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Pachali Brewster



You know how, in some films, the lead woman has a gay best friend? Clueless, Fear, Single White Female, My Best Friend’s Wedding and The Next Best Thing are movies just off the top of my head that feature gay best friends. For some reason, it is assumed that women and gay men get along famously. This column is about the how and why women love gay men, whether they collect them (i.e. are “faghags”) or just really like one in particular (of course not because he’s gay, he just… coincidentally… happens to like men).
So why do they do it? What’s the attraction? The stereotypical gay man is fun, and loves to shop and gossip. The stereotypical woman is these things as well. That’s why they are stereotypically ideal best friends. Generally speaking, these guys are interesting, sensitive, and hopefully nice, having gone through the ordeal of coming out and probably having to deal with homophobia at some point in their lives. So you can cry on their shoulder, and they can straighten your hair.
You can do each other’s nails and check out cute guys together. They’re like the best of both worlds: chivalrous, and strong enough to move those damn heavy boxes that you never got around to doing anything with, so you just throw Indian print fabric over them and hope that no one noticed how much space in the hallway they take up. And, finally, they’re good looking and well groomed. No inappropriate body parts hanging out here. They’re very particular on that.
To be honest, I’m stereotyping here – smelly, mean gay guys do exist. But those men aside, I am a self-confessed faghag, and the reason I love them is because I can be my natural flamboyant self around them, and vice versa (our culture encourages flamboyance). I’m often accused of being a gay man trapped in a woman’s body, but I just like to think I have an affinity with them. It’s like I’m the Ace Ventura of the gay animal kingdom.
I’ve heard of an alternative theory as to why some women especially enjoy the company of male homosexuals; they are safe, non-threatening, and as protective as they are platonic (with you). However, this seems to challenge another theory I’ve heard, which is more commonly recognised: it’s a nice ego-stroke to have people fawning over you. From both the fag and hag point of view.
Unfortunately, the life of a faghag isn’t all backrubs and giggles, or deep conversation about high art. It sucks knowing all these cute guys that you can’t have, all hooking up with each other. Especially if you’re single, and are left standing alone in the middle of the nightclub dance floor. This leads me to a phenomenon aptly named “the curse”.
If a woman keeps falling in love with or is only attracted to gay men, she’s got the curse. You can tell a woman has it if she’s had a string of boyfriends who eventually came out, or keeps getting crushes on her gay male friends and acquaintances.
I have the curse, but only because my gaydar is a fraction of a second slower than my ability to gauge whether or not someone is attractive. So hanging with me sounds something like: “Oh-that-guy’s-hot-oh-damn-he’s-gay.” I’ll then pout, but be over it a minute later, as there’ll be another one just around the corner. Still, it can get rather demoralising if it happens four or more times a day.
There could be a number of reasons for the existence of the curse, such as the human condition of wanting things we can’t have, or the fact that we like things that are similar to ourselves (we’re egotistical that way). But tests have proved inconclusive.
As far as I’m aware, there is no cure for the curse, except maybe time. Or hanging out with more straight guys. Or perhaps a leprechaun could grant you a wish. But good luck finding one this time of year.
Side note: UniQ’s AGM is on Thursday September 13. Keep your eye on the notices. Also, I’m not going to be around next year, so this column will need a new writer in 2008. If you think you might like to do it, you can e-mail me at my school address and I’ll tell you everything I know. Alternatively, e-mail the Salient editor at steve@salient.org.nz