In a Panic over Homosexual Panic
Tulchinsky, Karen X., Herizons
Can we talk here?
Because I'd like to talk about homosexual panic(1). I mean, what exactly is homosexual panic?
Is homosexual panic like when you're walking down the street and you realize you're going to be late for work and you just missed the Number 3 bus and there won't be another one for half an hour, and then you remember there's a bus strike on and there won't be another bus coming like, forever and so you have a mini-nervous breakdown, loud and dramatically right at the corner of Davie and Bute, with style and melodrama, like only a homosexual could?
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Or is homosexual panic when you're at the dyke bar and you see a gorgeous girl across the room, but you're having a bad hair day, and things haven't been going well at work, and your self esteem is kind of in the toilet, and you're dying to talk to her, maybe even buy her a beer, but you can't think of anything witty or charming to say, and you spend the next hour working up the nerve to actually walk across the dark, strobe lit, smoky bar when some other dyke approaches her, throws an arm over her shoulder casually, makes her laugh, asks her to dance and you watch them out there on the dance floor, the two of them. They're dancing to your favourite song and they're really going at it, bumping and grinding and you know in that moment there's no hope for you, now or ever. So you turn to your best buddy and without a word you lay your head on her shoulder and you cry. You just cry. Is that homosexual panic?
Or is homosexual panic when you've invited 14 people over for Pride Day brunch and you've promised to make your famous free-range egg and three-cheese souffle and you set the alarm for seven so you can take the little boat across to the Public Market on Granville Island for organic veggies and fresh goat cheese and you spend all morning chopping, sauteeing and marinating all the ingredients just so, and everyone's waiting at the dining room table, a champagne and orange juice in hand and you've bragged to them all week about your famous free-range egg and three-cheese souffle and you go back to the kitchen and open the oven to discover your souffle has fallen over and is as flat as a pancake? And you just know you can't face your friends now, so you sink down to the kitchen floor and collapse in a puddle of defeat? Is that homosexual panic?
Or is homosexual panic when your mother phones to tell you the good news: your baby sister is engaged and isn't it wonderful? And she wants you to come to the wedding and be a bridesmaid, but the last time you wore a dress was in Grade 3 and if you were to put one on now, you would never make it into the women's washroom without a fight, because in a dress you look more like Jack Lemmon in drag in Some Like it Hot, than you do like a bridesmaid. …