Friday, February 16, 2007

something cultural

I saw an interesting discussion over at 2Blowhards entitled "Taste and Aesthetics: Gay or Not-Gay?" which has probably aged down into their archives by now.
In it, Michael Blowhard wonders why appreciation for art and aesthetics, whether it be opera, painting, dance, food, dress, or decoration is frequently seen as gay in American culture. I got to thinking about the whole thing a bit from the only perspective to which I can bring credibility- that is to say the purely personal and anectdotal.

First, a disclaimer: gay- nothing wrong with that. A-ok, do what you want with whichever person you want (who has attained their majority). Get a civil union, health benefits, tax breaks or penalties, no problem.
Second, a disclaimer: I have no complaints, I just think all of this is amusing.

So, anyway,
speaking from my own experience, in seventeen years or so of adult dating I haven't found aesthetic appreciation or (I flatter myself) sophistication to be particularly useful as a tool for garnering feminine attention.
I can't really speak to art. My knowledge is mostly limited to a few college classes. I've been to a few museums and like some photography, non-abstract painting, and non-abstract sculpture. I like some folk are quite a bit. However, my knowlege base is small and my vocabulary limited. In this way, my Philistine credentials are good.
On the other hand, I live in a city where you will see jeans in almost any restaurant. For work, I wear a suit nearly every day. It trickles down, my dress will generally be a bit more formal on social occasions than most of the crowd. More importantly, my shoes are polished and my belt matches them. My shirts have neither holes nor stains and are tucked, my gig line is straight and I generally follow the guidelines set out by Michael Flusser.
I've accumulated nice furniture and put some thought into what goes into my house in terms of color and coordination. I own china and will serve you on it. I like wine and know a very little bit about it. I cook, to my mind and reportedly, well. I also cook frequently, feeding myself on a daily basis and friends regularly.
While women have expressed some appreciation for the above, particularly cooking, I gotten a bit of an impression that they'd rather raise up or civilize a fellow who dresses terribly and lives in squalor on canned sphagetti. That impression has been elevated by listening to comments between women, many of whom seem to take a joy in the "my significant other is so clueless in the kitchen/dressing/decorating department" conversation that has no parallel I've encountered among men.
While some of us might thing of Cary Grant as a template for masculine appearance and manners, I think Russel Crowe has a bit more currancy. Pity.
I've actually been told on a couple of occasions that I would have been assumed to be gay, but for the fact that I fish & hunt. Since I'm not a sports fan, the blood sports may be the only thing saving my heterosexuality. Strange, that. I've a gay friend who is a rabid baseball fan, I don't know that his knowledge and enthusiasm has given him "straight cred".
A related but interesting topic: why is fps, sectional density, and discussion of actions and ballistics (guns) or scents, calls, and camoflauge (hunting) not gay?


Steve Bodio said...

Could it be partly generational, ie age- related? I am 56, a bit of a "redneck Luddite" as you describe below.I live in a small NM town.

But: I grew up in a big city, more or less, amongst the civilized, and count myself so. More to the point, I own four suits, a tux, and many sport jackets, have good silver, pride myself on cookery (including game) etc. My parents were artists.

I wear sport jackets if not ties on planes. I wear real shoes.

My wife (and previous wives (;-) seem to enjoy me. And my rancher friends of my own age seem to think my eastern birth odder than my other tastes and opinions...

More to think about but those are a few thoughts.

mdmnm said...

Hey Steve,
I'm just north of you, in the big city. It might well be generational. I don't think culture has run any girlfriends off- I'll blame myself rather than the china. Reading the bit on 2Blowhards, I was just surprised to the extent that cultured seems to have become not only effete but gay.