I’m a 23 year old heterosexual man, I have a lot of gay friends and I’m not bothered by it at all. I’m open minded and all, but a lot of my gay friends hit on me. Now I’m not homophobic or anything, but they know I’m straight. So why do they keep pushing the envelope?
--Straight but not Narrow
Good for you, SBNN, for having gay friends. I’m glad that your gay friends’ collective faggotry doesn’t “bother” you, and you are able to maintain close-but-not-too-close friendships with those of the queer clan. I don’t mean to pick on you, SBNN, I’m sure you are sincere in liking your gay friends as friends, and your feelings of discomfort in constantly being made an object of desire or focus of scopophilic gaze are indeed significant. But the number of times that you qualify yourself as straight leads me to believe there is still a bit of residual homophobia somewhere in that psyche. Judging by the fact that you read my column suggests that you at least are comfortable enough with issues of queerness that you aren’t actively repulsed by queerness. Obviously, it’s not a malicious kind of homophobia that leads people to act violently, but I’m willing to bet that while you may enjoy the company of fabulous men, you’re a little afraid of being fabulous yourself.
To answer your question on why your friends continue to hit on you, despite the fact that they know you’re straight: there are a few assumptions that we have to re-examine. They may not know you’re straight. Yes, you may have a girlfriend, or female dating/sex partners. Yes, you may do “straight” butch things. You may have mentioned previous heterosexual relationships to secure your identity and readability as a heterosexual man. However, gay men have a terrible tendency to believe that everyone is a little bit queer. Also, the same way in which straight guys will push their buddies’ buttons by calling them by a deprecating nickname or likening them to female genitalia; your gay friends may hit on you just to watch you squirm. I don’t know your friends, but it’s entirely possible that it’s all in good fun. It may be a good idea to notice how your gay friends interact with each other. Oftentimes, affected sexual interest and hyperbolic come-ons are normal interaction between groups of friends.
Even if your friends are sincerely interested in bedding you, and make that fact painfully evident to you by giving you the eye or slipping in a sexual pun here and there, maybe you shouldn’t feel all uncomfortable that your masculinity is being challenged. Be glad that you have warranted attention from the most discerning and critical judges of male beauty: gay men. Straight guys need to learn that getting cat calls from a queen isn’t a threat, it’s a compliment. You know you’re hot, when the gaggle of gays thinks you’re hot.
I’d also like to mention that those feelings of discomfort by being made a sexual object is what women have to go through on a daily level. Women are made to be subjected to the scopophilic gaze of men (both gay and straight). Getting a piece of your own medicine can prove to be a liberating and educational experience, and I encourage you to learn from it!
Also, SBNN, I don't mean to say that your friends have the right to sexually harass you. If they're making you uncomfortable, then you have every right to ask them to stop. If they are really your friends, they'll stop. I just thought that it also might be more complicated than one might expect.
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