There exists a type of smile that is so comforting, so addictive, and yet so ephemeral. It’s a tweak on one side of a mouth that holds no condemnation. It’s the production of a dimple with no judgment.
Highly elusive and having remained undocumented until now, this social phenomenon calls itself ‘the Gay Smile.’
According to legend, the Gay Smile will only appear when provoked by seeing a same-sex couple walking down the street hand-in-hand or huddled together on a park bench. It’s the reassuring, “I approve of your lifestyle” look or the unmistakable, “Hey – you’re okay by me!”
My boyfriend and I aren’t too keen on PDAs, but from the moment we clasp our hands together and walk nonchalantly down the street, the chance of inciting the Gay Smile increases exponentially.
On one occasion, we were sitting hand-in-hand on a park bench when a guy walked passed and gave us a thumbs up as well as a reassuring cheesy smile to match. I’m not exactly sure why, but it seems some people feel the need to outwardly express their approval of our relationship.
But this is certainly not one-sided. If I find myself face-to-face with a couple showing any type of affection, I can’t help planting the goofiest smile on my face.
So why do people do it?
My best guess is that it’s recognition of some assumed adversity that I have faced. If this is the case, I can assure you that I have not faced any discrimination as a young gay man growing up. In fact, I’ve been fairly lucky in this regard. Sure, I’ve been right beside you in banging your head against that brick wall with the issue of gay marriage, but that’s as close as I’ve come to facing any sexual orientation-based hardships.
Personally, when I do it; it’s simply me appreciating the fact that other couples (gay or straight) are happy. This could certainly be the case for others and kudos to you for letting people know you care, but if that “cute gay couple” you tell your friends about is noteworthy in any way, true equality has a long way to go.
As we become more politically correct as a society, this type of overt acceptance will surely gain prominence. And as nice as it may feel getting recognition for something, it feels like that ‘something’ is just recognition for existing.
So next time you see a same-sex couple showing any sort of affection, you don’t need to beam those pearly whites to show us you approve, we already know we’re fabulous.
Intrigued Gay Citizen