Is He Gay?

by Alexandria Linn

In the fantastic world of relationship self-help, a new dating guide emerged to once again help the lonely American woman land her “dream” guy. Using senseless and sarcastic humor, the markets itself as a guide for women who need to know if their potential suitors are “gay” (according to the author’s understanding of homosexual qualities). For those particular women who want to know how to distinguish between men of the homosexual persuasion, and those who embody all of the violent and neglectful tendencies of the “masculine” male, Ed Baker and Chris Busick have answered the call.

In their book entitled Is He Gay?[1] (for obvious reasons) the two self-help authors follow the story of a young, white and single female as she comes dangerously close to falling in love with a gay man. Despite the author’s attempt to scream commentary to her from the sidelines of the pages, she begins to fall for the homosexual male. Her relationship is sustained by her denial, though she eventually recognizes that the man she’s dating is attracted to other men and not to her.  In the end, the woman leaves the relationship with only small disappointments (fortunately, no deep wounds) and resolves that she still loves him “as a friend”[2].

The good news is that other straight women can steer clear of making the same mistake. By heeding the authors’ advice, one can avoid the queer pitfalls that may occur in the single girl’s dating arena. For those who are not familiar with all the heteronormative ideals of homosexuality, Is He Gay? points out all of the stereotypical tropes associated with “gayness.” The authors, do however attempt to acknowledge their gross generalizations, with a disclaimer at the end of the book that reassures the reader that their mocking was done so “all in good fun,” of course. Continue reading

Act Like A Lady, Think Like An Industry: A Critique of Self-Help(ism)

by Alexandria Linn


In the midst of deconstructing some notion regarding identity politics (or something along that matter), I received a call from my mother. Upon answering the phone I was promptly instructed to turn on the TV. Apparently, there was a “town hall” meeting for the “community” of black women in which black comedians and actors were to inform us on why we can’t land “good black brotha’s.” After turning to the program and reading the title (which read something along the lines of “Black Town Hall: Why Successful Black Women Can’t Get A Successful Black Brother”) I sighed deeply to ensure my mother that I was both thoroughly annoyed at the title and utterly exhausted with the subject in general. Continue reading