by: Mar Curran
I have a lot of young, white, middle class, educated, gay, cis gender male acquaintances and friends. This comes with the territory of working with college students. Almost all of them are lovely, smart, funny people who I enjoy knowing. They understand my appreciation for cat memes and are amiable people. A few of them also say some stupid stuff, though, as do all people. Sometimes it makes me laugh, sometimes it makes my brows furrow, sometimes it starts arguments. And now, sometimes it prompts me to write an article for In Our Words. I do it out of love for them and future generations. If you see yourself in these posts, take a second to read some books by Foucault or Butler and back away from the iPhone slowly.
Quoting Kate Moss: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
Fool, have you ever eaten a hot fudge sundae from Cupid Candies in the southwest suburbs? Or a bacon cheeseburger? Or eggplant Parmesan? Food is delicious. I love food so much sometimes it hurts in the form of hunger. Don’t hate on food if you want to be skinny. This happens at least once a year and I thoroughly enjoy bombarding these statuses with a list of all my favorite foods. I understand the societal pressure to be thin. Put the blame where it should rest, though: messed up ideas of what “healthy” means and what “beautiful” is in our society. Pizza in moderation is not the enemy.
“Look at these pictures of me getting wasted!” or “I got so high last night! Drugs are the best!”
Listen, I’m not your dad.  I do know, however, thanks to my parents feeling like they constantly need to remind me that I use the word “masturbation” in too many of my articles , that employers will someday look for your information on Facebook (and possibly FetLife) and won’t feel bad about not hiring you for those drunken freshman photos of you peeing off your dorm roof. Just stop now. Drug usage bragging (including alcohol if you’re underage) may also make the ears of your dean perk up. Just stop now. No one thinks you’re cooler because you think you’re the first person to discover how fun it is to use a bong. Just stop now.
“Arabs are terrorists,” “Catholics are all brainless drones who murder dogs,” or “Straight men are dumb frat bros who fart nacho cheese!”
These are all cleverly orchestrated exaggerations, as I’m sure you can tell, but I always sigh when I see someone make a statement like these. You are free to not agree with people based on their politics, morals, or attitudes towards dairy products. You should not make an unintelligent claim with no factual evidence; it doesn’t make you seem like you are an authority on anything over than hyperbole and Limbaughisms. Learn to respect people’s opinions and not sound like a fanatic idiot.
“I only date (insert race/body type here) guys.”
Facepalm. Please take a race theory class. Fetishizing a certain race is (say it with me, kids) problematic. Excluding someone from your dating pool because of their race is problematic. A lot of what it comes down to is being attracted to/repelled by racial stereotypes or internalized prejudices. Beautiful people come in all different sizes due to a number of factors. That does not determine what kind of a person they are inside. It is demeaning to your own intelligence for you to assume that if someone is bigger than you or does not have Channing Tatum abs he is not worth getting coffee with. People may have preferences for certain things, but to write someone off or try to date them exclusively for their race or size is wrong.
“I only date real men.”
First of all, whether you mean you only date masculine men and not effeminate men, only cis men and not trans men, or misogynistic men and not feminist men, you are so lucky I believe in not getting into physical altercations unless absolutely necessary. (Note: I learned this from the Power Rangers). Secondly, that is an idiotic thing to say. You are assuming you know what is “real” and what is “fake.” You are assuming that you can dismiss someone’s male identity because you are a cis gender masculine man. You are being an ass. Get real and stop saying other people are not real.
“I don’t care if you are insulted by it. I call everyone ‘girl.’”
If someone is insulted by you thinking you’re Mr. Sassy Gay Friend and that you can say whatever you want to whomever you want, then take a second and breathe in deep. I’m about to lay down some knowledge for you. People have different levels of privilege, people have different identities, and people have different things they’re uncomfortable with. For example, I only want a few people in my life to call me “girl” in “the gay way” because people I do not know well need to respect that I have a male identity I want them to recognize and respect. don;t tell me you’re “allowed” to call me that. You’re not. You’re also not allowed to call every homosexual man a faggot, every lesbian a dyke, or any trans* person the t-word. It’s not your right to be an asshole.
“Whatever, I’m too pretty to apologize.”
Cue the laugh track. You’re never too pretty to be wrong. Just own up to your mistakes. Everyone makes them. It’s okay. Even the Pope celebrates Jesus’ birthday on the wrong day! All you can do is acknowledge it, learn from it, and do better in the future. That’s what big kids do. I’m still waiting for my guncles to apologize and admit I’m always right, though, so if you guys could get on that it’d be great.
“Destiny’s Child is not real music. Have some standards.”
Only God can help you now with taste like that. Best of luck to you.
Mar Curran is a trans/queer rights activist and community organizer; he is on the boards of Video Action league, Advocate Loyola, the Queer intercollegiate Alliance, and works with GetEQUAL. As spoken word artist, he has read at each All The Writers I Know event. He studies Communications and Women’s Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Curran likes beer and cats.
 Thank God, because this would be an awkward way for you to find out, huh?
 I will not rest until the nation is sex positive!