“Bounce? My walk is bouncy?” That was my response to my boyfriend when he described the distinctive way I walk. “Babe, you have a very cute…bounce to your walk. I like it!” Though he said it with affection and I knew he did like the way I -my butt- looked when I walked, I knew he was probably reaching for a kinder word to describe that I might have a feminine swish to my walk. I had heard other, less kind descriptions before so I appreciated his efforts to be kind, but all I could come up to say was, “Bouncy? Really babe?”
I’ve honestly never really paid much attention to the way I walk. The most common comment I get is that I walk incredibly fast which is true. I walk ahead of almost everyone I walk with and always have. However, on occasion as I was growing up, I’d get comments about my walk as being “girly” or “swishy”. Walk like a man, I’d hear. I honestly don’t think it was all that bad. I mean, I’ve sung a lot of Madonna songs in my day and my voice can get a little high when I’m excited but I don’t consider myself an extremely feminine guy and I know some queens who’s natural walk gives Naomi Campbell a run for her money and I know I don’t walk like them. And I have a pretty nice, taut butt if I do say so myself so I figure certain pants accentuate that and people notice it and the way it moves. However, being young and gayish, I guess I did work on a more masculine walk. At least for a while.
As I got older, I first decided to walk however would get me where I had to get as quickly as possible. And then I accepted my gay. I was pretty proud of the fact that I could do a more stereotypically masculine walk when going to someplace like my barber shop. Still, I do sometimes see young children in public and wonder to myself, “I wonder if this lady knows her son is gonna be super duper gay sashaying like that.” And from time to time, I’ll admit, in certain situations or neighborhoods I’ve been embarrassed simply walking alongside friends of mine. (I mean, your walk might be praised in Bryant Park but it, and that weekend bag you’re carrying could get us knocked in Harlem.) In fact, at times, I had openly judged other guys if their walk was too over the top swishy. I mean, even in the gay community, a feminine strut is accepted but not universally attractive. However, some things have changed even my views with time.
During a very odd conversation, a man once asked me how I walk. “What kind of question is that?”, I asked. “Why?” He informed me that he’d recently gone out on a date with a guy and because he was “D.L”, he was literally traumatized by how feminine the guys walk was. So now he’s taken to asking potential dates to describe their walks for him before observing them for himself. I thought this was literally the dumbest thing I’d ever heard from a 36 year old gay man. And though, I’d never say anything so stupid, and the only walk this idiot saw was me walking away, I did think some of my own thoughts were a bit hypocritical. To be honest, I may notice the way a guy I date walks but I’d never blatantly cut him off or not be seen in public with him because of it. A walk is simply a walk and I’m not really better than my sashaying friend or the flamey queen pumping boldly down the street because he can’t switch up his swish like me. In fact, my barber shop walk is just a slowed down version of my normal gait and I don’t know how much of a difference that makes really! I’m in a position where I accept myself and my walk so who am I to judge when other people like theirs? Mine is fast and it takes me where I need to go and it’s apparently, “bouncy” at times . And someone likes it.