Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gay/straight friendships

The New York Times has an interesting article on friendships between gay men and straight men.

I have a fair number of straight male friends, and they do some of the things mentioned in the article, like asking me for advice about women. I also hear a lot more of their soft sides-- feelings, insecurities, etc.-- than they share with their straight friends. They'll say something like "You have to promise not to tell the other guys, but ...."

I'm a fan of difference. It keeps things interesting.

Anyway, read the article.


gs.rusty said...

I read this article and the comments left by the readers. I think it supports the theory that there is benefit to society in having a gay population. We are not disabled or deficient (as some folk may think, particularly religious folk), but add a new dimension to human experience and knowledge. Just as the article and you have pointed out, there are things that people feel more comfortable saying to a gay man than to a straight man. And there are other things that gay men add to society (as a whole) that straight men to not (as a whole). We are different, but the same, and equally important in our own way.

Hope that made sense.

Philip said...

I may have already told you this story...

When I lived in Chicago, I became friends with a guy that was openly gay and sold farming equipment.

He spent a lot of time on the road, going to small towns.

Several times he was invited to dinner by one of his customers without being given a reason.

The first time this happened he had no clue what was going on.

By the second time, he knew what to expect.

Usually the farmer spent most of the dinner making small talk before eventually getting around to the real purpose of the dinner.

Sometimes the farmer hemmed and hawed and did not reveal what he wanted until the evening was almost over.

Can you guess what these straight men wanted?

Each time they wanted to talk.

They wanted to talk about their son or Dad or the woman in their life and they wanted to talk to a gay man because a gay man wouldn't question their masculinity.

These men opened up their hearts and often the discussion would continue in his hotel room where he would open up a bottle and then just listen.

The men often cried.

Usually the men wanted to hug my friend before they left.

My friend said these evenings were some of the most romantic evenings he had ever experienced.


C. L. Hanson said...

Great article! It's so true that straight guys will often seek out women or gay men for conversations that they won't have with other straight guys. I joked about this a little in my novel (see how Rex protests when Jared wants to talk to him here).

The funny thing is that some straight male readers complained (here) about that story because -- even though Jared was a regular (straight) guy overall -- he was thinking about love in the story. In my experience, guys vary quite a lot in emotional responses. So you can't just say "I'm a straight guy and I would never feel that way, therefore it's an inaccurate picture of straight guys," -- the thing is that guys don't know what sorts of things their buddies are saying in those conversations that begin "You have to promise not to tell the other guys, but ...." ;^)

MoHoHawaii said...

Hi gs.rusty,

That made sense. I'm a big fan of diversity. We're just one piece of the puzzle.

Hi Philip,

You always have interesting stories. I hadn't heard that one before. Interesting career choice.

Hi Chanson,

I'm glad you liked the article. I thought it was fun. I think it's interesting that straight men are starting to seek out women as confidants. In my parents' generation that wouldn't happen. There was a big wall between the sexes. My son, on the other hand, has as many female friends as male. There's been a huge shift. Also, I think my son's generation is less anxious in general about masculinity. There's more of a sense of fun.