How often do you think about the Roman Empire? (And no, we’re not talking about Nicki Minaj’s alter-ego, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, or *those* shirtless hunks above dressed like gladiators.)
The answer, if you’re a straight man, is a lot. Apparently. In fact, one of the latest TikTok trends to hit pop culture involves women asking their partners about the frequency in which they reflect on the famed historical period.
The hilarity of the meme stems from the fact that most of these dudes are replying, “Every day,” “often,” and “once a week.” No questions asked.
he got so defensive😭😭 once a week is insane♬ original sound – ashley lance
To be fair, the ancient civilization accomplished impressive architectural, governmental, and structural feats –– albeit through a “notably patriarchal and military” system. It’s understandable (if not a bit weird) why the Heteros™️ are often evaluating its legacy and history. But the data is certainly skewed against gay men who, let’s face it, have bigger things on their mind.
So, what is the “gay equivalent” of the Roman Empire? Read: a major historical event that frequently crosses our minds. We hit the internet to come up with some theories.
@coreytimes Princess Diana is a close second but i need to know what the gays think!!! #gaytiktok #romanempire #theromanempire ♬ original sound – Corey Jacob
The death of Princess Diana devastated the world in 1997, particularly the LGBTQ+ community, and some heartbreaks you never get over. The release of Kristen Stewart-led biopic Spencer, as well as the most recent seasons of The Crown have certainly kept her close to mind.
Still, aspects of the late queer icon’s life remain omnipresent in our culture. Her perceived outsiderness in a staunch society certainly resonates with the gays, nearly as much as her iconic sweatshirt and shorts combo.
Furthermore, Diana was a noted LGBTQ+ ally and one of the first celebrities to be photographed holding the hands of AIDs patients in the ’80s. Truly the “people’s princess!”
@max_balegde After being told about the trend I dont think it applied to gays #romanempire ♬ original sound – Max_Balegde
Ellen DeGeneres’ Time Magazine cover
Yep, I’m gay!
Although it’s been memed to high heavens, Ellen DeGeneres coming out via a Time magazine cover was a Roman Empire-sized event for the community. Before she was a talk-show giant, DeGeneres starred in her own ABC sitcom Ellen. And in one seismic episode, both Ellen and her character came out as gay.
Though “The Puppy Episode” scored an Emmy and a record number of viewers, the revelation predated the legalization of gay marriage and many protested the representation. It was eventually paned for getting “too gay” and canceled, but the flaming trail had already been blazed.
This scene of Nick Jonas from Scream Queens
You can say what you want about Ryan Murphy‘s shows, but they never fail to deliver on camp… or man meat. But there was something especially sexy (and disturbing) about this scene from his short-lived horror-comedy Scream Queens.
A beefy Nick Jonas, who portrays gay frat boy Boone Clemens, works out in his skivvies to ’80s classic “Sunglasses At Night.” It’s uber gay… until he’s interrupted by the university’s campus killer. Still, the theatrics (and skin) of it all made the sequence stick with us waaaay beyond the Fox series.
@ericgoldie Not even Rome itself could do it for us… #romanempire #rome #italy #husbands #husbandsoftiktok #jokes #trends #viraltrend #romanempiretrend #romeitaly #colosseum ♬ Roman Holiday – Nicki Minaj
Lady Gaga‘s “Paparazzi” VMAs performance
It’s rare that an award show performance marks the birth of a star, but Lady Gaga‘s theatrical performance of “Paparazzi” at the 2009 Video Music Awards was just that.
In a bejeweled bra, she slayed a rendition of The Fame track “Paparazzi” and slowly unraveled. She bled, thrashed, and did not miss a damn beat. Eventually, the pop star was strung up by her dancers and hoisted into the air, dripping in blood with a glazed-over stare.
Most people had no idea WTF just happened, but the gays knew this over-the-top performance proved Gaga was ours.
The Roman Empire… but how they had sex
Either this or When Karli Kloss said she was “looking camp in the eye”♬ original sound – Brett
As TikTok user @brettneyspears pointed out, the men were definitely f*cking during the Roman Empire. Despite the era’s masochistic reputation, there was less stigma around two Roman dudes getting it on than there is today. This begs some important questions: What was the historical equivalent of poppers? And what the f*ck did they do for lube?!