So Jack the sociolinguist, Jack the historical linguist, Jack the classicist, and Jack the social progressive got to talking this afternoon, and the following idea resulted:
Fun fact: the terms “sapphic” and “lesbian” in their modern sense derive their meaning from the Greek poetess Sappho of Lesbos, who in her poems expressed affection toward women. It’s pretty cool that a sexual orientation owes its names to a figure of classical literature so closely associated with wit and intellect.
The bonds of fraternity in the ancient Spartan army are often thought among scholars to have been reinforced by sexual intercourse. How awesome would it be if sexual attraction between males were referred to as “Spartan” or “Leonidic”? It could replace such ideas as flippancy, frivolity, effeminacy, and weakness (now so unfortunately* associated with the word “gay”) with images of strength, comradeship, and victory.
“Dude, that girl was flirting so hard with you. Did you get her digits?”
“Yeah, but it’s not going where you’re thinking. I’m spartan.”
“Aw, that’s awesome, brah!”
Just a thought.
*To clarify, I see nothing wrong with effeminacy or gaiety per se, but as stereotypes of a big chunk of the population they can be quite destructive.