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Part 4 of 6: Male Insecurities

November 22, 2009

Wild bunch that they are, the Upper School faculty makes plans for dinner at  The Flying Saucer. Arriving before the M.A.—he actually got the degree online—I strategically position myself between two co-workers so as to avoid sitting by my erudite co-worker. Shortly after taking his seat, the Dean, much to my surprise, orders a beer. But somewhere in between lighting his cigar and ordering his third twenty-four ounce porter it hits me—this is all for show.

Perhaps it’s his thinning hair. Perhaps it’s his timid demeanor. Whatever it is, Ryan, M.A. is insecure in his masculinity. For the first time, I feel as though I understand the Master and his unchecked, “biblically-based” brand of chauvinism. But, just as my sorrow for the guy begins to set in, his strained guise of machismo kicks in once again.


After overhearing another faculty member casually drop the word “faggot” in a conversation (!), Billups interrupts to share with the table how anxious he is for his freshmen class to begin reading a book that uses the term. My ears perking up, he continues, “I know someone’s going to ask how the author is using the word ‘faggot’”(as if he wasn’t planning on calling his class’s attention to the term even if they didn’t). “I’m going to tell them,” adds Billups, “that the term originally meant ‘a bundle of sticks’ and that faggots still aren’t good for anything but burning.”

“Check, please!”

Do you use derogatory epithets in your day to day conversations, even if just casually? If so, would you say they’re completely innocent or do they point to some form of insecurity you may be carrying around? Are you secure enough in your masculinity/femininity to avoid using terms like gay, homo, queer and faggot in a derogatory fashion? Are you secure enough in your masculinity/femininity to tell others to stop using such abusive language?

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