Dainty: (adj) of delicate beauty; exquisite:
I have been alive for all four stages of gay America.
Phase One: We hate gays.
Phase Two: Maybe we don’t hate them, but we don’t want to be one.
Phase Three: We accept gays, reluctantly.
Phase Four: How much gay might be in me?
If “gay America” was an advertising campaign, it was probably the most successful one there’s ever been, along with convincing housewives that Brawny paper towels are better because there’s a muscular man pictured on the wrapper.
It does create a quandary.
Without being homophobic, it crosses my mind that if I’m at a movie with another guy, the assumption of the auditorium may be that we’re a gay couple.
This is why heterosexual men are now traveling around in odd numbers: three, five and seven, for instance. It’s the only way to appear to be a gang instead of a gaggle.
But the worst part of it is that as a musician, an author and even occasionally a poet, I do want to coax my dainty side from the shadows and allow my words to color a picture with softer hues than black, gray and brown.
I want to be tender.
I want to be softer.
I want to be gentler in the areas where my heart comes near the soul of another human being.
I am weary of braggadocio.
I am completely exhausted by macho wrangling.
I want to be the person I need to be, to make sure that I leave a lingering message of openness and kindness.
Can I do this without being tagged with some new Internet term—like “metrosexual?”
Is it possible for a man to be dainty without being gay?
Is there a door to more expression instead of inserting coarse language to assure the hearer that there’s “muscle behind the message?”
I’m not gay.
I’m not afraid of being gay.
I’m not intimidated by gay people.
But I am dainty.
And I don’t want to apologize for it just so my silly mind and confused history of prejudice will drag me into ordering a second beer—just so I don’t look effeminate.