Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"ur gay" -- What does that even mean?

Last night, a friend and I used World of Warcraft's dungeon finder to join a 5-man group for a dungeon. I was very impressed with everyone, and the run went perfectly smooth from start to finish. Except after the 3rd or 4th boss, they all decided to tell me "ur gay". This is the first time I've turned a whole party on me like this.

What does "ur gay" even mean?

I didn't have a retort or defense on hand. I only tried to ignore it and keep things up as usual, but they only said it more.

I thought about this a lot until it dawned on me...People are very emotional creatures. I decided that "ur gay" usually doesn't mean what the words themselves mean. It is merely a part of internet culture that for many has come to represent distaste for another person. If you look at the emotion behind the words, it's simply a way to communicate negative feelings towards another.

I tend to talk a lot, so obviously, it was either something I said, or just the excessiveness of it that set them off. Again, this is my emotion coming through...it was the first time I'd played the dungeon, so I was showing lots of enthusiasm, excitement, and friendliness as frequently as possible.

It is very tempting to retort when one insults you. I tried to think of cruel, witty things to say or do to get back at them, but that didn't seem like it would help anything. Continuing to chatter the way I like to didn't work, either. But seeing the insult as a representation of an emotion makes the statement very clear. Rather than "ur gay," they might have said, "Something you said (or Some things you said) have made me uncomfortable/upset/bothered."

Stated like this, it's far more clear how to respond. If someone is hurt by what you said, you can simply apologize, try to clear possible misunderstandings, and offer to change your behavior.

Suppose the conversation had gone like this:
"ur gay"
"Oh, I'm sorry, did something I say bother you?"
"Yeah, you're annoying"
"You mean I'm talking too much?"
"And stop using !!! all the time."
"Sorry about that...I was just excited because it's the first time I've been in this dungeon. I'll try to tone back and say things that are more relevant to beating this dungeon."

I think that could have resulted in them coming off with a much better perception of me, and they might have dropped the whole "ur gay" thing at that point.

Saying sorry is important too. People generally forgive when you apologize. And if not, you did your best to keep the experience positive for everyone.

Still...it would have tasted so sweet to just stop lending heals on that final boss *evil grin*.


mbp said...

Ouch Anton that sounds awful. I am pretty sure I couldn't have put up with it and would either have flipped or walked.

Regardless of what those using the phrase "ur gay" intended it to mean and regardless of the fact that it appears to have fallen into common use among kids as a term of abuse it really only means one thing. It means that they are too effing stupid to realise that the term is deeply offensive and rooted in homophobia.

Anton said...

As far as I remember, it's the first time I've been targeted with that particular insult, and it does hurt to be called names to some degree, no matter how tough you are.

In no way do I think they were behaving maturely, but I recognize every human being is at different stages of learning and I choose not to hold a grudge towards them.

My stance is always to try to make positive of everything, and so I am trying to focus on ways that I can improve a situation rather than on what the other party should have done.

I laugh about how easy a healer could get revenge on the rest of the group, but really, that just leaves people more angry.

Tesh said...

I have a curious habit of employing a sort of verbal jujitsu on stuff like this. A simple "jealous?" comment has shut up some of the more recent insults I've heard.

I'm not sure if that means they are thinking about it or if they don't know what "jealous" means. Either way, they are quiet, so it's enough for me.

Anton said...

"ur gay"

...you sure that works here? Haha

Tesh said...

As a non-gay sort of fellow m'self, it's not *personally* accurate, but it sure seems to shut up the leetspeak kiddies. *evilgrin*

Anton said...

We should play together sometime. We'll find some irksome sorts and you can show me the ways.

Tesh said...

That could be a lot of fun. Trollbaiting mightn't be the best idea, but it sure feels good to slap down stupidity if it volunteers for treatment.

My subscription dies here in a week or so, though. Which server are you on?

Anton said...

Ajzol-Nerub (PvE, Normal)

We just made a new guild with just me and two coworkers, looking for more, you'd be very welcome to join. I play about 2-3 times a week, from about 10-12. Been leveling a Paladin Blood Elf named Alida, she's level 19 currently.

Tesh said...

Didn't see you, but now I have a BElf Hunter by the name of Zooseph in your realm. I'll see you when I see you. :)

Anton said...

I will be on tonight Thurs @ 10 or 10:30pm. I have very limited play times unfortunately. Usually 10-12, 2-3 nights a week is all.

To avoid letting the game deprive me of sleep, I never play past midnight. And to avoid it consuming my life I never play two days in a row. And I never play Sundays or Fridays. So that typically means Mon or Tues, Wed or Thurs, and sometimes Saturday. I also don't start until my son is asleep, which usually means I get on around 10pm.