Im feeling very at war with myself today.
The New York Times published an article called The Rise of the Bromosexual Friendship. The article suggests gay men and straight men, who have traditionally not been the chummiest of pals throughout American history (particularly in pop culture), are starting to bridge the gap and become instabesties.
As examples of this trend, The New York Times cites Reza Farahan (a gay) and MikeShouhed (a hetero) of Shahs Of Sunset, as well as Bravos Andy Cohen and sensitive frat boy musician, John Mayer.
When I first heard the term bromosexual a few months back, I thought they just meant gay guys who bro out, like gay guys who go to CrossFit religiously and wear muscle tanks (which essentially is every gay man in West Hollywood or Chelsea).
But I guess I was sorely mistaken. And I have to say, as I went on to read about the bromosexual friendship becoming increasingly popular, I started to feel really fucking territorial.
Like, straight boys, get off my shit.
Gay boys are MY territory,Mynasty inner voice screamed. I understand youre just finding out what loyal, amazing, funny friends gay men can be, but bitch, please!Ive been rubbing elbows with gay boys since the first grade.
In fact, my very first friendship of substance was with a 7-year-old gay boy who wore blue nail polish to school every day.
I had to go to great lengths to protect his ass from straight brosbeating him up, teasing him and making his life a living hell, just because he didnt fit into theiridea of what a man is supposed to be like.
So just because gay men are cool and trendy now these same dudes suddenly want to hop on the gay bus? When only a decade ago you were cracking innocent homophobic jokes that led a gay boy to a lifetime of self-esteem issues?
Im aware this is a sweeping, terrible generalization of straight frat guys some of whom are lovely boy creatures, Im sure but this was just my gut response. And one cannot control their gut response!
But then, the sensible part of me stood tall on her soapbox and said,ZARA, calm down, you angry lesbian. THIS IS GOOD!
Gay boys and straight frat guys should be friends. Wipe off the window dressing and toss aside the labels, and were all JUST HUMAN BEINGS, right? Why are you being such a hypocritical, glib sourpuss?
And then,as I thought about it some more, I began to wonder: Is my panic even warranted?
Aside from my straight cousin Danny who has been living in the West Village for so long he has no choice but to be in a plethora of bromosexual relationships, how many times have I ever even witnessed these friendships IRL?
Like, is the rise of the bromosexual even a real trend? Or, does is just exist on TV and in Hollywood, where gays and heteros are forced to coexist for the sake of ratings and networking?
To find out,I took to the city streets, where we grimy gays are just living our unglamorous lives.
First, I asked my friend Luke* if he was teased by straight frat boys in high school.
He swiftly responded with,Oh, absolutely. They were the only ones who called me a faggot.
While Luke said he does have straight frat guy friends now, he doesnt think its common for gay men to be friends with straight men, and he still feels on edge with them sometimes.
Honestly, I dont feel 100 percent comfortable in a straight frat bar cause the guys will say little things that are offensive when they get drunk. Especially if their girlfriends want to talk to us and befriend us.
Also, on the flip side, I usually always get hit on or some sexual touching by a straight frat friend when theyre drunk.
He also noted that hes still cautious when a group of frat looking guys are in a bar or even when hes walking down the streets.
It brings me back, he says. (Wow, I guess Im not the only one whos triggered.)
After that, I asked another dear friend Tyler* if he think that The Rise of the Bromosexual Friendship, is real. He said,
No way. [Thats] so uncommon, but [it could] be more common if gays would stop separating themselves.
Tyler doesnt have straight fratty friends. Although, he does think gay men and straight men might actually be really compatible.
Straight frat guys actually have a lot in common with gay guys in that their prime objective is casual sex.
Fair point, Tyler. Fair point.
I guess I didnt need to panic, because real life boys are telling me they arent seeing the bromosexual skyrocket.
But why was I so triggered? I had to self-examine.
I realized Ive never felt comfortable around the stereotypical, straight frat guy. This dates back to middle school, the one and only time I dated a football player who later destroyed my adolescence by calling me a slut every single time I walked the school hallways.
This goes back to being called weird by straight bro-ish guys because I took a style risk and wore high fashion snakeskin pants to school in the 10th grade.
This circles back to frat guys saying things like, You just havent had the right dick yet when I told them I was a lesbian.
This wasnt all boys, but there is a specific boy trope, the frat bro boy trope that sends me spiraling down a dark rabbit hole. Its not rational. Its not sane. Its just my experience.
Meanwhile, the gay boys have always protected me from the mean, straight frat guys that teased me when I was a kid.
They made me feel fabulous for being called a slut and told me it was a glamorous reputation to have, which was the only thing that healed and empowered when I was 12.
The gay boys also loved, loved, loved my snakeskin pants. My best friend Eduardo even wore them behind closed doors.
And if I ever tolda gay boy Im a lesbian, sometimes theyd wittily respond with, Ooh, but dont you miss dick? But its not objectifying.
Gay boys are my safe place. We grew up protecting each other as people who were different and uncelebrated in the American public high school of the early 2000s. We saw each other.
Look, kittens, Im a firm believer in the Andy Warhol mantra, I think everybody should like everybody. If the bromosexual does indeed become a trendy dynamic, thats brilliant. I mean it.
As long as you dont forget your roots, boys.
After all, women have been there for the gay boys since the beginning of time.
So, with that in mind, I asked (on behalf of myself and women everywhere) both of my gayswho they would rather be stranded on a desert island with: me or a straight dude.
Well, obviously you cause we have more in common, Luke sweetly said, putting my troubled mind to ease.
Then I asked Tyler.
Lets see. My first reaction would be to say you. No brainer. Music to my ears.
Butjust when I thoughtI was safe, he ended with,
But [for] functionally and [after thinking] moreabout it, I might say the frat guy. Because he could help me build things. Simply because hes a guy, he could kill animals for survival and eventually get lonely enough for some sexual activity.
Oh honey! If you think a woman (in particular a lesbian like myself) cant build things or kill animals for survival, youre sorely mistaken.
But hey, as long as your gut reaction is us ladies, well take it. Right, girls?
*Names have been changed.