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Why Canít We Be Friends?

Room For Squares

Iíve thought really long and hard and Iíve labored over whether or not to come out with this, but I just canít keep it in any longer. I just have to get this secret off my chest now. (Wince, squint, squirm) Okay, here it goesÖI hate gay me. There, Iíve said it.

Now that itís out in the open, let me explain my curious disposition. Perhaps ďhateĒ is too strong a word. Iím not a homophobe (at least I donít think I am). Maybe the sentiment is more like: I canít stand gay men. It took me a long time to come to this realization, but once I did, I began to understand our community and our behavior a whole lot better. You see, for the longest time, I was questioning the truth behind all of the posing, the bitching, the moaning and complaining. Why do we always seem hell bent on proving that weíre better than each other? Suddenly it all made absolute sense.

The reasoning goes something like this. As gay men, we are known as the worldís greatest Narcissists. Just look at our media and advertisements; there is nothing we spend more time and money on than creating a skin deep culture. But as much as we love ourselves and as far as we will go to ensure and enhance our own uniqueness, we hate to see ourselves in other people. God forbid you see someone wearing the same top, right? So scoff if you must, but it makes a certain amount of logic.

In our community, among those of the same ilk, there really isnít the camaraderie youíd expect to see. Just think about every time you go out on a date. Or for that matter, anytime you meet a new gay guy on the street. Whatís the first thing you do after giving him the up-and-down once over?

If youíre anything like me, you calculate the mathematical possibility of either his falling for you or your falling for him. You either conclude that mutual attraction is possible, whereby you proceed to flip your hair and play the ďIím ignoring you so you can ignore meĒ game, or you deduce that physical attraction between the two of you is utterly out of the equation, in which case itíll be safe to be friendly.

If youíre not yet convinced, just think of your own friends. The closest ones are those who share the same interests. Among these, in-dating is almost always out of the question. Why is that though? Is it because your relationships are so close that sleeping with any one of them would be a complete turn off? Or are you only friends with them because you know thereís no chance in hell youíd be attracted to them? Sure, there are going to be exceptions, but by and large itís much easier to become friends with someone youíre not attracted to. Is friendship in the gay community ever anything other than self serving?

It doesnít matter who we meet. Itís always easier and safer to oppose someone than to offer yourself up for friendship. Like lions on the Serengeti, we pace and we are wary of newcomers, regardless of potential threat. All of this sizing up and all of this pretense; all it means is that weíre too uncomfortable with ourselves to deem friendship with anyone like us worthy and viable. After all, what does it mean to say that you canít stand gay men if not that you canít stand yourself?

What a self defeating game. The constant thoughts of me versus him, the never ending battle between the same-sexes. Constantly having to determine whether or not someone is good enough for you to date, whether or not someone is worthy of your friendship. If it hasnít already, it will get tiring soon. And then what will you have to show for it? Címon, self-love seminars are cheesy and boring. Wouldnít it just be easier to be friends?