More goings on down at the Red Hand
Back to 1955, and there’s an element of schoolboy humour behind this post.
The fact that the word ‘gay’ has changed its meaning over the years is an endless source of amusement to anyone with a juvenile streak. And I sniggered at the headline to this feature before I could stop myself:
But what strikes me about the Bedford – and what makes this worth publishing here – is just how un-gay this newly refurbished pub looks in any sense of the word. Here are the six – count ’em – meanings of the word ‘gay’ according to Dictionary.com:
||having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music.
||bright or showy: gay colors; gay ornaments.
||given to or abounding in social or other pleasures: a gay social season.
||licentious; dissipated; wanton: The baron is a gay old rogue
||of, indicating, or supporting homosexual interests or issues
The only recognised meaning of the word that applies to these two pictures is the highly contentious one that’s not covered by dictionary.com, but is mentioned at www.urbandictionary.com. It’s the one I hear mostly in London streets and on the bus in the morning, and while it may have developed as a separate strand, it does nevertheless have its roots in homophobia.
So if you exclude that one, and just go by any of the six definitions above – does this pub look gay to you?
Which ever way you look at it, our ideas about gayness have changed an awful lot over the last 54 years.