The Lorax and all related characters belong to Dr. Seuss' estate and Universal Studios.

"When a boy does a stupid thing once, well it's because he's a boy. But if he does it twice, it's usually because he's trying to impress some girl."

Paraphrased of course, but very much what the marketing reports said about their straight male customers. And like any good marketer, that's the assumption you play on. The majority of your customers are going to be heterosexual, after all. They won't even notice the word "usually" being included in that sentence. But to your gay customers, it means everything.

The Once-ler himself had never given the matter much thought growing up, focusing on school and making something of himself. Anything beyond that was on the far horizon and he never thought to examine that assumption.

Not until one day when he sat down in the tall chair in his office, stacks of marketing reports on the desk for him to sign off on or suggest changes to during the next meeting.

The matter-of-factness in the "urban" one was startling. The urban market was popular and cool with all sorts of young people raised in a post-racial world, but when it came to older consumers they could be turned off of a brand if they felt it was too associated with or overly catering to minorities. True enough, but the Once-ler jotted down words to the effect of investing in the future- in progressive, savvy consumers with decades of thneed-buying ahead of them. The Renaissance Generation, aka cultural consumers pushing their progressive politics economically.

He set down that report, satisfied at his own Ren-Gen insight, and moved onto something called Metrosexuals. Another code word, but for what? 5 minutes in, and the Once-ler felt his blood run cold- anxious eyes glancing down at his own suit in horror. Much of it was redundant and easy enough to be aloof about up until it started going into things like Abercrombie & Fitch and Details magazine and… Once-ler buries his head in his hands, horror-stricken at this bit of self-discovery. Had he really ignored the obvious- thinking back to the ads that had spurred him to get this particular suit and how he had lingered on the images of muscular young men fixing each other's ties and gazing into their eyes. So many similar memories came rushing back of a similar sort. Friends he knew at school, how he felt watching soaps with his mother… She'd coo over some attractive guy and inside he basically felt the same way inside. So he was gay. Surely this would be an asset to the business, right?

And then he saw the phrase "Manufactured Desire?" and what followed he could almost hear his mother and the others saying to him. The one reason he couldn't simply market HRC-colored thneeds. So many people out there would say he was mistaken, deranged, not even trying to get a girlfriend, trolling… Things that made the gay consumer more vulnerable to marketing- the barest of nods to them could be met with lifelong brand loyalty. Straight people don't get it because they see their lives reflected everywhere and as much as friends and family might not like who they're dating at any given moment, it's never that it's simply the wrong gender. The Once-ler could imagine bringing George Clooney to meet his family but still being inferior to them all compared to some skanky girl Brett was dating.

The Once-ler got up and walked to the window, yet again missing the devastation of the forest. This was his chance to work so hard, be so successful, that no one could fault him when he stood firmly on top of the business world and no one would dare take issue.

No one.

No one!


Looking back on that moment, a few short years later, the Once-ler realizes the full extent of his folly. Even if being gay is as bad as they say, he knows the spiritual rot of avoiding the issue, of sublimating one's natural drives, of trying to fill the emptiness… Nothing can be as bad as that.

The End