Friendship is Gay

We’ve all heard the homosexual stereotypes. For men, it’s usually a strong fashion sense, a lisp, and a body that makes straight girls mourn. For the women, it’s physical strength, short/unusual hairstyles, or simply not accepting a guy’s phone number (the nerve). But there’s one stereotype that isn’t often directly addressed, but it’s a very prominent indicator that you may, indeed, be a homosexual.

Close friendship.

Here’s an article where Dolly Parton was accused of being a lesbian because of her longtime friendship with a woman named Judy. The article also mentions how Oprah Winfrey was questioned about her close friendship with another woman. http://wonderwall.msn.com/music/dolly-parton-im-not-gay-1720416.story

Seriously!? Close friendship equals homosexuality? It’s actually not a homosexual issue; it’s a people issue. Remember When Harry Met Sally? Billy Crystal’s character said that a man and a woman can’t be friends because sex always gets in the way. Apparently, you can’t be friends with ANYBODY without sex getting in the way.

They’re clearly downloading “Brokeback Mountain.”
[Source: Freedigitalphotos.net]
On one hand, I think it’s just the media looking for a story, but have you seen this in real life? I remember a common theme in my school was that boys couldn’t have as strong a relationship as girls could because that would make us gay. Apparently, the same thing is happening to women, too. And as I said, when a man and a woman are very close, it’s assumed they’re dating–or if they’re married to other people, cheating.

Have we lost the ability to distinguish between closeness and romance? Between philia and eros? Both are Greek words that mean “love,” but two different kinds of love. Philia means a close, bonding love, like a good friendship. That’s why Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love. Eros is the romantic, passionate love that sparks relationships. It’s also where we get the word “erotic” from, but it goes beyond sex.

I honestly think our sense of friendship is being undermined by this belief that if you get close to somebody, it must be romance. We’re saying that friends cannot bond, share life together, and don’t even talk about the physical contact barrier!

Source: Google
Source: Google

I have a buddy who, every time we say goodbye, he gives me a hug and pats me three times. Pat-pat-pat, and he says aloud, “I’m-not-gay.” Aparently, that’s the way to tell the time limit between friend hug and prison hug. Dude, I know you’re not coming on to me. It’s all right. And to be perfectly honest, some times I, as a man, need a good, long hug from another man. It’s a sign of closeness and companionship that every man needs in his life, and it’s a comfort to me when I have another guy who can be that way. I can’t speak for women, but I assume it’s the same.

Let’s state the obvious: boys and girls are different. Some things, only a man can provide, some things, only a woman can provide. Both sexes need both sexes. I need my wife as a woman to provide the feminine things I lack. But I also need guys to bolster my masculinity and help me be what I am. I also have a good friendship with a woman, who, again, helps bring some balance in my life, but it’s a relationship I feel I have to defend sometimes.

You shouldn’t have to forge a romantic relationship with somebody in order to be close to them. I think most of us know that, actually, so why are so many of us still acting like you either hang out or make out? Nothing in between?

Or is that the cost of living in a culture that is both hyper-individualized and hyper-sexualized?

Thoughts?

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5 thoughts on “Friendship is Gay

  1. Totally agree! Looking from the other side of the gender gap, I don’t think women often feel the same “oh, this is so gay” pressure, but I have most definitely experienced the horrific “You talked to a guy for 5 seconds – are y’all engaged?” thing. As brothers and sisters in Christ, I think we NEED to be able to learn from and share meaningful friendships with the opposite gender – how much we miss otherwise! Maybe that’s why everyone feels the need to date so badly – you never get to talk to anyone otherwise! lol Seriously, well-said. 🙂

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  2. Well said …and about time someone declared this publicly! Friendships should not have to be justified! Thanks for putting it out there! I wholeheartedly agree!-Izzie J

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  3. Great post.

    When I studied at a university near the outskirts of Shanghai in 1996, I was shocked by the amount of physical affection that young men expressed to one another. They would walk arm in arm, lean on one another, prop one another up sitting back to back, etc. It was all purely platonic and you could see the belonging and safety in their relationships. The women were similarly expressive. When I would meet a new Chinese student, she would link arms with me as we walked. It took me a while to stop being shocked by the same-gender physical expressions of friendship. No one (except the white kids) had any thoughts that it was a sexual expression. And the affirmation from their same-gendered peers clearly provided a critical confidence and inclusion. Conversely, dating couples would sit by the river after dark next to each other, barely touching. Sometimes they would hold hands, perhaps she would rest her head on his shoulder. But that was the extent of it. After I returned to the US, the contrast in the public physical affection of dating couples and the minimal platonic physicality of friendships was stark.

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    1. That’s very interesting to see. Yeah, I think it’s mostly a cultural thing. I mean here, we have more sexual openness than other places and everyone assumes you’re using it.

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  4. Yeah, I think it is the cost of living in a culture that is both hyper-individualized and hyper-sexualized.

    This reminds me of how slash shippers sometimes “see” romance in very close same-sex friendships. Fandom, like general society (at least in some parts of the world), sexualizes stuff a lot. 😦

    If someone’s love language is touch, but they are single/unmarried, the (nonromantic) affection in same-sex, platonic friendships can be a good way to get some of that fulfilled.

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