The 5 Situations In Which It Is Acceptable To Say “That’s So Gay”

April 11, 2013

Humor

Times It Is Acceptable to Say, “That’s So Gay”:

  1. You’re trying to tell someone “That’s okay” and you have a pretty bad cold.
  2. Someone has just done a spot-on impression of actress Marcia Gay Harden, from Miller’s Crossing.

    You haven't seen Miller's Crossing?  Really?  Oh, man, it's fantastic.

    You haven’t seen Miller’s Crossing? Really? Oh, man, it’s fantastic.

  3. You’re at a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit.
  4. You’re trying to be supportive of a friend who’s recently embraced an openly-homosexual lifestyle, but he is worried he isn’t doing it right.
  5. You’re in a celebrity poker game, against poker champ and former Welcome Back, Kotter star Gabe Kaplan.  You believe he is cheating and accuse him of such.  He angrily denies it and – spotting what you believe to be proof – you try to say, “Oh?  That so, Gabe?!” but he punches you in the face before you can finish.

And that’s pretty much it.

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Blog in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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90 Comments on “The 5 Situations In Which It Is Acceptable To Say “That’s So Gay””

  1. Life With The Top Down Says:

    I’ll have to pass this along to my son and his friends who have clearly been misguided on the use of this statement.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      There does seem to be some mis-information out there, doesn’t there? I like it when people defend it with, “when you say it, it doesn’t have anything to do with homosexuals! It just means something is stupid and bad and lame!” Oh. Oh, well since you put it that way, that’s not offensive in the slightest!

      Reply

  2. Tori Nelson Says:

    I get all sour-face, old-lady hostile when I here this being tossed around a circle of teens. I usually just mumble something along the lines of “damn kids” or “idiots”.

    Reply

  3. stainedglasz Says:

    As one o’ them official certified gays, I would contend that certain activities can safely be described as “gay”.

    Examples include musical theatre, the breeding and raising of poodles, recreational basket-weaving, and having sex with a person of the same gender identity.

    Reply

  4. Go Jules Go Says:

    I’d like to propose that rock stars be able to say “That’s so gay” whenever they please.

    P.S. – Miller’s Crossing IS fantastic.

    Reply

    • donofalltrades Says:

      Lol! Thank you! I KNEW breeding and raising poodles was gay! Especially those big ones! Wait, is it an either or thing? What if one only raises poodles but doesn’t breed them? Still ok to call gay? Same question, but the dog is something not gay mixed with a poodle, like an, oh I don’t know, labradoodle for example.

      Reply

      • Go Jules Go Says:

        If you bred a poodle to a labradoodle…hmm. I almost know too much about this to make a joke. And all of my jokes seem borderline anyway. I’m sorry for this subpar comment reply. On B Man’s blog, no less. Sigh.

        Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Remember when (this might be before your time…) Sebastian Bach from the hair-metal band Skid Row wore that t-shirt that said, “AIDS: Kills Fags Dead”? What a charmer. Apparently he’s done some musical theater, now. They must eat him up with a spoon.

      Reply

      • Go Jules Go Says:

        I know who you’re talking about, so 1 point for me! But mostly because he had a part on Gilmore Girls. 1 point for you. I think he should go public with an apology, via a guest spot on Glee. Great idea. 2 points for me! I win!

        Reply

        • The Byronic Man Says:

          Did you see that Glee is doing a School-Shooting episode? Tasteful!

          Reply

          • becomingcliche Says:

            That hurts my brain. They’re not going to SING about it, are they?

            Reply

            • The Byronic Man Says:

              Apparently it revolves around them students talking about their feelings or something, and priorities, and then they hear shots and go in to lockdown and sing about how scared they are and their feelings and priorities. I’m confident that at the end it turns out not to have been an actual shooter – surely they wouldn’t go that far.

              Reply

        • 1pointperspective Says:

          Hey Jules! Thanks for the mulitple mentions, albeit unintentional. I was trying unsuccessfully to come up with a witty rejoinder for B-Man’s post, when I came across all of your 1 point references. Perfect! I’ll just jump into the comment stream, get my feet wet, and then leave!

          Reply

  5. mairedubhtx Says:

    When I saw the title, I couldn’t imagine. Now that I see the piece, it all makes sense. There are really five times when you can say this.

    Reply

  6. Michael Says:

    I haven’t seen Miller’s Crossing, but apparently Marcia Gay Harden was a character named “Miss Cheevus” in Spy Hard, which also had Andy Griffith as an evil supervillain with no arms, or something. Classic film. Anyway.

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Andy Griffith also played a fantastic villain in a little-seen, but terrific, western spoof called “Rustler’s Rhapsody.” I watched that movie, probably, 10 times when it came out on video, and have never seen it anywhere again.

      Reply

  7. Snoring Dog Studio Says:

    Yes. Oh, yes. The dictionary is full of so many better words to use.

    Reply

  8. mistyslaws Says:

    Or, if noticing a beautiful spring day in a park with budding flowers and children traipsing about, laughing sweetly, you can use the classic definition of the word in declaring that the entire scene “is so gay.” However, nobody will know that is what you are doing and will probably just think you are a homophobic asshole. So yeah, scratch that. Your 5 are good.

    Reply

  9. Soma Mukherjee Says:

    Whoa this is mind blowing, total makes sense

    Reply

  10. She's a Maineiac Says:

    True. Very true. I was going to suggest something to do with Gabe Kaplan but I couldn’t come up with anything.

    (Miller’s Crossing? Great, yet another movie I haven’t seen…)

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I suppose if you accused Gabe Kaplan of cheating at cards (he’s a big poker player), and he angrily barked “I did not cheat!”, and you started to say, “That so, Gabe?” but he punched you in the face… okay fine. FINE. 6 situations…

      Reply

  11. josefkul Says:

    What if you are attempting to write a song about excessive happiness and have been struggling to find a word that rhymes with day.

    Reply

  12. DiatribesAndOvations.com Says:

    I’m pretty sure these are the ONLY five times …

    Reply

  13. silkpurseproductions Says:

    Yes, that’s it, Byronics five and and most of the other four from stainedglasz . You are getting mighty close to 10.

    Reply

  14. smoothreentry Says:

    I get the sarcasm…and considering the comments about teenagers using the phrase, I hate to sound so dense…but is this really that offensive? Yes, I am genuinely asking for remedial guidance on this because I have used the phrase on occasion.

    For example, I wrote a post making fun of myself for watching the “The Bachelor”. In that post I called it “the gayest show ever”.

    Is that statement offensive in the context of self deprecating humor? Because in the post I am clearly making fun of myself as much as “The Bachelor”, homosexuals, or online dating…

    Reply

    • Renee Says:

      Yes. “That’s so gay,” is absolutely offensive, so I wouldn’t use it unless I was hell-bent on making myself look like an asshole.

      Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Well, responding as someone with no authority on the subject (I’m not even gay, so I can’t give a “from personal experience”)… It seems like, as with so many things, context and intent matter a lot. For example, one can say, “God, you’re a nerd!” and it can be meant in a loving way – it’s teasing, but teasing based on an appreciation of one’s quirks or foibles as a person, as opposed to as a stereotype of a person.

      “That’s gay” is often meant, though, as something inherently negative, which makes it inherently insulting. Though it’s a big leap from “nerd” to “gay” there are certainly instances where people use the term in a playful, respectfully-teasing way (see the comment below), and I think that’s why those lines get blurred.

      So, I suppose, in many ways your comment about “The Bachelor” might depend on context, how you meant it, etc. Including how your audience would perceive it. For example, South Park used to use the term Jew as an insult to mock Cartman, the character who used the term, but audiences just took it at face value as an insult, thus turning a satirical moment offensive.

      That’s all I got at this point. And, again, I’m by no means an authority on the subject. Those are just my thoughts.

      Reply

  15. thefoodandwinehedonist Says:

    I was just thinking about this last night. A friend and I were seeing who had the gayest music library. I won due to my inclusion of Erasure, Cher, Carly Simon, and Scissor Sisters. I know there’s a great post somewhere in there, but wondering if it would be offensive. Many of my gay friends are cool with it, but I’m still thinking that it coming from a straight guy would not be taken well by a lot of people.

    Reply

  16. Renee Says:

    Thanks for this post, B Man! My son and I were just talking about this in the car on the way to school the other day. We were talking about how most of his friends who have grown up in the city, some in neighborhoods with a large percentage of homosexuals, are socially aware and don’t use the phrase, while the kids who commute in from rich, suburban, predominantly white neighborhoods, use it all the time without comprehending its offensiveness. He thanked me for having gay friends, friends of different races, raising him to be socially and culturally aware.

    I will be sharing this on Facebook and Twitter because it is so important. Thanks again.

    Reply

  17. pegoleg Says:

    To be honest, I teeter-totter between “come ON, lighten up!” and “let’s all make a better effort not to say things once we are aware that they are offensive.” Fortunately, the latter attitude wins out with me, at least most of the time.

    (Back in the day when women wore skirts with pantyhose and slips and all, I was at a function and it wasn’t until half-way through the day that a friend bothered to tell me I had a foot of slip hanging down in the back. Some friend! In the same spirit that “friends don’t let friends have a hanging slip”, may I give a hint to XYZ on the your/you’re situation in example #5?)

    Reply

  18. Lorna's Voice Says:

    Thank you for being so sensitive.

    Reply

  19. EagleAye Says:

    I think it should also be acceptable to say “that’s so gay” when a rampantly homophobic man admits like to liking something like ballet, just to twist the metaphoric knife a bit.

    Reply

  20. Blogdramedy Says:

    I mentioned this post to a friend of mine and he slapped me.

    So, yep. “That’s so gay!” is offensive but I wish people would let me finish my thought…

    Reply

  21. becca3416 Says:

    I haven’t read blogs in weeks. I had to click this post. It is the first and probably only post I will read today. I was not disappointed. I also physically said “That’s okay” aloud in my best cold nose voice. Luckily there are no homosexual coworkers around me to get offended.

    Reply

  22. Liberty Lukas Says:

    My oldest daughter is gay, she is 21 and the oldest of my five children. I was the first person she confided in, (besides her girlfriend of course! haha, who is 22yrs old). They moved in with me for about two months and just recently moved out.

    I DID at one time ask my daughter if things like that offended her or her gf and she grinned, shook her head and slightly rolled her eyes and said “NO”. She is very secure in who she is and what she feels as well as is her gf. Both of them are loving, sensitive and kind young woman so their “non-offensiveness” does not come from growing calloused.

    ***They simply don’t care what others think or even say. They want to be treated as any other couple, not set apart where no one can be human and everyone has to walk on eggshells for fear of offending them***They want acceptance and so they give acceptance 🙂 They tend to believe the best in others and when phrases like that are said (and trust me they are, I’ve slipped said it in front of them and they made a joke of it!) they let it go because they are making a wonderful life for themselves and won’t give the time or energy required to be offended.

    People are going to say things, even those of us who would never mean any harm.
    I’m sure at some point in my daughters life she too has or will say something that could potentially hurt someone who is different than she is in some way. We are people, we do things like that sometimes.

    Reply

  23. Laura Says:

    I think you can also say it if you’re talking about someone named So Gay. (“Who’s that across the street? Is that Jo Gay?” “No, that’s So Gay”).

    Reply

  24. Sandy Sue Says:

    Oh, thank you. For putting your unique B-Man humor to a phrase I want to rip apart with my teeth. Or the throats uttering it. Same dif.

    Reply

  25. Kara d. Says:

    Read this the other day, suiting I think

    Reply

  26. Alison Says:

    It was one of my gay friends who had to educate me on this years ago. To break the habit he encouraged me to instead say, “That is so hetero.” For the record: hetro is a pretty good way of dismissing something.

    Reply

  27. Mama Bread Baker Says:

    Oh yeah, this is refrigerator material for my household of teenage crumbsnatchers! Number 4 cracked me up!

    Reply

  28. Jim Says:

    I’ve never done being gay right. They only give you one manual, and if you lose it, you’re on your own. (Actually, I’ve always suspected you stole my copy in college.)

    Reply

  29. Andrea Says:

    What if you’re asked to describe happy people frolicking?

    Reply

  30. Baddest Mother Ever Says:

    I’m glad you made an exception for Robert Mapplethorpe shows! That’s a relief.

    Reply

  31. jadorelamusique Says:

    This is effin’ fantastic. 🙂

    Reply

  32. mbaignoire Says:

    #1 and #4 made me laugh out loud in a public place! You, sir, are amazing! 🙂

    Reply

  33. Patty Nguyen Says:

    I never let my students get away with this. They’re in high school and smart enough to know better. I’m heartened to see this phrase being used much less often than five years ago when I first started teaching. Love your post. 🙂

    Reply

  34. Vivien E. Zazzau Says:

    Reblogged this on Dark Acts Bible: Glass Half Empty, Base Cracked… and commented:
    I can’t tell you how many times I heard this idiotic expression (always as much to my surprise the next time as the last) while teaching in both the high school and university classroom. My consistent and dogged response, much to my students’ annoyance, was to rattle off a list of brilliant gay folk, their accomplishments, and then to say, “Now THAT’S ‘gay!'” I like this better… No, I *love* it…

    Reply

    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Thanks for saying so. And you’re welcome to use it – in proper MLA or APA format, of course.

      Reply

      • Vivien E. Zazzau Says:

        In all honesty (and with apologies for my lack of humor) the Chicago “Gangland” style manual is much more popular among many students. It’s almost rare to read a paper that hasn’t been, at least, partially lifted from the Web or simply purchased from a ‘paper mill.’ Despite our harping on the ethics of attribution, I can’t tell you how common it’s become for university students to be suspended, and even expelled, for plagiarism. That said, just know that I am working ardently, fervently, and strenuously on ‘loosening up’…

        Reply

  35. Dicky Bow Brown Says:

    This is an extensive list, but you forgot is you walk in on two people of the same gender having sex with each other. That’s pretty gay.

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Do You Use The G-Word? | The Food and Wine Hedonist - April 12, 2013

    […] just yesterday The Byronic Man came up with an absolutely KILLER post titled The 5 Situations In Which It Is Acceptable To Say “That’s So Gay”.  If you haven’t followed his blog yet, carve out a few hours of your schedule this weekend for […]

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