Designing Women Made You Gay
BY Dave White
May 29 2009 12:00 AM ET
Back when I lived in Texas, in the early 1990s, I dated a guy named Les who was really into country music. He used to take me to this bar in Dallas called The Round Up where gays in cowboy hats and boots would two-step. I couldn't dance -- even though Les tried to teach me -- so in order not to cramp his style, I'd watch from the sidelines as he spun other men around on the dance floor.
And then the music would stop and a clip from an old episode of Designing Women would play on the video monitors. It was the one where Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter) is telling off a beauty pageant winner who has just insulted former Miss Georgia Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burke). The clip showcases a hilarious, blistering monologue in which Carter recounts the story of a flaming baton thrown by Burke so high into the air that it hits a transformer, darkens the stadium, and creates a 16-1/2-minute ovation. It's a brutal scolding that ends with Carter barking the line "And THAT ... is the night the lights went out in Georgia!"
In that gay bar there were more than a few men who knew every single word of that speech, and they'd chant along and cheer when it was over as the DJ cued up a Reba McEntire song. The other thing about that clip? It got played every single time I entered the place. I haven't lived in Texas for 10 years now, and for all I know that clip is still being chanted along to like a miniature sweet-tea-flavored Rocky Horror Picture Show.