Ah, gay men. Often we think of them as having a lot more money, much better porn, and nicer abs than we lesbians do. But how else do we think of them? As our buddies? Our rivals? Our best bet for a Christmas dinner date to Grandma's house? In this post, I introduce something I've been thinking about for a while: the relationship between lesbians and gay men. And I intersperse a couple of polls throughout the article to get your take on the boys. To start with:
Many lesbians and gay men dated each other in high school, but too often we grow apart later in life. I've heard gay men say mean things about lesbians' supposed frumpiness, grumpiness, and penchant for plaids, and I've heard lesbians say mean things about gay men's supposed bitchiness and promiscuity. (For the record, I am against neither plaids nor [consensual] promiscuity, though frumpiness and bitchiness are both no-nos in my book.)
There's something about the gay male ethos that's very appealing to many dykes. Just as some lesbians exude masculine energy from a female body, some gay men exude feminine energy from a male body. Maybe the mix of masculine and feminine energy is one of the reasons that gay men and lesbians sometimes develop crush out on each other. (They can be as mad about Maddow as we are, and goodness knows we were stoked to learn that Quinto's a queer.)
I was reminded of my fondness for gay men after spending much of Thanksgiving chatting with my wonderful gay cuz, R., who is a photographer and a total cutie (and he's single, boys, so get in line!), and the evening before Thanksgiving with some great friends (including K&M, one of my all-time favorite gay couples).
Maybe some of my affinity for certain gay men comes from their reputation (deserved or not) as tidy, dapper, and bookish. There's something about the "dandy" aesthetic that many butches embrace. In defining ourselves and our style, there's often a shortage of female icons to draw on. The gay male aesthetic offers an image of masculinity that doesn't draw on heterosexual machismo as much as many straight male icons do. And for those who see ourselves as oppositional (in one way or another) to heterosexual masculinity, gay male masculinity provides an interesting reference point.
What stereotypes do you hold about gay men? What stereotypes do you think they hold about lesbians? What could a gay man and a lesbian learn from one another?