Party Like It’s 2002: A Look Back At Gay Culture In The Aughts
This week marked the end of an era when Gay.com announced it was permanently deleting all chatrooms, along with all profiles, photos and chat histories effective August 1.
The site was a defining part of our lives in the late ’90s and early ’00s, and even though we hadn’t visited it in over a decade, we were still flooded with nostalgia.
The whole thing got us thinking about other pieces of gay culture that have been lost to the ages. Scroll down to join us for a jaunt down memory lane…
Before there was Grindr and Scruff there were online chatrooms. Gay.com and AOL were probably the most popular ones. Guys would hang out late at night in their underpants chatting with complete strangers over dial-up internet, swapping pics, engaging in “cybersex,” and arranging hook ups. It was all very exciting at the time.
Just as the term “fag hag” has fallen out of fashion, so have fag hags, in general. Sure, there are still a handful of hangers on who relish in surrounding themselves exclusively with homosexual men, but for the most part, everyone just hangs out with everyone these days.
Before becoming Express Men, then just Express, and then finally being sold to SEARS, this men’s fashion line was all the rage in shopping malls across the nation in the late ’90s and early ’00s. It specialized in modern everyday basics–jeans, polo shirts, hoodies, button-downs. Unfortunately, the basics were a little too basic and the brand vanished seemingly into thin air.
Streaky hair highlights…
…gelled, spiked and sprayed to resemble the look and texture of a porcupine.
Edgy gay-themed cable television dramas
Queer as Folk. Noah’s Ark. The L Word. These were just a few of the edgy gay-themed dramas that dominated cable television channels. The shows generally dealt with timely topics such as coming out, dating, drugging, clubbing, cruising, and workplace discrimination, with a little autoerotic asphyxiation and underage prostitution thrown in for good measure. You now, typical “gay” stuff.
Though nobody’s fooled by Baitbus anymore, back in the day the site had us totally mesmerized. Heterosexual men were picked up on the street and tricked into having gay sex in a van with a complete stranger all while being filmed. Then afterwards they were abandoned on the side of the road butt naked and angry at having been duped. It was truly amazing just how many straight guys fell for the scheme. Almost as amazing as how many gay guys actually believed the whole setup was real.
Dance vault remixes
Remember dance vault remixes? Female pop artists with strong gay followings would remix their non-dance tracks into upbeat club bangers often to mixed results. The musical trend helped turn guys like Felix da Housecat and Paul Oakenfold into same-sex household names.
And we listened to these remixes on iPods so large and so bulky that they barely fit into our bootcut jeans pockets.
Before the iPhone, anyone who was anyone had a Blackberry, including “It” girls like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, who were both famously snapped by paparazzi stumbling out of bars looking glossy eyed and clutching their bedazzled devices. Even President Obama famously pleaded with the Secret Service to keep his Blackberry after being sworn into office in 2009.
The novelty of being gay
It wasn’t all that long ago that simply “being gay” gave a person an edge or made them more interesting. But with more and more folks embracing sexual fluidity or coming out as bisexual or heteroflexible, paired with the advancements in LGBTQ rights in recent years, just “being gay” isn’t enough anymore. And, honestly, that’s probably for the best. Though we’d be lying if we said there wasn’t a small part of us that didn’t miss using our sexualities as a crutch to seem more cool at parties.