Nation. People. Literate UCSB students. I come before you today to offer a study that will revolutionize science. Its elegance, infallibility, and pure genius will force the Nobel committee to establish an entirely new field for prizes – one for awesome – and I will be its first ever winner. I give you…the nail test.

In seventh grade, I was asked to examine my fingernails. Upon turning my palm to face me and curling my fingers down, I was pronounced a heterosexual male. Of course, five years later I would disprove this famed research when wrestling with a friend degraded (actually, upgraded) into possibly the hottest situation I’ve ever found myself in, but while I was an aberration, no one can deny the complete and irreconcilable differences the nail test has demonstrated – neigh proven! – between men and women. So let us examine this idea called gender further.

Since becoming licensed as a homosexual, I have found that a large sect of my people – a sect I shall arbitrarily call the Closets – are utterly obsessed with their appearance. They are thoroughly concerned with a certain image – one that makes the terms ‘bro,’ ‘man,’ and ‘dude,’ the most important words in the lexicon – and I imagine they must be in their bathroom for hours tailoring to his appearance. It is amusing how staunchly they stick to this personality, for even when we’re alone together, and they are fully aware I know of their attraction to men, they maintain their image. A second sect – I shall, once again very arbitrarily, call this one the Flames – has always astounded me with their stoicism and cavalier bravery in the face of a culture that subconsciously rejects them. They are warriors for their freedom to wear feather boas and rainbow jeans.

And so, the appearance-obsessed Closets and the independent Flames provide an interesting comparison. From my brief description, you have hopefully noticed the clear winners in masculinity are the Closets. This is confirmed by their use of the word ‘man’ in place of any other pronoun. Yet something seems wrong about this conclusion. Perhaps the nail study is wrong, and trying to assign genders to sexes is just plain idiotic.

I mean, I’m gay, so I should be like a chick? One of the feminine qualities is a lack of stoicism. So I want to challenge every straight dude in my audience to do the following: step on a nail, take a scalpel, cut the nail (inch deep) out of your foot, and use super glue as stitches (please don’t actually do this). I did it, and I’m gay, so every straight man shouldn’t even flinch during the procedure. So the fact I have sex with men does not preclude my ability to ‘take it like a man’ (my dirty mind really just had fun with that phrase). And then there’s my friend, who could, put simply, beat your ass to pulp. This is good, because you’ll want her to when she starts talking about the new shoes bought. And if you want to be utterly owned in logic and analysis, call up my buddy Anne – she’ll hand your manly ass to you on a platter. And what’s with all of those super rational men sticking by their psycho girlfriends; stop crying, just break up with the bitch because she’s really not worth it.

I would hope my proposals don’t consciously shock you. If they do then I’m really sorry you exist. But the gender roles aren’t supposed to be conscious. They are a cultural undertow of thought. Look outside on a Saturday night and watch boys beat their chests and girls act (key word there) weak and needy to lure in mates. The breeding rituals of Isla Vista (not, mind you, the breeding rituals of Homo Sapiens) necessitate gendered behavior. We accept gender aberrant behavior but still view it as aberrant. This is an incorrect view, and if you think you can argue it is correct, I will happily engage you in lively debate.

So to the next guy I bring home, don’t bother with the overwhelming urge to assert your masculinity. I tend to be attracted to ambition, individuality, and stoicism – my friend once pointed out all the women I’d go straight for were also capable of murdering me. If I’ve decided to be with you, I know you’re a ‘masculine’ guy. Hell, you’re man enough to admit you want to be with me despite what society says.

And to all, gay or straight, I want to you this. Consider the traits you find sexually appealing, and then critically examine whether you seek the trait because you like the trait, or because it subconsciously comforts your conditioned need for the gender binary. Overturning this concept of masculine/feminine traits might allow the Closets to dissociate being gay with being actualized as a man, and accept themselves. And that’s good for all of us (mostly me), because Closets are typically very energetic in bed.

But, go ahead and look at your nails. I still want that damn prize.