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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Do I Sound Gay?

Posted by on Wed, May 28, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Some gay men have complicated feelings about their speaking voices. They'll tell you they can't stand listening to themselves on tape because "they sound so gay." Some gay men have complicated jerky feelings about the speaking voices of other gay men. They'll tell you that they spotted a hot guy at the club/the gym/the park and they were totally into him—until they guy started talking. "He opened his mouth and a purse fell out," they usually say.

Me? I do not have a problem with guys who sound gay. I actually like the gay voice. I mean... I like like it. I think gay voices are sexy. (I could binge watch an entire season of Project Runway with my eyes closed and still enjoy it.) I could blame my preference for gay voices on lousy gaydar—"gay accents help me spot other gay men!"—but my gaydar is excellent. The real reason gay voices and other overt manifestations of gayness appeal to me, I think, is because they're so paradoxically masculine. The only openly gay kid at my Catholic high school in the early 1980s would roller skate into school every morning wearing satin short-shorts and a mesh tank top. He wasn't afraid of the homophobic jocks at St. Greg's. The jocks were afraid of him. I wanted to be him.


The subject of the gay voice—where it comes from, why some gay men have them and some don't, whether they're an affectation or our authentic voices—doesn't just fascinate gay men. I'm constantly getting letters at "Savage Love" from straight people who have questions about the gay voice. Documentary filmmaker David Thorpe decided to explore the topic and he's currently raising funds to finish his feature-length film. If you want to hear how David Sedaris, George Takei, Tim Gunn, and I all feel about our voices—and hear what scientists and speech therapists and historians have to say about gay voices—help David finish his film.


Comments (77) RSS

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Callie 1
The broken link says "oh my goodness." I was really confused after reading the headline and then that, thinking they were connected before realizing it's simply a broken link.
Posted by Callie on May 28, 2014 at 9:49 AM · Report this
Fortunate 2
I'm with you Dan. Gay guys who "sound gay" are hella sexy. I like guys who have at least some obvious stereotypical gay characteristics. I love the inherent contradiction, that a guy can have stereotypical gay traits and still be manly, which most are in their own ways.

Yep, give me a guy who's engine runs with a little sugar in the tank. I'd take that any day over some guy who feels the need to refer to himself as "straight acting".

Gay voice = sexy voice.
Posted by Fortunate on May 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 3
Rock Hudson didn't sound gay. Ian McKellen doesn't sound gay. Stephen Fry doesn't sound gay. Need I go on?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on May 28, 2014 at 10:06 AM · Report this
My favorite gay voice belongs to Kenji Yoshino, the constitutional law professor at NYU, who is often a guest of Rachel Maddow. I'm a straight female, but listening to him talk is like licking Nutella off a big spoon.
Posted by originalcinner on May 28, 2014 at 10:06 AM · Report this
San Francisco native Greg Proops admits he sounds gay, yet he isn't. Is he going to be in David Thorpe's documentary?
Posted by this too will be ignored on May 28, 2014 at 10:11 AM · Report this
Fortunate 6
Pope? Go on about what? No one said that every gay guy had a gay voice.

Although I disagree about McKellen. Although he can do straight just fine when acting, in his regular speaking voice he definitely has at least a touch of the gay.
Posted by Fortunate on May 28, 2014 at 10:13 AM · Report this
seandr 7
Bill Burr has a hilarious bit about how it doesn't matter where you're from - Texas, the Deep South, New York, Boston - the "gay accent" is basically the same.
Posted by seandr on May 28, 2014 at 10:26 AM · Report this
What are your thoughts on straight guys (married to, or date, women, seem to love them and love having sex with them) who sound totally gay? If not every gay man has the gay voice, could a (truly) straight man have a not-straight voice?
Posted by lovett1979 on May 28, 2014 at 10:33 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 9
Stephen Fry and Ian McKellan both have a touch of the gay.

But, foreign accents tend to jam my gaydar.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 28, 2014 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Interesting, because I think of that type of voice as more hipster/millennial, not gay. You know, the whole vocal "upturn" thing so popular with the youngsters these days.
Posted by Jen7 on May 28, 2014 at 10:38 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 11
And, just because you are gay, remember: You too can win on The Bachelorette!

(No, seriously, how could she not realize how many of the 2nd round are?)
Posted by Will in Seattle on May 28, 2014 at 10:46 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 12
@9 has a good point - but is this a male thing? I'm not as aware of female voice differences (but then maybe women notice them, not straight men)
Posted by Will in Seattle on May 28, 2014 at 10:48 AM · Report this
@5, hopefully he is in the documentary. That would be interesting. But you phrase that as if you're catching someone in a deceitful action. As do a couple of other posters here. Sad that something as innocuous as a documentary simply exploring a topic a lot of people might be interested in would stir up that kind of thing.
Posted by g on May 28, 2014 at 10:54 AM · Report this
I'll add to that: if Thorpe doesn't end up exploring straight-identified people with "gay" voices, he's just decided to focus his film elsewhere. You're not "catching" him at doing something wrong. Make your own documentary about straight guys who are taken as gay...I'll throw a few bucks at that one too.
Posted by g on May 28, 2014 at 10:56 AM · Report this
Los_del_Mango 15
Oh, that looks interesting. As a straight guy with relatively little access to the gay community (I'm in Cornwall, most of the gay people I know around here can't find the local gay community either) the 'gay voice' is something I've always found interesting but have been reluctant to ask about - through fear of either offending someone by suggesting they 'sound gay', that the person might find the notion of the 'gay voice' itself a homophobic stereotype, or that it might be somewhere around 'nature/nurture' territory (when you don't really know about an issue, you don't know about the follow-on issue either).

Not much in the wallet at the moment but I'll try and put a few pounds into the KS before it finishes.
Posted by Los_del_Mango on May 28, 2014 at 10:57 AM · Report this
@5, I realize I'm reading attitude entirely from your sign-off "this too will be ignored" which might be a totally innocuous reference to something I'm not picking up on. In which case I apologize!
Posted by g on May 28, 2014 at 10:59 AM · Report this
Confluence 17

Now *this* is a question I want answered. It's almost worse for the straight guy with a non-manly or gay voice. Because dude gets persecuted from all sides - the homophobes, the libs who are pissed at him for being "closeted", and the ladies who are generally turned off by it. Poor guy doesn't get a break.


"Foreign accents" sound gay?? Holy shit you live in a bubble. Were you aware that your American accent makes you sound dumb? True story.
Posted by Confluence on May 28, 2014 at 11:11 AM · Report this
I don't like the sound of my voice, whether it sounds gay or not, I don't know. The content of what someone says is more important to me than the way it sounds. That being said, I would much rather have a man with some gay characteristics than a "straight" seeming man. Having dated some, I always felt a bit odd with them - like I was dating someone who was pretending to be who they weren't.... Tho that's probably my own hang-up.
Posted by Get friggin real on May 28, 2014 at 11:13 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 19
@17 I didn't say they sound gay, fucking idiot. I say they jam my gaydar. If I'm listening for the gay voice, an accent makes it more difficult. That's what a jamming signal is.

Do you know how stupid you sound when you put words in people's mouths? Were you aware your brain makes you sound dumb to other people? True story.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 28, 2014 at 11:17 AM · Report this
venomlash 20
@15: I'd just like to say that I think it's cool that someone has a picture of Vyvyan Basterd as his profile pic.
Posted by venomlash on May 28, 2014 at 11:17 AM · Report this
nocutename 21
Ira Glass. 'Nuff said.
Posted by nocutename on May 28, 2014 at 11:17 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 22
This would be at least as interesting as the Chris Rock "Black Hair" doc. Which was fascinating - I had an inkling, but wow.
Posted by Max Solomon on May 28, 2014 at 11:18 AM · Report this
@9: when Ellen Page came out, my first reaction was "Oh, well of course - she *speaks* like a lesbian."

However -- although there is academic literature on sociolinguistic markers of gay speech among men, there's precious little that I or my colleagues can find about gay speech among women. It's a gap in the literature that could be relatively easily filled (modulo the fact that collecting data about people's sexual orientation classifies your study as high-risk in the eyes of an IRB), but I don't do sociolinguistics.
Posted by TheLurker on May 28, 2014 at 11:21 AM · Report this
It's never occurred to me that Ira Glass sounds gay. I always have heard him as nerdy east coast intellectual voice.
Posted by g on May 28, 2014 at 11:22 AM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 25
I love guys who exhibit a subtle blend of masculine and feminine, not too extreme either way.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH on May 28, 2014 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Fortunate 26
Ira Glass sounds totally gay. I was very dissapointed when I found out he wasn't. Even before I ever saw what he looked like. His voice makes me melt.
Posted by Fortunate on May 28, 2014 at 11:30 AM · Report this
Gaydar question--mine is terrible, being a straight woman, but is George W. Bush gay (as long as Dan is linking to Republican politicians)? Little things seem to indicate it to me, like the fact that he was a cheerleader. And the way he put his hands on Angela Merkel. I'm not saying that all gay men are grabby at the ladies, but there's a certain hairdresser assumption of harmlessness that makes some a little more hands on (e.g. Isaac Mizrahi - Scarlett Johansson). And that White House "reporter", what was his name, Jeff Gannon. And that whole "Mission Accomplished" YMCA getup. And Laura Bush complaining that she hadn't got any in decades. And the self-drawn nudes now that he's retired.
Posted by Marrena on May 28, 2014 at 11:44 AM · Report this
Posted by Mr. Happy Sunshine on May 28, 2014 at 11:47 AM · Report this
debug 29
I don't get gay from Ira's voice at all, just stereotypical "New York Jewish Guy" (although his Wiki page says he grew up in Baltimore - same diff).
Posted by debug on May 28, 2014 at 11:53 AM · Report this
nocutename 30
Fortunate: His voice makes me melt, too. When I first used to listen to him, I assumed he was gay, and I was terribly disappointed. Then I found out he was straight, only to find out simultaneously that he is happily married. Disappointed again.
Posted by nocutename on May 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM · Report this
nocutename 31
There does seem to be some crossover between "gay voice" and "highly cultured or east coast-ish Jewish guy voice." Both are the voices of men who weren't playing sports, though in fact the guys may have.
Posted by nocutename on May 28, 2014 at 12:12 PM · Report this
I'm fascinated by the "gay list" or whatever you want to call it; and how it relates to other codes, such as "talking black", and why it is that one is deemed workplace-acceptable and the other is a workplace-dealbreaker.
Posted by fetish on May 28, 2014 at 12:14 PM · Report this
I just hope it doesn't get assimilated out of us.
Posted by vennominon on May 28, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
mikethehammer 34
I'm a straight guy who spent a few years in adolescence attending 20 minute speech therapy sessions in order to (pretty unsuccessfully) address a lisp. Anyone else who's done so needs to immediately pick up a copy of Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris and read the State vs. Carolina essay about his experience with therapy. As much as he gets accused of perhaps exaggerating or embellishing his experiences, I gotta say his account here is pretty spot on and fucking hilarious. Probably the biggest impact it seemed to have had on either of us was to cause us to go out of our way to avoid using any S's in our everyday conversation. "Yes" becomes "correct", "super" becomes "great", and on and on. Wonderful recounting of the frequently bizarre experience.

I'm still occasionally hit on by guys at bars and especially when making my way through the gay neighborhoods down here in Portland. I always find it flattering, as most of the gay people I've known have been really interesting and cultured.
Posted by mikethehammer on May 28, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
nocutename 35
@32 (fetish): What is the "gay list?" Did you perhaps mean to write "gay lisp?"
I'm trying to picture the list and wondering if it is a good one, like the guest list Truman Capote had put together for the Black and White Ball, or more like Nixon's enemies list.
Posted by nocutename on May 28, 2014 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Fred Casely 36
@4: blech on the Nutella, but agreed on Kenji Yoshino. It doesn't hurt that he's smart, acccomplished, attractive and charming.

@9: my bf is Korean and has a significant accent. When speaking English he doesn't "sound gay" to me at all. But when he's on the phone with his Korean friends, it's another matter entirely. Which I don't mind in the least.
Posted by Fred Casely on May 28, 2014 at 12:43 PM · Report this
@8 Straight guys with gay voices exist! I met a guy here in my very liberal Canadian city who was here temporarily for work who had an extremely gay voice but was straight. And I don't think he's lying or closeted - he used to live in San Francisco, came here for work temporarily and has a loving family who could not give fewer fucks about his sexuality. Also we had sex many times and I'm a lady.

He actually mentioned once how he was talking to a woman at a bus stop or something who assumed he was gay, and he was very shocked by that. I told him it was because of his voice, and he was surprised to hear that. I thought his voice was lovely and I really enjoyed listening to him (it helped that he was incredibly smart and very knowledgeable about a subject I find really interesting) but he had no idea that his voice was so gay.
Posted by KayElle on May 28, 2014 at 12:45 PM · Report this
I've always thought that women fall somewhere along the same scale as men do when it comes to speech style (how "girly" they talk, for lack of a better way to put it), although it seems to have less correlation with their actual sexual orientation. Female speakers who upturn the ends of all of their sentences and somehow feminize their pronunciation of consonants sound very similar to the "gay" male voice. But many women (not necessarily lesbian) have a more down-to-earth tone of voice. It's a personality thing more than an orientation thing.
Posted by secretchord on May 28, 2014 at 12:49 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 39
"He's Lyle, the Effeminate Heterosexual
He's so terribly conjectual.
Why he behaves that way, he's not gay!
He's just Lyle, he's swishy yes it's true
But he's as straight as me, and probably you!
The effeminate heterosexual
No use getting intellectual
Because nobody knows why
He runs like a girl, he throws like a girl,
Walks like a girl, talks like a girl
He's Lyle and I'll tell you so help me
He's all guy"
Posted by Max Solomon on May 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM · Report this
I don't get the Ira Glass thing at all. He doesn't ping my 'dar in the slightest. Stephen Fry, on the other hand, definitely sounds gay (in the same way that I would have expected Oscar Wilde to sound, accents aside).
Posted by originalcinner on May 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM · Report this
@35 haha, yes, "lisp". I guess that's a wrong term, when usually we mean "affect"
Posted by fetish on May 28, 2014 at 1:09 PM · Report this
seandr 42
@fetish: why it is that one is deemed workplace-acceptable and the other is a workplace-dealbreaker.

Read "Authority and American Usage" by David Foster Wallace. It's brilliant.

A primary function of vernacular and dialects such as teen slang and Ebonics is to signal that one is not a member of mainstream culture. And it works. So, if you have a mainstream job, it's hard to be effective if everything you say includes the implicit footnote "I am not like you people, and I reject your values."

The gay accent, in contrast, isn't really about rebelling against mainstream culture. It basically just says "I'm gay".
Posted by seandr on May 28, 2014 at 1:41 PM · Report this
I'm more self conscious about my gay walk!!!! I run like a total sissy.
Posted by LukeJoe on May 28, 2014 at 1:55 PM · Report this
Tom Sackett 44
I'm just hoping for a revival of Polari:
Posted by Tom Sackett on May 28, 2014 at 2:01 PM · Report this
Looks interesting, and have contributed £20. I don't think anyone has explored this properly before.
Posted by St Thomas on May 28, 2014 at 2:31 PM · Report this
@44 That takes me right back. My economics teacher in high school used to play us recordings of Julian and Sandy as a special treat, the week after exams finished.
Posted by originalcinner on May 28, 2014 at 2:50 PM · Report this
Tom Sackett 47
@46 I think you can hear all the "Round the Horne" episodes (featuring the Julian and Sandy skits) here:…

The BBC iPlayer website has one Kenneth Horne radio show episode per week. Right now, they're doing "Beyond Our Ken". Kenneth Williams is in the show, but not the Julian and Sandy skits. In a few months they should switch to "Round the Horne".
Posted by Tom Sackett on May 28, 2014 at 3:02 PM · Report this
Cat in fez 48
This looks fascinating. I am really curious about where that voice comes from, especially seeing so many guys talk about having that intonation as children, when I assume they couldn't have picked up, in that era, a strong idea that "this is what gay guys sound like."

Aaaaand now I'm wondering if I have a "lesbian" voice. I want that documentary too!
Posted by Cat in fez on May 28, 2014 at 4:37 PM · Report this
@22: Thanks for the recommendation, I just watched it. Absolutely fascinating.

I honestly think people are looking at the wrong thing when they speculate that gay voice is due to gay guys emulating adult women. I think it has much more to do with their peers. Little girls who are tomboys and hang out with all guys probably develop more masculine speech patterns- I know I have. The girls who hang out almost exclusively with other girls have girlier speech patterns, as do the boys who hang out with only girls. The boys who hang out only with boys end up with brospeak, while people who have both female and male friends when they're little probably end up with neither super-butch nor super-femme speech patterns.

It think it's in middle school that the boys with feminine speech patterns start getting made fun of, so they probably start butching it up. I don't think this happens to girls at all, because a masculine voice is considered more authoritative. So girls just never get noticed for having a masculine speech pattern- in fact, girls much more likely to get made fun of for the same thing as gay guys.
Posted by alguna_rubia on May 28, 2014 at 4:40 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 50
Those interested (sexually) in Ira Glass's voice should Google "Ira Glass sex tape".
Posted by MacCrocodile on May 28, 2014 at 5:22 PM · Report this
nocutename 51
Thank you, MacCrocodile! That was wonderful.
Posted by nocutename on May 28, 2014 at 7:32 PM · Report this
Listening to the sound of your own voice, the way others hear it, whether it is a gay voice or not, is just a stunningly painful revelation that you don't fully control what you communicate, no matter the words you use.

That's why I hate it. I feel underminded by the fact that it's not mine to control.

Posted by Racing Turtles on May 28, 2014 at 8:37 PM · Report this
YOU GUYS OKAY NO ONE HAS MENTIONED THAT CAT!!!!!! I hope the cat makes it into the film. What a great project.
Posted by The Cap'n on May 28, 2014 at 8:44 PM · Report this
Confluence 54
Ira Glass is straight as an arrow. Never once thought he was gay. Those of you who perceive him as gay, I suspect, are from the more hillbilly parts of the nation where, apparently, men fit into just two categories: (1) thick-necked grunting bros or (2) sissy gay boys. East coast intellectuals like him--straight as an arrow-- are all over the place in major urban centers. Very happy to have been raised in a cultured urban center with diversity and sophistication instead of trailer-park Amurka. There's a reason we call it fly-over country.
Posted by Confluence on May 29, 2014 at 1:30 AM · Report this
I find gay voices unattractive because it makes me assume that being gay is the only part of their personality. I find that uninteresting. I'm sure I'm not the manlyist sounding person on the planet because I have a slightly wider than average vocabulary, but I just don't believe in making being gay my personality. I also just kind of dislike stereotypes to a certain degree, especially when it gets to the point that everyone else seems to expect you to act in a certain way that members of a minority group are "supposed to act in." The worst is when gay people look down on you because you don't "act gay" enough. Which happens more often then you'd think. Being gay is a sexuality, not a personality and I refused to be forced into, by gays or straights, to act or talk in a certain way. Not saying that this documentary is doing that. But there is my rant and explanation.
Posted by TyBaum on May 29, 2014 at 2:07 AM · Report this
sissoucat 56
As a hetero woman foreigner, I don't notice much "the gay voice" in the video. And I've met several normal-life gays in my country and their voices were nothing telling to me.

In past works of fiction, the gay characters did have a very effeminate voice and obvious mannerisms, but I've always thought that was just satire/homophobia at work there, and a mannerism some current-day gays would pick up as a way to make a statement, but not their normal voice. So I appear to be dumb to "the gay voice".

As for "girly talk" in grown women, I find it extremely irritating, and I associate it unavoidably to bottomless idiocy and stringent pettiness. I do have high-pitched female friends, but no girly-talking ones. I steer clear of those.
Posted by sissoucat on May 29, 2014 at 2:29 AM · Report this
I've noticed something. Not sure if it's confirmation bias or really a thing.

of all the people that make the grammatical mistake of using "I" where they should be using "me" (eg. "between you and I", "give the report to John and I"), it seems that gay men are hugely over represented.

There's a linguistic term for this, but it slips my mind and I don't feel like looking it up. Basically, it's a form of overcompensation. You're told as a kid never to say "Me and John are going to play", so some people take from that, "never say me".

I think this is related to the subject of this article. Some gay men are overly conscious of their voice and this spills into this very peculiar grammatical tick.

You do it too, Dan.
Posted by Doot on May 29, 2014 at 2:33 AM · Report this
sissoucat 58
@Doot :

I was taught in English class "I" was nominative and "me" was accusative, so that we should err towards using "I" whenever we would use "me" in our native French. Can't "between you and I" ever be the subject of a sentence ?

Posted by sissoucat on May 29, 2014 at 3:33 AM · Report this
Can you give an example of where "between you and I" would ever be the subject of a sentence? I can't think of one.

Between you and me, there is love.

"there" is the subject of the sentence.
Posted by Doot on May 29, 2014 at 5:02 AM · Report this
"Between you and I" is always wrong. The grammatical explanation is that "between" is a preposition, which is always followed by the object form of the pronoun (between me, you, him, her, us, them, etc.). If you would never say "between he and she" or "between we and they" then you should never say, "between you and I" or "between I and you." If you can substitute "he/she/we" then use"I." If you can substitute "him/her/us" then use "me." -Former English teacher.
Posted by TaniaZ on May 29, 2014 at 5:08 AM · Report this
The linguistics podcast 'Talk the Talk' did an episode on this last week (Ep. 164). Worth checking out if you are interested in this concept.
Posted by Kitsune chan on May 29, 2014 at 6:07 AM · Report this
The Beatles 62
@54: I'd rather live in fly-over country than have a fly-over brain.
Posted by The Beatles on May 29, 2014 at 6:35 AM · Report this
nocutename 63
@54 (Confluence): I'm from the Bay Area, raised amongst Jewish left-wing, opera-and-theater-going, New York intellectuals (albeit on the West Coast), and I know plenty of straight men who don't sound like grunting cavemen. And while Ira Glass didn't give off any kind of sexual vibe to me via the radio, his voice sounded effeminate to me, which is what I guess is meant by the "gay voice."

Sorry that I clash with your incredibly snobby, elitist, condescending theory about who could hear Glass as sounding gay.
Posted by nocutename on May 29, 2014 at 7:39 AM · Report this
nocutename 64
@57 (Doot): I've never heard Dan say "between you and I;" rather, he ends his podcast by saying the equally grammatically incorrect "me and the tech-savvy, at-risk youth will be back . . ." This should be "I and the tech-savvy, at-risk youth," but that sounds a bit affected, and perhaps Dan wants to avoid a schoolmarmish air. It could also correctly be "The tech-savvy, at-risk youth and I will be back . . . " which sounds less pretentious (and which I would prefer).

I suspect Dan does it deliberately to be more colloquial and appear less formal. And of course, once it was pointed out that he was using an incorrect construction, he was going to make absolutely sure to continue using it. Because he's kind of like that on occasion. Between you and me, it's fine with me if he wants to be a bit of a dick, but I also wish he would sound like someone with a middle-school education. But hey, it's his podcast.
Posted by nocutename on May 29, 2014 at 8:00 AM · Report this
I'm surprised Dan didn't talk about this project on the free version of the Lovecast instead of the Magnum, since he's in the film. Or post about it a few days earlier. I only saw this the day before the deadline. Only 1 more day to get 14K or they get nothing.
Posted by KCFrance on May 29, 2014 at 8:23 AM · Report this
Fortunate 66
@54, I'm born and bred in New York, and now have spent almost half my life in San Francisco. Ira has a certain quality to the timbre of his voice, and a certain inflection that a lot of gay guys have. It has nothing to do with his being an East coast intellectual. Hell, half the guys I dated before moving to SF were East coast intellectuals, and most of them didn't sound half as gay as Ira does.

Never suggested that made him gay or that he wasn't really straight. Just that his voice has characteristics common among a lot of gay men. And I say that as an East coast, NY born and raised, current resident of the gayest city in the country who has been pretty much surrounded by gay guys since I was 15.

In other words, fuck you.
Posted by Fortunate on May 29, 2014 at 8:49 AM · Report this
He says it all the time.

As an experiment, I did a video search of 'dan savage' and clicked a random link. I'm listening to a long conversation now between Dan Savage and Andrew Sullivan.

Dan just said that someone obviously hadn't "read my book about Terry and I"
Posted by Doot on May 29, 2014 at 9:10 AM · Report this
James6 68
#57: it's called hypercorrection.

Posted by James6 on May 29, 2014 at 9:11 AM · Report this
nocutename 69
@67: So he does both. But I think from different motivations, and perhaps the hypercorrection is unconscious. That is, he is unaware he's using the construction incorrectly. Whereas he is quite aware that "me and ______will be__________" is incorrect, not least because he's played at least one phone call response chiding him for it.

I don't know that the kind of hypercorrection you talk about is disproportionately used by gay men. I hear it all the time. It would make for an interesting study.
Posted by nocutename on May 29, 2014 at 9:41 AM · Report this
using 'me' when you should use 'I' is way less annoying than using 'I' when you should be using 'me', to my ear anyway, I think because you have to learn and practise it.

Kids naturally use 'me' instead of "I", but to use "I" instead of "me" requires practise and self-training.
Posted by Doot on May 29, 2014 at 9:46 AM · Report this
When my husband and I are watching television and someone misuses either "I" or "me," we both compulsively correct the speaker (who, being on television, never hears us and therfore never takes the correction).

Of course, I'm an English teacher, and he's a former French teacher, so we tend to be sticklers for grammatical detail.

And we both have gay voices.
Posted by Clayton on May 29, 2014 at 9:50 AM · Report this
brandon 72
I think my reservations about gay voice have more to do with pitch. The gay accent is fine, but when a guy has a high pitched voice (like Chris Crocker) it just kills it for me. I can't say why, but it just does. Project Runway related example: Christian Siriano, no, Christopher Palu, Yes.

Posted by brandon on May 29, 2014 at 3:53 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 73
I was pretty sure that all the straight dudes on that "str8 dudes learn about Grindr" video that was up on SLOG a couple weeks ago were gay, except for maybe one.
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on May 29, 2014 at 5:51 PM · Report this
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on May 29, 2014 at 5:52 PM · Report this
@71: Clayton, I love you.
Posted by clashfan on May 30, 2014 at 7:39 AM · Report this
I vaguely remember during the Clinton presidency hearing Mr C utter a sentence using "I" when it should have been "me" and about a week later seeing a column or hearing someone on an upmarket talk show explain how that sentence was structurally close to some other sentence in which "I" would have been acceptable. As the pundit in question might have been Mr Buckley and if not was someone with views similar to his, I can recall that it wasn't political upsucking, but don't really remember details.

Back in the days when being at my place of work meant hearing Dr Schlessinger's programme when not engaged on the telephone, I found considerable compensation in noting that I never heard a call in which the caller began the question with the infamous phrase, "Me and my husband..." as the subject of the opening sentence (it was almost in the class of fairy tales starting with, "Once upon a time...") that left me taking the caller's side. Nor did I when it began, "Me and my wife..." but that happened much less frequently. I must admit, though, that this was all before 2004, and I would not have objected to hearing either incorrect phrase used by half of a legally married same-sex couple just to hear how the call would have gone if it weren't terminated at once.

Ms Cute @64 - You seem to imply that "I & TSARY" and "TSARY & I" would be equally correct. But isn't it just as bad when one has a joint subject in more than one person to put them in the wrong order as it is to mix up subject with object? Or is it merely uncouth not to put a first person pronoun last? I think I used to know the exact rank a person has to hold at which it becomes proper to put a third person subject before a second person subject, but, not having cause to mingle with aristocracy, I'm sure I'd always use the construction, "You, Mr Savage and I hold remarkably similar opinions on the issue." Second person first; first person last.
Posted by vennominon on May 30, 2014 at 3:15 PM · Report this
sissoucat 77
@Doot and TaniaZ : thanks, I learned something.
Posted by sissoucat on June 5, 2014 at 5:03 AM · Report this

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