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Stereotyping

Posted by Gayfeather_in_MN (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 6, 05 at 17:56

I stumbled across the following posts while doing some research on cutflowers on this forum. My partner and I own an upscale floral shop in Minnesota. We like shopping for some of our flowers at local markets when they are available. I was curious to see what some of the market growers were considering for this season. I have to say I am pretty amazed and shocked by what I read by some of the following posters especially in this day and age.

Because I happen to be gay does not mean I possess an esthetic appreciation for flowers. Where would one ever draw that conclusion? We shouldnt think that anymore than concluding being opinioned is an inherent gene in brunettes. And, for the fellow in Wisconsin who was yucking it up about the two gay floral designers falling all over his flowers. Do you honestly think this is professional behavior? And, SuzieQ should perhaps heed some of her daughters advice. Your comments come across as very narrow minded.

My partner and I happen to think Gladioli do not belong in mixed country bouquets as featured in some of the photo shoots on this forum. They are formal flowers that belong in very large arrangements or standing alone. Never haphazardly put in with sunflowers and other peasant flowers. That is my opinion. It isnt attacking who you are as a person. You, however, obviously felt free to make assumptions about gay people without even knowing anything about them.

Next time I would hope that you think twice before posting such offensive trash on a forum for all to read.

Posted by: Jeanne_in_Idaho z5 N.Idaho (My Page) on Wed, Jul 28, 04 at 14:45
Steve, there are lots of people, men and women, who can look at the most beautiful flowers in the world and not be overwhelmed by them, in fact barely notice them, or not notice them at all. I'm married to one of those. I'll point out a gorgeous new lily or a stunning wildflower and he'll put on the 'humoring-Jeanne' expression with the little smile and say 'uh-huh' or 'that's nice' or 'Pretty' in a tone of obviously fake interest. It amazes me that he not only is willing to be the major breadwinner so I can do my flower thing, he even helps me with it when needed, considering how little appreciation he has for the flowers. Show him an iris, and he is as likely as not to call it an orchid, or a dahlia. He has tulips, sunflowers and roses down, but that's it. Everything else is a generic flower.
I have a sister like that, too. It's not only men. In fact, a lot of gay guys have exquisite taste in flowers and appreciate them greatly. I wonder if esthetic appreciation is somehow linked to the genetics of being gay? Anyhow, it seems to be a rarity in straight men, so I appreciate it when I see it!
Jeanne
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RE: Neat article on Farming
Posted by: clink IA-5a (My Page) on Wed, Jul 28, 04 at 15:56
One of my best customers --is a straight man. He is here twice a week always. And always buying at least 2 buckets of flowers. But he is a rarity.
I have to laugh at my husband though. He has had to learn the names --just in case, I'm not home. It's funny to listen to him stumble over --"Amazon Neon Duo" dianthus. He does have lisanthus and painted-tongue down pat!
I think I'll keep him!!
Cathy
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RE: Neat article on Farming
Posted by: Jeanne_in_Idaho z5 N.Idaho (My Page) on Thu, Jul 29, 04 at 19:54
Only one of my steady customers is male. He appears to be straight - I've met his wife and grandchildren. His taste in flowers is undiscriminating - he's as likely to buy daisies as lilies - but hey, he buys them! My gay hairdresser, on the other hand, doesn't grow anything but always has exquisite flowers in the house and knows the name of every flower I've ever brought him. Then there is his sweetie, who is about as flower-illiterate as my husband. And then there is Steve, married, who can appreciate a wildflower prairie (no doubt "weeds" to my husband). And my sister, who might know the difference between a rose and a daisy, but has never noticed either unless somebody else pointed it out. And most of us on this forum know the difference between daisies themselves -Shastas, Painteds, Gloriosas, etc. Our differences ARE fun, aren't they?
Cathy, I'm pretty impressed by your husband's knowing lisianthus, never mind Amazon Neon Duo! I'd keep him, too! - but I'll keep the one I've got. He tries.
Jeanne
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RE: Neat article on Farming
Posted by: goshawker z4WI (My Page) on Fri, Jul 30, 04 at 0:04
Jeanne, LizaLilly and Cathy,
What is so much fun for me now is that my little girls love the flowers. It seems that no matter how much I work out in the fields they don't resent me for it. They love to learn the names and try and teach their friends about them. Or try and show off to Grandma and Grandpa their knowledge of the Native Prairie and all of the flowers and grasses of said prairie. We just hatched out 7 monarch butterflys that they found as caterpillars on the Asclepias Tuberosa and fed them until they turned into a Crysalis. I am hoping they love cutting stems as much when I start to enlist the child labor in a few years before they get interested in those things, what are they called, oh yeah....boys.
And you are right about the gay men Jeanne. Two of the florists have gay men as designers and they fall all over themselves when I show up with my stuff. They are exceptional at putting arrangements together as well.
My dear wife loves to get dirty in her vegetable garden and likes my flowers as well. She is incredibly supportive of my entrepenurial gene and helps me to foster it when she can, by giving me new ideas and such. She also has the Masters Degree and the "real job" with benefits. She got her Masters so she could work 2 days a week and make the same money as she did working 5 days, but now she gets to be home with the kids 3 days a week plus the weekends. I still ask her a few times a year why she took pity on me and said yes when I asked her to marry me.
I am so glad that I stumbled into this cut flower business and so grateful to all of you for your advice and knowledge, as my daughter would say "The Garden Web Rocks!!"
Steve
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Posted by: SusiQ NETX, Zone 7B (My Page) on Fri, Jul 30, 04 at 17:06
Steve--I wish I had a Master's and your wife's job! Sounds great to me! I work 2 days a week too, but the income ISN'T the same, I'm sure.
My husband recognizes tulips, daffs, and roses, but they have to be in bloom, first! On the other hand, when he starts talking bits and bytes, and RFI, and radio or computer language, I'm glassy eyed before he finishes the first sentence!
He helps some in the yard, but grew up hating yardwork and hasn't changed his mind since. And now, since he has smoking related asthma, his activities are more limited. He still gets on the roof and cleans out gutters, tho, and hangs Christmas lights, etc. And, on occassion, he can remember the name of certain flowers.
Two of my customers are husbands who've ordered for their wives, one of them twice. I almost said "I've had 2 husbands...." but that's NOT my story! LOL! A third man, older, currently single, (NOT gay!) almost ordered a church bouquet for this weekend, but when he first called, I didn't think I had enough flowers. Turns out I did, but he went ahead and had the florist do it, but will order from me again.
My oldest daughter has many gay friends. When I ask if so and so is a decorator, she gets SOOO mad! "Mo-om, you CAN'T make that stereotypical assumption! Not ALL gays know about decorating!" Harumph!
But it wouldn't be a stereotype if there wasn't some or a lot of truth in it. A gay decorator came to the nursery the other day, getting plants for his client. He spied some short flamingo-ish faded celosias we had (that I thought looked pretty sad!), and he just raved about them. No one else has commented on them all summer!
I just love to see the gazanias come to the nursery each spring. I've never grown them, but the texture of their petals feels like silk, and the colors are amazing. Well, ALL flowers are amazing! I'm taken aback by the cones of the purple coneflowers, the markings on lilies and foxgloves, the scent, of course, of roses and daffodils, well, everything about ALL of them!
Well, almost all of them! Some customer brought in a star cactus the other day, that had a bloom, and that flower smelled like puke/compost/rotting food/and any other bad smell you can think of! EEEEwwww! It did have interesting texture and coloration, but NOT something you'd ever want in any garden, or farm, or ANYWHERE!
Susi.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Stereotyping

That's odd. My only gay customer is more THRILLED and TICKLED with my arrangements than any of my other customers combined. He wouldn't dream of calling sunflowers "peasant" flowers. And he certainly wouldn't cut down someone else to make himself feel better. I am so looking forward to combining blackjack Glads with Moulin rouge sunflowers this season!!


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RE: one more thing

I also want to add that the lady whom you said doesn't know how to construct an arrangement is one of the nicest, most generous people on this forum. I think she's actually helped me more than any book I've read. I have learned so much from her. She always has time to give detailed responses to all our questions. Her arrangements are fantastic. I aspire to be like her.


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RE: Stereotyping

Could I ask why you chose 'gayfeather' as your screen name? Aren't you stating that your gayness is something that defines you?

If the worst insult that comes your way is that being gay gives you an inherent appreciation of beauty and nature and style and color, then you're very lucky.

I'm sorry that you were offended. I'm certain no one meant to insult you, any more than you intended to insult the particular flower arranger, or those of us who have differing views on the suitability of particular flowers. I'm afraid, though, that this won't be the last time that you read much the same thing.


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RE: Stereotyping

I am sorry I even read this thread. Gayfeather, good luck in your upscale flower shop and in your own choice of flowers dictated by your own tastes.

You said it best yourself and I quote:
"Next time I would hope that you think twice before posting such offensive trash on a forum for all to read. "

That's all I have to say except this forum is particularly fortunate to have many experienced wonderful flower growers who are more than willing to share their knowledge based on their past experiences in the cut flower world. Although there are divergent opinions on flowers and all that goes with growing and selling them, I have no doubt that there has been no intended malice, no distasteful attacking whatsoever. Just observations based on experience.

I however am offended by your attacking certain posters and apparently not seeing anything of merit in the cited posts. Look closer, you will see appreciation, acceptance, accolades. Only you chose to see something different and negative. I'm sorry if you chose to view things that way. Just another divergent opinion, which are welcome, but never ever do I tolerate attacks and Garden Web shouldn't either.

Nothing would please me more than to have Spike vacuum this thread right out of cyber space. If he had found anything so offensive it would have been GONE weeks ago. I will continue to look forward to the helpful, insightful posts from all who contribute here.


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RE: Stereotyping

  • Posted by SusiQ NETX, Zone 7B (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 7, 05 at 1:32

Didn't mean any offense, and re-reading my "offending" text, see that I was ....childish? silly? not thinking?, whatever.

I don't know how many times I inadvertantly insert someone's race in a story I'm telling. I don't mean it negatively, and often, the inclusion is only to be truthful about a conversation I had w/ a person of a certain race. However, their race doesn't really have anything to do w/ the story at hand, and I need to stop that. For instance, "A customer came into the store and we had the best conversation...". Customer's etnicity isn't important. Ditto on persons w/ homosexual preferences.

So far in my business, it's been rare for ANY man to order flowers from me, yet 3 men Did order flowers from me, two of them twice. Why I included the "non-gay" qualifier I have no idea.

I go along in my life "thinking" I'm tolerant, and cringe when I hear others make disparaging comments, then out fall my own, unintentionally.

However, if you and your partner are in the floral business then the two of you must have SOME appreciation for the art, form, texture, smell, and feel of flowers and all that they entail. Otherwise, you'd be doing something that required less artistic expression. Since many gay men "seem" to be drawn to the arts, and since many gay men "flaunt" their effeminate behavior, a sterotype is born and fostered. Then you chastise us for our perceptions, and our unintentioned awkward words.

As we all know that "all" persons of color are not ghetto gang members, we all know that male persons who favor the same sex are not "all" effeminate, and not all women who favor women are to be called derrogatory names. So it seems to me that the word needs to be spread among the gay communities to stop the behaviors that lead to such sterotypes.

If you don't bring it to our attention, we will notice less.

And when you Till, Rake, Sow, Water, Weed, Fertilize, Harvest and then Make fifty or a hundred bouquets for a farmer's market, (In addition to a full or part-time job elsewhere), then haul them to the site, wait in the sun for hours for someone to come buy them, including elitist florists from upscale shops who seem to be "slumming", then perhaps you will have a better appreciation for someone who puts glads with sunflowers in her "peasant" bouquets. If we got to work in an air conditioned upscale flower shop w/ the best "imported" flowers available to us, maybe our bouquets would be different too.

Susi.


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RE: Stereotyping

I don't think this is a florist at all. I think it's a troll looking to cause trouble. Will someone alert Spike of this thread? I think it should disappear.


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RE: Stereotyping

It is really easy in electronic media (e-mail, forums) to be misunderstood because voice inflection, facial expressions, interruptions etc. are lost and an off hand comment can be misinterpreted as an insult.

I'm gay and when I read those posts last summer it did make me a little uneasy. It was a little like overhearing people talking about you without them knowing, and if that was the first thing I read it probably would have upset me more. But, by last summer I had been following this forum for six months and had a good enough feel for the participants to decide that no one intended any offense.

February sucks, but the days are getting longer and winter really will end. Lets all try to cut each other a little slack.
Kirk


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RE: Stereotyping

I hope this post doesn't disappear, because while I wholeheartedly agree that none of the original posters meant any malicious harm, it has made us all consider the hurtful effects of stereotyping. We all, in the words of the famous man, want to be judged on the content of our character. I know to the world I am an overweight stay-at- home middle-aged housewife and sometimes I get treated like my only concern should be how clean my husband's shirt collar is. But I have a doctorate, and for twenty years had a very highly paid fast paced career. It's tough to get past the preconceptions sometimes.


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RE: Stereotyping

I am only offended by the statement that you can't put glads and sunflowers together! You know, that is why some people shop at the "upscale" florists and others love the farmer's markets or those of us who have our own ideas about color, form and texture!

I have recently had to purchase some "florist" wholesale flowers to do some winter weddings. I hate even working with the plasticy things. Sure, they hold up..until you wish you could kill them! Today we were told that we didn't need to worry about lavender callas for a May brides request because they could spray white ones any color we wanted.....Yuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!

I am personally acquainted with each flower I sell...I sowed the seeds, I weeded and watered, picked and conditioned....And I will choose what I think goes with it! And what MY customers like.

Black Jack glads, Any of the pink toned sunflowers and Kiss-me-over-the Garden-gate is my idea of the ultimate fresh and home grown bouquet! Only I would probably put in some English roses for fragrance also!


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RE: Stereotyping

To be fair, this is what Gayfeather said:

"My partner and I happen to think Gladioli do not belong in mixed country bouquets...That is my opinion. It isnt attacking who you are as a person."

Everyone seems to be reading it as if he said:

"Anyone who likes Gladioli with sunflowers is a hick with no taste".

This is what I meant by misunderstandings in e-mail and postings.
Peace,
Kirk


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RE: another reply

"Never haphazardly put in with sunflowers and other peasant flowers."

I read that as a slam.

LizaLily, I had to spray paint hydrangeas to make them eggplant. I felt so tainted! Ewww...


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RE: Stereotyping

Man or should I say person. Have we ever got way off track. I can see all points of view except for "peasant" flowers. That in my mind is sterotyping. Saying that any one person that likes those types of flowers is below one's self is wrong. I can see that Gayfeather has no idea the time, care and talent it takes to grow those peasant flowers that I sell hundreds of thousand of. May the peasant (Proletariat) flowers over come the bourgeoisie flowers sold in up scale florists.


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RE: Stereotyping

Resounding "AMEN", Brian!


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RE: Stereotyping

Most of the gays I have known have been friendly, compassionate, creative people. If that's discrimination, give me my red D.

Sue


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RE: Stereotyping

I did not mean ANYTHING I said as a putdown. Stereotyping is never a good idea, and I should not have done it. But perhaps you didn't notice my mentioning my hairdresser's sweetie, a man with NO flower appreciation, just like my husband??

I can't help noticing that of the men in the florist business and other esthetic-appreciation businesses (like hairdressers, decorators, etc.), there appears to be a much higher proportion of gay-to-straight men than there seems to be in professions like engineering. That would, of course, be the choice of the men who enter those professions. Perhaps it is simply that gay guys are likely to choose trades in which it is easier to "be themselves", i.e. use feminine behavior and speech without being judged for it. Which leaves us with the accurate impression that there are proportionately a lot of gay guys in the esthetic professions. How is this a judgement or disapproval?

The comment about whether an appreciation for flowers is genetic and linked to the gene for gayness was a JOKE. I'm sorry you failed to appreciate that. Do note, however, that it was implied in my words that I assume gayness is genetic, therefore a normal human variation, not a "lifestyle choice" or anything to be disapproved of. Before now, I did not think it was necessary to point that out. Where I live now, there are very few gay men who aren't closeted. I miss them and their contribution to the variety of human life.

Kirk, I am sorry I made you uncomfortable.

Jeanne


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RE: Stereotyping

I too wasn't being malicious at all. I was stating a fact that both of these gentlemen know about themselves and I know as well because they told me they were gay. I have a great relationship with both of them. In fact, they kid me as to how a straight guy can grow such lovely flowers. They are awesome designers and they do give me great compliments by raving about my flowers when I drop them off. If you can honesly read that post and think there is some sort of mal intent then I think you are reaching for something that doesn't exist.

Waiting for the frost to leave,

Steve


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RE: Stereotyping

Spike...whoever you are, please let this thread continue. As a straight male artist working in and near Portland OR. and specializing in flower vases, (I just started my flower farm last spring to support my business, I use many flower arraingements as samples), I have been on the receiving end of many assumptions/stereotypes. Most are that I must be a liberal democrat or that I am gay. I am neither. I have never been offened by these assumptions. The interesting thing is that most of the people that are making these assumptions seem to be gay, liberal or both. That's OK with me, I just enjoy being able to meet different kinds of people. That is why I sell my work at public markets and art/craft shows. If I was sensitive to being stereotyped and it did offend me, I would probably be in some other business. My own wife asks if I am gay (in jest) when I help her with a flower arrangement she is having trouble with. I can't help it if I am artistic and creative, I see form and color with an artists eye...not a queer eye. As to the gay gene...I think gay men are more open to expressing their feelings and that is not a bad thing. Our culture teaches young boys, that girls like flowers and boys play baseball. It is partly through discussions like these that things can change. I hope you (Gayfeather) will continue lurking and adding your own two cents here like many of us on this forum and thank you Jeanne for all the good advice for us lurkers.

If anyone saw my booth at the Norwest Flower and Garden show last week...give me a shout out! Dana


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RE: Stereotyping

This string of posts makes me a little sad, although there are points of hope scattered through it.

Many folks have good friends on the garden forums, and most -- but admittedly not all -- people who post comments are intending to teach, to learn, to share a common interest and to share a laugh. When they disagree, there's often a hearty back and forth -- particularly when you have long-standing forum relationships. In such cases, if you get into a flame war, you have at least some sense of the person you're responding to and the friends you're defending. And the person you flame today may be the person who chimes in on your side tomorrow.

In this case, there seems to be a disturbing disconnect to me -- a split in focus between to responses to Gayfeather's comments on people's taste in flowers and his outrage regarding other comments on people's taste in partners. As beautiful and important as flowers are to many forum regulars, I think that people should try to keep in mind that no one was ever beaten up for liking "peasant" sunflowers over gladiolas.

And I also believe that most, if not all of the original posts that upset Gayfeather came from a place without serious ill will. A place where you may be talking in stereotypes (whether seriously or comically), but there's no harm intended because you're talking about a "good" stereotype -- you know: "those" people are really good at basketball, "those" people are really good at math, or "those" people are really good with money.

The funny thing is, not everyone would fill such blanks in the same way. More importantly, no matter how you fill them in, they wouldn't be universally true.

And before anyone who was ever in a group of "those" people pipes up with a "yeah, you tell them!", people who are in such groups often enjoy toying with the "good" stereotypes themselves. When you're on the outside, it's insensitive, maybe bigoted behavior. But when you're doing it within the group, it's just an inside joke against the schmucks on the outside.

And, as a practical matter in daily life, when you're in one of "those" groups, sometimes playing to a stereotype can just be so much easier. Other folks can get even more upset or confused when you frustrate their expectations. It's less confrontational to say, "Why thank you, I AM good at math," instead of "Well, actually I nearly flunked out of high school because I can't do simple algebra, but thank you bringing up those painful memories."

It's a big wide world out there filled with all sorts of people in it. Broad categories, stereotypes and other general assumptions about how the world usually works may make it a little easier to make your way through it. Even so, I guess all I am saying is that even if you think a certain stereotype is a "good" one, other folks might not think so -- and, of equal importance, it might not be true or even partially true with respect to the person in front of you. So try to keep a watchful eye, and when possible, try to see the real person behind the assumption.

That's it. I'm off the soapbox now. Thanks.

Oh yeah . . . one more thing: For the record, I really do prefer "peasant" sunflowers to gladiolas, and there's no harm in mixing styles from time to time -- so bring it on! :)


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RE: Stereotyping

jpw,
I read recently the human mind has the ability to stay on point for approximately 72 words. Then, it starts to wander. I read your post; and, I thought there must be a message here. There it was in your seventh paragraph which pretty much had all your thought in one tidy little package:

"It's a big wide world out there filled with all sorts of people in it. Broad categories, stereotypes and other general assumptions about how the world usually works may make it a little easier to make your way through it. Even so, I guess all I am saying is that even if you think a certain stereotype is a "good" one, other folks might not think so -- and, of equal importance, it might not be true or even partially true with respect to the person in front of you. So try to keep a watchful eye, and when possible, try to see the real person behind the assumption."

Point well taken. I think Kirk had it right all along about misunderstanding; and, others chose to take the post in another direction.

You said: "Oh yeah . . . one more thing: For the record, I really do prefer "peasant" sunflowers to gladiolas, and there's no harm in mixing styles from time to time -- so bring it on! :)" Bring what on? All of us here on the Cutting Garden love sunflowers; and, some of us have a love/hate relationship with gladiolas. Most of us grow them for our customers regardless if we love them or not. And, many of us growers are just to dang tired from planting bulbs, tubers, plugs and seeds. Right now I chose to look at the world through my rose colored glasses, and call it, My life and this is how I chose to live it...................


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RE: Stereotyping

Hmmmm,"upscale" florist as opposed to us that work in the "bread and butter" florists. I guess we make more "peasant" arrangements than the "high style" variety. Everytime I make a "high-style" arrangement and put it in the cooler to sell- it sits there- Guess those peasants with the money just don't have good taste......


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RE: Stereotyping

I'm fairly certain Gayfeather is Pete. One and the same.


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RE: Stereotyping

Gayfeather it may be that you dont like some arrangments that have been pictured in this forum but someone does and someone worked very hard to put that together and show it to us. Please have respect for there likes.
Although i dont know any Gay men it seems that most (including you) are very bitter and defensive. Even though i dont agree with your lifestyle you may make more friends being less bitter and you may find that people wouldnt be so uncomfertable around you if you wouldnt make such offensive comments about someones hard work.


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RE: Stereotyping

DapperDahlia, how can you say anything about what most gay men are like if you don't know any?

I don't intend this in a nasty way, but THAT is stereotyping!

I think I am quite likable and probably less bitter and defensive than most people. Maybe it is just because I spend so much time outside in the garden.

Peace,
Kirk


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