lifestyle

“Lifestyle” is the only word in the English language — or possibly any language — that is both a meaningless advertising term and a euphemism for gay sex.

I have no idea how these two meanings both attached themselves to this word, but I do know that if you watch the news for a while, you’ll probably hear some jowly old senator say “I respect gay people but I don’t approve of their lifestyle” during the show, and if you stick around for the commercials, you might eventually hear a professional voice actor say “Buy this thing! It is perfect for your busy/healthy/active lifestyle.”

When the jowly senator says he doesn’t approve of his gay neighbor’s “lifestyle,” he isn’t talking about making toast, going to school, watching cat videos on the internet, or any of the other commercial-break-variety lifestyle things you might find a gay person doing on a typical Wednesday.

He is saying, “It’s okay for me to restrict people’s rights if I don’t like their sexual behavior.”

People use euphemisms when the truth makes them uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s kinder to let them. But if someone is trying to tell other people what to do and he won’t say exactly what he means, the rest of us have a moral imperative to say it for him.