I work in a medical lab in a medium-sized regional hospital in rural Illinois. Our departmental umbrella includes pathologists, histologists, medical technologists, medical lab technicians, lab assistants, and phlebotomists. The first three types of job require 4 or 6 or 8 years of college, and hospitals all over the country are desperately trying to fill all their unfilled professional positions.
My hospital began recruiting aggressively overseas about a decade ago. The result is an ethnic and cultural mix that's a ton of fun to be a part of. Our Head Pathologist is a Indian (dot, not feather) and our Junior Pathologist is Nigerian. The Lead Tech on evenings is also Nigerian, the Lead on night shift is Filipina...as are many of the other Med Techs.
All of that leads me to the actual fun part: The Gay.
The night shift Lead Tech is a young-ish woman with impeccable medical credentials and a tenuous grip on the English language. Early on when I first started working there, she asked me if I had a husband. I replied without any actual thought, ""Oh God, no. I'm so gay! Look at me...do I look like the kind of person who would have a husband?"
And she sort of blushed, and I apologized for making her uncomfortable, and we laughed it off. But since then, she's shown a funny fascination about the whole subject of gayness. It's pretty much off the table for conversation in the Phillipines, and she's got a million questions and stories. She told me once that her cousin is "The Gay" and that it's not a issue in their family as long as he's just promiscuous and never actually acquires a life partner. It's one thing to be "The Gay" at the park or on the beach, it's a whole nother thing to be sitting in the family pew with your man.
We stumble around our language issues by talking louder and making big exaggerated gestures, but we mostly do okay, and we laugh at the failed attempts and our cultural tabboos and biases.
Tonight she told me about her two uncles, who are also "The Gay." She calls them "The Cheap Gay" and "The Expensive Gay." The first one will apparently do it with anyone. At the beach, behind a shed, in the back room of a bar...he's always good to go. The other one requires some wooing before he'll bestow The Gay on some lucky fella. Dinner, dancing, a movie...then, if it works out: The Gay.
We also love to engage in the down time activity nearest and dearest to the hearts of all of us gays...the Guess Who's Gay game. She has an atrocious Gaydar. If it's not a man trailing a feather boa, she has no idea he's The Gay. Likewise, women without prison tattoos and facial hair also slip cleanly under her gaydar.
We have a new tech, just hired this week, that sets off my gaydar like the gate alarms at Fort Knox. She's such a dyke...she wouldn't be any more of a dyke with "DYKE" prison tattooed on her forehead just below the mullet-line.
So the other day I said, "Chemene! New girl...The Gay?"
And Chemene said, "Really? She's The Gay? She's got makeup! And jewelry! How can you tell?"
I gave her my usual song and dance that's actually code for I don't know how I know...but I know. I just don't know how to describe how I know.
Well Ha! The new girl came in tonight with her girlfriend! And our phlebot, Joyce, said, "I knew right away. They were intimate."
And I said, "Like how? Like she threw her up on the counter next to the polarizing scope and did her?"
But when Chemene came in tonight I got to deliver the joyous news: "Chemene! She's The Gay!"
Another one for our team. We're so proud.