On Saturday of last week, I sent out a brief questionnaire to about 40 of the city’s wittiest gay men asking them “What and who is an A List gay?” Within literally minutes of posting the questions, the answers came flooding in, but the wildly diverse responses suggest that none of us definitively knows what an A Lister is. Nevertheless, I thank my respondents for providing so much food for thought.
“It is impossible to consider yourself an A gay,” suggests Gavin Crawford. “This noble monker must absolutely come from the sage judgement of others. It's so exhilarating to leave your self-esteem in the hands of other people!”
“I feel that the most important factor to A Listery is: Charisma,” offers Richard Ryder.
“The only way to be A List for life is to have a big cock,” declares Drew Rowsome.
“I have only ever heard this term used, incessantly at that, by an American friend of mine,” says Todd Klink. “I don't have any clue what it means, but for what it's worth, he assures me that I am not an A gay.”
“I’d say an A-gay is someone who actually does something for the community,” says Jeremy Feist. “I like to believe that selflessness and philanthropy count for more than generic, circuit boy prettiness.”
“I’m on the fey list,” proclaims David Bateman. “Can I be on the B List?” asks Brian Finch.
“I think A List gays must have talent,” wrote Bob Smith. “Good looks aren't so good at 90 but you can be talented when you're a codger.”
“We might think of moneyed, style-conscious folks as A-gays,” said Brad Latendresse, “but I personally don't subscribe to that kind of narrow minded class bullshit. People are either nice or they’re not. Also the whole A-gay thing is pretty white cis-male centric which I'm not down with.”
“People who aspire to being on an A List usually have an emptiness that needs filling. Or is that holes that need filling. I forget,” adds Malcolm Ingram.
“I had to work almost full time to get a place on a list or two at public health, so that should count,” contributes Peter Troyer, helpfully.
“Shallowness is almost a prerequisite,” said Josh Bentley Swan.
“In my mind an A Lister is someone who has the influence to make things happen,” adds Antoine Elhashem, “yet I prefer if the person goes about life with a great happy kind friendly attitude.”
“There are lots of different A Lists. Leather A Lists, drag A Lists, activist A Lists as well,” Brian Finch posits. But not everyone wanted to weigh in on the debate.
“We've got quite enough letters in the LGBTQA community,” declares Brad Fraser. “I won't contribute to it by taking part in this conversation.”
“Most of the time it’s all smoke and mirrors anyways,” adds Joey Wargachuk. But Raymond Helkio offers a ray of hope. “What if A List also included well intentioned philanthropists, artists or community leaders?”
“To get onto the A-List, you have to date or marry an already existing member or be recognized at the gym. Or at Fly. Or at any circuit party,” explains Mr. X. “It’s shallow. And vapid. They don’t do charitable work. They don’t rub shoulders with government officials in an attempt to better the world. They go to the gym. And go to clubs. And do drugs.”
“It helps to be dimwitted and a frequent smiler. Also, gym tits,” says Jawsh Leevy. When I asked Jawsh if young gay men should aspire to become A List gays, he replied “No, they should aspire to assault one.”
None of my humble respondents would describe themselves as A List. Some were almost vehement about it. “It’s all about your attitude, your boyfriend, your hygiene, your waist size and your legs,” declares right-on Keith Cole, who would never consider himself an A Lister because “I am a bit dicey in the stability department.”
Finally, R.M. Vaughan weighs in with this thought-provoking thought. “It's long past time we started talking about class in the queer community. If I had to nominate an A-Gay, it would be Kent Monkman, because he once told me not to spill something on his shirt because it cost 800 dollars. That's A Is Enough for me.”
“I think A list gays would be any man from a daytime soap opera,” posits Roy Mitchell. “We have none in Canada. I believe they are a myth and I can't believe Kent Monkman has an $800 shirt.”
Are you on the Toronto's A List? - Part 2 - Watch my video to find out.