No one is brought up to be gay. Lacking the formal support systems families, schools, churches gay men rely on their folklore in interacting with one another and to relieve the pressures of belonging to a stigmatized group. Jokes and other forms of humor, language, and personal experience narratives help gay men to identify and communicate with one another even in straight settings.
More Man than You'll Ever Be explores the uses of gay men's folklore. Wheter funny or sad, poignant or shocking, each story and joke contains messages, sometimes surprising ones. Goodwin decodes some of these messages to help us understand not only the gay subculture but also ourselves.
Seeing gay folkore as a neglected area in the field, Goodman demonstrates that folklore is a major factor in acculturation within the gay community and is consistent with folklore use in other subcultures. The primary examples presented here--jokes, cautionary tales, experiential tales, etc.--were collected in the early 1980s and show some age, such as the explanation of the color coding of bandannas. Most useful will be the exploraation of a separate argot, or vocabulary, used within the gay community. Based upon the author's doctoral dissertation, this is a well-researched and documented work that will be valuable for experts in the field and motivated general readers.-- James E. Cook, Dayton and Montgomery Cty. P.L., Ohio