Dear Labby: Apology needed for outing gay dog?

Dear Labby,

I found my little Whippet, Henry, on the side of the road two years ago. He loves to smell flowers, is very fastidious about where he eliminates, and has never tried to hump another dog. Except for another male dog, on two different occasions. At a party the other night, I made a joke that Henry is gay. Another guest – someone I’d just met — was so offended she got up and left. Labby, my sister is gay and I volunteer at the AIDS ride every year. I’m not homophobic and didn’t mean to offend, but the hosts seemed flustered by the walk-out. How do I rectify this situation?

Signed:

Sorry The Remark Angered Your Party-goer Resulting In Disconcerting Episode

Dear Sorry The Remark Angered Your Party-goer Resulting In Disconcerting Episode:

You’ve learned a valuable lesson, right? No one likes stereotypes — even so-called “positive stereotypes” (a la gay men have great fashion sense.) Of course that said, no one likes Uptight Ursulas who can’t roll with what seems like a fairly innocuous — perhaps even endearing — comment. Heck, comedians spend entire sets riffing on stereotypes just to get a laugh. Some people love it, some people take great umbrage. (I’ve always wanted to say “take great umbrage.”)

Contact the hosts of the party, S.T.R.A.Y. P.R.I.D.E., and tell them you feel badly about offending another guest. Chances are, they know you well enough to “get” the spirit in which your comment was intended. If they feel anything further needs to be done, they can advise.

Meanwhile, save the stories about Henry’s love of antiques for a crowd you know better.