Many years ago. a friend of mine was conducting an auction in Dalgety Street, just behind Fitzroy Street in St Kilda. The property was a very attractive 1920s maisonette, which was in hot demand in the area.
This area is renowned for its quite wealthy gay community, so the crowd was virtually all males and females with an affection for the same sex.
The bidding was quite spirited and at the auction's 'half time' a gay couple who had been very determined to purchase the property were holding the bid. The auctioneer went in to refer the bid to the vendor.
After he came back out to the crowd he noticed that the partner of the bidder had lit up a cigarette - and as quick as you like, he said in the voice of a practised auctioneer “Are you having a nervous fag?”
The only noise you could hear was the tram rattling up Fitzroy Street. In that deafening silence he realised what he had just said.
Then the sniggers started in the crowd.