Archive for New York Times

A Straight Man’s Arsenal

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2009 by Arthur

Recently an article in The New York Times entitled, “I Love You, Man (as a Friend)” by Douglas Quenqua, was published. After reading the text, I had a couple reactions to this piece. To summarize, it’s about the socialization between gay men and straight men and “the flip side of homophobia.” So since this article is all about homophilia, it’s unnecessary to place “as a friend” in parenthesis since it’s implied. By segregating the phrase, it’s alluding that it’s not okay to say “I love you” to another man for fear of losing one’s machismo. Also why would Quenqua use a quote from this past season’s American Idol winner, Kris Allen, right off the bat? Supposedly, Adam Lambert (who is gay) admitted having a crush on Allen and he replied with “I’m flattered, and I think it’s hilarious.” I understand that the two men were friends and all but to start off an article that’s suppose to legitimize actual friendships between gay and straight guys by using a quote that a homosexual is attracted to his heterosexual friend sets the tone. Furthermore, Allen’s response stating that he thinks his friend’s feelings are “hilarious”  is quite belittling and dismissive.  As to say, “you’re my friend but your gay emotion is simply precious to me”.

Quenqua covers the piece with pop culture references, from “The Sarah Silverman Program” to “When Harry Met Sally”. The author utilizes the latter to bring up his first flimsy point about Gay/Straight male relationships: gay men have feelings and can complicate things just like a male/female friendship “only it gets way more complicated.” The article collects quotes that are sprinkled throughout by straight and gay duos and here is a little gem of story from a straight man named Adam Carter:

“We were driving to a party and he put his hand on my thigh,” Mr. Carter said. “I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I just told him it wasn’t my thing. But things were never the same.”

He added: “Now I look back on all the things we did together and wonder, was it all just to get me in the sack? Now I know what girls feel like.”

This is utter bile. First, I apologize that one friend of yours turned you off the entire gay community as potential friends. Secondly, “now [you] know how girls feel…”?! I’m sure all women feel that way if you are the type of straight man that tries to get them all “in the sack”. Honestly, the majority of male friends that I have are straight and that line is never questioned. If these homophiliacs are all about having friends from all backgrounds, it’s no longer required to have these types of qualms. If you’re a straight male and have gay friends to obtain the privilege to say you have gay friends, these continued close-minded thoughts should not be entering your mind. Gay men don’t want their straight friends to live in fear (or complete ignorance) that one day, we won’t be able to control ourselves and fall in love with them.

Evidently, a perk of having a gay friend in a straight man’s arsenal is that they are good for advice on women and fashion. Stereotypically, (I’m looking at you Sex and the City) we will always tell you if you look good and be ready with a sassy and remarkably, snarky remark. If my friend asks me if he looks presentable I will say so and if he doesn’t, I’ll compare him to a homeless nomad. We’ll both laugh and then give him a ten minute makeover to hit “Red Hot” on the fabulousity meter. That’s not how I work. I call my friends names all the time but I haven’t and don’t know how to even manage a successful makeover. It has taken me years to figure out what I look decent in so I can’t push my individual style on someone else. I’ll do my best to help if he’s in a pinch or extremely bored but I don’t dish out fashion advice.

I didn’t study fashion in school but I did pass psychology so I’m more than qualified to toss out relationship advice on the woman psyche. And since I’m “…not in competition with [them]”, the advice I give to my friends can be taken to the bank. Seriously though, my friends do come to me for guidance on things but only because I observe and analyze like a madman. If I don’t have the right answer, I’ll say that I don’t know. Being a good friend means giving support to other friends. The fact that some straight guys go to gay men for relationship advice because they don’t trust other heterosexual men with their advice, is depressing. What’s even more depressing is that some gay men avoid straight men as friends because as Eric Perry, a homosexual man, states:

“I don’t know what’s going on in their heads, and I don’t think they know what’s going on in mine,” he said. “I’m afraid if I have a conversation with them they’ll think I’m hitting on them, so I just kind of avoid it.”

People of one group should not be afraid or intimidated of another group. If there are questions or concerns about something, there should be an open forum where discussion is possible. The population should not get the information via the media and that’s the problem. It’s ridiculous that an article which was published in late June 2009 from the New York Times is being reported. Replace any word that has to deal with “gay” in this piece with “female” or any race of your choice. Would this article even be relevant? Would it be any more offensive? A story about men (or women) with a diverse circle of friends is not news, it’s what should be expected and not be given a badge of honor.