Home » Rants, Zack's Ramblings
27 April 2010, 4:00 pm 31 Comments

Zack's Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous.

This post was submitted by Zack Rosen

It’s the year 2010. Most people know that not all Jews are moneylenders and women have careers outside the house. None of my Middle Eastern friends are terrorists and my Irish loved ones tend to get offended when I serve them potato-only dinners. While the pop band Cornershop named themselves after an offensive caricature of Indians in England (think Apu) it is safe to say that was done with self-awareness, and that their music subverts the limitations of the stereotype. I consider this all to be progress. Why, then, in the year 2010, has no one sought a widespread severing of that infernal, eternal link between gay men and the word “Fabulous?”

This has most recently been on my mind because of a new gay social networking site called Fabulis. Because it annoys me and I don’t want to join, I haven’t made much of an effort to learn about it. It seems to some kind of glorified popularity ranking service, which makes the part of me that wants gay life not to be like high school a little sad. But what is sadder is there seems to be no irony in its choice of name. Like The White Party and present-day Madonna, being fabulous seems like one of those things that was voted an essential part of gay life long before I was born and is now taken as a self-evident truth.

The concept of fabulous pervades almost every corner of mainstream gay life. A simple google search of “gay fabulous” turns up a reality show called “My Fabulous Gay Wedding,” a “Gay and Fabulous” line of grooming products, a book on “50 Fabulous Gay Places to Live” and the decal you see above, which can be bought on t-shirts. Many party promoters still use the F word as a shorthand for extravagance and polish, letting you know that the clothes will be bright and the champagne flowing and the atmosphere will be over the top in the classiest way possible.

My boyfriend likes to joke that the word itself has turned into the homo equivalent of Shalom or Aloha, a cover-all moniker that can mean anything based on context or intonation. “Your outfit looks fabulous.” “I got fabulously drunk last night.” “I just cleaned a fabulous turd out of the litter box. It was fabulously encrusted with fabulous pieces of litter.” The only conclusion I can draw from this is that the word is something gay men say because its something they think they need to be.  I believe that fabulous, the word, has sprung whole from the platonic ideal of a lifestyle

That lifestyle is ingrained in the earliest imaginings of the American homosexual. Think of the oft-told, less-oft-lived American Coming Out Myth. Predicated largely on the Wizard of Oz, it envisions a lonely boy in middle America who loves show tunes, avoids football at all costs and whittles away the first lonely 18 years of his life until he can move to Manhattan and revel in a newly resplendent existence. The dye which turns that little film from sepia to technicolor is fabulosity. It’s a feather in your cap, a hundred in your wallet, some powder in your nose and some dicks in your ass that separate the life less hetero from the humdrum existence of all those other unenlightened souls that aren’t living their lives to 11 at every moment of every day.

And unlike the stereotypes I named in the first article, I believe that the cult of fabulosity is maintained more from within the gay community than outside of it. We are told from our elders, and our social leaders, and the people who market to us that fabulous is what we should strive to be, and as a result those on the outside think its all we are. Fabulous is so limiting. It’s the reason so many people are caught up in not being “That kind of gay.” It’s the surprise and disappointment in a straight girl’s eye when she realizes I have no desire to talk to her about shoes. It’s why you get dismissed with a “look at you, girl” when you try to talk about books at a gay bar.

I know so few gay men that are actively fabulous, and the ones who are tend to be so caught up in it that they stop being people. While it might take a while for the straight world to stop seeing us as male versions of the Sex and The City Crew, it’d be a great start if we could put an end to this from the inside.


First time here? See what we're all about... Get involved... Send us a tip!...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

31 Comments »

  • Topher said:

    Girrl, let’s flip your frown upside down, hop into a time machine, and give 8 year old you a Sondheim compilation CD. Done-zo!

  • StreetPunk said:

    It’s better than being judgemental and frumpy, aka this column.

  • Jamez said:

    Well said, good sir. I had my doubts after the Robyn review, but you won me back completely with this one.

  • Jeremy Gloff said:

    Fuck fabulous. What a horrible box to get trapped in. Most by their own doing.

    And fuck people who discard any challenge of the norm as acting “judgemental”.

    The whole “anything goes, don’t pass judgement” mindset of America right now is lazy and counterproductive. In other words “don’t think, just accept!!!”

    Well I’m not accepting “fabulous”. My brain is too big.

    High fives Zack.

  • Sonari said:

    But Zack, I was the lonely boy in middle America (in my case black Chicago) who loved show tunes(and Judy Garland), avoided football at all costs and whittled away the first lonely 18 years of my life until I could move to Boston and revel in a newly resplendent existence.

    I guess I’ll never fit in anywhere.

  • David said:

    As much as I am for “to each their own”… I agree with Zack here. “Fabulous” can stay with those who enjoy it, but I never want to use it or be associated with it just because I am gay. It goes hand in hand with my old boss thinking I would really enjoy a youtube clip of The Devil Wears Prada or that I should have known that a group of gay dudes at a party were actually talking about Shiloh Jolie-Pitt instead of a musical artist named Shiloh here in Canada. I don’t give a shit about a 2 year-old celebrity love child, nor do I think she’s fabulous. This word perpetuates that type of stereotype which, yes, some may fall in to, but I will not be striving for.

  • Jessica said:

    Born gay, choose to be an asshole. What’s wrong to each their own? You’re like the gay, hipster Taliban with these posts.

  • Blago said:

    I don’t have any statistics to point at, but anecdotally I think it’s pretty clear that gays, from a very young age, tend to be more likely to be “gay acting.” This suggests that the bond between being gay and “gay acting” is tighter than you suppose.

    Why do so many people who end up as gay adults “act gay” as children? Maybe straights assume that guys who like guys are supposed to be more feminine, and people who sense themselves as nascent gays somehow pick up on this and run with it. Maybe our sense of ourselves as different makes us feel compelled to construct a sort of life to match that sense of difference.

    In any event, because of this tendency for gay people to be gay acting, maybe it shouldn’t just be rejected outright. Keep in mind that I’m saying this as someone who really doesn’t fit into “gay culture.” But it’s not going away, so somehow you have to make peace with it.

  • Matt said:

    I think in your own column you explain why fabulous is an important concept. I agree that fabulous is way overdone, but I don’t want to banish it from gay existence.

    Fabulous is what’s on the other side of the closet. Like you put it, it is the technicolor dye. Fabulous is a good thing. And to those little boys that are picked on, called faggot, and beat up, it is important for them to see a positive thing on the other side of that closet door.

    Fabulous captures a liberation, a freedom, a chance to be one’s true self. When you are out, it is easy to forget what the closet means. The closet is isolating. It makes you feel different… and not in a good way. I think most of us remember how difficult it was to come out. I think many of us would have loved the reassurance of being told when we came out that “You are fabulous and you are beautiful just the way are.”

  • MF said:

    I am out and proud and have no interest in ever being identified as fabulous. Being gay and coming out is hard, recognizing you are different is hard, and then you have to realize that everyone is different, and that your difference really doesn’t change what you have to offer the world. I personally find strength in facing life, making the best of whatever situation I am in. I have realized that people really don’t judge me as much as I think they will, especially if I demonstrate that I am capable, intelligent, kind, and caring.

    We can cope and commiserate together and perpetuate our pain, suffering, and isolation, or we can show the world we have something to offer that is actually worthwhile and that we aren’t a bunch of complaining, drug taking, partying, sex addicts who aren’t capable of being responsible enough to get married or adopt a child.

    Sorry if that was harsh.

  • Arthur said:

    Zack’s right. Fabulous is some idea that older gays have forced on this generation, because in a way, being “fabulous” back in the day was the only way one could be gay to survive (I’m thinking Elton or Liberace) and not get the crapped kicked out of you. I’m proud to say that I have never once in my life seen a “Sex & the City” episode and I certainly don’t plan on seeing either of the movies. “Fabulous” has become a trapping cliche in the gay community and it’s about damn time we as a community started to realize that being ‘gay’ and ‘fabulous’ are two distinct things.

  • StreetPunk said:

    What’s the fag version of heteronormative? This is what this column is. Its every “No Blacks, No Fats, No Fems” on Adam4Adam. Its every gay Republican. Its every fag-bashing frat boy (who is secretely gay). Its every gay who somehow feels ashamed for being associated with “those gays.”

    I don’t think I’m fabulous, but I don’t think I’m a big enough prick to tell others how to live.

  • Levi said:

    He’s not telling people how to live or that being fabulous is bad, just that taking it so far that you become a stereotype is. Or when that stereotype becomes the expect norm for an entire group of people.

    A person can be as fabulous as possible, just as long as they don’t cease to be a three dimensional human being or act as though that is how all gay people are suppose to be.

  • StreetPunk said:

    @Levi – So you’re assuming that people who aren’t up to your taste aren’t three dimensional people? Thank god for the fabulous fags.

  • NickP said:

    B-

    The truly advanced hipster takes and uses the stereotypes of his own tribe to construct a complex latticework of irony. DUhhhhhhhhhhh

  • Levi said:

    StreetPunk,
    You’re just nitpicking and twisting words in order to try to start a fight.

  • Sam said:

    First, Why are you so paranoid? Its not your banner, don’t get under it.

    Second, Why are you eager to capture everyone under the banner of ‘New Gay?’ Its the same gesture.

    Third, You miss the point entirely. Its the “Born gay” part which is limiting, and you should know that. The decisions I make about who I want to sleep with are, like everything else, part proclivity, part accident, part cultivation. The LGBT/Queer movement can do a lot for the world by honoring the decisions we can all make as free thinking human beings. But you pick the wrong battle.

  • Rohan said:

    you know i don’t try to be fabulous – i’m just trying to fabolous.

  • The New Gay » Commentary: Gays, Find a New Word For Good said:

    [...] wrote last year about “fabulous” as mindset. Not necessarily a personal mindset, but more of an expectation that others — often straight [...]

  • Storres said:

    God Zack, you are infuriating. Just live your not-so-typical gay (typical straight) lifestyle and shut up. Why anyone in the first place would try to characterize “stereotypes” is beyond me. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    Yes, there are people who tend to choose certain characteristics for their life that may provoke a sense of “fabulosity” but, that doesn’t automatically disqualify them from being straight or deep. In this day of age, there are so many variations of people that if you think that other heterosexual Americans only perceive homosexuals as fabulous walking dolls then you are more dense than I already presume. If there are any general assumptions that the American people have about gay people, the most relevant would be child molester or worse destroyer of domestic life as we know it. We should be making the effort to gain our civil rights instead of exhibiting a sense of arrogancy to our fellow gays like you have so greatly done.

    In addition, your so called ‘ New Gay ‘ is nothing new! I’m glad you’ve finally come around…

  • furniture said:

    furniture…

    The New Gay » Zack’s Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous….

  • themoneygenie.net said:

    themoneygenie.net…

    The New Gay » Zack’s Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous….

  • indiaolx.in said:

    indiaolx.in…

    The New Gay » Zack’s Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous….

  • seosites4u.com said:

    seosites4u.com…

    The New Gay » Zack’s Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous….

  • More Tips said:

    More Tips…

    The New Gay » Zack’s Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous….

  • tiffany engagement rings prices hong kong said:

    tiffany engagement rings prices hong kong…

    The New Gay » Zack’s Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous….

  • news-latest.info said:

    news-latest.info…

    The New Gay » Zack’s Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous….

  • rimweb.net said:

    rimweb.net…

    The New Gay » Zack’s Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous….

  • sinnyissilly.com said:

    sinnyissilly.com…

    The New Gay » Zack’s Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous….

  • personalized kids clothes labels said:

    personalized kids clothes labels…

    The New Gay » Zack’s Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous….

  • diamond rings princess cut 2 carat said:

    diamond rings princess cut 2 carat…

    The New Gay » Zack’s Ramblings: I’m Not Fucking Fabulous….

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.