Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

19 October 2010

Does the Pope Wear a Dress?

A joke for today from George Chauncey's delightful book Gay New York, which I will be discussing briefly today in my Sexuality & Representation class:

This anecdote comes after a discussion of the uses of the words gay, queer, and fairy to describe homosexually active men:

Twenty years [after 1939], SLA agents casually used gay to mean homosexual, as did the gay men they were investigating. One agent testified in 1960 that he had simply asked a man at a suspected bar whether he was "straight or gay."

"I am as gay as the Pope" came the knowing reply.
("Which Pope?" asked the startled investigator.
"Any Pope," he was assured.)