To Straight Guys Who Don’t Get ‘Gay’

Contrary to stereotypes, we all have just one thing in common.

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Photo: flickr/Tim Evanson

Gays and grooming

The last time a straight guy implied that I don’t act/seem gay (Alexandru, a friend of my Airbnb host in Iași, Romania, who offered to show me where I can meet the hottest local girls), I thought about something Russell Brand said years ago.

“It would have been convenient to be gay. Just because of the grooming, the narcissism, stuff like that, where it’s generally more accepted. But I have this kind of roaring heterosexuality. Traditional, uncomplicated, almost clichéd heterosexuality. I just really like women a lot.”

A straight friend and colleague posted that Brand quote from a 2006 profile in The Guardian on Facebook a little more than a year ago, thinking it was evidence that Brand is the sort of open-minded straight man that he is. Once I was done groaning, I set my mate, er… straight.

Defining “gay”

Just when my stomach was starting to settle over Brand’s brand of clichéd homosexuality, along came Andrew Garfield. In July of last year, during a Q&A discussion about his role as a gay man with AIDS in the Broadway reboot of Angels in America, he talked about being “a gay man… just without the physical act.”

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James Franco and Seth Rogen played with “gay” while spoofing Kanye’s “Bound 2.”
Aw, Andy. Couldn’t we just Netflix and chill?
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Beyonce’s Lemonade: As bitter citrus goes, I prefer grapefruit juice (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records).

Monogamy vs. Non-monogamy

Straight men aren’t the only ones who stuff us into boxes. I recently revisited a Gawker article my brother sent me in 2012 titled “The Secrets Gay Men Don’t Want Straight People to Know,” which was presumably written by a gay man who’d presumably spent way too much time ticking “gay” boxes.

Non-monogamy isn’t a gay inclination. It’s a human one. Whether we choose it or not, human beings are not intrinsically monogamous. Gay men in open relationships are just more honest about it.

I won’t delve too deeply (pun intended) into what the article claimed about “bottoming” and amyl nitrate, or the link between the two, except to say that you really can’t believe everything you read on Gawker. Overall, though, the list was a bit too focused on sex, as if that’s the crux of being gay.

Sexlessness and the “other” box

In general, I find drag humor to be tiresome and lip-syncing boring, and many of my gay friends agree. (Andrew Garfield and I must run in different gay crowds.) But I suspect some straight people feel more comfortable with that over-the-top sexless gay persona because it’s safe.

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Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde) and Elizabeth Montgomery on Bewitched (ABC)

Written by

Brother Son Husband Friend Loner Minimalist World Traveler. Author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” and “Storms in Africa”

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