Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Secret Language of Gay Men

So are you a zero or a one?

Most of us would immediately deny the zero vehemently but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Oh yes, some background on that before I get to that cryptic comment...

With the rise of the monotheistic Abrahamic faiths during the past millennia, rampant homophobia has taken root in almost every corner of the globe with practising gay men being constantly villified and forced into hiding. Repeatedly the wanton destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, supposedly for the abominable sin of homosexuality, has been used as a whip to flay those who transgress against their rules.

Which is why only in the past few decades have gay men started to creep tentatively out of their darkened closets. Even then out of necessity, gay men have invented ways of communicating with each other publicly - without the ever-present risk of accidentally outing themselves - through various clandestine methods; from the infamous hanky code to the colourful ever-changing euphemisms in lavender linguistics.

Argots that change with the region and the language spoken - which is how our Malaysian Singaporean community has even given birth to such gay terms as PLU and AJ. Seriously, they couldn't have found more troublesome monikers! PLU of course stands for People Like Us while AJ comes from Pig Latin for gay - aygay - with the guttural g softened to a j. I kid you not.

Let's not even start on the pandas and prawns.

Felix : So waitaminute, are you a zero or a one?
Paul : Fark. Lemme check the gay dictionary.

Of course as I become progressively more open with my sexuality - out to my friends and family, I find myself identifying with the words homosexual and gay without the need to fall back on such identifying euphemisms. Not that I ever used them much.

Which is why I find myself endlessly baffled when faced with such au courant terms in gay speak. 

Felix : He asked if I was a one or a zero. 
Paul : Was that an insult of some sort? 
Felix : I have no idea. 
Paul : Perhaps a binary code? 
Felix : I thought the same till I looked at the numbers. 
Paul : Oh. Ingenious. 
Felix : Yeah, what happened to the good old days of top and bottom? 
Paul : So what number would indicate versatility? Infinity?

No doubt a term popularized by the Chinese-educated comrades amongst our gay brethren.

Yī hào/líng hào (一号/0号) - (literally one/zero) "top/bottom", the active/passive partner in gay male anal sex.


Leo Nut said...

Lol! My friend asked me 'eh.. You pole or hole?' once.. And I was literally dumbfounded.. Hahaha, I haven't hear of the zero or one before.. Lol

DeluSion said...

For me, the problem with zero/one or top/bottom labels is that it seems to reduce the entire person to the organ he likes to fuck with.

And zero/one does not correspond perfectly with top/bottom. I mean, obviously one can be a zero and top simultaneously (a power bottom?)

So I guess the zero/one label is less loaded than top/bottom since it describes the mechanics without the connotation of dominance/submissiveness. But....

omg long comment.

DeluSion said...

Btw, versatile is 0.5

Ryan L said...

This is an interesting post. I don't like labeling. is that really important to know the role?

savante said...

Pole or hole! Good one, Leo! :)

Well delusion, imagine going up to someone and saying, hey I'm a 0.5!

Not really all that important to me. But judging by the questions you get on Grindr and such, it's really important to everyone else, ryan.