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'i Was A Straightie'

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EDlTORS'S NOTE: Some readers have complained that this newspaper is too preoccupied with the "lunatic fringe" (e.g. cops, college ad - rriinistrators, etc). Nevertheless, we believe that "straightness' has not been properly understood, although it has received much sensationai p'ublicity of late. We cannot close our eyes to the fact that many people in the Bay Area live this way of life , and may be a profound Influence on our children. In an attempt to get the trutti about the straight world, BARB sent two of lts most devious reporters Into the strange, shadowworld of the stralghts - one for San Francisco, the other for Berkeley. Each shaved off hls beard, cut hls long locks, and wore shoes i and socks for a whole week whlle he trled to penétrate the exotlc world of straightness. Their reports fallow. When I left my beard and long halr behind In the barber shop, I began to f nter the strange, sexlfiss subcultur of the stralghts. It Is a world where a "joint" Is a place to drink, where a "roach" Is an Insect. It Is a world devold of sex, devoid of color. A world where "dropping acid" means "run, theres a clumsy chemlst wlth a Jar of sulphyrlc." A world wherc "Lizzle" refers to Richard Burton's wlfe. A world where "hip" is part of the pelvlc 3natomy, a world where "ball" Is a formal danco. As you can see from tho above, thé first thing ono must do Is to njastrr a bizarre argot, whlch Is akln to learning a new languagp. I declded to go to a stright hangout, so I picked the basement of Larry Blake's Rathskeller on Telegraph. The sctme was a strange one. Tall youne men drcssd In white shirts, rollcd at thp sleeves :md open at the collar, wearing cotton chinos, white wool socks, .ind tennis shoes. God, I thought, how can people dress this wa7? But I trled to olear my mlnd of preconceptlons and engaged severa! of the young men In conversatlon. They ordered a pitcher of (ughf) beer. Or.e dl the -flrst questions anyone asks you Is what you do for ;i living or what vou intend to rio for a living when yon get nut of school. Ttiis Sfipms to be. a very important questton to them, and they wil! not carry on the slmplest conversation without first elicitlng this Information. So you 3pg, of them was sayinK, "wi hayp to bomb Hanoi. Flghtlng a war with a no-win policy is s-'lf-defoatinK. And if thp Reds tnko Southnst A sin, th noxt thing you know they"re at our doorstep." I had to refleet. I.ikcable as this young m tn was, It was sadly obvious how ficoply he was out of touch with reality. But, likc peoplf ovprywhfrc, the straights have their own code, their own haliucinations, thpir own tribal Hhic. They hope to chango thp world by a concept they call"gunpower". I uess it's akin to flower power, but I rallv don't understand what it is internad to accomplish. The subject turnprt to se.x. Th f younp man wns saying, "If I evpr caught a truy screwing my sister, Vd cut Mr balls off." I tried not to look shockdf and :isked him"why thought his sister shoulrf not ftijov herself. The other men cxchanged knowinplooks :ind I shut up. Thn sexual code of the straigfets ' is beyond belief. NKXT WEEK: 'Sexual Code of the Straights: The Dear Abby Syndrome." Reprinted from the Brkeley BARB Letter to the Editor reprinted f rom the East Village Other (New York City)