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Michael

Contributed by Mike McDermott

Michael is a young man who works in an insurance office near the Daily Bugle. One night while out at a club he met Peter Parker, who was out with some friends. Peter had just recently started wearing his wedding band on his right hand, to signify his status as a widower (his wife Mary Jane was presumed dead at this time after being lost in a plane crash). Peter noticed Michael also wore a ring on his right hand, and mistakenly assumed that Michael was a widower like him. Peter struck up conversation with Michael over their “shared” situation, which Michael assumed meant that Peter was gay. Michael misunderstood Peter’s comments to mean that he was having a hard time coming to terms with his sexuality, and offered his support.

After a pleasant conversation with Michael, Peter returned to his friends and went on about how friendly people are at the club, and told them about Michael. Robbie Robertson informed Peter of his misunderstanding, telling him that a wedding band on the right hand is code to signal that you are gay. Peter is embarrassed to realize the mistaken impression he just gave Michael, and his friends have a good natured chuckle at his blunder.

Peter intended to go after Michael and try and explain the mistake, but he ended up having to dash off to deal with an emergency as Spider-Man instead.

Michael appeared in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #23 by Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham (2000). The reference to this sort of gay coded signal seems particularly dated now (and perhaps even for 2000 as well) as these sorts of signal behaviours have largely dropped away as homosexuality has become more open in society, although the wedding ring on the right hand has been adopted by some gay married couples.

Art by Mark Buckingham, Dan Green, and Joe Rosas.

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July 25, 2021
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