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#1 Shale

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Posted August 18 2009 - 06:11 AM

A friend sent me this interesting article on gay culture. Unfortunately, I am one of those "straight acting" bi men who wears flip-flops and cut off shorts and doesn't own a suit.

Women don't want me for their buddy because not only may I hit on them, I also lack fashion sense and actually abhor most fashion, being more into the earth mothers who go natural and don't shave all their beautiful hairy parts.

It's a long read but I liked it.

God Hates Fag-Hags (Gay-Bangles)

Attention, single ladies: I have no interest in being your gay boyfriend
By Thomas Rogers

Aug. 18, 2009 | The first time somebody wanted to be my fag hag, it was the year 2000, I was 16 years old, and I was sitting in the back of a high school physics class. A fun South Asian girl to whom I'd recently admitted I was a "flaming homosexual" was chatting with me about her boy problems, and, at some point, the discussion veered onto familiar territory: "Will & Grace," the hit NBC show about a gay man living with his straight female friend. I don't remember much of the conversation. I do remember the following: She told me that she was going to be the "Grace" to my "Will," and then uttered the words that would haunt me for years to come, "I want to be your fag hag."

Of the many gifts that "Will & Grace" bestowed upon my generation of gay men -- increased visibility, cultural cachet, a naive understanding of New York apartment sizes -- one of the most significant was the popularization of the fag hag (a term the show's buttoned-down characters were too demure to even utter on air). The sitcom made being a gay man with a female best friend seem pretty darn fun. Will and Grace had a fabulous Upper West Side apartment. They had dinner parties, and screwball banter, and sassy, sassy friends. Their life was a series of hilarious pratfalls.

But the neutered gay characters on the show were about as sexual as a pastel-colored cardigan, and in the decade since the show first aired, the fag and his hag have become a tired trope everywhere from "Sex and the City" (Carrie and her queeny sidekick Sanford) to "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" (NeNe Leakes and her "gay boyfriend"). It's turned what was once a special relationship between two cultural outsiders -- gay men and the straight women who love them -- into an eye-rolling cliché. It also turned me and other young gay men into something unexpected: a must-have item.

But as a hot commodity, I was a total disappointment. Where most of the gay men on-screen were sharp-tongued, urbane and fashionable, I was jockish, pop-culturally illiterate and dressed in mom jeans. Shopping gave me panic attacks. Most of my close friends smelled vaguely of patchouli and, instead of show tunes, I spent much of my time listening to Scandinavian drone rock. For most of high school, I had the social skills of a terrified third-grader. I didn't particularly understand what I had to offer as a confidant to anybody, much less straight women with endless romantic problems and a passion for trying on Capri pants.

As I moved away from home, to bigger and bigger cities, I discovered that there were lots of scruffy and poorly dressed drone-rock-loving gay men in the world -- especially of my age group -- who had nothing in common with the Sanfords and Wills I'd seen on TV. Just because I was into dudes didn't mean I had to suddenly love dance music or fine furnishings. And yet, despite my continued shortcomings as a stereotypical gay man, I remained a strangely alluring target for a large number of straight women.

I would mention my boyfriend to a girl in my biology lab, and she would inexplicably plop down next to me in class for the rest of the semester. Strange drunken girls at college keg parties would tell me that they're really "a gay man in a woman's body," and ask me to take them to the local gay bar. At a recent birthday party, a female friend of mine (who later described herself as a proud "fag hag") forced me into conversation with another gay friend of hers before telling us, "I thought my two fags should meet -- maybe you can date?" as we both stared at each other uncomfortably.

What struck me about these encounters -- all of which were well-intentioned -- was that these women didn't even fit the fag hag stereotype. The classic fag hags were theatrical, brassy, unconventional; they were the Liza Minnellis, Bette Midlers and Liz Taylors of the world. They drifted toward gay culture because they perceived themselves as outsiders, and bonded with gay men over shared feelings of social rejection, and love of camp, and appreciation of John Waters movies. And hey, they both liked men. A lot. "The company of the gay man gives the straight woman the potential to express her sexuality without feeling the need to tone it down," says Justine Pimlott, director of the documentary "Fag Hags: Women Who Love Gay Men." "There's a mutual identification."

For most of gay history, the fag hag held a coveted spot. "They're the unsung heroes of the gay world," says Shawn Hollenbach, the creator of New York's Miss Fag Hag Pageant. It was a mutually fulfilling relationship: Men got the appearance of heterosexual legitimacy and intimacy free of sexual tension; women got a touch of glamour and performance and exoticism (and intimacy free of sexual tension). But most of the overeager, self-described "fag hags" I encountered in my early 20s had nothing of the brazen outsider about them: They were demure, and conventional -- with square-jawed boyfriends and glittery sweat pants and seemingly little understanding of gay culture. "After 'Will & Grace,' women would suddenly ask me to take them shopping," says Hollenbach. "I'd ask if they like 'Mommie Dearest,' and they'd tell me no."

This mainstreaming can largely be tied, along with "Will & Grace," to the comedy of Margaret Cho, the Asian American comic whose big moment came in 2000. With her one-woman comedy show (later made into a book), "I'm the One that I Want," she became the patron saint of fag haggery. Cho, who brags about being raised by drag queens, joked that fag hags were "the backbone of the gay community": "We dragged your sorry ass through the Underground Railroad. We went to the prom with you," she said, "and we're still here." Cho helped reclaim the title -- which, like the word "fag" itself, had been used derisively for years -- and turned it into something funny and aspirational. For Cho, being a fag hag was a badge of honor -- I'm here, I'm with that queer, get used to it.

And the fag hag, indeed, was everywhere. There she was, guiding the young gay man out of the closet on "Dawson's Creek," and crushing on the gay transfer student in "Clueless," and longing for tragic intimacy with Paul Rudd in "The Object of my Affection." It was no coincidence that the first wave of gay male TV characters shared most of their screen time with straight women -- it made us palatable to mainstream America. "It was celebrating the feminine side of gay men, not about going into the bar scene," says Pimlott. "It disarmed their potential threat." And this, in turn, made us into every straight girl's best friend. "It made it seem like every straight girl should have these accessories: Manohlo Blahnik shoes, and a fag."

Nowadays, when a grown woman describes herself as a "fag hag," it feels like she's throwing around a designer label or telling me she knows a celebrity -- a kind of social conspicuous consumption. Worse, it's a designer label that's faded from fashion -- like a Juicy-brand velour sweat suit. In the past decade, gay men have become less defined and ghettoized by our sexuality than ever before, making terms like "fag hag" feel as retrograde as, well, "Will & Grace."

It seems quaint to think about those early days of gay visibility now that we've seen "Six Feet Under," and "The Wire," and "Kings" and "Brothers and Sisters," with their nuanced and red-blooded gay characters. This year's Oscars included male-on-male kisses in several of its montages. And it's not only pop culture that's changed. Across the country, gay kids are coming out earlier and earlier (one recent study placed the average coming-out age at 13), to little more than a shrug from their friends. In many cases, they'll be taking their boyfriend, not their female BFF (Best Friend Forever), to the prom.

If part of the glue that holds together the fag hag relationship is the gay man's need for refuge from the mean jocks and the judgmental parents, what happens when the jocks and the parents stop caring? As the New York Times recently pointed out, friendships between gay men and straight men are no longer the taboo they once were. Most of the gay men I know (especially those my age) are happily mixing with all combination of sexes and sexualities, and, for my part, I'm as likely to take a straight male friend to a gay bar as a straight woman.

More and more, the fag hag is becoming a relic of another era. As a case in point, SWISH (or Straight Women in Support of Homos), the world's preeminent fag hag organization, is undergoing a rebranding. The group, which was cofounded by Sue Sena in 2002, helps fight homophobia and raise money for AIDS research (it's a frequent contender for "best float" at the New York City Pride Parade), and has a presence in 32 states and four countries. In the coming year, it plans to get rid of its acronym in an effort to include more non-fag hags in its ranks. "That's the way the movement is going," says Sena. "If the moniker is eroding, that's a great thing."

So what happens to those fabulous gay-loving straight women of yore, who close down the gay bars at 4 a.m., and pump their fists at the pride march, and stand in long lines for tickets to "Xanadu: The Musical"? They might not be as key to some young gay men's coming of age as they once were. For others, they'll be as crucial as ever -- but hopefully they'll be calling themselves something more accurate. Like "friend."

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#2 KewlDewd66

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Posted August 18 2009 - 01:50 PM

To each one his own, as they say.

I have never had a fag hag, and though I enjoy the friendship of a few str8 women, my being gay is something that is of no concern to them.

IMHO, being gay as in 'homosexual' is a purely male thing.

When you come to think, in this time and age, you are trying to secure comfortable living, reasonable retirement; you are staying in shape, and trying to get laid. You are maintaining the basic social and family life?

Who on earth has the time to waste on fag hags? They really cannot help us, and we are not into helping them in any sense either. Why not move on?

KD

#3 Vanilla Gorilla

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Posted August 19 2009 - 04:18 PM

Yeah, real life is sooooooooo not like it is in TV and Movies.


The trouble is the label Gay itself, its too abstract, there are very different sets of rules for different types of gay in relation to all other labels.

The label Straight itself is also too abstract, some straight guys and girls are sooooo clueless not only about the opposite sex, but the same sex.

And the differences between people widen with age.

Had my fair share of the fag hag only wanting the gay friend for her cred, her needs, its quite the head trip to get past like 25 to see whats coming within minutes of first meeting a girl.

Not that they are all like that, some female friends are of value, but usually the ones that arent self centered

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#4 JPguy

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Posted August 29 2009 - 10:08 AM

What, we're going to put up with female drama and NOT have sex with them? That sounds like a lose-lose situation, IMHO. ... not that I want to have sex with a female, but straight men deal with the drama because they're attracted to them. Since I'm not attracted to them, I see no reason to keep them around, you know?

#5 KewlDewd66

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Posted August 29 2009 - 10:20 AM

What, we're going to put up with female drama and NOT have sex with them? That sounds like a lose-lose situation, IMHO. ... not that I want to have sex with a female, but straight men deal with the drama because they're attracted to them. Since I'm not attracted to them, I see no reason to keep them around, you know?


I could not have said it any better...

Besides, the few of my gay buddies who have their fags around are being usually sucked out for time, cash and energy to no end. Why would anyone want to enter into such a lose-lose deal is simply beyond me.

#6 Vanilla Gorilla

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Posted August 29 2009 - 10:32 AM

Wow, you two, and I said in another thread gay guys werent mysoginists.


"Female drama" wwwhat? Just dont pick the attention whores, go for the mumsie ones or the ones with low hormones ;)

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#7 Shale

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Posted August 29 2009 - 10:54 AM

What, we're going to put up with female drama and NOT have sex with them?...


Female Drama???

You ain't seen drama until some 200 pound Queen starts on an arm flailing rant - down a busy street, literally putting all her shit out there.

You need to hang with some bitchy, high strung, wanna-be females - then you'll see drama.

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#8 KewlDewd66

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Posted August 29 2009 - 07:48 PM

I do not doubt that gay guys rule the drama world.

If you do not want to get into the pants of the particular drama dude, keep away. If you think, jumping his bones is what'll make you happy, put up or shut up...

Why would I want to put up with a female drama, IF THERE IS NOTHING IN IT FOR ME?

KD

#9 Vanilla Gorilla

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Posted August 31 2009 - 01:26 AM

I dont really even understand what you mean, female drama? compared to what?

So you only bother with gay guys?

With straight guys you've got that fake macho act thing and the way they talk, which I cant really stomach, so if you feel the same, that cuts out most of them, and the ones that are worst with that are usually the ones that repel girls anyway.

Sure some girls are a nightmare, but the nice sweet adorable ones which admittedly usually coincides with low hormones ;) , but you dont even want them as friends?
The main purpose of the "fag hag" is having a friend where there's going to be no or low sexual tension between the two of you.

The way you make it sound, it sounds like if you arent going to want to fuck someone then why bother knowing them?, which sounds like a bit of a LOL. depends on your job I suppose too, if you're working like 100 hrs a week, well then you wont have time....but still.


Unless its stuff you cant say, like they always ending up asking you to do stuff, but you should be able to see that kind of stuff coming and pick the ones that arent going to be like that.

As I say, I dont understand, the really sweet ones, they are adorable, like having a little Barbie doll you can dress up ;) (LOL, that sounded really gay ;) )

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#10 meridianwest

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Posted August 31 2009 - 06:16 AM

I dont really even understand what you mean, female drama? compared to what?


I don't know how the other two define 'female drama' but for me, it's their constant blabbing about nothing at all; focusing on really insignificant stuff and blowing it completely out of proportions; acting helpless; cultivating an abstract approach toward life and people; also the exaggerated emotionality, and prioritizing their emotions over practical concerns of a situation.... most of the females have one to all of the traits above to a degree and it is annoying. i can't make any sense of them ---whereas men in general make complete sense to me---and it just doesn't seem to be worth the effort in the long run to try to maneuver my way around that female irrationality.

#11 Vanilla Gorilla

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Posted August 31 2009 - 07:10 PM

I don't know how the other two define 'female drama' but for me, it's their constant blabbing about nothing at all; focusing on really insignificant stuff and blowing it completely out of proportions; acting helpless; cultivating an abstract approach toward life and people; also the exaggerated emotionality, and prioritizing their emotions over practical concerns of a situation.... most of the females have one to all of the traits above to a degree and it is annoying. i can't make any sense of them ---whereas men in general make complete sense to me---and it just doesn't seem to be worth the effort in the long run to try to maneuver my way around that female irrationality.




I mean I dont need you to explain it too me, I get the way you feel, although what you've said there seems to be more about one type of girl, and a bit of a charictiture at that.

But its not the way I feel, so when I say I dont understand, I mean I'm never really going to able to grasp myself the aversion to female company.

With the exception of the scary horny ones or the angry lesbians, I much prefer the company of females and gay guys. I cant really stand most straight guys, especially the ones that do the fake macho thing, I really hate that shit. and the good straight guys, well I just think too much about sex anyway ;)

As for the acting helpless, well its just acting anyway, you can see them turn into little 5 year old girls wanting daddies attention when every there is a big beefcake of a guy around, then turn back into She Ra when some loser is trying to hit on them.

Probably going to get hit over the head for this, but sounds like reverse homophobia. If homophobia is partly about repressed feelings.......If you are gay and not interested in woman then why the animation? My point being not that you may or maynot be all that interested in them sexually, but if anyone else hears you verbalise such feelings as have been done in the last couple of posts, they are just going to think you are overcompensating

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#12 meridianwest

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Posted September 01 2009 - 11:44 AM

reverse homophobia. If homophobia is partly about repressed feelings.......If you are gay and not interested in woman then why the animation? My point being not that you may or maynot be all that interested in them sexually, but if anyone else hears you verbalise such feelings as have been done in the last couple of posts, they are just going to think you are overcompensating


most homophobes actually are not gay themselves.

to me, this is just about the personal characteristics that I have a low tolerance for. i can't stand the same things in men. but since in men for some weird reason these traits are found less abundantly and in females correspondingly more, it just so happens i don't like interacting with most females. and 'cause i'm not sexually interested in them, why bother?

i lack the appeal for female company, that you seem to be having.

#13 Vanilla Gorilla

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Posted September 01 2009 - 08:26 PM

i lack the appeal for female company, that you seem to be having.



Yes,.......although after having said all that, I must admit that errr, especially with the gals my age that interaction is getting more ahem....complicated as they get older ;)

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#14 JPguy

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Posted September 05 2009 - 10:20 PM

Female Drama???

You ain't seen drama until some 200 pound Queen starts on an arm flailing rant - down a busy street, literally putting all her shit out there.

You need to hang with some bitchy, high strung, wanna-be females - then you'll see drama.


LOl, Shale, you are right about that! My gay friends are a bit more subtle than that, though! I wouldn't want to kick it with a queen either!

#15 JPguy

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Posted September 05 2009 - 10:32 PM

I dont really even understand what you mean, female drama? compared to what?

So you only bother with gay guys?


No, I do have some female friends, just not really close ones.

With straight guys you've got that fake macho act thing and the way they talk, which I cant really stomach, so if you feel the same, that cuts out most of them, and the ones that are worst with that are usually the ones that repel girls anyway.


Sometimes I feel like a woman trapped in a man's body (not that I'm pursuing getting a sex change, though), and sometimes I act/feel more androgynous than anything. However, during the times that I feel more feminine, I'm more attracted to the macho men. I know it sounds weird, but it turns me on.

Sure some girls are a nightmare, but the nice sweet adorable ones which admittedly usually coincides with low hormones ;) , but you dont even want them as friends?
The main purpose of the "fag hag" is having a friend where there's going to be no or low sexual tension between the two of you.


Sure, but it's not as if I can't have a male friend without there being any sexual tension. I have many straight male friends, and there isn't any tension between us.

The way you make it sound, it sounds like if you arent going to want to fuck someone then why bother knowing them?


LOL, point taken, but the other side of the coin on that is if you're going to have to deal with a lot of drama, it's not worth being friends with someone.

, which sounds like a bit of a LOL. depends on your job I suppose too, if you're working like 100 hrs a week, well then you wont have time....but still.


Unless its stuff you cant say, like they always ending up asking you to do stuff, but you should be able to see that kind of stuff coming and pick the ones that arent going to be like that.?


You're very right. Maybe it's just that I don't have a lot of free time, so I tend to gravitate toward people who I think are going to be more likely to enhance my life, rather than make it difficult. Sure, I could give everyone a chance and give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but with a limited amount of free time, I think I'm just kind of going with the odds, and the odds are that a straight guy, or a gay guy who is not a total queen, is going to be more drama-free than a woman.

As I say, I dont understand, the really sweet ones, they are adorable, like having a little Barbie doll you can dress up ;) (LOL, that sounded really gay ;) )


Beneath Barbie's skin often lies a beast ;)

#16 JPguy

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Posted September 05 2009 - 10:35 PM

I don't know how the other two define 'female drama' but for me, it's their constant blabbing about nothing at all; focusing on really insignificant stuff and blowing it completely out of proportions; acting helpless; cultivating an abstract approach toward life and people; also the exaggerated emotionality, and prioritizing their emotions over practical concerns of a situation.... most of the females have one to all of the traits above to a degree and it is annoying. i can't make any sense of them ---whereas men in general make complete sense to me---and it just doesn't seem to be worth the effort in the long run to try to maneuver my way around that female irrationality.


It could not have been said any better! That sums it up!