Ask JT! Will O’ The Lisp, and AfterElton Cocktails: The Sequel!

Your friendly neighborhood bartender is taking a break from his wild dating life to tackle your questions with his patented blend of advice and adult beverages. So slide on up to the bar my friends. Now, what can I get you?

I have what you would call the ‘gay voice’ (lisp, “Oh my God,” high pitched) and I’m kinda worried how it will affect my introduction into the gay world/dating life.

I got picked on at high school relentlessly, and I never really could hide my sexuality because of it, but the one thing that really peeves me about my voice (and I’m kinda wondering if any other gay guys get this or if it’s just me) is that to my own ears/brain I sound completely normal, like your average guy, and because of it I generally forget that I really sound like. And it’s my voice; it’s not like I can change it even if I tried to.

Now I do have my effeminate traits (Broadway, LOVE Glee, kinda gossipy) but I consider myself much more of a nerd/emo/loner. I guess I’m just kind of afraid that every guy I meet will hear me, assume I’m some offensive stereotype (Effeminophobia is still alive and kicking) and not even bother to get to know me. (Also I stutter… but that’s a completely separate issue.)

So any advice or should I just ride it out?


We’ve got two issues here, L, so let’s take them on one by one.

First, we’ll deal with effemini effem ephem that thing where dudes don’t like a dude because he acts kinda like a chick sometimes. You can bet your Glee-lovin’, gossipy ass I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t exist and it might not arise as an issue with some guys you might think about mackin’ on. But guess what, L? Who cares what those guys think? You are who you are, and if someone isn’t into you for whatever reason, it’s their loss.

Like every other demographic on the planet, there’s a wide range of behaviors to find among gay men, and while butch guys are for whatever reason exalted, that doesn’t mean they’re more likely to find love. In fact, in the unscientific survey I just did in my head of all my gay friends, the queenier ones tend to be the dudes who get into and stay in long term relationships. But here’s who doesn’t end up in relationships: people who use the self-descriptor “loser.” You’re not a loser, L. I don’t even know you, and I like you already. So buck up there, soldier.

Next, let’s talk about how you hear yourself in your head versus how others hear you. I think every man, woman, and child in the world has experienced that startling moment when they hear a recording of their voice and go, “Is that what I really sound like?!” No, you’re not alone.

So to recap: you’re not the only one dealing with this, and you’re beautiful in your way ‘cause God makes no mistakes etc. etc. born this way.

Finally, though, rather than your mannerisms and pitch, let’s talk seriously about your lisp and your stutter. First of all, neither of those things is anything to be ashamed of.

Says “More than 68 million people worldwide stutter, which is about 1% of the population. In the United States, that’s over 3 million Americans who stutter.”

That’s a lot of damn people. If for the sake of argument we say 5% of the world’s population is gay (please don’t harp on this number, commenters, because it’s just to make a point), then according to Start Menu-All Programs-Accessories-Calculator that’s 150,000 gay people who stutter. And if males account for 49% of the population, then … ugh, I’m tired of numbers. You can all do the math. Don’t forget to show your work.

There’s less information on lisps – the first three Google hits were AskWiki and Wikipedia entries, which are none too trustworthy – but I know a few former lispers who now seriously salivate over saying superfluously sibilant sentences.

What I’m getting at, L, is you might want to consider going to a speech therapist. It’s worth a shot. But remember, a little lisp and stutter is nothing to be ashamed of. Same goes for a high-pitched voice and penchant for spitting out random Glee trivia.

I repeat: there is nothing wrong with knowing EVERYTHING about this show.


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