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Social Bottoming

Nicholas Deroose

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Born and raised in the sunny island of Singapore, Nicholas Deroose is currently pursing a Degree in Journalism at Temple University. Deathly passionate about anything gay, Nicholas has written for websites such as and He is also featured in the upcoming publication of GASPP: a Gay Anthology of Singapore Poetry and Prose. As a gay Asian man, he is also currently working with Queer Philadelphia Asian, an LGBT grassroots organization to raise the profile of the gay Asian community here in Philadelphia. Nicholas is fabulously gay and hopes to stay that way for a long long time.
posted by Nicholas Deroose on Sep 15, 2010 00:00am | comments


Isn't it funny how everyone raves about masculine bottoms but no one talks about the sissy top? I attended the Gay Men's Health Leadership Retreat up in Easton Mountains some time ago and during one of the participant led sessions the word "social bottom" cam up and it was defined as someone who has all the mannerism of a bottom, but when the lights go out is a total top. The term really struck a chord with me and I have been pondering on it till now because, OMG, I am a social bottom.

For those that know me, you probably would agree that I am really gay. I out people just walking pass them. I like to tell people I have enough gay to go around so don't be shy. I am so loud that most people can hear me before the see me and I say gurrrlfriend with a pitch that makes people think Mariah is in the neighborhood. I am unapologetically gay with every wrist flick, hair toss and booty shake.

So with all my fabulousness, shooting rainbows and butterflies with every step, most people would automatically assume that I am a bottom, and I don't mind if they assume that, because if being called a bottom means being fabulous, than yes, hand me my B-badge. Plus, I find it so much easier to me funny when you're shamelessly loud. I mean how many gay butch comedians do you know? It seems that we have come to equate camp with taking it up the ass.

We are all familiar with the sister term of social bottoms which is the butch bottom. Men how act and dress in a masculine way but like to assume the role of Lucy legs up in bed. While sipping fruity cocktails during Sunday brunch, my gaggle of gays were discussing this phenomenon of our culture, and while some of us agree that the prospective of bending over some of these men are highly desirable, we also agreed that during the pursuit of desirability these men have also trapped themselves within a label that confine them.

Given that of course some of these men truly fall into these roles. I don't expect everyone to go crazy when Britney is being played; there are some who are also trapped within a mindset of what I deemed as calculated masculinity. A mindset that sets out to objectively hyper-maculated themselves through dress sense and appearance, down to every last facial hair and checkered shirt, urgh, I never thought that print was fashionable much less desirable to begin with.

A classic case of the confining nature of this label was observed the other day when I was at the club. As I was getting my jiggle on with the rest of the crowd, I noticed a tall, blonde, well built guy in a pink polo tee shuffling in the crowd. On further inspection, I notice that his feet were moving to the beat and there were hints of rhythm in his hip but anything from the waist up was frozen, just like the expression he wore on his face. Whose funeral is he standing at? Now all of this, is assuming that he was a butch bottom and that if he was, he was a proven case of how confining the label is. I mean, the boy obviously wanted to dance but maybe felt that raising his hands in the air like you just don't care was not part of the description. So the difference between our labels is that I find mine liberating, while his was confining.

Now the flip side of this, is that when I do tell people that I am a top, they start to look at me like I am a unicorn. It goes to show that as a culture we are still defining ourselves by our sexual roles. The top/bottom label is another closet that we have to break out of because of the type of judgment we place on people when we label them. Those definitions also don't just extend to mannerism but also define the way we look at our relationships as well. Often enough we expect the top to be the taker-carer, which the bottom the more needy one. The typical macho man comes to save the delicate flower scenario, and it is disempowering to us. We need to relook at the way we define gay sex and in particular anal sex. Whether the penetrative or insertive action has a deeper physiological impact on our culture and how do we redefine that definition to be empowering.

Don't knock it till you try it, is another challenge that is usually posed by my cynics. That maybe I am a closeted bottom that just has not found the right one to give me a prostate orgasm. I do not deny that all of us are inherently versatile to some degree but why is it that it is more difficult for people to accept total bottom rather than total tops? So it is contradicting sometimes when we see that yes, I am gay therefore I am able to take it but because I am a man I need to be masculine. The struggle between sex and sexuality is a constant one for us.

So either we find another way to look at the way we have sex or start to think of labels that are liberating instead of confining. We need to start having conversation around the sissyphobia that is still pervasive within the community because it contradiction our message of acceptance. You are welcome in this community, sissy or otherwise.

Thankfully through years of stage training, I have developed a thickness of skin to rival that of rhinos and have found a solution to the mockery usually directed at me by my haters. It is simple. You… can... go… fuck… yourself. Because literally that is what you will have to do.

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