I love straight men.
No, not that kind of love. That was high school. I love them in a bromance kind of way. Probably a good 95% of my male friends are heterosexual. And I love them all, despite my inability to understand their sexual viewpoint.
Conversely, I don’t love gay men very much. Again, not that way. I’ve loved one or two. I just don’t tend to get along with them. One of my best friends is gay, but beyond him, I don’t really interact well with other homosexuals. That’s pretty confusing, considering when I was in high school I envisioned my friend group in college as being a sexually-fluid tableau. Instead, it’s just a lot of heterosexuals.
Now let me be clear: this is totally fine! I wouldn’t trade my friend group for anyone else in the world. I’d rather have great friends from a homogenous group than shitty friends from a more diverse one. However, it’s not just me having trouble; it’s much more a general cultural problem. So I do find myself pondering the question: why do gay men have a hard time getting along?
This is a wild and irresponsible generalization, but take as gospel for the sake of this post that there are two types of gay guys: more masculine-thinking and more feminine-thinking. Again, this is a total generalization only to be used for the purposes of this article. Please do not ask the nearest homosexual if he is a masculine- or feminine-thinking person. He will not react well. Additionally, please know that masculine and feminine guys are not the same as masculine and feminine thinkers. Loosely defined, masculine thinkers are more logical and organized, while feminine thinkers are more impulsive and creative.
Got all that? Okay. Generally, I am a more masculine thinker, perhaps in no way moreso than when talking about sex and sexuality. Not only am I highly logical and organized, but I’m also totally honest about my sexual appetite. Suffice it to say, I really like men, will brazenly flirt with men (even straight men!) and generally just really like talking about it with others. While you might think that would put straight men off, I think that generally (yes, I know, I’m overdosing on the word “generally”), guys love to talk about sex, and they appreciate someone who is honest and comfortable with the subject.
Conversely, women generally prefer the more asexual, media-promoted image of a gay man, obsessed with fashion, pop culture and the other “safe” subjects. I’ve tried writing something about this in the past to no avail (it’s a sticky subject, to be sure), but suffice it to say that when a woman says she wants a gay best friend, it’s not because she wants to talk about sex with him. It’s because she wants him to tell her how fabulous she is, go shopping with her and watch “27 Dresses” while drinking wine on a Saturday night.
Personally, I do have some of these traits. I’m a “Project Runway” devotee, I love H&M and I will happily snap the hell up for a fierce-looking woman, but when it comes to how I define myself as a gay man, it’s much more about the gender of my desired sexual partners and much less about anything else. Even in my friendships with women, I make sure to draw the boundaries. While I will call them diva and quote “Mean Girls” all day with them, I also talk to them about men and my own needs. I would never befriend a woman who only seeks the asexual version of a gay man.
However, gay men in the more asexual mold generally don’t have nearly the rivalry with one another as men in the more masculine-thinking mold, leading to more friendships between them. Masculine-thinking gay men are on the whole much more competitive, definitely fracturing any possible connections. But what about between the two groups? Why aren’t there more friendships between masculine- and feminine-thinking gay men?
I’m hardly the first to break this news, but there is definitely a subconscious stigma of being “too gay” in our culture, leading us to more harshly judge those whom we deem more feminine or, to put it more crudely, fruity. It’s derogatory, demeaning, destructive and yet I’ve caught myself doing it plenty of times. It’s why we feel comfortable hurling the term “fag” at one another despite that when you think about it, you realize how horrendous it truly is. We should be building ourselves up, not tearing each other down. Yet we’re stuck in the same cycle.
Hence why I’m left with mostly heterosexual friends of both genders. And while I’m fine with the friends I have, I’d love to make more, with a variety of sexual identities.
I’m lucky to have the friends I do in my life, and if I told my high school self that I would be a proud, out gay man with tons of incredibly cool straight male friends, I would have been shocked. So snaps up to a culture of straight men who can embrace and love a gay man who is proud, because that’s a hell of a lot farther than we’ve been in the past. I just hope that we can reach the point where gay men can be friends without a stigma, without rivalry and without bias.