Slang of the Week: stromo (noun)
a homosexual who appears to be heterosexual
Because of his negative stereotypes of straight men, Rick thought that dressing badly and belching loudly after drinking beer would make him a stromo.
“I don't fit the stereotype. I'm a proud stromo (for those of you who don't know, straight acting homosexual) and my gaydar is amazing.”
- A writer in an online forum, October 2004
We usually look at new slang and old slang, but this week, we look at obscure slang. After writing on invented terms like milkshake, headsprung and get your eagle on in the last year, I started thinking about slang words that are introduced into popular culture but don’t make it. Even the celebrity quote this week doesn’t come from a famous person because although the word exists in many online dictionaries of gay slang, there are very few instances of the term in “real life.”
Stromo appears to have been introduced by the VH1 show Totally Gayer in 2004, which defined it as a “gay man who acts straight (heterosexual) in response to metrosexuality.” For anyone who missed that phenomenon, a metrosexual is an urban straight man who makes an effort to be very stylish, well groomed and knowledgeable about food, wine and culture. The word gained popularity because it is useful—most straight men are not interested in those things, and making straight men into metrosexuals became the goal of the hit TV show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
However, stromo never caught on. While I have not done extensive research on this point, I would guess that its failure to take hold might be a result of the fact that like their straight counterparts, most gay men do not attend the opera, spend hundreds of dollars monthly on hair products or know the difference between a Roberto Cavalli t-shirt and one from The Gap.
Unlike stromo, gaydar is a commonly used slang term. It refers to the imaginary human radar that allows people to distinguish between gays and heterosexuals. So far, little scientific research has been done on this “power,” but like the writer above, many people believe they possess it.
What’s new at Slang City?
"My love for you is not iffy, I always want you with me, I'll play Bobby and you’ll play Whitney" We translate the Black Eyed Peas song Don't Phunk with my Heart into Standard English. We’ve also added a new section to our bookstore, with books on the language, history and music of hip hop, including DVDs and CDs as well as books.