To the surprise of few, today’s column declares ‘I’m gay’


Until yesterday, today’s column was to be known as just another commentary on how desperately hard the NFL tries to stay in the headlines during its offseason especially when overshadowed by the specter of the Winter Olympics set in a seaside community where the weather is 60 degrees and sunny and the whole thing is overseen by a scowling oligarch in a mock turtleneck.

Today, the column itself has taken on a life of its own and become something else entirely: The first openly gay column. One on the cusp of starting its trudge through the hashtag storm of social media.

Regardless of how well-written the column is; how pithy and spot on the analogies; how many superfluous semi-colons; how. Many. One. Word. Sentences. There. Are. This column has already become a symbol not just of what future columns can become but how far columns have come from the very recent past.

“I’m a sports column and I’m gay,” the column said on the eve of its release.

Less than a year ago, many potential columns which eventually made it to this site had to go through a rigorous series of personal vetting questions. Questions like, “Do you have a girlfriend?” “If you could stay up and read any other column, would you read a column from The Hairpin?” “Are you more a Facebook or Pinterest post?”

Though this line of questioning no longer persists, it is notable this column came out even before it, um, came out — thereby changing the way it would eventually be received by an audience.

The timing of the column’s release of its sexuality for public consumption caused some to question whether it was a well-planned “event” rather than a column that could simply stand on its own merit.

That said, the sexual orientation of this column was not a closely guarded secret prior to its submission. Multiple sources said during the writing process this column’s copy editors and even author had a strong suspicion it was gay.

“I remember as I was working my way from notes to actual thoughts on the page thinking I wanted to be treated just like the other sports columns on this site,” the column said. “Like them, I’m just an average Girls-watching column who just wishes the series had more narrative. I know it’s trendy to criticize, but I just think the show should have more than one episode of Full House worth of plot as we near the end of the third season.”

Despite being gay, the column noted it wasn’t “totally into Looking yet.”

“I know the subject matter should resonate, but there’s been no mention of the Grindr app. I mean, that’s pretty much gay sitcom fodder 101. Plus, it’s kind of a Girls knock-off. It reminds me when Rubik’s got popular in the ’80s and they started to make Rubik’s triangles and orbs and it wasn’t the same. It was just pandering.”

Though word of this column’s orientation spread just prior to submission, the column wanted to remind readers it strives to be accepted as one of the team of sports commentary here: “I look at Deconstructing Colin and Deconstructing Peyton, both great columns and columns that have proven to have staying power as top search results. I want to eventually be judged against them based on my abilities alone.

“In other words, I am syntax and structure, not gay syntax and structure.”

It remains to be seen whether the subject of this column’s sexuality will have staying power amongst the frenzy of other recent columns about an athlete’s headline-grabbing sexuality, or if it will be forgotten with two Facebook likes and relegated to page 17 of a Google search on gay columns that are gay.

The more immediate feedback and criticism might be best seen from other media outlet’s straight columns.

An ESPN column dealing with similar subject matter expressed concern: “Though I am dominating my site with my opinions on sport and sexuality, I still do not declare an orientation,” it said. “I’m also a little concerned about how this (gay) column might look at me in the locker room.”

One Fox Sports column declared via Twitter that all gay columns should be “rounded up, sent to an island that’s nuked till it glows.”

The tweet was later removed from the network’s feed.

But for all the homophobic tweets and ill-advised posts, there was an overwhelming show of support from most media outlets and even search engines at the time of submission.

Other straight columns voiced support and showed enlightenment. “As long as this column never uses the word ‘literally’ to describe something that actually didn’t really happen and doesn’t say ‘at the end of the day’ when it’s nowhere near the day’s end, I don’t care what it does behind closed doors,” a New York Times column opined about the outed column.

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