As many of you know we have a huge assortment of gay men in Cape Town. So many in fact, that we have started to develop different categories in which we can classify ourselves. There are “Twinks”. The young, fresh faced, skinny boys, with spiky hair and eager, puppy dog eyes. They’re particularly endearing because most of them still believe in Love and monogamous relationships. Then you get the “Preppies.” They are often seen out in something striped or knitted. Their clothes indicate that they may be students or sportsmen and some will even wear a pair of fashionable spectacles. Their hair is very neat and short and like “drag queens” they may shave their legs, but only because they wish to minimise injury to their legs should they come off their bicycles during the Argus. They spend a lot of time in straight clubs and bars claiming to be non scene and then wondering why they never meet any nice guys who are actually gay and not just up for the occasional drunken blow job in the men’s room. There are “Hobbits” or “Oompa Loompa’s”, as I call them, who are short stocky gay men. There are big burly “Bears” who look like the grisly yet seemingly huggable creatures they are named after. And then there are “Cubs” which are bears in training. Then you get my personal favourite “Muscle Mary’s”. I love “Muscle Mary’s”. The only problem is that “Muscle Mary’s” can only really love themselves or other “Muscle Mary’s”, and despite my every effort and having consumed a mountain of protein powder, I am not a “Muscle Mary.”
I am a new breed of homosexual and I am not alone. I am a “Ute.” Yes a “Ute” and it is no coincidence that it rhymes with cute. “Ute” is short for the word “Utility” and this is apt for many reasons. "Ute's" are user friendly and handy to have around, sort of like the Swiss Army knives of the gay world. “Ute’s”, like me, drive utility vehicles or “bakkies.” This is considered quite butch but in truth mine is silver and it sports a rainbow sticker. We are practical gay guys who like to throw the things we own onto the back of our “bakkie” and then hit the road. We are usually quite slim or athletically built but not bulky enough to be “Muscle Mary’s”. “Ute’s” lack the mass or the sufficient amount of body hair to be “Bears” or “cubs” and we are a little too unkempt and less inclined to wear stripes to be “Preppy”. “You have to be younger than 25 to be a “Twink”, and most “Ute’s” are in their early thirties or approaching that age. “Ute’s” are lucky in that they can date gay men from other classifications quite easily. “Bears”, “Twinks” and “Preppies” like “Ute’s” and I myself have been able bag the odd “Muscle Mary.” We have great cross-over appeal. “Ute’s” live in their jeans and corduroys. They are not as obsessive about their hair as “Twink’s”, “Preppies” and “Muscle Mary’s”. “Ute’s” prefer Hang Ten hoody’s and Billabong clothing and accessories to the Abercrombie and Fitch and Diesel fixation shared by many of the other groups. “Ute’s” are not overtly feminine nor are they excessively masculine. They glide along blending into the straight world very well until they come across another “Ute” and then their true rainbow colours come out. They are very animated story tellers and are unafraid to use the upper registers of their voices to make a point. But you can easily take a “Ute” home and introduce him to your parents and they will think he is a very colourful and likeable character rather than a queen that knocks on your back door.
I have a few friends that are “Ute’s” and have noticed an increasing amount of “Ute’s” emerging. Walking their dogs on the promenade and camping one another in D.I.Y stores. It’s comforting.
The problem with being a “Ute” though is that sometimes we are “utilised” a little too often. “Ute’s” must guard against being messed around by the other “moffie” types. “Twinks” often use “Ute’s” to learn how to experience their first break up. “I’m sorry but you’re just too intense and I don’t love you anymore. I love Lance because he also uses gel to spike his hair and he rides a cool scooter and not a “bakkie.”” “Ute’s” need to watch themselves with “Muscle Mary’s.” Most “Muscle Mary’s” will secretly always be looking for another “Muscle Mary” and that’s if you don’t find yourself replaced by a portable mirror. I realised that I didn’t seem to fit in any of the other categories and have developed a reputation for being a nice guy (with a tendency for taking off his clothes and occasionally playing a woman.) I felt lost and invisible being unclassified and unable to crack the nod into the Bulging biceps club. Then I noticed that there were other men like me floating around in this gay “no man’s land.” Other men who were not quite one type or another and also prone to long term relationships followed by long periods of being on their own. I even met and befriended one whose career also requires that he wear skimpy clothes and dress in drag. (Come on Adam don’t be shy!)
But because “Ute’s” are built to carry heavy loads and go the distance they manage to cope quite well.
“Ute’s” make the perfect boyfriends because you always have someone with a “bakkie” on hand to help you move heavy furniture.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on birthday and Xmas presents because they don’t need labels and designer fragrances. Anything in the male section of Body Shop will do.
A “Ute” will make you many cups of tea and will keep you entertained with many hours of animated story telling. Or sit quietly next to you on a Sunday reading his book.“Ute’s” are the best of both worlds. He will cuddle with you under a duvet watching a soppy DVD and then help your dad build a fire for the braai. “Ute’s” are not afraid to get their hands dirty but are very hygienic and always smell good. I love being a “Ute”. It also rhymes with “astute” and “parachute.” Both are apt descriptions, because “Ute’s” cover great distances and as you fall the experience can be quite exhilarating.