Monday, March 15, 2010

Queer Bro Code

I think I can make a blanket statement about this blog: you all have friends-that-are-gay. Or lesbian. Or bisexual. Or transgender. Or just some branch of the queer community. And this is obviously not a bad thing. Particularly because one of those friends-that-are-lesbian is writing this thing.

Society in general, at least in the US, is at a strange point in time. A lot of men are coming to terms with the word "bromance", or, according to Urban Dictionary (I know, my sources are awesome), "a highly formed friendship between male friends." This type of relationship has been exemplified in Hollywood, particularly with the film I Love You, Man, in which a guy that has never really had a guy best friend acquires one while on a mission to find a best man for his wedding. If you haven't seen it, you really should. Just saying. While this movie is not particularly revolutionary, it has certainly exemplified the changing times and attitudes about two dudes caring about each other- not in a romantic way, but in just a friend kind of way that most people assumed could only be attained by by straight women, or maybe a straight woman and a gay man.

Now that bromances are okay, and girlmances (I guess that's the term?) have always been acceptable, it's now time for society to discuss the dynamic of straight people and their gay friends. Which, according to the New York Times, can get crazy complicated. Its introduction discussed the relationship between American Idol runner up Adam Lambert, who is gay, and winner for that season, Kris Allen, who is straight. If you haven't really listened to me talk about these two-affectionately called Kradam-here's a primer: Adam and Kris were roommates in the Idol mansion and Adam, obviously able to tell that Kris was attractive, had a little crush on him. However, he was able to have a perfectly functioning friendship with Kris and they are obviously forever going to have a bond as an American Idol final two. New York Times, and a lot of other people, have applauded Kris for apparently overlooking Adam's flamboyance and what is apparently his faults as a gay man that had an attraction toward a guy that he knew wasn't going to lead him anywhere.

I'm not particularly sure of the sexuality of the article writer of this story, but the vibe that I got throughout it is that straight guys sacrifice so much being friends with gay men. They apparently put up with a lot of the possibilities of having a difficult relationship and the fact that they may lust after someone.

Little does the heteronormal world is pretty burdensome sometimes when they interact with us queers, too. Perhaps New York Times should have thought about making an article about the queer community and how we put up with a lot of things for our straight friends.

Keep in mind, that I absolutely adore my straight friends. They're awesome in their own unique way. However, while I know that my friends are heterosexual, I don't exactly use them as a novelty item. I don't run around proclaiming that I'm hanging out with "my straight friends." You guys are just people. I love you, but seriously. I know that the queer community's pretty interesting, but we still aren't novelty items. You can't collect us all. I understand that, especially when you're straight, you kind of feel compelled to prove yourself as a liberal-minded person, and almost need to collect people of various backgrounds to prove your difference. It's tempting to just mash all your friends together based on their identities- your queer friends, your black friends, your Asian friends, your biracial friends. But honestly? When you say that-when you call Adam "the gay one" and Kris "the straight one"-you're putting us in some sort of category we don't always want to be in. Okay, we get it, we might even shout it: we're here, we're queer. But when we're hanging out with our friends, we don't particularly need to go to pride parades and hang out in clubs. We actually like the same things that you do- be it shitty reality TV, or dancing in the rain, or maybe the feeling of wearing a warm fuzzy sweater. But we don't need to be known as a gay person that feels this way.

For example, the whole straight girl/gay guy dynamic. Okay, so there's a few stereotypes that are occasionally true in the gay community- a lot of gay men are in the art world. We can't deny it. A lot of guys like fashion and occasionally get pedicures and like Lady GaGa. But what straight people don't realize is that some gay guys just want to throw a hoodie, not even touch their feet, and not enjoy Lady GaGa (I know, that's hard to imagine that any person doesn't like GaGa, but it happens). However, girls feel the need to search for their gay and when they find it, they want to force their ways into their social life. Photos get taken, Facebook friend requests occur, and a lot of dialogue that results in, "Oh my God, my friend is gay, how cool is that?" But little do they know is that they're enforcing stereotypes that they idealize as an insta-best friend and don't even realize that it might not apply for some people, and they may be awesome people outside of it.

This idea of stereotyping can also be disastrous in terms of straight girls/lesbians. For some reason, we're not considered fun, because we're supposed to be these tough bulldykes that don't want to go to the mall. O, I'm sorry you feel that way? Contrary to popular belief, girls that like girls can be pretty all right. But for some reason, only Ellen Degeneres can be a fun lesbian, and the rest of us are just kind of angry at the world girls that like girls. But, to be honest, I've been able to surround myself with awesome straight girls that look past the whole "Oh, you like girls" part. They're all amazing and supportive and I absolutely adore them. But that doesn't mean that the idea still exists.

The dynamic that I've had the most interaction with, seeing as though I mostly hang out with these people, and I'm a lesbian myself, is the straight guy/lesbian dynamic. They dynamic is very similar to the straight girl/gay guy dynamic in the sense that the girl is attached with a lot of expectations. As a lesbian, I'm basically considered a "bro", for lack of a better term. I'm supposed to be able to play video games, talk about girls, and give them insight into the lesbian world. But, in all honesty, that's exhausting. I'm not the expert of the lesbian world. And don't be shocked when I'm looking for the same exact thing you're looking for, either. I'm not the spokesperson for the lesbian world, either. What I'm looking for in a girl might not be what other people are looking for, either. And that gets pretty frustrating. I don't look at my guy friends and expect them to be the representatives of the straight community. These expectations ruin relationships and just make me bummed out of my mind when talking to people.

So what have we learned today? Queer people are like everyone else. They're pretty fun times in general. If people would stop constantly categorizing them in situations that are irrelevant to sexuality, we could all get along a little easier.

Here, have a photo of GaGa cookies for your time:

If you want to say anything, please leave it in the comments.

BTW I do not own any of the photos featured in this post. I hope they amuse you nonetheless.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Status Update 101

I've had a Twitter for over a year now. I only got one, because a lot of my friends from Livejournal started to get them. I liked the idea of being able to just have a site that is basically status updates, so I didn't have to read ridiculously long blog posts to figure out what my friends were up to. I also liked that a lot of bands/celebrities/whatevers were getting them, too, so I could know what AFI was up to in their vague updates about their upcoming album. Then newstations began to be aware of it, and proceeded to tell people about the site, resulting in even my little brother getting an account (awkward). But, whatever. It's a lot of fun and I've gotten Adam Lambert's bassist (the guy that made out with him on national television) to say that he was a free bitch.

After a year of tweeting, I've gotten pretty good at it. I can put quite a bit of emotion in 140 characters. I'm not always brilliant (I have over 6,000 tweets, I had to have flopped sometimes), but I know how to update and not be obnoxious or at least to a point that I've lost all my followers. What's cool is that this talent extends into your Facebook status update abilities. I will suggest not linking your Facebook and your Twitter together, because your nerdy internet life that consists of you reading fanfic about American Idol contestants can and will be revealed. And I can also give you suggestions on how to make a decent Facebook status!

I know what you're thinking: Why the hell do you have the authority to tell me how to update my status? Well, honey, I'm blessed with an extensive internet life. I'm suffering for my digital art so you don't have to. So come on and sit in Ma(ma) Donner's lap so she can give you some tips on how to make status updates that people won't bitch about while they're stalking your profile:

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1. Everyone Poops
A lot of people hate on tstuatus updates, because they don't like "reading about what a person had for breakfast." Guess what, bbs? We all do. Writing about the mundane is pretty unnecessary. We all get up in the morning, make our way for an AM pee, go to the kitchen and eat breakfast, then go off to school/work. The only time you should status update about this is if you do something out of the ordinary. If you woke up at four pm and missed all your classes, that's pretty impressive and status update-worthy. If you tried to pour out your cereal and your little sister's gerbil fell out of it, that's kind of status update worthy and picture worthy, so get that shit on your mobile uploads. If your school is under a bomb threat and you need to get your bad checked, that counts for an update, too (please see the example above). Another good one is if you miss the bus, which leads me to number two...

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2. Schadenfreude is alive and well.
Even though we're a society constructed on Lifetime movies and Hallmark cards, we love to see people fall flat on their face. Why else would there be those weeks worth of American Idol auditions, a loud sound of laughter when an actor flubs their lines on stage, and videos on Youtube dedicated to old ladies falling? We like to watch people fail. As long as you can handle the thought of everyone from your baby cousin that's way too young to have a Facebook to your best friend laughing at your misfortune, update about it. Get an automatic door closed on you? Update. Fall on a really hot girl? Why the hell not? Step in dog shit? Hey, that's considered good luck. And before you ask, I've done all of these things and stauts updated only the first two. Onward to number three...

[I don't have a plus one to call myself out on lolol]
3. No one gives a shit about your +1
Look, we're all really happy that you've found someone. Honest. Society has taught us to be on a constant watch for someone else to spend our life with, and you did. Hooray. Update your relationship status to "in a relationship." I might even like the status if I approve of your significant other. But for the love of God, don't constantly update about it. No one gives a shit if you're going to "spend the day with my boo <3333" Ew. Gag me. And no one gives a shit if you're "celebrating my three week anniversary with my sweetheart xoxoxo" That's not an anniversary, sweetheart. I popped the word into and go this:
the yearly recurrence of the date of a past event: the tenth anniversary of their marriage.

So ultimate, your one month anniversary? Doesn't make sense.

I should, however, point out that I'm not saying that you should not talk about your significant other at all. That's not true. Anniversaries (at least the one that applies to the definition of anniversaries) are kind of a huge deal, especially when you're a "young adult." You have every right to status update about that! I would even go so far to say that you can brag about half years, too! There's nothing wrong with that. But all the months inbetween, keep yourself together. Only update if your significant other does something particularly awesome (for example, my friend's Berklee student metalhead boyfriend randomly started to quote Lady GaGa lyrics. That's pretty awesome). So let's just dance down to number four!

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4. Stop feeling sorry for your sorrow.
If you actually have average sleep (which is eight hours, a number I envy), you're somewhat conscious about sixteen hours a day. You can't expect all sixteen hours of your day to be fabulous. And while it's probably involuntary to go straight to your status update and cry about whatever made you upset (see above), you probably shouldn't. Updating your status is kind of like contemplating punching someone in the face- give yourself fifteen minutes. If you're still kind of bummed, update. Maybe even ask if anyone will want to talk to you and help you come to terms with whatever degree of bummage you're feeling. But also, don't update constantly about your sadness. While sad stuff sucks a lot, you can't be overbearing to everyone else on your feed. There's people that are just as sad as you are, and seeing your sad posts constantly will make them sadder and there's people that are happy while checking their feeds, and seeing negative posts will kill their buzz. You don't want to be that guy. So update wisely when it comes to sad stuff. And finally...

Please, for the love of God and all that is holy, have a vague idea of the English language when you're updating your status. No StIcKy CaPs. NO Odd WAYZ OF CAPiTALiZiNG. sum vage idee of th englizh languge. And just basic captilization. That's all I ask for.

And there you go! I hope you all take this to heart and apply it to your status updates! I really hope that you'll get more liked statuses and less eyerolls when people Facebookstalk you!

All my love,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm a person just like you, but I've got better things to do.

There's Pepsi in that cup, I swear

If you're a senior in high school and/or a college student, you've probably been on a college tour. They're pretty straightforward- some kid that goes to the school that's in question takes a group of bright-eyed high schoolers and their dutifully notetaking parents around campus while giving a really broad idea of what college life is like. The student that leads the group must be multi-talented, like walking backwards for extended periods of time, wearing tacky polos, and asking a lot of stupid questions.

One question that is always brought up on these tours, usually by a parent with their first kid going to college, is the drinking situation on campus. The student leader usually just smiles and gives the safe, not really lie, of "Oh! Well, not everyone drinks! And we have very strict guidelines if underage drinking occurs!"

Kids that don't go to college, I have to let you in on a little secret: underage drinking occurs. A lot. Drinking in general happens a lot. And I'm not just saying this because I go to Rutgers. Every college that allows alcohol on campus has (underage) drinking going on. There's also people smoking pot behind the buildings, taking painkillers that are not prescribed to them, and making generally bad mistakes.

Of course, it's different going to a college that has alcohol on campus and be a veteran edge kid at the same time.

For those that don't know, straightedge is a lifestyle that originated in the punk scene. The philosophy is pretty simple: don't drink, don't smoke, don't be a whore. Notable straightedgers include the band, Minor Threat, which a lot of people cite as the originators of the movement, Davey Havok from AFI, and that dude that broke edge, Pete Wentz (breaking edge obviously meaning ending your straightedge-ness). While sometimes straightedge kids are self-righteous assholes, we're overall pretty good times.

See? Me being fun times.

Anyway, being straightedge at college isn't really hard. I have a lot of friends that drink and while there's alcohol and they say I can have it, they respect that I don't do it. However, they will use my birthday and personal milestones as an excuse to drink for themselves (I'm pretty sure they're planning a "Donna's done with Accutane!" party soon enough). It's kind of like religion or veganism or whatever- if you really believe in it, you're going to keep up with it. Even if there's an abundance of alcohol, especially when you're a girl and you can get into any frat based on the fact that you wield a vagina. (EDIT: This is in reply to the fact that girls can get into frat parties based on our female-identified status, thanks for pointing that out, anon!)

However, being straightedge in college is definitely different. Initially, I didn't say that I was edge. I didn't really know how people would react. In high school, I didn't party. I'm still that nerdy girl that would rather pass her time with close friends watching bad movies and dancing to nineties pop. So being straightedge was all right in high school. It wasn't weird, because my friends really didn't party either, at least until junior/senior year of high school. So I said I didn't drink and I couldn't drink anyway, because of the acne medication I was on (Accutane messes up your liver function, so you're strongly recommended not to drink while on it). But as the months went by, I began to realize that when my medication was over with... I was totally going to have to just say that I'm not going to be drinking when I'm done with my medication, either.

It felt kind of like coming out again, really. Because it sort of was, I guess. One of my friends proclaimed that when I was done with my medication he was going to get me shitfaced, and I told him, "Uh, no. You're not. I'm straightedge." And he sort of went, "Oh, okay. That's cool." And that's it. Sometimes my friends were a little disappointed when I told them about my status. One of my friends claims that I'd make a fun drunk, which I'm not really sure how I feel about that, but he's content with me being sober and able to make sure the world doesn't end while everyone else is intoxicated.

So, I've realized what us straightedge kids grow up to be: mommies.

It's kind of hilarious, actually. We become designated drivers, soda stealers, and confidants when our friends start to get so drunk they lose their filter. They puke on us, they cry on our shoulders, they try to kiss us unexpectedly, and then we laugh about it later. And what's even more hilarious is that sometimes, we're the only one that really remembers that time that one of our friends started talking to a couch.

I still get invited to drink sometimes, but most of the time, my friends point out how glad they are to have someone that's a little more there than everyone else around, which is kind of cool. I have found my role in my social group. Being straightedge at a party school is totally doable and if people can't handle it, then clearly they shouldn't have been edge in the first place. So to my straightedge brothers and sisters- I raise my red cup of Pepsi and toast to all of you! You all have guts!

And of course, I want to know via comments if you are the straightedge kid, or if you have a straightedge kid in your group, or if you even need one! Speak :D

Sorry the first post is very tame. Whatever. I'll get snarkier as this thing gets more established.

Obligatory Introduction Post

Welcome to the first post of Don't Call Me Donner, a new, random blog about the life of a lowly, queer college student. In here you will find a lot of posts about:

  • Being queer in college (o rly?)
  • Being straightedge at a huge party school
  • Attempting vegetarianism
  • Senseless pop music (Please note that the title of this blog is a play off a lyric from a Lady Ga Ga song)
  • Dressing up like an idiot and attempting to follow an HBIC lifestyle (HBIC=Head Bitch in Charge)
  • Detailed escapades between existing with heteronormal friends and homoabnormal friends
  • Gay/woman's rights-focused musings of the world around this author
  • Concert reviews that are associated with listening to loud music
If you would like to contact me/follow me elsewhere, please see: A site that you can ask me really silly, or really serious questions with the cloak of anonymity.
tumblr- Another blog which is mostly devoted to photos of Adam Lambert, Lady GaGa, and cute animals.
twitter- A proudly made before Twitter was cool account in which I post random 140 bites from my day, including, but not limited to creeping on hot girls on the bus, viewing reactions to award shows, and random @replying to musicians and hoping they'll reply.

I can't wait to get to know you :)