Yes, She Wishes You Went Down on her More. P.S. That Tie is Hideous

Why every straight man needs a GBF


To the well adjusted, asking what makes them able to count gay men among those in their closest circle seems like a particularly extraneous question.


In the process of writing this article I solicited the opinions of several friends, all of whom seemed a bit perturbed that I was even bringing it up.


“Um…My gay friends are the same as my straight ones, because they’re just people. Sexual preference doesn’t have much to do with friendship, does it?”, said Tarik.


“It’s just like having a straight mate, but they dress a bit snappier,” James eventually decreed, after straining for an exasperating length of time.


No problem then?


Well, yes problem actually. Because while the middle-class-ish, educated, city-centric, well-travelled amongst us might be flabbergasted at any suggestion of discrimination, a reported 88% of straight men still do not count a gay man as one of their closest friends.



Well there is the obvious argument: that straight men are inherently homophobic. And yes, you’ll still come across those mind-bogglingly stupid characters who believe that gayness is the root of all evil and that letting a gay man get close to you is basically sanctioning them to hit you over the noggin with their fluffy, pink Gay Stick and turn you into a cock-guzzling fiend. But these morons are louder than they are plenty and they certainly couldn’t account for that 88% statistic.


The rest of the 88%, one can only assume, fall into a different category. Those that aren’t openly homophobic – they could probably list at least one gay man that they know to prove it – but are somehow still uncomfortable with the concept of getting too close.


There is a pervasive stereotype, which persists despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, that all gay men are camp, mincing, bitchy and effeminate. And I reckon that there are plenty of men around us who feel, consciously, or subconsciously, that this somehow disrupts their notion of masculinity.  My guess is that some part of them feels that to have a gay best friend would somehow make them appear gay or gay-ish (read: camp, effeminate, etc) by association.

Then there’s the other obvious argument – that a lot of men assume that a gay friend would hit on them at some stage (because he’d obviously be powerless against the sex appeal of the uninterested straight man) and that would be decidedly awkward and…well, gay.


Moving on

We might have to blame celebrity culture and television for the existence of Vajazzles and the word “moob”, but it must also be lauded when it comes to pushing through social trends.


In the last few years, we’ve begun to see, on the telly, on the web and in the magazines, the kind of role models that will (hopefully) break down this notion of gay-by-association.


David Walliams and Matt Lucas, Wallace and Scott in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Maxxie and Anwar in Skins and just about everybody in Modern Family, have all helped to demonstrate that the gay-straight friendship doesn’t have to be a weird, perilous journey of unrequited love, humiliation and endless musicals.



At last, your list of reasons why every straight man needs a gay best friend:



They make excellent wingmen:

Intuitive, supportive and uncompetitive. Women have less reason to feel threatened than they would if approached by two predatory straights on a sharking mission. Or less inclined to laugh into their martinis than they would if pestered by two of the more hapless school of chat-up.



Girlfriend insights:

Although “fag hag” as a term might now have been relegated to the depths of vulgarity, the concept is alive and well. Many (let’s not get caught generalising) gay men are happy and relaxed in the company of women. It’s not necessarily got anything to do with effeminate behaviours. It’s possibly more to do with both belonging to categories that have been much discriminated against.

Whatever the reason, the fact that your new GBF finds women opening up to him can only be to your advantage.

You might discover that your girlfriend has a secret passion for leather, chains and strawberry lube – she just didn’t know how to bring it up.




Who says it’s just women that need style advice? Having a GBF might stop you from making a massive tit out of yourself on a regular basis. Throw away the tatty converse, shove on a nice pinstripe and who knows how much your game might increase.




Regretfully, a lot of gents, regardless of how modern they might consider themselves to be, still find it difficult to open up. Bottling up emotions is our default. Which is fine, until they build up like a rabid dog and you suddenly find you’ve put your fist through a window or thrown your iPhone in a pond.

Gay men, more often than not, have gone through a lot of emotional hardship already. The coming out process will probably always be as confusing and upsetting as it is liberating. This may well mean that he is more in tune with his feelings and those of the people around him. Which makes him a much better sounding board than any of your other mates. Just be sure to reciprocate.



No rivalry:

Almost all friendships between people of the same sex are informed by sexual competition. None of you can state that you haven’t used the mirrors in the gym to check out the quads, lats and bis (I’ve run out of muscle groups that I actually know the name of) of the guy next to you. Rivalry inspires underhandedness, false complements and sometimes flat-out lies. A straight-gay pairing can go some way to diminishing this.



Gay men can do bromance too:

Close male friendships are on the up and up. Closeness doesn’t always equal attraction, we’ve learnt this. Just because your gay friend gave you a hug or a high five, doesn’t mean you’re in for a dose of surprise butt-sex the next time you turn your back. So go on, get a little man-to-man affection. Hugs are good for our health, I read that somewhere.



Awkward is fun:

Well, it’s a part of life at least… We’ve learnt to be friends with women when there is often an attractional imbalance (usually on our part).

Your gay friend is unlikely to be a complete idiot. Just because he is gay, doesn’t mean he fancies ALL men. Hate to break it to you, but you are probably fairly low down on his list – you still own a pair of khaki cords for crying out loud. If he’s silly enough to fancy you anyway, he’s not going to make a pass and risk rejection and embarrassment.

And if he does, so what? Be kind, have some compassion, talk about it and move on. That’s the nature of life – it’s complicated, but every experience helps us grow.



Why not?

As my friend Tarik put it – “we’re all just people”. So why would you miss out on a friendship on seemingly inconsequential grounds of sexual orientation.



David Shankbone



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