This post originally appeared on November 27, 2007
I’ve never been one of those gays who think that everyone I meet is gay or wants desperately to be gay. I’m one of those gays who gets that there are straight people in the world and (in case you’re wondering) it’s okay with me (that’s a joke, people). So I surprised myself when recently thumbing through one of my favorite catalogs, Red Envelope. I wasn’t surprised so much by what I saw but my reaction to it. I love this catalog because of the items but as an old professional department store gift wrap boy from way back, a lot has to do with the presentation of sending items that arrive in a red box with a red envelope that tells a story about the gift you’re giving. Love it! (If you don’t know about this catalog, visit them at www.redenvelope.com <now called Personal Creations, ugh> and fall in love) The thing is that as I was flipping through doing my own version of watching fireworks (I like to “ooh” and “ahh” out loud as I see things I like to make the catalog experience more interactive) I came across one ad with two women and then an ad with two men and a little girl and suddenly all I could think was that the marketing people for this catalog had found a very subtle way to let us gays know we were being represented. “Hmmm” I thought. Could it be that it has finally happened? Have I begun to see the world through gay colored glasses? – Don’t Get Me Started!
Once again I need to reiterate that I never really think of myself as someone who is looking for gay subtext in every movie or news article yet here I was (perhaps projecting because it’s a white guy and black guy on the one page like me and my partner – although we have no daughter unless you count our one female cat and come on, I’m not one of those people who run around talking about my cats like they’re my children. Well okay, not to other people, only to my mate when he’s out of town and I have to say, “You should see what your daughter got into today.” Okay, dammit, I’m a sicky sick animal lover like those I make fun of okay I admit it. Is that what you wanted to hear?) But the more I looked at these pages I was like, “Come on, if these people aren’t gay, they get my vote for the gayest non-gay people ever to appear in a catalog!”
There’s a practical side of me that knows that it probably was a gay marketing person in their own modest way trying to represent us gays and at the same time not offend. After all, these models are pictured on other pages with enough people to make you say, “Are they with the man or the woman?” or “Okay, that’s the father, that’s the mother…but is that the sister or the luvah?” And then there’s another part of me that knows many of you are wondering why the hell I’m spending so much time worrying about the relationships of the models in a catalog, right? I honestly don’t know but I guess it’s like wondering who the person is in the frame you bought at the store that has the stock photo in it. I had some friends years ago who decorated their home with frames that came with photos of people they found attractive and/or interesting. It was always a hoot when someone would ask them, “Who is that?” And they would answer, “I have no idea. He came with the frame and we came just looking at him so he’s a part of the family now. Or at least the den!”
I want to believe that deep down inside I’m open-minded and not one of those gays that cringe at straight people (or the thought of women and their private parts) and I know that I am but then how to explain the thought that the gays are taking over the pages of a catalog that doesn’t come with a rainbow anywhere in it, men’s underwear or a cock ring? I have no answers only questions.
Maybe there is a part of me that wishes my guy and I were the guys in this catalog, fawning over a child that is ours? We don’t have a life that was meant for children with all the travel we both do for work but as you grow older whether you’re a man or a woman there’s a biological clock ticking for some of us. So perhaps if I can’t have it in life I can at least see that it exists on the pages of one of my favorite catalogs. So whether or not they meant it that way, I just want to say, “Thank you, Red Envelope.” And as I get older and need glasses to see more and more anyway, I’ll resolve myself to the fact that it’s okay to see the world through my own gay colored glasses! – Don’t Get Me Started!