Dorothy is more likely to be fem than butch, and if the phrase escapes from the latter's mouth, it might be meant as a putdown.

Breeders: A term meant to belittle heterosexuals, primarily the heterosexuals who belittle us. A breeder, of course, is someone whose sexual relations have the potential to bring forth children, one of the sexual risks from which queers are thankfully immune.

Size Queen: A gay man who seeks well-endowed sexual partners. A size queen likes 'em big though the size that constitutes "big" is subject to endless and delightful debate.

Fag Hag: Women who are attracted to gay men. A fag hag generally enjoys the platonic company of homosexuals. It's a way to be with a man without being manhandled. The fag often serves as the woman's confidant and all-around galpal. Sex is rarely involved, and a fag hag may or may not have a heterosexual boyfriend to handle the relationship responsibilities (sex) that a gay guy, for obvious reasons, is either unwilling or unable to perform.

This list is only rimming, I mean skimming, the surface ("rimming,"by the way, involves literally kissing a**). More can be found at Rebecca's Dictionary of Queer Slang and Culture at www.Geocities.com/WestHollywood/Stonewall/4219/ and elsewhere on the web. For those interested in more advanced studies, consult Bill Leap's Word's Out,

which the author calls a "gay men's English book."

From the archives of date.info - the webzine of date.com

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