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June 04, 2006

An Irregular Guy

Commentor Greg wonders if I'm not just spending a little too much time thinking about teh gay, in a comment I will excerpt below:

We all know how progressive you are--but how much of a regular guy are you? I work with a lot of educated, heterosexual males (many of whom voted for Kerry), and we spend a lot more time talking about Victoria Secrets models than we do about the gay movement. When was the last time you made a post about Victoria Secrets models?

Well, in fact, I've never done a post about Victoria's Secrets models. This may be because I tend to skip right past the Victoria's Secret catalogues and go straight to the porn. Mmmm.... sweet, sweet porn.

I suspect Greg is being more than slightly tongue-in-cheek here, but on the other hand this is worth approaching semi-seriously. So here we go.

There are a couple of things to note here. The first is to remind everyone that the Whatever is not an accurate portrayal of what's going on in my mind or life all the time; it's merely a portrayal of what I find interesting to write about in this particular space. In my moment-to-moment life, I don't really spend all that much time thinking about same-sex marriage or George Bush or "intelligent design" or any of the other bugaboos that populate the entries here. Most of my thoughts on a moment-to-moment basis are given over to largely inconsequential things, or at the very least things that are not interesting to write about. I don't burden you with them, and I think you'd thank me for that.

Second, to be honest, my masculinity really isn't all that exciting. Without delving too deeply into areas the vast majority of you don't want to know about (and which, frankly, I don't want to share), my masculinity expresses itself in pretty bland ways, and I'm comfortable enough with it that I don't feel that much need to talk about it. I mean, would I happily be the meat in a Rosario Dawson-Emma Thompson sandwich? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Do I want to go on about it here? Not especially. Do I get nearly insensate glee out of killing things in first person shooter games? Well, who wouldn't? But I don't get a kick out of recounting my virtual gib-fests. Do I grunt joyously at the exploits of my beloved sports teams? Well, actually, no, I don't. Sports largely bores the holy living crap out of me. But if I did, I probably wouldn't go on and on about it here.

Now, what's entirely possible is that I'm not a regular guy, by whatever standards regular guys are judged. But, eh. I like me just fine. Also, not being a "regular guy" got me this:

And clearly, I can't complain about that. And yes, I do in fact mean it when I say that not being a regular guy got me my wife, because a regular guy wouldn't have been making an idjit of himself on the dance floor like I was that day 13 years ago when my wife saw me dancing and decided to make my acquaintance because of it. Because regular guys don't dance (without a four beer minimum, that is), and they certainly don't dance like I was dancing, with my arms all up above the Heterosexual Line (i.e., above my shoulders) like they were. Two years of actual dance classes, guys. It works (also, I'd note that I took the dance classes because then I got to spend time with girls in skin-tight leotards, as opposed to wrestling with other sweaty boys in a gym class. Because, well, duh.)

However, I would like to note that even if I'm not exactly a regular guy, some aspects of regular guy-ness are not entirely absent in my mental makeup. As evidence of this, I submit to you photographic evidence of my intimate relationship with that most regular of regular-guy regularity: Slobbery. To wit, the atrocity that is my personal office:

Words cannot express the utter shame I feel that my workspace has devolved this far. But I just can't help myself. Krissy tells me she's going to come in here and take a flamethrower to the place, and my thought on that is thank Christ. One of us has to have the balls to do it. And God knows it's not me.

To sum up: Yeah, I'm a guy. Am I a regular guy? Probably not. I'm an irregular guy, I suppose. But it's worked for me so far, so I'm gonna keep going with that.

Posted by john at June 4, 2006 12:33 AM

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Comments

Byron | June 4, 2006 02:23 AM

I'll see your office and raise you mine/... Well, my old one. My current space is just as bad, but I don't have a picture.

mk | June 4, 2006 02:54 AM

Okay, I know I've been working in natural foods for too long now...I read "irregular" and think that maybe you need more fiber in your diet.

PaintedJaguar | June 4, 2006 03:03 AM

Judging from some newspaper fluff I saw the other day, we are going into another round of that every-five-years-or-so media thing -- the resurgence of the guy's guy. Down metrosexuals, up lumberjacks (or at least male models who dress like lumberjacks and don't shave). Unfortunately, I too love to dance and hate spectator sports, so there it is, but I yield to no man when it comes to my collection of raggedy sweat clothes.

critter42 | June 4, 2006 04:03 AM

or at least male models who dress like lumberjacks and don't shave

I would have to dispute that :) :).
So we went through the lumberjack phase then the metrosexual phase, so now it's the metrosexual lumberjack phase? Of course, any Monty Python fan knows what's next - all together now:

"I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK / I sleep all night and I work all day..."

All kidding aside, I think by and large that the SF community is a lot more open and accepting than the general populace - we don't *have* to be "regular guys" or "regular gals". Why? First, I think, is that on average SF fans are more intelligent than "normal people" (I'm going to use the generally accepted notion that SF fans are not "normal" for the purposes of this essay, despite the fact that "normal" is not necessarily an easy thing to define) - I don't think it's an accident that the local MENSA chapter has had a table at my local con every year that I can remember. We therefore understand on an intellectual level that there is no difference biologically between say Archie Bunker and George Jefferson, so what does race, sexual orientation, etc matter? Second (and most importantly) SF fans, in order to actually enjoy what they read/see/hear in SF media, have to be emotionally accepting as well - the "willing suspension of disbelief" is as much emotional as it is intellectual. This, I believe, predisposes members of the SF community to accept a person for who they are, rather than shun them for their religion, race, sexual orientation, etc. Now I realize that there are bigots in fandom as well, but I think their incidence is much lower in the SF community than elsewhere.

Kafkaesquí | June 4, 2006 05:43 AM

Not a regular guy, eh? Then the overhead baseball light has got to go.

Also, please remove the stack of DVDs (or game boxes or whatever they are) from atop your television. I don't care that they're stacked neatly. Still looks too regular guyish.

Finally, think about some curtains...

(Thus ends another episode of Irregular Eye for the Straight Guy)

dan dragna | June 4, 2006 06:11 AM

This entire proudly puritanical train of thought makes this reader want to barf up his breakfast. Just so you know.

D.

CoolBlue | June 4, 2006 08:38 AM

Huh.

You sound like a regular guy to me.

Wanna get a beer?

rick mcginnis | June 4, 2006 09:57 AM

Auuggghhh! The office! Gnnnguh! A fine Sunday morning, ruined once again by a picture of Scalzi's office.

Krissy should just get out the reciprocating saw and cut that room loose, then float it out to sea on your seasonal floodwaters.

It's totally beyond redemption, John. For shame.

Dane | June 4, 2006 09:59 AM

It has been the anthem of my life. My irregular guyness has been the most annoying aspect of my personality. But try as I might, the phermonal reaction elicited by NASCAR in most males is of no interest to me. I really can't even understand the motivation that makes men devouted to any sport much less a sports team.

I am just now at a point in my life where I am ok with it.

Nat | June 4, 2006 10:41 AM

Unfortunately, I think it's easy for SF folks to overestimate how accepting their community is -- one of the reasons I stopped going to cons was that my wife generally gets treated pretty badly at them, and I'm not particularly interested in spending time anywhere that she isn't welcome.

She's a pretty devoted fan, but since she doesn't dress like a fan she gets alternately ignored and talked down to -- I guess the theory is that obviously anyone dressed semi-conservatively without SF-themed buttons all over their coat can't possibly know anything about what's going on and must just be there as somebody's girlfriend who got dragged along.

It's pretty frustrating to encounter that from a crowd that talks about how accepting and open it is.

scott westerfeld | June 4, 2006 11:11 AM

So does this make me an irregular guy or not:

The highlight of my yesterday was watching the Liberty beat the LA Sparks (this would be women's basketball, you sports-free cretins) to the tune of me and about 7,000 eleven-year-old girls (total attendance 14,070) shouting DEE-FENSE. The Liberty came back from 5 points down at 46.6 second to tie, then crushed them by ten in overtime.

But yes, I am a straight guy, and so didn't put the 10th Season Commemorative temporary tattoo on my cheek, because that would have felt gay. But Justine did.

Plus, Barbara Farris = hot.

Paul | June 4, 2006 11:13 AM

Methinks the boy doth protest too much. As far as I'm concerned, Greg's comment is no less homophobic than the letter writer you previously mentioned. Do I think you mention homosexuality too often? To quote a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, "actually, it never really struck me before." I enjoy reading your blog, but I have never felt it necessary to question your motivation choosing topics to blog about. Do I think you're gay...or straight, for that matter? See above Monty Python quote. Your sexual orientation, and your choice of topics to blog about has absolutely no effect on the way I live my life. I don't understand why Greg, and many people for that matter, think they have some kind of ownership of the people who's blog's they read.

John Scalzi | June 4, 2006 11:21 AM

Well, I didn't mind the question -- questions from the readers are fun. I also don't mind if people feel ownership of some sort or another re: Whatever/me, as long as they know that I get veto. Anyway, I don't think Greg was out of line, just coming frfom a particular point of view and having a particular question.

Harry Connolly | June 4, 2006 12:03 PM

Good way to clean off your desk: Have your wife tell you you need some important papers from about a year ago.

I spent most of Friday night and Saturday morning going through my disaster of a desk, recycling and filing all sorts of crap. When I was finally done, we found it in the file where it was supposed to be.

My wonderful wife claims she searched there and couldn't find it, but...

penwing | June 4, 2006 12:05 PM

As a gay guy, I must say how good it is reading straight people say nice things about us 8-). I believe strongly that bigottry can only be overcome if every part of the spectrum is fighting against it which is why it is great to see people that maybe you wouldn't expect to write about LGBT issues doing so.

Just thought I'd let you know you have supporters too... and who knows - eventually I might get round to ordering and reading one of your books (sorry).

Alex
x x

Dean | June 4, 2006 12:39 PM

Regular Guyness, like all cliches, probably doesn't fit any one male all that well. I mean, I'm a pretty irregular guy: I do more than 50% of the housework, I'm the one who loses it and cleans up when things get too messy, I have no interest in team sports, etc. On the other hand, I work on my own car and love the sounds of Formula 1 racing.

I think it's probably the regular parts that makes us Guys, a sort of expressed common language. Men in the office will try 'how 'bout them Canucks?' and then, when you don't respond in a positive way, they'll move on to something else, like baseball or beer. Maybe fishing. I'm usually suspect until we get to cars. I speak Guy on cars.

CoolBlue | June 4, 2006 12:56 PM

Dean

I mean, I'm a pretty irregular guy: I do more than 50% of the housework

That doesn't make you an irregular guy.

In my vast experience on this matter, women are much messier than men. And if a guy has been in the service, that's goes double.

mythago | June 4, 2006 01:06 PM

I mean, would I happily be the meat in a Rosario Dawson-Emma Thompson sandwich?

Well, thank YOU for ruining my productivity for the rest of the day.

erin | June 4, 2006 01:27 PM

Unfortunately, I think it's easy for SF folks to overestimate how accepting their community is...

I had to jump in on this...I haven't been to a true SF con, but I've been to many filk cons with my boyfriend in the past couple of years (he's a pretty popular musician in fandom) and have found that community wonderfully accepting of me. In fact, I have found them accepting me as an individual and not just "R's girlfriend", despite the fact that I don't sing or write, I don't "look" like a member of fandom, and I've never seen an episode of Firefly. ;)

Dean | June 4, 2006 01:37 PM

Me: I mean, I'm a pretty irregular guy: I do more than 50% of the housework

CB: That doesn't make you an irregular guy.

Sure it does. The medians of neatness/houseproudness are definitely higher for women than for men. That doesn't mean that all women are neater/cleaner than all men, and if you happen to be a man that falls into the upper end of that particular bell curve, well, then, you'll find a lot of women that aren't as fussy as you are.

Yes, I've known lots of women who are messy. But I've known more men who were, and in the bulk of the domestic partnerships with which I am familiar*, it is the woman who drives the domestic agenda: cleaning, cooking, decorating, etc. There are still plenty of men who expect to get home from work and put their feet up. It's part of the 'regular guy' cliche, the slovenly couch-potato remote-hogging sports fanatic, unshaven, in tattered, dirty clothing who can't cook and won't clean up after himself that currently prevails.


* I've GOT to work on my tendency to fall into passive voice

CoolBlue | June 4, 2006 01:37 PM

Erin

I've never seen an episode of Firefly

What?!

Nat | June 4, 2006 02:58 PM

Erin: I'm glad your experience has been better than ours. We may simply not have gone to the right cons.

As for the actual post topic, it occurs to me that whether or not our host spends all his time thinking about gay themed things or supermodels, talking about gay issues more often than heterosexuality makes a certain sense from a political standpoint. After all, it's not straight rights that are under attack in our current political climate. Nobody's campaigning to make it unconstitutional for heteros to get married or have insurance benefits and so forth.

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little | June 4, 2006 02:59 PM

Ah, someone else who isn't ashamed to admit in public to not having seen Firefly. High-five, Erin!

I'd post pictures of my office just to compete, but that wouldn't be fair to the competition, seeing as how it wasn't my office-ing that made the mess, nor to the very nice person currently living in my office, of whose sundries the mess primarily consists.

But someday I will be using it as an office again, and all of you male slobs will behold the might and terror of female slobbery. So, nyah.

CoolBlue | June 4, 2006 03:19 PM

Dean

The medians of neatness/houseproudness are definitely higher for women than for men.

Yeah, Ive seen the commercials. You know, it's amazin to me in this day and age how household products are still advertised by women and presumably for women.

There are still plenty of men who expect to get home from work and put their feet up. It's part of the 'regular guy' cliche, the slovenly couch-potato remote-hogging sports fanatic, unshaven, in tattered, dirty clothing who can't cook and won't clean up after himself that currently prevails.

Oh that.

Jon | June 4, 2006 05:59 PM

Given that the stereotype of the SF reader is closer to Comic Book Guy than to the Brawny Man, it might be the case that the SF community is more accepting because many of its members spent their formative years being called "f@ggot" and stuffed into lockers. It's the empathy factor. And I say this as an SF-reading, sports-avoiding, giant 'mo myself.



Also, for you Firefly virgins, the show was probably the best thing on television until BSG came along. And not just due to the overall hotness of Nathan Fillion and Jamie Bamber, respectively. Although that certainly doesn't hurt...

Jason O | June 4, 2006 07:21 PM

I'm not in the so-called "progressive" camp, but I am deeply disturbed by unhealthy attitudes towards homosexuals.

Hate, disgust, and fear hurt us as a society. If you are a person who thinks homosexuality is wrong, the way to make our society healthier is not to react in a fashion that creates strife and lacks compassion.

I am actually glad for your posts here. I suspect you and I will not share the same points of views on many things, but that is ok. I think we've got bigger problems in our country than gay marriage. I say, as a Christian, that the Federal government poking its nose into people's private lives will only lead to more problems.

There are still countries out there that put homosexuals to death just for being homosexuals. I'm not saying it will get like that here, but what would a reasonable person rather have? I like to think of the US as a land where people have a chance to pursue their dreams. Gays should be able to live their lives in peace here. The more voices pointing that out, the more people observing that gays are people like you and me, the better off we all are.

Of course, let me admit some possible bias. I had a good friend in college who was gay and I have routinely worked with people who are gay. I think a poor way to judge people is on their sexual preference.

Sean L. | June 4, 2006 07:37 PM

I have to agree with Paul - this blog has never struck me as being a particularly dedicated forum on gay rights. However, It strikes me as being a good blog for a great author (great because I actually bought his books - now if only you would come to New Jersey and sign them...), and thus as a blog, able to cover any topic he so damn well feels like.

I'd also like to second the notion that the SF/F community is a bit more accepting in general. As noted, it may have been because we were not part of the popular groups that espouse 'common' views to stay popular, but more than that, as sci-fi readers, we read works that challenge all sorts of commonly held beliefs - and the good authors challenge them successfully. I'm only a measely teenager at 17 years old, but from my point of view, it seems that sci-fi readers (and writers) are never your stereotypical average-joe-models of masculinity. I've always thought that the sci-fi community has a generally higher standard of live-and-let-live philosophy, as well as perhaps a slightly higher level of intelligence. That could just be because of reading in general...but I find that people who read (no offense to) endless Danielle Steele or such aren't as informed on current issues or as active in their town/city/country.

G. Jules | June 4, 2006 07:38 PM

You know, I don't find that office argument convincing. I'm a fairly girly girl (hell, I sew things), and my first thought looking at that picture was "Thank god, somebody's desk is worse than mine."

I used to do fire safety inspections in college. My gut feeling, from having walked through one hell of a lot of dorm rooms, is that males and females (at least at the college age) are pretty similar. Different kinds of mess, but females weren't neater on average. (And the few rooms that were obsessively clean generally belonged to guys.)

Euan | June 4, 2006 08:27 PM

Your office looks like mine--and it's precisely and logically organized. I mean, you know where everything is, right? Whatever you're looking for is gonna be on the floor or on the desk. More frequently used => closer to mousemat. More time elapsed since use => further down. It's perfectly logical!

I only end up losing things when someone forces me to tidy up, as 'tidying' for me consists of shoving all the papers into a bin bag and throwing them away...

Brandon | June 4, 2006 09:31 PM

Let me just throw my hat in the ring to say that SF readers are more accepting, more attractive, more masculine and more feminine, cleaner, more creative, faster, better, and stronger than the rest of the populace. In my experience.

In all seriousness, this post does really exemplify how much of a regular guy you are. Not the content, mind you, but the fact that you would devote a whole post to defending your masculinity to a post that you thought was ironic. And I'm not condemning you - I probably would've done the same thing, had the mood struck me.

One thing that did bother me, though, was the whole "I got this:" and the picture of your wife. I realize you're being a bit ironic, but it felt like bad taste to me.

John Scalzi | June 4, 2006 10:13 PM

Well, my wife thought it was amusing, so that's all right.

Greg | June 4, 2006 10:49 PM

In the previous thread, Mitch Wagner writes:

"Greg assumes that being mistaken for gay is somehow a bad thing."

Only if you are straight. Heterosexual male identity is one thing, homosexual male identity is another. This doesn't mean that a gay male and a heterosexual male are different in all aspects, or that they can't be friends. (One of my good friends is a gay male.)But the two identities are fairly different. When the question does come up, I don't want to be mistaken for gay, not because there is anything wrong with gays, but because that is not who I am. (Disclaimer: this isn't a question that most men have to face very often.)

My gay male friend was once taken to a (female) strip bar on a business outing, and he felt very uncomfortable with it, because it wasn't a part of his sexual identity, and he didn't like the fact that his hosts (who believed him to be straight) subjected him to this. On the other hand, I am a straight man, and the occasional outing to a strip bar is good clean fun from my perspective. I probably wouldn't enjoy being taken to a CHippendale's show, though.

In this thread, Brandon writes: "One thing that did bother me, though, was the whole 'I got this:' and the picture of your wife. I realize you're being a bit ironic, but it felt like bad taste to me."

Three words: Lighten up, dude. Reasonable people can disagree about whether or not John goes on too much about gay issues. However, no one who reads his column can doubt that he his an attentive husband.

It is possible to respect someone and still view them as a sex object within an appropriate context (so long as that is not the only thing you view them as). In fact, most of are complimented when someone objectifies us a bit in this way (although we balding middle aged males get objectified so infrequently.)

When John refers to his wife as "this," he is not asserting that she is his chattel; but rather, "and look, she's a hot babe, too." This is a compliment--and a sincere compliment is always in good taste.

Burns! | June 5, 2006 12:15 AM

All other issues aside, I feel compelled to comment on the Rosario Dawson-Emma Thompson pairing. I don't disagree at all, but what an interesting combination. Though I've thought of them individually, I never have as a duo. Thanks for that.

mythago | June 5, 2006 02:43 AM

Greg, you don't have to keep telling us that one or two or whatever of your friends are gay. Really, it just sounds desperate. And if you think that being gay means not going to the gym or eating stake, dude, lighten up. I have a tour of bars in the Castro you really, really need to go on.

mk | June 5, 2006 03:11 AM

"Regular" people are such until you get to know them. Our popular mythology loves ordinary people in extraordinary situations, the ordinariness of the extraordinary people - the idea that inside every ordinary, normal person lies something extraordinary (the courage to take down a terrorist hijacking the airplane, the best novel you'll ever read, multi-state serial killing, etc.), and that extraordinary people are really just like us. Photos of celebrities performing mundane activities like grocery shopping and eating can command more money than a photo of the same celebrity walking down a red carpet.

If Scalzi spent all his blog time dwelling on how gosh darn normal he really is, I'd get really bored.

dan dragna | June 5, 2006 03:24 AM

Having taken a few medicinal tokes to cut my nausea, and a chill pill, I figure I ought to elaborate a little on why I found this post so malodorous.

1) Gregory's question--whether he intended it to be funny or not--smelled bad. Just try substituting "gay" with the name of any other minority in his question:

"We all know how religiously tolerant you are--but how much of a good Christian are you? I work with a lot of educated Christians (many of whom voted for Kerry), and we spend a lot more time talking about evangelizing than we do about Jews and their issues. When was the last time you made a post about evangelizing?"

OR:

"We all know how racially open-minded you are--but how much of a Caucasian are you? I work with a lot of educated white guys (many of whom voted for Kerry), and we spend a lot more time talking about white chicks than we do about the civil rights movement. When was the last time you made a post about white chicks?"

Yes, there are many differences between gays and Jews and African Americans. But none that matter in the context of this stinky little question.

2) John, you not only indulged this rank question--and apparently failed to notice anything unpleasant about it--but did so by suggesting a link between being a "regular guy" and behaving, or not behaving, in various "masculine" ways. Which would've been fine in a post that wasn't in response to a question involving gays and whether or not talking about their issues was somehow itself an indication of not being a "regular guy." As it is, your musing on your own lack of various "masculine" attributes left the impression that homosexuality, or even talking about homosexual issues too much, somehow isn't "masculine." And that's unfortunate. Associating feminine characteristics with gay men generally is no less stereotypical than associating side curls, a yarmulke, and a bekishe with Jewish men generally. Simply because "effeminate" gay men are more visible (more likely to be out, and outed) than "masculine" gay men doesn't mean gay = effeminacy or even effeminacy = gay. Former NFL players Esera Tuaolo, Dave Kopay and Roy Simmons, each queer as Kansas, very likely crap bigger than 99% of the so-called "masculine," "regular" straight guys who reflexively and foolishly associate male homosexuality with effeminacy. The same applies to hypermacho gays like former major league baseball players Billy Bean and Glenn Burke--not to mention former Mr. Universe Bob Paris.

While I admire your equanimity about not being much of a "regular guy," I really wish you hadn't left the impression that posting about gays and/or gay issues is just one of many examples of the "irregular guy" things you do. As difficult as it might be for some to imagine, millions of gay guys are indistinguishable from "regular guys." Yes. Really. So there's nothing intrinsically "irregular" or insufficiently masculine about posting about gays and their issues. Anything irregular about it is simply prejudice.

I don't, myself, think you’re that foolish, John. (I have read more of Whatever than this entry.) But this post certainly left that impression. At least with this reader.

Hijackqueen | June 5, 2006 03:46 AM

Hey, being a regular guy is not that bad after all.

Therese Norén | June 5, 2006 04:45 AM

Mythago: I thought it was widely know that eating stake is a common activity among gay men.

Sorry. I can't resist a bad pun. I'll be in the corner.

Joe Crow | June 5, 2006 05:41 AM

Dude, that's NOTHING. You can see floor; hell, you can see WALLS. My problem is that I married a woman who's as big a slob as I am. As a result, we tend to pick up only when we can no longer get to the door. First thing I said, when I saw her room when we were first dating: "If we ever move in together, we're gonna need a maid." Sadly, no maid has arrived, as yet.

Josh Jasper | June 5, 2006 05:52 AM

Greg, stop. You really have *no* idea what being gay is like. You're just digging a deeper hole for yourself.

CoolBlue | June 5, 2006 08:11 AM

Jon

it might be the case that the SF community is more accepting because many of its members spent their formative years being called "f@ggot" and stuffed into lockers.

If you were to ask Steven Barnes about this, I have gotten the impression that he believes the SF Community is not so welcoming to Black Writers.

John Scalzi | June 5, 2006 08:32 AM

On that tip, CoolBlue: The Carl Brandon Society.

alex | June 5, 2006 10:01 AM

I'm just wondering when Greg is going to come back around and let us all know what the minimum recommended daily allowance of societially-approved hetero-masculine activities is.

(/snark)

The difference between your foul-mouthed hate mailer and Greg is one of degree, not kind. Greg's is mild enough to be socially acceptable. Most of us probably have similar prejudices. But that doesn't make them right, and it doesn't entitle Greg to a polite answer.

John Scalzi | June 5, 2006 10:16 AM

Eh. Showing mild discomfort with me pretending to tongue kiss my friend Doselle doesn't put someone in the same category as someone who is calling me a fucking faggot and who is actively hostile to the idea that gays should have the same rights as the rest of us, either in degree or kind. You are free to disagree. Also, of course, I will keep my own counsel as to what deserves a polite response.

What I don't want to see is this become a thread where Greg gets pummeled. Disputing his assertions and preconceptions is fine; let's avoid insinuating he's a bad human being at his core. Nothing he's written here gets anywhere near that.

Dan Dragna:

"While I admire your equanimity about not being much of a 'regular guy,' I really wish you hadn't left the impression that posting about gays and/or gay issues is just one of many examples of the 'irregular guy' things you do."

Well, but it is, isn't it? Greg for better or worse has a very real point -- the rights of gays is not something that's on the radar of most folks who would consider themselves "regular guys," and clearly I spend more time thinking about it than the average fellow who is not, in fact, gay. There's nothing wrong in acknowledging that this interest is "irregular," but its being irregular is not the same as saying it's inappropriate or that "regular guys" shouldn't have it as a concern, even if on a day-to-day basis they don't.

Stan | June 5, 2006 10:16 AM

I just don't care how much or a regular person anyone is. Conformity is great only for specific things (like traffic laws). Otherwise, who cares about a standard? Why does it matter what color someone else's clothes are are who they're sleeping with? Is the world going to collapse if we're not in lock step?

I knew many guys in high school who spent time talking about Victoria Secret models and Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues. Now, not so much - they're too busy having sex to spend time talking about pretend sex.

JC | June 5, 2006 10:43 AM

"Greg assumes that being mistaken for gay is somehow a bad thing."

Greg responds:
Only if you are straight.

(BTW, I'm not sure I understand this response unless Greg is say that it's ok for bisexuals to be mistaken for gay but not heterosexuals. Obviously, homosexuals can't be mistaken for gay because it would not be a mistake. But I digress...)

Why? I'm mistaken for straight all the time. Is that a bad thing too? If so, why? If not, why not?

Most of the time I don't bother correcting people because to do so would be a distraction from what we're talking about. People who are actually engaged in conversation with me figure it out without any help from me.

The nature of Greg's question implies that people are supposed to spend a certain amount of time actively asserting all facets of their identity so that they can never be mistaken for they're not. Likewise, he seems to imply that to write about facets of personality which are not his own would imply that they are and would mislead people. (This reminds me of John Scalzi's post about how OMW does not necessarily reflect his views on the issues brought up by the book.)

It's at least in theory a free country so he's free to spend his life actively asserting all facets of his identity so that no one could possibly mis-identify him if he wants. I personally would find it rather tiring. It seems to me that it's much easier just to be yourself and allow other people to figure it out over the fullness of time. Yeah, some people may misunderstand you, but if it's not intentional or malicious, it'll work out.

One of the reasons I read this blog is because John Scalzi writes about whatever he wants to write about without regard to what people will think of him.

If someone wants to imply something about your sexual orientation just because you don't actively avow an orientation (or disavow another one), well, there are a plethora of things that you also don't actively avow or disavow.

Lisa | June 5, 2006 11:27 AM

I know this was all supposed to be light-hearted, but this whole post is ridiculous.

What Dan Dragna said, mostly.

It is somewhat amusing (yet, very unattractive) to watch heterosexual males feel the need to beat their chests like gorilla's and make sure that even if they occasionally say a nice thing about the gays, they don't have any of teh gay on them. It is a LOT like saying, "I support equal rights for blacks, but look at my geneology chart! There is no teh black in my lineage believe you me!"

I think I'll go back to bed and watch some TV where I can enjoy all the fun commercials about men who can't eat "chick food" and men who have to make "Man Laws" like the brilliant, "You Poke It, You Own It."

Yawn.

John H | June 5, 2006 11:54 AM

OK - for the record, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Communist Party. There - I said it.

Whew, am I glad to get that off my chest. You just don't know how much it's bothered me that someone might confuse me for a Communist...

</snark>

John Scalzi | June 5, 2006 11:55 AM

Socialist!

Tripp | June 5, 2006 12:29 PM

I dislike people who try to tell other people how to run their lives or how to run their blogs.

Anne C. | June 5, 2006 01:10 PM

To say someone (anyone, male or female) is wrong for enjoying those traits typically identified as "masculine" is as wrong as demeaning someone for enjoying traits typically identified as "feminine". To assert who you are, as John did, is not bigoted. He did not say it was wrong to be otherwise or that everyone should be that way - that *would* be bigoted. To be put off by what he said is your right, but be aware that it reveals you to be as judgemental as those you claim to dislike.

PS - John, that picture of your wife is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us (and with such pride).

PPS - No qualifiers on that statement, as I don't care if I'm mistaken for a Bishon Frise.

Occula | June 5, 2006 01:46 PM

On the one hand, I kind of agree with commentors who see this whole conversation as a bit distasteful.

On the other hand, my husband's not a regular guy guy, and I'm not a regular femme chick either, thank goodness, and it works well for us.

On the third hand, you probably don't discuss heterosexual matters much here because the heterosexuals are winning. By this I mean, they're not the oppressed party. Their rights and 'lifestyles' are generally accepted as mainstream, and it's gay people who are still struggling for equality. Devoting a lot of time to the struggles of the straight white man is a lot like ... I don't know, the baboons who are always forming stupid 'white pride' clubs at their college, or a local high school that has a 'meat eater's club' because some rubes got their panties in a bunch about the vegetarian club.

Um, but don't get me started on how defensive people are about vegetarians. heh. /rant

(regular reader, rare if ever poster, love your blog, just bought your books because of the blog, looking forward to 'em.)

shannon | June 5, 2006 04:14 PM

My general view is that sci fi can be an accepting place for all people if we don't stop to pat ourselves on the back and instead analyze what we are doing and why. Also, I'd like to invite people to read this POC sci fi community. There are always interesting posts.

Lisa | June 5, 2006 05:32 PM

Well, I've been away from the computer for a few hours and feeling a teensy, weensy bit of commenter's guilt.

I still feel that this is a bit of a distastful post. Definately not a favorite of mine. I think it is the question itself more than the answer. John may know the guy and understand the context in which it was intended better than I, I don't know. But I think after reading the question, I was geared up for one of Scalzi's great replies where he logically and politely wipes the proverbial floor with the guy using a whole lot of itallics. I like a me a good Scalzi rant with lots of itallics. I was disappointed that, even though you claim to be 'irregular' because you dance like no one's watching etc, you aquiesce to the fact of the regular guy being the heteronormative dude.

So, I am not judging people for their masculine traits. Have a messy office, make an Emma Thomson/whatever the other one's name was sandwich, belch and crush a beer bottle on your forehead for all I care. My issue is more that people (mostly men) feel the need to go off on this to prove they are not gay if they ever get caught defending or supporting gay issues.

That said...I consider Scalzi somewhat of a virtual bud of mine. We 'met' way, way back when I (jokingly) proposed to him on the internet. Unfortunately for me, he was already taken. But I 'proposed' specifically because of his lack of hang-ups on what you all would call being a 'regular guy.' At the time, he was a stay-at-home dad taking care of his toddler daughter and yes, writing about feminist and gay rights issues from time to time, with no apologies or insecurities about how other less enlightened people might think he is limp-wristed or whipped.

I see he is still at it with the new posts up top. John, you are still one of the examples I give to people when I say things like, "I hate the patriarchy, but not men specifically. There are good men out there."

Captain Button | June 5, 2006 06:09 PM

Euan wrote:

"Your office looks like mine--and it's precisely and logically organized. I mean, you know where everything is,
right? Whatever you're looking for is gonna be on the floor or on the desk. More frequently used => closer to
mousemat. More time elapsed since use => further down. It's perfectly logical!"

My father refers to this as 'the archeological filing system'.

"I only end up losing things when someone forces me to tidy up, as 'tidying' for me consists of shoving all the
papers into a bin bag and throwing them away..."

His other bit of wisdom on this topic is 'three moves equals one fire'.

Smurf | June 5, 2006 06:42 PM

Not that there's anything wrong with that.... but you should maybe slip in a football post here and there... I can check it for you if you don't want to look like a rookie or anything.

While this blog seems more evenly-split, your AOL blog has like a 95% female comment rate. You cater to your audience, amd that brings the cat pictures into it. I get the same vibe from some readers when I put cranberry bog pics in my sports journal.

You have a lot going for you. Athena speaks strongly of your heteroics, although Jann Wenner had kids, too. Krissy is bootiful, although I get the feeling that she's drawn to your sensitivity more than any Mandingo aspect of your presence. Still, the hot wife trumps the "blogs about cats" card in any determination of your real mannedness.

Rural Ohio isn't a known gay hotbed, and your trip to Boston entries lacked any Cambridge/Provincetown features that would have set off the gaydar to a local.

I don't think anyone is fixing their transmission and says "I should go get Scalzi to help me," but I also don't hear about you being invited to Tupperware parties yet.

You also lack the obligatory handsome young male apprentice occasionally appearing in your stories ("Kip and I were doing squat thrusts at the gym today."

You'll be a-ight.

mythago | June 7, 2006 12:44 AM

Showing mild discomfort with me pretending to tongue kiss my friend Doselle doesn't put someone in the same category as someone who is calling me a fucking faggot

No, but it puts them a couple blocks over in the same subdivision.

Tim Deters | June 11, 2006 04:08 AM

Dude, while everyone else was obsessing on straight/gay dynamics I couldn't help noticing the cans. The empty cans. The sixteen empty cans. The sixteen empty cans visible in the photo. Now I can rest easy knowing that I have at least one thing in common with a successful writer.

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