(asked by anonymous)
French men dress very well (for the most part) and a lot have very feminine gestures but are totally straight. Men in the US, when they dress as put together (no offense to metrosexuals) and have feminine gestures, one can pretty much knows that they are gay. But in France, how do you tell?
I find this question interesting, not because it’s interesting in itself (we all know that gay men have a gaydar and can recognize each other, and that if you’re not gay, what do you care whether the person in front of you is gay or not ?)
I find it interesting, because the person asking the question is guilty of something too many people from any country are guilty of (even me sometimes, even if I try not to) is to think that your cultural references are universal and not specific to your own culture.
No, don’t be afraid, I won’t go deep into gender studies (a field that’s interesting at first, but becomes a bit idiotic when you get a bit too involved, in my opinion) and I won’t go as far as finding examples in remote cultures from places we’ve never or rarely heard of and where gender lines are very unusual and all…
So, according to anonymous, in the US, it’s simple, heterosexual males are slobs (except for metrosexuals) and gay men are not.
While in France it’s more complicated as all men are effeminate and dress well…
Well, anonymous, what can I say except that your definition of effeminate is a bit… narrow…?
I guess you’re not to blame, as you mentioned the US, I’ll assume you’re American and in the US a man has to be full of testosterone, a slob, drink beer and burp loud and own a gun or he’s not a real man.
I know it’s a cliché, and many American men are not like that…
Still, the number of American men who think I’m gay is incredibly high while I’m by no means effeminate according to French standards. And when I say American men, I should say American straight men, because no gay man in America every thought I was gay (except one, but he was 17 and just starting to understand his own sexuality and these kinds of things).
So yeah, in the US, the stereotype of the “Man” is as previously described and every man that doesn’t fit that stereotype is suspect… and as such potentially gay… I won’t go into homophobia, it’ll bring us too far, but this is more or less what we’re talking about here.
What about France?
Well, first of all, in France not everybody dresses well, even if most people have a general understanding of what it is to dress correctly…
But in France, the stereotype of the “Man” is different: a real man in France is usually very eloquent, well-educated, funny and witty (and possibly well dressed). Things that are seen as effeminate in the US, but not in France.
I’ll go even further by saying that for a Frenchman, somebody that works out a lot, acts all macho and frat boyish is not exactly comfortable with his manhood (to go to such extent to show off your heterosexuality in such ways is suspect) or even with his own sexuality.
What do you guys think?