Queer Eye for the Straight Girl

This past Sunday, I was driving to meet a potential new BFF (I have a good feeling about this one!) and was listening to Ryan Seacrest interview Lady Gaga on his Casey Casem-esque radio countdown. I’m a little late to the Lady Gaga train, but now I’m fully on board. For a woman whose outfits are so out of this world, she seems surprisingly down to earth in interviews. I was particularly struck when she told Ryan that she attributes her fearlessness to her gay friends.

“My friendships with my gay friends, they are so pure because gay men, they don’t want anything from you except your love and friendship. I’ve had that my whole life and I really value it so much.”

I’ve actually been thinking about this quite a bit. I need a gay best friend. Or, as one woman I know says, a best gay. Gaga’s point is a good one: Friendships with gay men are unique. They don’t involve the competition or jealousy that can turn a true female friendship into a toxic one, and there’s not the sexual tension that makes supposedly platonic straight-male-female friendships anything but.

Will & Grace is perhaps my favorite sitcom (tied only with Friends, appropriately enough). I’ve always wanted what they had, or, really, what Jack and Karen had. I know plenty of gay men, of course. One of the most memorable nights of my life involved me, a gay guy, dancing my heart out in the middle of a sports bar, and a late-night/early-morning race to IHOP (thanks Jed!). But I’ve never had an intimate friendship with a gay man—not the kind Lady Gaga was referring to, and certainly not the stuff of Will and Grace. Gaga told Ryan she almost deleted a scene from a music video because she wasn’t happy with the way she looked. She kept it in, she says, because her gay friends told her she looked fearless. It takes a lot of trust in another person’s opinion, and an iron-clad belief that they have your best interests at heart, to release a video to the world in which you’re unhappy with your looks.

That’s not to say female friendships can’t have the same level of intimacy, but the gay BFF seems a special breed. And I want one. So the question is, what to do now? A co-worker friend offered to take me to showtunes night at a nearby gay bar. This is a win-win situation, as even if I don’t meet the gay man of my dreams, I might get to sing a ditty from A Chorus Line or The Sound of Music.

Do you agree that the female/gay-male relationship is a vital one? Does a gay man bring something to a friendship that a woman-to-woman BFFship lacks? Or is Lady Gaga just a looney toon who wears outfits made of Kermit puppets? Discuss.

19 Comments

Filed under Everything I Know I Learned on TV, The Gender Gap, The Search

19 responses to “Queer Eye for the Straight Girl

  1. Lisa Z.

    I love my relationships with my male friends who identify as gay. Each relationship is very different, depending on the man. I don’t believe that my friendships with them (the deepest I have in my local area) replace or mimic female friendship. Also, through these relationships I have met other men who identify as gay that I probably would not want a close relationship with…to answer the question, I believe that having relationships with people with complementary values and personalities to yours is what is vital.

  2. Marie

    All types of friendships are important and bring something into our lives. The differences and similarities of potential friends are endless whether it is sexual orientation, age, nationality, occupation, or social class.

    Yes, a gay male friend could be a unique and vital friendship. But it would be based on the person, not on his sexual orientation. I think the important thing to remember is to keep your mind open to all possibilities, you never know who you might “click” with.

  3. Naz

    I use to have more gay guy friends and they really were some of the most wonderful friends ever. I am totally in for a trip to boys town! :-)

  4. JB

    Ooh ooh! I want to go to showtunes night!

    And about your question: I love my gay friends. I don’t have a gay BFF in the way that Jack is Karen’s, but I have several great friends who are also gay. It’s awesome to have guy friends without the awkward sexual tension stuff.

    I don’t have any suggestions of where to meet gay friends, though. I work in the theater, so it’s natural that I meet and work with a huge variety of people, including people who are gay. I definitely think showtunes night is a great place to start! If you can rock “Dance Ten, Looks Three,” you may have many a new friend–gay or straight!

    • So true. I’m more of a “Nothing” or “At The Ballet” kind of girl, but those might be a little intense for showtunes night. And pretty much ANYONE who can name a song from A Chorus Line off the top of their head is a BFF in my book!

      • JB

        Oh, man. I’m totally an “At the Ballet” girl. Let’s find one more BFF and we’ve got ourselves a song! :o)

        • JB

          P.S. Have you seen the documentary “Every Little Step?” It’s about the casting of ‘A Chorus Line’ for the recent Broadway revival. It’s excruciating and awesome.

          • Yes! I did see it and loved every minute of it. Afterwards, I sashayed down the street singing “one smile and suddenly nobody else will do…” I think I missed my calling.

  5. My experience with gay man friends has been mixed – some have been great, some have not been great at all. They’re still just people – some people are fun and friendly and personable and some are … not.

    I hear more and more that gay men (as a generalization) are tired of being sought out by straight women to fill this role and that Will and Grace has not been a blessing.

  6. I agree that the bond between a gay male friend/female friend can be even tighter than female friendships. My dear from Rob and I have been best buddies for the last 15 years and it is so easy to be with him. The wildest, most spontaneous things I have ever done were with him and I cherish this unique friendship. The only bummer, he now lives 800 miles away. I too need a BFF where I live.

  7. Leanne

    Showtunes night at Side Tracks will change your life. It is a blast, truly.

    I just saw my far away best gay and remembered why our relationship works so well. We just get each other. Minus the competition or sexual attraction. Oh and the witty banter! Amazing! It is so easy and beautiful. Good luck on the hunt. I am sure boys will be lining up to be BFFs with you.

  8. I have a lot of gay friends. I’m a gay magnet, and I’m not sure why, but I’m very thankful. I love men in general, so it’s wonderful to have gay friends that I can flirt with, go out with, dance with, drink with, etc. without my husband getting cranky.

  9. katieleigh

    I have a gay best friend – but we’ve known each other since we were 11, and I didn’t find out he was gay until we were 22. (He didn’t self-identify as gay until his teens.) My point is, we were friends long before I, or he, knew he was gay – so I don’t think that has anything to do with our friendship. We’ve always just had a kind of connection. And I agree with Heather, above – I’m not sure if gay men would actually like being sought out just because they were gay. Interesting post, though.

  10. I love this post! Everytime I ask my husband which shoes look better with an outfit he always responds, “what do I look like, your gay friend?” (And if he then offers fashion advice, I always choose the opposite.)

    My grandmother first taught me the importance of having gay men around. At 91, she is still a fashionista and shopaholic. When she and my grandfather sold their home ten years ago and moved to a retirement home in another city, their neighbors (“the boys”) actually picked up and followed them!

    The most touching part to observe over the years was my conservative grandfather’s growing fondness for my grandmother’s adopted gay sons.

    Although I had several gay friends in college, your post has made me realize how much I miss them.
    Perhaps I need to begin my own “BFF” quest …

  11. L

    My cousin lives in Chicago. We don’t talk a whole lot, and he just got a new boyfriend, but maybe I could secretly set something up for you to run into each other, lol. Kind of a destiny thing.

  12. I have a gay brother who has fathered a child with a lesbian couple. I remember going out to lunch with the lesbians (they live in Chicago, though my brother does not) and them getting so excited to have straight friends (my husband and me). Because straights don’t bring drama to their lives quite like the gays. Based on your suggestion (which, on the outset, I am in agreement) and this experience, I’d say the gay-straight friendship is mutually beneficial.

  13. Pingback: The Friendship I Covet | MWF Seeking BFF

  14. I’ve just found you – what a pleasure! It’s going to take me some time in catching up with all your posts, but this one attracted me immediately, as I relate to it so well.

    I have had gay friends for a long time (living far away), but many more since becoming a volunteer at a local HIV support group (not predominantly gay, as here in the UK – and maybe worldwide – the ratio of HIV infected people in the gay or heterosexual community is about 50/50).

    Paul, my much-loved partner died very suddenly of a heart attack (he hadn’t been ill) five years ago, leaving me devastated. A female friend, the Chair of the above group, invited me along – and what a joy it has been. Yes, there are sad and traumatic moments, but mostly we laugh till tears roll down our faces and our sides ache! In my 67 years I thought I knew all about sex – but far from it!

    From this motley crew I have developed some close friendships – and mainly with the gay guys. They can be totally outrageous and have helped me laugh again.

    I think any widow might tell you that she can feel ostracised from certain circles, as the female partner, for no valid reason, can feel under threat. My answer to that would be to find a gay friend. If he has a partner he will welcome you too, as will their friends. You will be able to flirt, be tactile and have fun, without offence or fear of giving off the wrong signals. (You will also become a master of the double entendre!).

    Best wishes
    ‘Willo’

  15. Joe

    At times I feel so limited in my friendships with other men. There are only so many activities a man is comfortable doing with another man before it becomes an insecurity, ego issue, or just a matter of having common interests or not. I can’t just call up a male co-worker and ask him if he wants to grab frozen yogurt with me on a Friday night without receiving a big, “Ummm, no.”

    I’ve always had a female BFF. Whether I want to go hiking on a Saturday morning or garden in my front yard, or talk shoes and lipstick, she’s right by my side with a smile on her face. I don’t have to sit there questioning whether you’ll want to do such an activity with me or not because I know you’ll always be game. Because of this, I think it really strengthens your bond together because you’re such a part of each other’s lives. And you still have a man around who knows how to change car oil, life heavy boxes for you, and knows how to work a torque wrench.

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