Friday, February 4, 2011

"Eric, your cats are gay."

I was trying to convince them that they would like Big Bang Theory. It seems like such a silly sentence. The word “convince” should never be in the same sentence as Big Bang Theory. Everyone should like it. Everyone, like me, should yearn for Thursday nights 8 Eastern / 7 Central, and click to CBS. It is a show about comic books, videogames, and socially obtuse nerds – how does it not appeal to all? Well my friends, Peter and Scott were having none of it.

Scott was playing the good friend, he was trying to enjoy the show, laughing at all the right moments, but there was something hollow, something missing. His verbal ejaculations reminded me of mine when I speak with a coworker on the phone, “Oh I have soooo much fun working on projects with you. I can’t wait for the next one. [Cackles and the rolling of my eyes].” What I really meant to say is “Get the fuck off my extension, I am waiting for my boyfriend to call me.” What I really heard when I heard Scott laugh was “Can we play Dead Space?” But Scott was bearing it, he was pretending to be a good friend.

Peter was having none of it. He could not hide his contempt for the show, all he did was try to find a boyfriend on Grindr.

“My God,” I thought to myself, I am a terrible host. If I cannot entertain my friends – my chums – my coterie, how could I ever entertain a date. Dear Reader, I have a very limited skill set. If I was a Dungeons and Dragon character, all my points would be attributed to “awkward conversation” and none to the ones that count such as “strength” or “agility.” If I can’t even entertain Peter and Scott, it will surely be a cold bed until I level up and get more points.

Well Dear Reader, something happened. Scott actually placed his iPhone down on my coffee table and got up. The phone was just lying there, alone and naked against the wooden furniture. On the screen was a grid of semi-naked men. I made a note to myself to get the CDC to examine my sofa after Scott leaves. I followed Scott’s eyes, like two floodlights they were trained on my cats. Peter noticed something too, and he laughed. It was not a fake one to make me feel better about my cultural choices, no it was a real hearty bellowing laugh. What are my cats doing that would entertain them so? Surely they cannot be more entertaining than Sheldon Cooper. And then I saw, it was a dark sight indeed. My yellow cat, Frodo, was humping my other cat Sam.

[Spotlight on cats]

Scott: Eric, your cats are gay.

Eric: [Exasperated] No, they are not. Frodo is just showing his dominance by biting Sam. Frodo is not thrusting, there is no motion of actually humping. They are not gay. It is an issue of property rights.

Scott: Dude, your cats are gay.

Peter: Oh my god, your cats are gay.

[Audience Laughs]

Eric: Frodo is the alpha cat. Not everything is about humping. Look at Scott’s phone, surely there must be one legitimate picture in there!

[Light moves onto Scott]

Scott: My cats’ don’t do that. And they are both boys.

Eric: My cats are not gay!!!


I don’t know why I am so adamant about my cats being straight. I tried to rationalize it away. Frodo acts differently when women are around. It is an issue about property rights. They are just doing what is normal in nature, this is my boundary and you are the Omega Male. I rationalize, they can’t be gay. I imagine this is what most parents do when they hear their children are gay. They rationalize, my son can’t be gay. “He is so good in sports,” which may lead to “He had so many girlfriends,” to “Not my son, what did I do wrong.” My cats can’t be gay.

There is an obvious irony to this. But the irony is not one geometric line, rather, it comprises of many fibers woven together to make a giant trunk. The central fiber is obvious, I am gay. So why do I care if my cats are gay. In fact I should take pride in it. The second fiber, I am progressive in my politics and judicial philosophy. I believe people have no choice in being gay (they may have been born gay, or they were influenced by early social cues). To be consistent, nature made my cats gay. The third fiber - so what? If I was straight, I would still be an opinionated, bombastic horror of a person. Sexual orientation is of very little importance about my character. Sure, I could make jokes about Grindr, but the wasteland that is The Dark Tower has formed more of my character than abs and a 30in waist ever will. And yet I still tell myself, my cats can’t be gay.

I had a discussion with my best friend about her son. She said she would never want her son to be gay because life is so much harder. I agree. You have to hide who you are. I knew when I was 10 and I pretended to never look at the quarterback while feigning interest about the ball he was catching. I acted. It is horrible to tell a boy to be something he is not. This act is not premised on mere chauvinism, or homophobia. Gays do it too. On dating sites, the term “straight acting,” is a badge of honor. The term “fem” is a scarlet letter. And nothing is worse than watching a bunch of gays around my age wear Abercrombie and Fitch sitting at a sports bar, acting out a fraternity life that they never had. I sit in the throes of ennui whenever I see fags pretend to be the very human waste that so terrified their childhood. And there I did it too, I said “fags.”

So why, why can’t I accept Frodo and Sam being gay? I mean with names like that, they should default to being homosexual. Am I a homophobe? Don’t be silly, I interned at Lambda Legal; I worked on the Iowa Marriage case. I have plenty of gay friends. I like Prada shoes and Gucci suits. I can’t be a homophobe. Surely, I am not Rick Santorum!

But Dear Reader, the sui generis of my denial, is this, it would make my role as a cat owner as part of the minority and I have led my life trying to be part of the majority. I once made a comment to a Partner at work, I was born American first, Republican second. On so many levels, that still holds true. I know enough about my culture. Dear Reader, if you have a hankering for dim sum, give me a call. You want to play mahjong, I will be your fourth. You want a Steven Chow movie, I have 12. But if you asked me, would I do tai-chi in public, I would tell you to go to hell. In fact, I have a special scorn for those who look at me as if I am Asian first; in fact, I have no patience for “Rice Queens” (white males who are chemically attracted to Asians).

You have to like me for all the things that make me uniquely American – or at least Westernized – or even better, the characteristics that make me superior to most people. I am able to wield the tax code like a machete, can a FOB do that? No! I am a lawyer that practices common law – can a FOB do that? No, he is a communist! I am going to spend 5% of my disposable income at Borders this year, will a FOB do that? No, there is no Hello Kitty. I am. I am. I am… part of the mainstream. Fuck you if you think I am weird. My cats can’t be gay! My yearning to be a normal cat owner goes against my aversion to gays who act like frat boys. Aren’t they just scratching an itch to be part of the mainstream? Well guess what, at my age, you should move up to couture. I look down at you and your attire purchased at a mall.


“Your cat’s are gay” translates to “That is weird.” I am not weird. I am part of the mainstream. I am better than most people. My cats can’t be gay. And that is my problem, it is one of pride. I was injured when my Mom acted most undiplomatically during the revelation that I liked men. I expected her to say “That is fine. I love my son regardless. Plus I have always known – he has a lot of black shoes.” But she flipped out, “He can’t be gay!” I don’t think my mom is Rick Santorum. I just injured her pride.

Note #1: I love my cats. Ask anyone. I treat them better than I treat myself.

Note #2: I love Peter and Scott, even if they prefer Grindr over Big Bang Theory. I love them more than I love myself; but maybe not my cats.