February 4, 2016

Another item from 2006, this time  a posting by Jerry Zee to the OUTiL (OUT in Linguistics) mailing list on 5/2/06 (lightly edited):

I’m an undergrad at Stanford [in Cultural and Social Anthropology and in Linguistics, graduated in 2007], involved in the queer Asian American community here, and was wondering if anyone had noticed the word “downe” – I believe it comes from Filipino American communities and is expanding, I think – for now I think it’s either a Bay Area, Hawaii, or California thing –- I wrote a silly little paper on the site for an anthropology class last year.

My perceptions of the term are that it’s a departure from ‘gay’, which in a lot of ways gets defined in terms of white mainstream gay culture, and it’s also a lot more expansive than gay – it’s like ‘queer’ in that sense, minus the political overtones that ‘queer’ carries. Also, used kind of like a password when the speakers are trying to be discreet in more open environments – “Are you downe?” comes across as pretty innocuous to someone who’s not in the know. And for now, it feels like a very Asian and a very NorCal thing to identify as.

Here’s what urbandictionary has to say:

1. Downe *91* up, *4* down
A person who identifies as homosexual, gay, bisexual, or queer. Frequently used within Filipino American and Asian American GLBT communities. (Origns: California? or Hawaii?)
“Are you downe?”
by alwayzfione Feb 3, 2004

2. Downe *7* thumbs up
Derived from the definition of “downlow” which was taken from the African-American Community. Brought in by the Filipino/Asian-American Male & Female LGBT community. Reinvented into the word “DownE” with a capital “E” expressed during the hype of the raving/exstacy scene which began to popularize in the early 90’s. Giving those who are on the “downlow” a more open environment (i.e. E-parties.) Those using the term “DownE” also used it to seperate themselves from society’s stereotype of a Gay Asian Male, as well as Gay Asian Female. As a means of communication. The internet played a major role in the growth in popularity for the word “Downe.” With websites such as, the definition of “downe” is constantly changing. A good thing or a bad thing, take it as you will. From my opinion, the definition can’t be found on any dictionary. Define it for yourself. Whether it be just another term for being Gay, Lesbian, Etc. or make it mean more to you than just a label.
Do you remember the downe scene back in 96? Now thats taking it way back to it’s roots.
by Downe O.G. Cali Nov 3, 2005

3. Downe *3* thumbs up
origin: california; definition: identifying oneself as being gay, bi, confused, questioning, experimenting, ambiguous, or simply wanting to get laid one way or the other.
“are you downe?”, “you downe to screw?”
by jaypee so cali Nov 20, 2005

[AZ note: nothing more of significance on UD since then, as far as I can see]

My response to OUTiL 5/2/06:

On May 2, 2006, at 4:31 PM, Jerry Zee wrote: “…also, used kind of like a password when the speakers are trying to be discreet in more open environments – “are you downe?” comes across as pretty innocuous to someone who’s not in the know…”

So it’s pronounced like “down”, not “downy”.

Earlier slang “down to V / for N” ‘be available/enthusiastic to V / for N’ seems to have influenced some of the reported usages.

The connection to “downlow” is plausible, but it would be nice to have some documentation of early uses, or at least memories for them. (I know, somebody’s going to say that all that E wiped out those memories.)

On the site:

Flirt. Chat. Meet. ♥︎
The next generation of downelink is launching here soon!

downelink is the hottest destination for LGBTQ social networking. Connect with likeminded individuals, and be free to be who you are.

If you would like to join us for the relaunch of this tried and true brand, please join the mailing list.

And then on the site Are You Downe? Exploring a Social Movement among Gay Asian Youth, the most recent posting is from 4/28/09. The postings there give a picture of the downe community in the Bay Area and L.A. (for men, at least) as a place for young Asian men interested in other young Asian men (with various self-identifications as to sexuality) to party together, hook up, and find a boyfriend (one popular guy found dozens within a few years). The community (which was, of course, pretty small) seems to have largely dissolved. (Postings on the site also include some wrenching stories about coming out to an Asian American family.)

Meanwhile, Jerry has studied in China and at UC Berkeley and is now a
postdoctoral fellow in Science and Technology Studies at UC Davis, where he lists his areas of study as: environment, anthropology, meteorology, atmosphere, governing, China, East Asia. Also — joyous news — he now has a husband.

be gay/queer for

February 4, 2016

(I’ve been working on clearing out unblogged material on homosexuality, as part of a project to improve my “Homosexuality postings” Page. Here’s one on semantic bleaching, from ADS-L exchanges in 2006.)

Ben Zimmer to ADS-L 7/29/06:

Not sure if this has been noted here before, but one recent semantic development on the “gay” front is the construction “be gay for” = ‘have an unseemly or exuberant affection for (someone or something)’. For instance, the music magazine Blender has a regular feature, “The CD We’re Totally Gay For”. (Blender is part of the Maxim family, so the context is laddishly heteronormative.) Similarly:

Mediocre Bands You’re Totally Gay For (link)

And because “In My Arms” is one of those songs I’m completely gay for… (link)

I am gay for this BUCK-TICK song. (link)

Award Categories… I’m Totally Gay for this Blog or Best Overall Blog. (link)

We just started playing this again seriously and confirmed that we’re still totally gay for Tetsuya Mizuguchi!!! (link)

We’re totally gay for William McDonough, eco-architect and world-transformation guru. Same goes for Cameron Diaz, whose work for green causes is only made more charming by her valley-girl ditzitude. But McDonough and Diaz together in one lecture hall? Swoon, we tell you. Swoon. (link)

You could safely say I’m completely gay for Transformers and still not quite encompass my feelings for it. (link)

I love Verron Haynes, but I love Duce Staley more. I’m gay for the Steelers. (link)

Less common is “be queer for”, with the same implication of fannish exuberance or excitement:

And yes, I am, as my buddy Jay has noted, “totally queer for” the Decemberists. Yep. Fah-laming. (link)

Rusty is my former landlord and is completely queer for cycling. (link)

Examples with non-human objects seem to be akin to the playground sentiment, “If you love X so much, why don’t you marry it?”

My response:

An interesting sense development: the component of attraction remains, while the sexual component vanishes.

From Matthew Gordon 7/31/06:

I just noticed this one in an episode of the Simpsons. Lisa says to Bart, “You’re gay for Mole Man,” and Bart replies, “No, YOU’RE gay for Mole Man.” Then the camera pans to Mole Man who mopes,”Nobody’s gay for Mole Man,” or something like that. At first I was a little shocked by the potentially homophobic tone of Lisa’s line – it was meant as an insult – but Bart’s reply suggests the phrase has indeed been bleached of the sexual orientational content.

From Wilson Gray 7/31/06, reporting the older sexual use:

When I was in basic training [AZ note: that would be over 50 years ago], “be queer for” was used as an insult directed at anyone who slipped up and locked eyes with a member of the cadre: “What’re you looking at me for, soldier? You queer for me?” This was a question with no correct answer. Obviously, yes would be the wrong answer, but if you said no, it was an insult to the cadre-member, implying that you found him physically beneath your standard of masculine beauty. Your only recourse was to say nothing and drop down and give him twenty push-ups without waiting to be told.

You were supposed to use the thousand-yard stare and look *through* the members of the training cadre, not *at* them, whenever their gaze happened to fall upon you.



The prissy voice

February 3, 2016

A little while ago, Terry Tenette asked me about the character The Great Gazoo (voiced by the comic actor Harvey Korman) in the animated tv series The Flintstones — because the character’s voice suggested gay to him. I’d stopped watching the tv series by the time this character appeared (in 1965), but I then watched a clip with Terry and heard what he was picking up on, which was not the famous gay voice, but something I’ll call the prissy voice. We were then both struck by the similarity of the Great Gazoo’s voice to that of the character Dr. Zachary Smith (played by Jonathan Harris) in the tv series Lost in Space (which, probably not coincidentally, premiered in 1965). And I was reminded of the famous film sissies (film sissies — the name conveying effeminacy, weakness, or cowardice — has become a widely used term in film history and criticism) and their deployment of the prissy voice.

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Notes on male ballet dancers

February 2, 2016

Two recent items passed on to me by Mike McKinley: one a photograph of young male dancers at the barre, the other a video compilation of dancer Joseph Gatti in an assortment of his roles. The photograph, found on a Facebook page (where it wasn’t identified in any way: where? when? who are they? who was the photographer?):


The Gatti compilation can be viewed here; it has some remarkable stuff.

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A visit with Colby Keller

February 2, 2016

(Though there’s a substantial amount in this posting on art, books, and fashion, there’s also quite a lot about men’s bodies and man-man sex, in very plain language, so it’s not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Posted on AZBlogX on the 31st, “X-rated Colby Keller”, with five shots of artist and gay pornstar Colby Keller (who appeared on this blog in a 5/7/13 posting “The protean Colby Keller”, about “mail art”, gay porn, and playfulness): three from Mike McKinley, which can be arranged in a sequence, though they were taken at different times: CK unzipping in preparation for sex, CK exhibiting his body, and especially his substantial hard cock; and CK with gay pornstar Duncan Black, immediately post-fuck. Then two from Chris Ambidge: one showing CK doing a stool-lift, exhibiting his very considerable strength and balance; and one with CK displaying a favorite art book (more on the book soon), which had to go on AZBlogX because that substantial hard cock of his is standing up right in front of the book.

Before I get into the art and the steamy sex, here’s a pleasant, somewhat eccentric shot of CK amidst a field of flowers in Maine in 2014:


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Be like Schwa

February 1, 2016

From Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, who got it from the All Things Linguistic site (maintained by Gretchen McCulloch, who’s appeared several times on ths blog), this punning instance of the new Be Like Bill meme:


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Only YOU

February 1, 2016

Passed around on Facebook, this entertaining combination of image and text:


Non-Americans might not get the joke here, since the figure of Smokey might not be familiar to them: he’s very much an American thing. Even if you don’t recognize Smokey the Bear (and his signature quotation, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires”), you might recognize the central figure in the composition as a monk, or a (religious) brother, that is, a friar (NOAD2: ‘a member of any of certain religious orders of men, especially the four mendicant orders (Augustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans, and Franciscans)’), and you might notice the vase of flowers (such as you would get from a florist shop) and suspect that they weren’t in the original painting of the friar, so that you could appreciate the composition (with its “florist friars”) as playful nonsense. But the monitory Smokey is crucial for real understanding.

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Cruise Jogger

January 31, 2016

… the item of PUMP! underwear featured in this sale ad from Daily Jocks yesterday. With my caption:


Cruising in his Jogger, Joe
Enjoyed feeling himself up in those
Hot pockets, which
Drove the boys wild

He got one for
His guy Kev, so they could
Cruise as a couple. They loved
Three-ways, and the
Boys all wanted it


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January 31, 2016

The lunch special at Reposado (elegant Mexican in Palo Alto) on the 28th was billed as the seafood dish mariscada: some white rice in the middle of a plate, heaped with bits of seafood of many kinds (shrimp, mussels, lobster, and more) with some wonderful broth to keep it all from being too dry, enough to bring it close to being classifiable as a seafood stew, which is the label given to mariscada in many sources. Just fabulous. Here’s a version that’s clearly in stew territory:


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Toys for Twisted Boys

January 31, 2016

(On sex toys for gay men, with illustrations of the devices, but not on or in actual bodies, so the visuals are strictly speaking not X-rated. Also about the names for these devices, so  there’s some language stuff here. But there’s discussion of the way these devices are used in very plain language, so this posting is certainly not for kids or the sexually modest.)

A sale ad yesterday from C1R (mostly a company that makes and sells gay porn flicks, but they hawk other items for gay men as well), with the headers: “OxBalls Toy Sale! Get Dirty & Play Hard! Toys for Twisted Boys”:

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