I know that gay men are supposed to be big show tune affectionados, and I could argue that it was a stereotype if not for fear of being called a hypocrite by a certain Ms. Delphi who knows me far to well for my own good. Today, however I choose to discuss what I fondly refer to as the Gay Production Number. Contrary to what you might expect, the Gay Production Number (henceforth the GPN) is in fact performed by straight people.

In a nutshell, the GPN is a Het person who finds him/herself in the presence of a gay person and suddenly turns into a gibbering idiot.

I suspect itís nervousness, the "suddenly I have no frame of reference as to how Iím expected to behave" gut reaction. Of course it is also possible that theyíre just stupid, but I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Example 1: An associate of mine has assigned me several silly nick names, and feels the need to ask very personal questions disguised as humorous euphemisms. She has, over the years, given me enough Tinky Wink action figures to put most small children to shame. She has recently married, and her new husband cannot so much as answer the phone without blatantly flirting with me.

Example 2: Another associate will engage me in lengthy dissertations about obscure historical figures (who Iíve never heard of) that always end with the phrase "You must have heard of him, He was Gay".

I donít get it.

Admittedly I can be an intimidating figure when the mood so strikes, but for the most part Iím fairly laid back. Do I make them That nervous just by being there?

I also have a boss who blatantly flirts with me, but I wonít list him as part of the GPN because frankly I like it, and Iím also fairly sure he flirts with everyone.

I experienced another version of the GPN this week when I stopped into a local watering hole that, under new management, identifies itself as a gay bar. I was meeting Ms. Delphi and her paramour, and arriving first got myself a beer and began looking for a table where I could keep an eye open for an available pool table. In my search, I discovered a friendly neighbor sequestered away in a dark corner. As she was alone I joined her, and proceeded to listen to her explain that she "didnít know how to behave here".

I found this curious because though it was known as a gay bar; the crowd was decidedly mixed. I also had to wonder what she expected. This was your standard beer and pool establishment, and as such, the rules for behavior are fairly obvious. Drink beer, play pool. What did she expect???

Well, I guess my point (and yes, I do have one) is this: Weíre just people. We put our pants on one leg at a time. We drink beer, play pool and hated high school history. And except for our large collections of original cast albums, weíre just like you. Relax.