Chapter 18

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*The article in this chapter titled 'Am I a Fag Hag? Well...' was originally published on SameSame.com.au on 16 Feb 2013 - www.samesame.com.au/features/9427/Am-I-a-fag-hag-Well

'Bugger it all to hell.'

'Jeez Eric, are you okay?' I asked. It's what I felt like screaming at the top of my lungs when Leon passed me in the stairwell ten minutes ago with a nod of his head and a quick 'hi.' I wanted to print a t-shirt: 'You were inside me and all I got was this lousy hi.'

'Billy Johnson's PR are saying a definite no to any more interviews. Apparently they're not happy with the way Lash handled the first interview this morning. They sensationalised it by playing up the scandal element to the story.'

'Oh.' I'd made a point not to listen to Lash or visit the website. I didn't want it to psych me out.

'So by screwing over Billy Johnson, Vernon's screwed us in the process,' sighed Eric.

'What else is in the pipeline for us this week?'

'Oh, some actor on that new E4 show and the West End performer Brock Rimozi.'

'That's not too bad,' I said in a hopeful tone.

'No, it's bad.' Eric closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. 'Lash is already overtaking us.'

'Um, Eric?'

'Yeah?'

'I've been working on another personal article, a bit like the 'Straight Girl's Guide' one. I know it's not sensational or exciting or about anyone famous or anything, but do you think we could put it online this week?'

'Sure, why not?' Eric threw his hands up in the air before banging them back down on his desk. 'Just give it to me to proof first, okay?'

I happily took that as my cue to open the document I'd stayed up working on until 3am. I'd come up with the title last, as the final song on Madonna's Erotica album faded out. They were the first words I saw as the most personal article I'd ever written came to life on my screen.

Am I a Fag Hag? Well...

I am a straight woman who is close friends with a lot of gay men.

This fact has so far dictated the start of my writing career. The few times I've been asked if I'm gay myself on account of my job, I've jokingly replied, 'No, I'm a fag hag.' Then I've cringed to myself.

The term may be easy shorthand, but it's obviously not the most flattering of labels. Loaded with connotations about clingy, unattractive women who can't get a man, it's thrown around as a bit of a joke. I've realised that I've been doing myself - and my friends - a massive disservice by using the term to describe myself and, in the process, get a cheap laugh.

When I think about it, none of my friends use the term. Let's face it - fag and hag are offensive words. Why is it somehow okay when the two are put together? A great friend of mine once told me that he didn't see me as a fag hag, but as a gay man in a woman's body. Hello to any straight, single men who may be reading this. How's that for a pick up line?

But seriously, it brought up some existential questions. To quote Zoolander, 'Who am I?'

Let's let pop culture (and a bit of pop psychology) tell me, shall I?

Witness exhibit A - Gimme Gimme Gimme's Linda La Hughes. She's arguably TV's most iconic fag hag because that's exactly what she was, a fag hag at her stereotypical best - crude, unattractive and socially inept. Frankly, we moved on from this representation a long time ago.

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