June 2003

Michael Schaub

propaganda

Gaydar Author Donald F. Reuter: The Fake Interview

The recent controversies surrounding famed plagiarists/inveterate liars/evil bastards Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair have led me to a dramatic, life-altering epiphany: being a journalist is a lot easier than I thought. When I was a reporter for The Boston Globe, I was always taught to be honest before all else. It didn't exactly take -- for example, I just lied about having worked for The Boston Globe -- but I've always tried to maintain some rudimentary standards of honesty.

But as Principal Seymour Skinner once said, "The times, they are a-becoming quite different." Glass found a way to profit from his career of lies; Blair wants to do the same. I figure that if I want to get a sweet publishing contract, I should do it too. Writing for Bookslut is great, but Jessa pays me in expired Liquid-Plumr coupons. I can be just as craven and dishonest as Glass and Blair if I have to.

So I nixed my original plan to interview Donald F. Reuter, author of a truly terrible little book called Gaydar: The Ultimate Insider Guide to the Gay Sixth Sense, and decided just to fake the whole damn thing. This way, I wouldn't have to make a long distance call I couldn't afford (because, you know, expired Liquid-Plumr coupons). The best part is, if anyone finds out -- say, by reading the previous two sentences -- I can make up some bullshit story about drug addiction and racism. Like, "I developed a dependency on Afrin nasal spray and Jessa hates German-Italian-Americans." Foolproof. Literary agents and publishers are encouraged to e-mail me contract offers, but be advised I won't talk without an offer in the high six figures. Not counting the two after the decimal point.

(Disclaimer: Bookslut's high-powered lawyers require me to point out that all of Reuter's "answers" in this fake interview are actual quotes from his book Gaydar. The page numbers are noted in parentheses.)

Thanks for agreeing to do this fake interview, Donald. Can I call you Donald?

The majority of all people have called me Don; short, not-too-sweet, and direct. (28)

Uh, I see. Well, your book is pretty awful, and I have a lot of fake questions for you, so let's begin. You did actually write this, didn't you? It's not a complete fake, like this column?

Gaydar was written, designed, and illustrated by Donald F. Reuter -- such a talent! (4)

That's weird, the way you refer to yourself in the third person. Kinda creepy. Anyway, you have a short preface called "The 'Ultimate' Guide?" Which raises a question: The "ultimate" guide?

Sure, and why not?! I felt that my humble Midwestern upbringing, exotic Eurasian ethnicity, coming out in my impressionable mid-teens, decades-long work in the fields of fashion, beauty, and publishing in the center of it all, New York City, coupled with years of in-depth (and I mean deep) research gave me undisputable qualifications to speak as a gay-thority on the subject. (7)

Dude, "undisputable" isn't a word. And have you ever considered laying off the italics? It's like crack for you. At any rate, what is "gaydar"?

Many are familiar with the term gaydar, but not exactly sure what it means. (8)

Right. That's why I fucking asked you.

Simply, it is a word (derived from radar, of course) used to name the telepathic sixth sense which only gay men -- and the occasional ultra savvy straight person -- seem to possess. (8)

OK. So you can tell if someone's gay simply by, say, what clothes he's wearing?

Fashion runs hot or cold, in or out; it can also be gay or straight. (84)

Listen, I'm serious about the italics. So what are "gay" clothes like?

Shorter, tighter, sleeker, refined, revealing, exclusive. (86)

I see. That means nothing to me. Can you tell a gay man by the way he speaks?

If your ear is not properly attuned, the sound may be a bit queer (sorry, girls!), especially if one is not accustomed to such high-pitched or hissing frequencies. (20)

Uh...are you a homophobe?

Don't think that all gay men speak with a lisp, or end sentences with a melodious upturned last syllable of the last word. Yes, many overdramatize speech with exaggerate details, wildly gesticulating hands, and contorted faces, but, my bridled friend, many more do not. (20)

That's better. I'm not convinced, though.

Still doubt that gay men speak a "different" language? (31)

Frankly, yes.

Houston! We definitely have a problem. (31)

I guess. Anyway, I couldn't help noticing that your book seems to be nothing but a long list of outdated gay stereotypes.

Whilst some of you cringe at the thought, because gay men actually do come in such an infinite range of shapes, sizes, colors, and dispositions, it was necessary to select this limited range in order to focus the book. (9)

So why call it Gaydar? Why not call it Pretentious Club-going New York Assholedar?

My reasoning may not make Gaydar any more acceptable to the politically correct diehard, but my intention was not to demean anyone. (9)

I'm not a politically correct diehard. I gave Inga Muscio a really horrible review, and I think I'm marked for death by at least two independent bookstores. Anyway, we're running late on time, so I --

"Mary, it takes a fairy to make something pretty!" (Can you name the gay decorator who said this and the film? (51)

No. No, I can't.

The gay decorator is Emory (played by Cliff Gorman), from Boys in the Band (1970). (132)

Fascinating. Before I hang up the phone in utter disgust, would you like to invalidate everything you've said with a bizarrely contradictory closing statement?

Please take something more away from Gaydar than the ability to judge a person "gay" by his cover. Let's use the sensitivity, compassion, and creativity everyone believes we have, and put them to much better use by once and for all closing the book on hate, fear, and prejudice. (132)

But not on perpetuating stereotypes, huh? Well, thanks for your time, Don. I hope you never write another book again.

Yeeks! (123)

Yeeks indeed.

Gaydar: The Ultimate Insider Guide to the Gay Sixth Sense by Donald F. Reuter
Crown
132 Pages
ISBN: 060961102X

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