"gay" again

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat Jul 29 21:59:00 UTC 2006

Not sure if this has been noted here before, but one recent semantic
development on the "gay" front is the construction "be gay for" =
'have an unseemly or exuberant affection for (someone or something)'.
For instance, the music magazine _Blender_ has a regular feature, "The
CD We're Totally Gay For". (_Blender_ is part of the _Maxim_ family,
so the context is laddishly heteronormative.) Similarly:

Mediocre Bands You're Totally Gay For
And because "In My Arms" is one of those songs I'm completely gay for...
I am gay for this BUCK-TICK song.
Award Categories... I'm Totally Gay for this Blog or Best Overall Blog.
We just started playing this again seriously and confirmed that we're
still totally gay for [video game designer] Tetsuya Mizuguchi!!!
We're totally gay for William McDonough, eco-architect and
world-transformation guru. Same goes for Cameron Diaz, whose work for
green causes is only made more charming by her valley-girl ditzitude.
But McDonough and Diaz together in one lecture hall? Swoon, we tell
you. Swoon.
You could safely say I'm completely gay for Transformers and still not
quite encompass my feelings for it.
I love Verron Haynes, but I love Duce Staley more. I'm gay for the Steelers.

Less common is "be queer for", with the same implication of fannish
exuberance or excitement:

And yes, I am, as my buddy Jay has noted, "totally queer for" the
Decemberists. Yep. Fah-laming.
Rusty is my former landlord and is completely queer for cycling.

Examples with non-human objects seem to be akin to the playground
sentiment, "If you love X so much, why don't you marry it?"

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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