Word of the Gay

*Straight talk on Gay language, one word at-a-time.

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#39 “kai kai”

We seem to be on a drag-related streak here on Word of the Gay, one that’s lasted almost an entire year since our last post in June of 2011. With the season finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4 (nearly) behind us, we were inspired by cast member Sharon Needles and her boyfriend Alaska (who is also a drag queen) to post this definition.

“Kai kai” [rhymes with “eye eye”] refers to when two drag queens engage in sexual activity or “hook up”.  The term most likely derives from the American slang term “ki ki” [pronounced “kee kee”], which is a general term used when gay men laugh, giggle or joke around with one another.  The contemporary use of “kiki” as it relates to humor may originate with the French translation, meaning “to choke” or “to throttle.”  Possibly related: many drag queens also use the term “gag” or “gagging” when something excites, impresses or overwhelms them.  The term “kiki” may also relate to the drag & ball scene when young people take part in an event called a “Kiki Ball.” Essentially, kai kai, kiki (along with their multiple iterations and uses) will often describe the interaction between drag queens, performers and/or gay men.

You may hear drag queens speak disparagingly about kai kai, or make jokes about other drag queens hooking up or having sex with each other.

-verb

1. the act of two drag queens having sexual relations; i.e. “hooking up” or entering into an intimate or sexual relationship.

Related: ki ki, kai kai’d

Ex: “So did you and that other drag queen kai kai?”

Ex: “I never thought that those two would ever kai kai, but they both disappeared after the show.”

[Origin: Most likely American. Current usage; drag queens and other people involved in the nightlife entertainment industry.]

#38 “hide the candy”

Drag Queens are possibly the most notorious illusionists that have ever walked this Great Green Earth.  For centuries, men have delighted audiences appearing as women, wearing all types of “female” clothing, wigs, make-up and offering many types of entertainment.  These range from singing, dancing and lip-syncing to even fire-eating, acrobatics and so on.  Quite obviously, the most important way in which to maintain the illusion is to make sure their male genitalia is hidden from view.  So in lies the secret to their crotch maintenance… to “hide the candy,” as “candy” referring to their “cock n’ balls” or penis and testicles for those academic types.

As a guest judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race“, actor and singer Vanessa Williams was amazed at this remarkable method, and remarked on “Lopez Tonight” at just how amazing these Queens maintain their crotches.  The program pits 12 (or 13 as was the case in its 3rd Season) drag queens against one another in the battle to become the “Next Drag Superstar,” and has been an instant hit and will be in its fourth season in 2012.  The drag queens make reference to tucking and hiding their candy quite often, and it has been a subject of many highlighted conversations throughout the series’ run.

-verb

1. the act of a drag queen to conceal the bulge in the crotch before a performance with a durable tape, usually gaff or ducked tape.

Related: tucking, tucknology

Ex: “I can’t go on stage until I hide the candy.”

Ex: “She needs to learn how to hide her candy properly, I can see everything she’s packin’.”

[Origin: Most likely American, and used by drag queens all over the world.]

#35 “walker”

Throughout history, gay men and straight women have gone together like peanut butter & jelly, peas & carrots, or Cagney & Lacey.  The level of intimacy that can be reached between these two individuals can rival even that of the most star-crossed of lovers.  Now, couple the needs of an older woman who is either single or in a loveless marriage and has vast resources – with that of a younger, attractive man who’s looking to advance his social standing – and you’ve got sheer magic.

“Walker” describes the man in this equation; a young gay man that provides company for older women for the purposes of keeping her company, giving her advice, and escorting her to social events – in lieu of a husband or boyfriend.  A walker will usually accompany a widow or unmarried woman, and act as both company and a sort of handler or aide.  Since the woman is usually “of a certain age” the term also has a double-meaning, which refers to a walker, which is a device used to assist with standing and/or walking.

This term should not be confused either “beard” or “frock,” which both describe individuals (bread-female, frock-male) who are romantically linked to either a gay man (beard) or a lesbian (frock) in order to keep their sexual orientation hidden.  Walkers are not necessarily in (or out of) the closet.

1. noun: A man (usually younger and gay) who is in a non-sexual relationship with an older woman (usually single or widowed), and serves as her social escort, muse, best friend, artistic expert, or confidante.

Ex: “Isn’t that Ms. Weintraub?  I haven’t seen her since her husband passed away last year.  It looks like that walker of hers is going to be out with her even more now.”

Ex: “Well, I saw Doris at two different events with her walker, Lawrence, again this week.”

[Origin: Most likely American or European, and used almost exclusively in high society circles.]

[Related: “beard” (female who acts as a closeted gay man’s companion in public); “frock” (male who acts as a closeted lesbian’s companion).  Examples: George “Gould” Strong & Edith Bouvier Beale; Jack McFarland & Karen Walker.]

#34 “swish”

Throughout history, words have been used to discriminate, pigeon-hole, or otherwise keep groups of people “in their place” in society.  To that end, groups that have been the target of vicious name-calling often reclaim insulting language as a way to self-identify and empower themselves as an individual, or as a member of a larger community.

Reclamatory language, as it is referred to, is language with pejorative connotations that people with marginalized identities use to identify themselves. Language which has been used as an insult, and which is still used as an insult today, can be reclaimed through the use of reclamatory language.  However, there are some words, like the “n”, “f”, and “c” words, for instance, that many people believe to be too far beyond reclaiming for anyone to use in an empowering manner.

“Swish” is an example of this phenomenon; and of how a group of like-minded individuals were determined to build a positive movement to further the rights of LGBT people through reclaiming an often insulting slang word used to describe “effeminate” men.  The small group of friends has evolved into a large, diverse community comprising people of every background, shoe size, hair color, and sexual identity. With more than 1,000 members in 32 states and 4 countries, “Swish” creates volunteer, advocacy, and educational opportunities for the gay and straight communities to learn from each other and work together toward full, unwavering equality for LGBT people.

plural -ers. adjective -y [swish]

1. adjective (swishy, swishing): A pejorative word used to describe flamboyant characteristics, personality traits, or physical attributes of a homosexual person; usually a gay man.

2a. noun: An American gay-straight alliance, founded in 2003 (originally an acronym for Straight Women In Support of Homos), that provides opportunities for straight women and men to contribute their time, energy, and talents to furthering the LGBT rights movement.

2b: noun (Swisher): A member of “Swish”, who embodies the mission and vision of the organization – to further the LGBT rights movement.

3a. verb: To fight for equal rights for the LGBT community using one’s talents, smarts, and sense of style.

3b. verb: To make activism uplifting, rewarding, and fun.  To “swish” is the emancipation from what was once a pejorative to an ability to envision and create a world in which equality, freedom, and love for all LGBT people is valued and celebrated.

Ex: “Oh my, would you just look at that guy swishing down the street!”

Ex: “I love being a Swisher!  Each year at NYC Pride, I am able to set a positive example for straight allies in the LGBT movement and beyond!”

[Origin: Most likely American or European, used in pre-Stonewall (i.e. 1969 A.D.) gay male communities.]

#33 “salad”

As a pubescent teenage boy in 1990s America, I certainly had my fill of sexually-charged imagery to fixate upon – Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” documentary (but mainly her male back-up dancers) and those hot, black-and-white Calvin Klein underwear ads.  But the main object of my affection in those days, and still continues to be, of course, one “Marky Mark” Mark Wahlberg.

Wahlberg’s body certainly defines the term, “Salad” – which describes a man with a well-defined, muscular physique.  You know the type; the guys who aren’t the least bit afraid to take off their shirt or drop their drawers.  Basically, we’re talking mainly about underwear models, body-builders, dancers,  and athletes.  Others might describe those of us who are infatuated with this bodytype as  “muscle Queens” or being into “muscle worship”.  And why not!  These guys are just fucking hot.

[sal-ad] – Definitions, in part, courtesy of the “Salad” Facebook profile.

1. noun: a sexually attractive man with a well-developed physique; well-proportioned and imposing appearance suggestive of health and strength; otherwise good-looking.

2. noun: either of two fleshy protuberances forming the lower and back part of the trunk; buttock; ass.

Ex 1: “Gurl, there was so much salad at The Abbey I didn’t know what to do with myself!

Ex 2: “His salad was like two perfectly tanned mounds of man-flesh.”

[Origin:  United States, ca. 1990s.  Attributed to “P. Farace”, New York City’s West Village; courtesy Facebook profile for “Salad”]

#30 “tucknology”

The term “tucknology” refers to the methods and processes that drag performers (a.k.a. “drag queens”) use to create the illusion of the female form, “down there”.

Being friends with more than a few drag queens, I have grown accustomed to assisting them with their hair, their make-up, and overall look.  But there is always a point in the process of getting ready when they excuse themselves, go into the bathroom with a roll of tape and a few layers of undergarments, and come out a changed – woman.

A performer’s tucknology is as unique as their wig, so no two people will necessarily have the same approach.  Many implement a “tuck and fold” technique, while others manage to wear very tight underwear and tape down the remaining, offending, buldges.  There are more than a few online resources available, for the more adventurous readers out there to peruse… here, here, or even here.

plural -gies. [tuk-nol-uh-gee]

1. noun: the study of tucking and/or binding male genitalia, for the purposes of making them appear to be female.

2. noun: the practice (techniques and processes) that deal with tucking male genetalia.

Ex: “Gurl, whatever techniques you are using down there – your tucknology is workin’ for you!”

[Origin: Joshua Tjaden, 2006]

#9 “Tina”

When it comes to thinking up catchy phrases and nicknames for illicit drugs, no one does it better than gay men.  The term “Tina,” or “Teena” is widely used in gay communities as the casual or street term for crystal methamphetamine.

The name derived from the fact that the drug is commonly bought in sixteenth of an ounce packages; known as a “teena.”  The name has also been attributed to the Western female name, Christina, which sounds similar to part of the drugs name, “crystal.”

[Origin: Most likely American, either San Francisco or New York City.  The phrase was popularized by men frequenting online dating sites in the late 1990s and early 2000s.]

For a comprehensive list of  Methamphetamine slang terms, visit KCI: The Anti-Meth Site.  Many LGBT, HIV/AIDS  and anti-drug organizations have focused on this particular drug in the past ten years for being so closely linked with the increase in HIV infection rates among young men.  “Hurricane Tina” was a successful ad campaign and program launched by Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City in 2007 to spread awareness of this troubling trend.