The old saw, of course, is that gay men inherently possess superior style, both in dress and interior decorating; but I have found this to be, consistently and bafflingly, untrue. The first gay man I befriended was a college lecturer, and a rather sharp dresser, with one exception. He conducted his classes with everyone seated in a circle, which afforded us a full view of his leather jacket, silk-blend shirts, tailored dress slacks, and... little ankle socks glaringly decorated with tiny purple dancing men, or smiley faces.
There appear to be scores of Seattle homos who obtain their sense of style from their mailbox, via J. Crew and Land's End catalogues, making it difficult to tell sometimes if you are walking into a gay bar or into a frat-boy support group. These are the same men who decorate their Capitol Hill apartments with rainbow windsocks and lamps with pink triangle lampshades. I have seen them.
Then there are Seattle's lesbians. I have never understood how women who profess to love the beauty of other women end up looking like the Three Stooges. Shaved heads, oversized shirts, filthy sneakers, and shorts so long they qualify as slightly shrunken pants are the rule of the day. Is this not somehow missing the point? Why not date Red, the guy from Kent who changes your oil?
Even Ellen wore tailored clothes and good shoes. The homos on TV tend to cohere much closer to what we heteros expect regarding the style stereotype--and look how well they have done for themselves! I think the lesson here is this: If you want political power, if you crave cultural acceptance, dress the part. I expect to see leather loafers and Italian dress shirts from here on out.
Traci Vogel is a heterosexual.