Why are some men threatened/embarrassed by effeminate gay men?
I used to be embarrassed by effeminate men, when I was in denial. But being able to relate to a real person, and put into his shoes, changed that. One of my stories:
I had returned to college, taking Theatre and Broadcasting degrees. One of my theatre professors was fully out in 1976, as swishy as God ever made one. He was not quite 2 years older than me at 28, but already a PhD with a few books to his credit.
My girlfriend, also taking Theatre, sorta befriended him, and I went along with it to please her. I greatly admired his teaching abilities, and he gave the most perfect Army-style instruction I ever saw, though he'd been dishonorably discharged during Basic Training in 1968 for being gay. The 3 of us would go out for dinner fairly frequently, most often Chinese.
One night my GF phoned me at the last minute, said a sudden family obligation prevented her from joining us at a restaurant. Horrified that I would have to sit down with this guy alone, without the "shield" of my GF, I tried to phone him to cancel, but couldn't reach him. I was obliged to show up as agreed.
So just the 2 of us sat down to dinner. And he was as flamboyant as ever, in voice & mannerisms, though a brilliant conversationalist, not some flighty queen in what he said, just the manner. And soon I became aware of the other diners around us staring, and whispering. I cursed that we were given a table smack in the middle of the floor, as if on display.
I asked him if he saw those stares, or was it my imagination. No, he said, it happens to me all the time, I see them, too, I'm used to it. Well, I wasn't! Not only was I embarrassed to be thought a gay, too, but I was an Army First Lieutenant, I couldn't risk my career if someone there recognized me, near my home town.
But then another part of my Army self kicked in. This guy was my buddy, and you don't abandon your buddy to the "enemy." To Hell with them, I thought, I'm gonna defend this guy, stand by him, he's my friend. And so I deliberately stared right back at them with a little smirk. And I think I even started to mimic his mannerisms a little, rather than trying to butch-up my voice & gestures. I gave him my support, not my scorn, as best I knew how.
A few days later when we met again we talked about the evening. And he said that yes, he'd seen what I was doing (with his sharp stage director's eye), and he thanked me. No straight person has ever done that before for me, he said. Well, I wasn't really quite so straight, and I later learned he knew that, too.
But that incident put an end to my feeling embarrassed around effeminate guys. It also was the beginning of my slow process of coming out to myself, beginning to accept gays and eventually my own orientation. All while enjoying some won ton soup and a plate of pork lo mein noodles. LOL!