Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Bromosexual Relationships ... I told you gay men need straight friends.

Song for this post here.

Healing old wounds ...

As it turns out, straight guys benefit from gay friends as well.  I knew it - and, I told you so.

So if you want to know what disinterested friendship is, this concept adds another dimension of understanding.  That said, if two gay men are in a relationship - it too becomes disinteresting as well.  But that's another post.  The problem with the nuvo-same-sex friendships is they still do not prize chastity as a means to sanctify one's life, and you'll see why in the Bromosexual story.  (BTW - old gay guys often act the same way with their partners as Bromos act with their friends.  Don't agree with me?  I don't care.)

Before posting a few excerpts, let me point out that the article quotes 'old' gay and straight men who became friends.  They have written books on the subject - one guy is 45, another 57, and another 70.  Just remember, old guys have probably worked through a lot of their issues and the homo-hetero hang-ups are pretty much resolved - and the sexual promiscuous element has maybe gone a bit limp.  Just an observation, BTW.

For men of an older generation, there is more distrust to surmount. “Our traditional way of thinking of relationships with gay and straight men is that they are hostile, even bullying,” said Michael LaSala, 57, the author of “Coming Out, Coming Home: Helping Families Adjust to a Gay or Lesbian Child.” “For that reason, gay men have traditionally not felt comfortable in these relationships.”
Mr. LaSala, who is gay, said he could not imagine being close friends with a straight man when he was in his 20s. In the last few years, however, he has formed a warm bond with Dr. Robert Garfield, 70, a straight man who wrote the book “Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship.” The two lecture together on the negative effects of homophobia on straight and gay males.
“My relationship with Michael, and with other gay men, is wonderful for me,” Dr. Garfield said. “It expands me as a human being. There’s a playfulness in talking about sex that I don’t hear from my straight male friends.” - NYT
The playfulness in talking about sex get's pretty tired - and gross - believe me.  Just saying.

There is an opening for a certain level of learning what disinterested friendship can be, however.
“There’s a sense of a reprieve,” said Odie Lindsey, 45, a straight fiction writer and gulf war veteran, whose new book of short stories, “We Come to Our Senses,” features several gay characters. “With heterosexual male friends, sometimes a subject comes up that will require a particular allegiance to what guys are expected to say and do. That can feel blustery and false. It’s nice not to have to listen to a chorus of people who feel compelled to act the same way.”
For gay men, Mr. LaSala said: “friendships with straight men can be very healing. When you experience a close friendship with a straight guy and that person is very accepting, it’s a balm for some old wounds.” - NYT
 It's unfair of me to compare this to the Catechism's concept of disinterested friendship.  Neither the straight guy or the gay guy in this scenario are all that interested in chastity, even though they maybe have had to work on the man-crush fears ...
The cliché and lingering suspicion that a gay man may harbor a crush on his straight friend potentially throws off the power balance and erodes trust. “A gay man can worry, ‘What if this guy thinks I’m coming on to him?’” Mr. LaSala said. “‘And what would that mean for the relationship?’” - NYT
'Yet disconnects do linger, some of them concerning sex.'

The most telling point of conflict is integrating into the other friends social group.  It can work, in controlled environments, such as a gay man in a monastic, priestly community.  Yet in lay, secular situations, it can be more difficult - which is why, I think at least, that cultural identities associated with sexuality and gender preference are more divisive than healing.  In any situation.  The following anecdote seems to demonstrate my point.
Sometimes there is dissonance when one friend finds himself in a group dominated by those of another orientation, rather than connecting one to one. “Listening to bunches of straight guys together is like hearing a foreign tongue,” Mr. Toussaint said. “The language is so strangely impersonal: ‘dude,’ ‘brewskies,’ ‘the game.’ They must feel the same way about the things we talk about.” - NYT
 "They must feel the same way about the things we talk about.”  Wow, that's an understatement, to be sure.  Toussaint's comment says a lot about the homosexual condition.  "Connecting one to one" in a group or social situation would just be weird and possessive and just so darn 'gay' Karen Walker!  I hate it when gay guys act like that.

So anyway.

Real disinterested friendship does not mean the relationship is 'impersonal' but neither is it about hugs and kisses and cuddles.  The best Bromosexual relationships can do for the gay-Catholic guy is to demonstrate gay men can, and really should have straight male friendships, and visa-versa.  Just don't be clingy and needy.


  1. “Listening to bunches of straight guys together is like hearing a foreign tongue,” Mr. Toussaint said. “The language is so strangely impersonal: ‘dude,’ ‘brewskies,’ ‘the game.’ They must feel the same way about the things we talk about.”

    YEP! This is why I just can't join any of the men's groups in my parish: PX90 etc., or go thru KofC or even go on these "CHIRP" (CRHP or Christ Renews His Parish) retreats. UGH! The sharing & hanging w/straight men. Spare me ... I have zero interest talking sports etc. in THAT milieu. I have straight male friends at work & get my fill of interaction that way. Otherwise I'm fine on my own. Straight guys just don't want to talk about feelings, or where they go for their mani/pedi's.


    1. You need a therapist. LOL!

    2. Sorry DB - I thought you were kidding.

      I've always liked going for brewskis with the dudes. LOL! I'm serious - there is usually little to no bitchiness to try and figure out - not that straight guys can't be passive aggressive. I'm not interested in forming groups or being in the KofC or Men's Club either. Although I'm not opposed to attending their events, or show up at an Argument of the Month gathering once in awhile - or even better - go on a men's retreat. Sealing oneself off from ordinary, normal social interaction and friendship only exacerbates the sense of alienation or being different and therefore not accepted by others. It sets up mutually exclusive conditions in what should be ordinary, normative social situations.

      That's been my experience at least - one can grow up and out of it.

      The rejection or avoidance of straight men can become a sort of defense mechanism, I think. I don't think one has to hang out with straight guys all of the time, or join church groups at all, but when one speaks of straight men as being 'other'as another male species, or lacking in some superficial fashion-sense, or somehow unable to understand gay hi-society - that creates barriers. If straight men are like that, it's not a bad thing. What a relief, actually.

      If one isn't interested in the straight-guy milieu - that is not the straight guy's problem. However, it strikes me as a strange paradox as well: So many gay men want to be like, or are attracted to the straight guy - the manly man - precisely because of his masculinity. Yet strangely enough, if and when some gay guy gets involved with a straight looking guy, he very often tries to clone him into a gay-boy-toy, dressing him up and grooming him to perfection.

      The great thing about normal men - straight men, if you will - they are comfortable in their own skin, replete with their imperfections. Gay guys struggle with that.

      I'll shut up now.

  2. I found another essay on the topic:

    It helps to explain why I never felt comfortable in an all-gay social situation. I'm really more comfortable with normal guys. The author asks straight guys to: "bear with us as we go on seeming a little superior and standoffish ... we are just trying to navigate this new cultural moment ..."

    Such a precious bunch gay men can be - too good to go for boys. The penis envy is almost palpable.

    1. DB- I posted this first and read the article I linked to - so my response to your comment above was influenced by the NYMagazine article.

      OK - I'll shut up now.

    2. I should add that I do feel comfortable around straight men. Just not straight men at Church. I don't know what it is. Too many expectations on both sides?


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