La freak: So chic

I have this friend who’s working on a secret project. I don’t know all the details, but I do know that it has something to do with freaks. Not circus freaks — like the guy who can play a banjo with his ass bones or the girl who can lift weights with her nipples or Michael Jackson — but like the everyday folks whose differences from the norm make life “spicy.” The freaks who walk among us, freaking out the mainstream folks. With their freak flags flying high.

I say the term “freak” affectionately, because freaks are awesome. And it’s not like I’m coining a term, here. The woman who I mentioned just now? She describes herself as a “lesbian bi poly trans kinky pagan unschooler geek.” And actually, it’s not HER project so much as it’s THEIR project — you know, she and her blue-haired, pierced, tattooed wife. So it’s not like either of them are pointing any fingers.

At this point, let me introduce myself again.

Hi, I’m Johnny. I’m white.

Hi, I’m Johnny. I’m straight.

Hi, I’m Johnny. I’m more or less Christian, middle class, 33 years old, house in the country with two kids, no tattoos or piercings, and not into feet or furries (look it up when the kids are out of the room). Outwardly, I’m pretty whitebread. You wouldn’t stop to look at me as I passed unless I were riding a cow, which I almost never do anymore.

Yet, a bunch of lesbians found my blog almost as soon as it launched and quickly got on board. I now know and correspond with several transsexuals. Most of the rest of the people who read me are just plain weird. It’s like I’m this closet freak, drawing freaks to me like a big goth magnet shaped like John Waters’ mustache.

Or maybe I’m one of them and I just don’t know it. Maybe I’m in denial. Maybe I’m wearing some sort of invisible freak outfit that only freaks can see that includes a giant pink hat with, like, bananas on it. And maybe a midget sitting on top.

(If I were a midget, I think I’d want to be called a “midget.” “Little person” seems really condescending to me. It’s something you’d say about a toddler, and also those “Little People” Fischer Price toys. So I’m trying to be cool here. Little people/midgets, please sound off about this in the comments. If past experience is any indication, I know there’s a bunch of you out there, sitting on phone books and not quite sure if you should be mad or not.)

As a kid, I was brainwashed by the mainstream and didn’t “get it” to a large degree. So, when I grew up, I decided that I wanted to gather folks from as many walks of life as possible as my friends — people who were different from me. Punks and burnouts came first — and for a while, I kind of became one of the former. Black people came second. I met some Latinos and finally, much to my delight, realized that I had a few gay friends. Then a Chinese guy in high school who once told a student teacher, “Your hairs looks funky.” Some Jews (who aren’t skilled outdoorsmen. According to my buddy Will, “My people don’t fish.”) Met two African guys in college, one of whom was named Simeon and was built like a brick shithouse, like literally, like people use to walk up to him with toilet paper and try to open the door. Took a while to find my first lesbian. Even knew a red-headed dwarf in college who begged for change outside my place of employment and used to insist on shaking my hand every fifteen seconds.

But then, as the diversity of my group started to grow, I realized I had only scratched the surface of the types of people who were out there.

For instance, I didn’t know it was possible to be born a woman, identify as a man, remain biologically a woman, and be into men as a gay man. Back in a simpler, more naive time in my life, I would have collapsed the double negatives and ended up with “straight woman.” But not anymore. You can go back and forth and back and forth.

Another tragedy? These freaks have ruined my high school friend’s joke about being “a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.” Because apparently, that’s a real thing.

I talked to my gay friend Nick the other day and said, “Dude, you’re totally mainstream now. If you want to stand out, I’m going to at least need you to develop a watermelon fetish.”

And he’s like, “Why are you wearing a banana hat?”

I have this theory. Hear me out.

I think the internet attracts freaks. Because when you’re out of the mainstream, you stand out like a sore thumb in ordinary life. You get stares at a minimum or a beating if things escalate, just for being who you are. But online, you can be as ordinary or non-ordinary as you’d like, because we’re all reduced to words on a screen. And there’s weird porn for everyone.

As for me? I don’t know why freaks like me. Maybe because I’m cool with them. Maybe because I’m just trying to be myself in the same way they’re trying to be themselves. Maybe because freakiness is relative. Think about it. Society only thinks these people are strange because there are more of the mainstream folks.

I mean, what if all of the white, straight, middle-of-the-road people got onto a bus and went back to Dollywood from whence they came? In the society that remained, who would be the freaks? “Normal” people, that’s who.

Think about it. What if gay men were the majority? In the capital city of Homopolis, I’d be the weird one, talking about monster trucks at my store called Chicks and Weapons while the populace shunned me and my Chuck Norris ways. Don’t deny it, gay people. If society’s norms said that dudes should make out with dudes, you’d pick on the guy who chose to shack up with five supermodel exiles from nearby Lesbo Angeles. The less tolerant among you would deny me jobs or beat me up, and I’d lose those confrontations because I’d be all tired from smoking cigars and racing nitro cars.

I don’t exactly know why freaky people like my site and my writing, but I do know that I like that they like it. Who has more fun than the majority of the majority? Everybody, that’s who. What’s more fun than a bunch of white people getting together to discreetly celebrate a promotion with tea and cakes? Everything, that’s what. Take me instead to a black church, a Jewish Hora, a Puerto Rican festival, or a big gay party. Those seem like fun events. Everyone laughs and dances. Nobody talks about their stock options. (Well, except for the Jews.)

Now, I’m going to go try to get this midget out of my hat because I’m presently missing a midget friend.

Or is it “little person”? Hey, whatever he’s into.

* This post has received the seal of approval of transsexuals. How many of you can make that claim of any of your blog posts? Yeah, that’s right… I thought not.


  1. @ncwinters says:

    Wow, where do I begin?

    Well, plenty of more intelligent people will go down the road of what kind of freaks they are, how we all are and that feel-goody stuff, but as a fellow honkey straight married guy (well, I do have earrings and a tattoo and I’m an “artist” as they say) I think the draw is the same draw I seem to find with the “freaks”. Namely, that the status quo often (SUPER-generalizing here, let the hate mail commence!) try to stick together and when enough get together, an abnoxious thing called judgement starts to rear it’s homogeneous head. This can ruin a lot of free thinking, new experiences and all around fun times pretty darn quick. I think the “freaks” as you call them have dealt with this judgement and shunning for enough time to know it A.) sucks and B.) makes it hard to enjoy life. In my opinion, this leads to more “open” frames of mind that allow more diversity in the world in, which is what makes life funner (cue the unicorns and dancing puppies).

    Idaknow, that might have seemed random, but I think it’s cool that you are aware of your freakish following. I take it as a point of pride in the fact that one can remain open minded and leave judgment in the hands of others. My goal was not to be this serious today, so I will end on a more age-appropriate tone:


  2. @ncwinters says:

    “its” not “it’s”.

    Crap, stupid after-the-fact proofreading. Argh.

  3. Kyeli says:

    Okay, first I apologize for this being the first post I’ve read over here. I’m insanely picky about the blogs I read, and while I know you’re cool and I like you a lot and I talk to you on Twitter, I haven’t read your blog. Before now. But now, I’m committed to reading it all the time. As committed to a man’s blog as a lesbian can get. I’m waiting for diamonds to pop out of my screen as I type.

    Secondly, I read the girl who can lift weights with her nipples or Michael Jackson as the girl who can lift weights with her nipples or with Michael Jackson. Which changes the feel of that entire paragraph, I must say.

  4. Pish and tosh. You’re not a straight white middle-of-the-road American. You’re just focusing on your boring demographics instead of your freaky ones. For one, you’re a geek. Geeks are awesome (remember?), and totally count as freaks.

    What’s a freak? Someone who gets marginalized, discriminated against (or picked on or belittled), someone with their own unique shit that’s totally unimportant to mainstream society, basically someone that normal people Just Don’t Get. You’re totally a freak. Even if you weren’t a diabetic weightlifter. (:

  5. O-Steve says:

    There’s nothing better than going to the Pride Festival with my Blaxican girlfriend and her hot gay sister. That doesn’t make me a freak. I’m the freak because I’m wearing jorts (all the guys have on plaid shorts – the girls are in camo), have tatts and piercings, and I’m a guy dating a chick. What’s even freakier is being scared I would get hit on by a bunch of gay guys… but being a bit disappointed when that didn’t happen.

    Something else that’s freaky… a 30 YO man doing gymnastics. 😉

  6. I got stuck on your hypothetical cites. How ’bout this: the city-state of Homopolis wages a campaign to subjugate Lesbo Angeles. You’d have your pickin’s then. Think it over.

  7. Johnny B. Truant says:

    @NCW – I think you’re spot on. I can’t speak on behalf of a group I’m not in, but I would imagine that years and years of getting shit just for being yourself would make you more appreciative of the times when you aren’t getting shit and more open to even the mundane needs/emotions of others. Makes for a bit PAR-TAY from time to time?

    @Kyeli – That’s possibly the best lesbian-related compliment I’ve ever gotten!

    @BigLongNameJesusIDidn’tKnowYouCouldMakeThemThatLong – I still don’t understand “unschooler.”

    @Steve – Truth. Or a man with a Nascar cooler on stilts in his backyard. Now THAT would be freaky!

    @CAA – But what do the men of Homopolis want with the Lesbo Anglicans? Besides, nobody would be able to enter anyone’s airspace. I hear they have a detection system called “gaydar.”

  8. Ah, gaydar. How could I forget. I guess the people of Homopolis would have to find a hetero population to to enslave for the building of their obelisk-esque monuments.

  9. @ncwinters says:


    Like there isn’t a shitload of great LIFE that doesn’t get opened up once you free up the distraction of judgement, xenophobia and Klan meetings. But that could just be the Kool-Aid talking. Plus, when I have to visit older creepy family and in-laws, is it weird to take it as a point of pride that most of my friends are gay, artists, minorities or some combination of both? Probably. Heh, Blaxican, I have to find a place to use that. The closest I have is a Brazilbian, which is not totally clear.

    Also, I have to agree- what’s this about not being a freak? A.) You know what a furry is, and you probably also know what “the shocker” refers to and B.) You’re a diabetic weightlifter, with some kind of malus fetish (look it up) for chrissakes!

    Nothing but love.

  10. Trish says:

    @ncwinters I have to admit, I had to look up Malus. And this is coming from a chick who knew all of your other references. I’m so disappointed in myself…

    Um, J, I hate to break this to you, but I pegged you for a freak the second I “met” you. And of course, in keeping with this post, I use the word “freak” in a purely complimentary fashion. Despite having been raised in a white, middle-class environment for half my life, it was definitely a sign of things to come that my first two boyfriends were gay (as fairly vanilla as that is these days).

    Anyway. So glad that you’ve come out about your freakiness. Welcome to the parade.

  11. Johnny B. Truant says:

    Ha, I get the benefits of the “coolness” of freakdom with none of the downsides because I don’t look the part. I’m like Eminem.

  12. Trish says:

    So you’re Undercover Freak. The worst kind…

  13. Casey says:

    As usual, Havi has something cool to say on this subject. We’re all in this together after all – now how do we determine who are the “norms”?