As seen in issue 53 of Closer Magazine, published on 2008-07-20 in the "Fashion" section.

He Loves me Knot
YouTube puts frat boys in touch with their inner faggot
By: Brandon K. Thorp

YouTube is our Library of Alexandria: the most comprehensive picture of a culture and its moment ever. You can take a gander at Barack’s New Hampshire concession speech, the first Apollo moon landing, Michael Jackson’s dance moves, the home movies of the Westboro Baptist Church, and you can see the second plane crash into the World Trade Center from every angle, in every resolution, at any speed.

I am a YouTube person. I spend almost an hour every day plugging random phrases into its search box, hoping to stumble upon something that’ll make the world make sense.

Perhaps this is a depressing hope to bring to a website made famous by vids of teenage boys snorting wasabi powder and grandmothers’ reactions to videos of lesbians eating poop, but hell — I didn’t post those things. I’m just the unlucky viewer who happens to think those things explain the meaning of life.

This is the case, too, with “Gay Chicken.” As of this writing, a search for “Gay Chicken” will net you 972 results. A warning: none of the videos are funny, or clever, or have any socially redeeming qualities whatsoever. They’re not even gross. They’re barely even interesting.

Funnily enough, that lack of interesting-ness is the most interesting thing about them.

Gay Chicken is a game played by fratboys and jocks, and it goes like this: two young straight guys bring their heads closer and closer together, as though they’re going to kiss. Usually, one of the guys will break away before there’s any lip-to-lip contact. He’ll screw up his face like he almost ate a cockroach and go spinning across the room, screaming “Nasty! Ew! Gross!” Everybody laughs, and the guy who didn’t get grossed out is declared the winner.

I’ll say this again, just in case you forgot: at the moment, YouTube hosts 972 of these videos.

There are a few ways to look at the Gay Chicken phenomenon. First, it could be seen as a friendly party game. It certainly seems friendly. There is no infidelity involved — often as not, the contestants’ girlfriends are the ones holding the camera. And Gay Chicken is a game with no clear loser. The winner gets bragging rights, and the loser gets to console himself with the knowledge that he’s supremely heterosexual — and that he just proved it in front of his friends. This is healthy. Het males don’t have many opportunities to publicly prove their masculinity in this culture, so they should take what they can get.

Less innocuously, Gay Chicken could be construed a sign of resurgent homophobia.

It’s very easy to picture PC people going all to pieces over Gay Chicken, but I don’t worry about what they think — PC fucktards have wrecked our fun long enough. As a devoted faggot, I don’t find anything particularly offensive about Gay Chicken. Just because I’m willing to kiss anything that moves doesn’t mean everybody should follow suit. Hang-ups are hang-ups, and fratboys are welcome to them.

And though the PC folk may one day rage against Gay Chicken, whatever line they use will be disingenuous at best. Anybody with half a brain (by which I mean “anybody who has yet to appear in a Gay Chicken video”) knows Gay Chicken isn’t born out of anti-gay hatred.

People in Jamaica and Iran genuinely hate fags, but so far no Jamaicans or Iranians have posted any Gay Chicken videos. Nope: so far, Gay Chicken is a strictly American and British phenomenon. And to this faggot, the vibe on the vids is suspiciously similar to a vibe from my junior high days, when my friends and I would play Truth or Dare at sleepovers.

Unlike Gay Chicken, Truth or Dare was a genuinely interesting game. Playing it, you ordered others to do things you allegedly wouldn’t want to do yourself. Everybody knew it was a sham, but that didn’t matter: the game’s illusion was too liberating for anybody to puncture it.

In Truth or Dare, you could create a situation you were too shy to instigate in any other context. You would giggle as your male friends were de-pantsed and your female friends de-bloused, and when you were ordered to perform some light petting, you would feign disgust just long enough for your friends to egg you on. Once they had done so — once they had approved of the action — you did whatever you were commanded, and lustily.

People who play Gay Chicken are not junior high students, but they act like it. They are jovial, but it’s a junior high kind of joviality: a too-intense brightness designed to cover up anxiety and excitement. The participants have squeaks for giggles, their voices seem stuck in their upper registers, and they speak too loudly and quickly. Watching, you cannot help but think: these people want to kiss.

Sometimes they do. Many a Gay Chicken match on YouTube ends not with a loser, but with a makeout session. Presumably, this means the game has drawn to a tie and both players have won. They can say whatever they want afterwards — that it was gross, that they’ll never, ever do it again — but it doesn’t matter. There was boy-on-boy action. And male competitiveness being what it is, there’s always the possibility of a rematch.

In one video, the rematch doesn’t end until a hot blonde 19-year-old tells his competitor, “Alright. Remove your pants.” It doesn’t happen, but still. It’s the thought that counts. And did that blonde kid look just a little disappointed to have won so easily?

Maybe it’s facile to suggest that a phenomenon like Gay Chicken is nothing but a collective expression of repressed homoeroticism among Western youth. Hell — it could even be wrong. I suppose there’s an off chance that these boys really are grossed out by queer kisses, and that’s why they enjoy Gay Chicken so much: it’s a challenge, and boys like challenges.

But if that’s the case, and gay kissy-poo is so repugnant to the straight sensibility, then these kids should prostrate themselves before their girlfriends immediately. Those camera-holding girlfriends, laughing at their crazy boys, are paragons of fortitude by comparison. Unless college life has changed drastically since I left it six years ago, it’s a given those girls have dyked it up on occasion. And nobody had to dare them.

Previous Articles:
1, Ballad for Estonians
2, Which Way is the Winter?
3, The World of Color

Future Articles:
1, When Did LOST Jump The Shark?
2, The Atheist Parade
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