There comes a time in a gay man’s life when he realises who his true friends are. They might be a collection of bitchy women, intent on world domination via their crass Sex and the City attitudes, or perhaps even a rag tag group of lesbians, crude and laddy, to even the playing field. Regardless, in my few years as an amateur homosexual, I’ve realised it’s very rarely another solo gay man.
Maybe it’s just me. I’m the first to admit I’m a bit of a closet homo homophobe and I’ve just never truly gelled with gay people at large. There’s always a certain distance between me and the well-pruned, tanned homos that make up the scene. Even more so the breed equipped with tiny bags and tinier dogs. That’s not to say I’m better than they are, far from it. We’re just a different mould of gay. Regardless, when I hear that they’re BFF with another gay guy, and “just friends”, I can’t help but raise an unplucked (and frankly, rather unruly) eyebrow. But what’s planted this sceptical seed in my little head?
A close friend asked me recently: “do gay people just settle because there’s so few of you?”. Whilst this undiluted explanation may offend many, I genuinely feel there may be an element of truth in it. Perhaps there’s a tiny little demon in the back of our mind, telling us this has to be it because there really aren’t that many fish in our dyed pink sea (or pond). It’s hard to come across a person you enjoy spending time with, let alone an available gay, so maybe we’re subconsciously inclined to look for something that isn’t really there and be done with it. In certain sections of society gays have a reputation for being shallow and promiscuous, flitting from one guy to another in the swish of a bed sheet. Again, whilst an inaccurate representation of most, that’s probably on the money for a fair number. To a large extent, so what? However, it does throw a certain doubt over friendships when everyone is a potential sexual conquest, and many have been.
There’s an unspoken social telepathy between gay people, never perfected, often misconstrued, but always there. Thousand word conversations are spoken in one mere glance, normally regarding interest, hatred, judgment, or indifference. It’s hard to work somebody out at the best of times and more often than not, mixed signals can result in an awkward start to the friendship. Being so aware of the infamous gay hand that’s been dealt, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s shunned a fellow ‘mo for one reason or another. Regardless of arrogance or uncertainty, that shouldn’t be the case. As an unlucky minority, we need to stick together.
I’m fortunate enough to be blessed with a few very close gay friends who I’d much rather kill than sleep with. My other half is on the same page as me and understands how these kind of relationships work. Even if its a tender (and often awkward) area, having a gay friend really is important. They’re a wonderful port of call for like minded advice, a bit of direction, a lot of sympathy and far too many inside jokes. We’ve all had that friendship that ended up as a fondle in the dark and petered out afterwards. It’s just not worth investing the time and effort into something which’ll eventually fade away. It might be harder to find a true gay best friend than a partner, but it’s worth it in the long run.
I’ve been careful not to say that being friends and lovers at the same time is overtly a bad thing because, of course, it’s not. I just find it to be a very tender area when ground rules aren’t set in stone pretty early on. Flaky, insecure people are more than content to just go with it, regardless of the consequences. Even if you’re not that breed of gay, just remember there are plenty out there. I just hope for their sake that the flirtationship runs smoothly and they don’t fall at the last, surprisingly high, bollock ruining hurdle.