There is a special type of man that every gay guy needs in his life. This type of guy is an essential partner who can make the arduous journey through life that that little bit more pleasant. He will be there to console you during your breakups, dance with you to cheesy diva music on a night out and offer you advice from a completely unique perspective. He is the type of guy that you can talk to about things you can’t with your other guy friends and although you may say, “I love you” to each other, it is a very different type of love. There is a special type of man that every gay guy needs in his life and that is a straight male best friend.
It takes a straight man with special qualities to bestfriend a gay guy. The first quality required is an unwavering comfort in his own heterosexuality. Whether he’s sharing a bed with you on holiday in order to save money or dancing on a podium next to you with his shirt off, doing things that are perceived to be gay does not faze a straight guy who is comfortable in his own sexuality. He will feel comfortable walking down the street with his girlfriend hand-in-hand while you walk next to him with your boyfriend hand-in-hand. He’ll hug and kiss you hello and tell you that he misses you when he hasn’t seen you in a while. He will easily blend into a social situation where he’s the only straight guy, not flinching when your gay friends are being overly flirtatious or affectionate and he’ll relish the fact that you introduce him as your “token straight friend”. For him, being around gay guys is not a threat to his masculinity. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even faze him at all.
A straight best friend doesn’t see sexuality as a defining aspect of your friendship. You are not his “gay best friend” and he is not your “straight best friend”, you are just mates. This is the second essential quality. While some straight girls excitingly seek a gay best friend as some sort of glitzy, novelty accessory, your best mate loves you for so much more than your sexuality. You share similar values and similar tastes in music, sports, humor, books and fashion. Together you can talk about similar experiences in love, relationships, heartache and it doesn’t matter that those experiences are between different genders. Some of these guys may have been your best friends from a time before puberty, when your sexuality was still dormant while others you may have only met after you came out. In both cases your different sexual preferences were never a factor on which your friendship was forged.
Much like with any other friendship, the most important quality that a straight man must possess in order to bestfriend a gay guy is loyalty. It is loyalty that ensures the longevity of any friendship, it is loyalty that helps a relationship survive the ups and downs of life and it is loyalty that binds male friends as brothers. Loyal friends are those who will be there when the club lights are turned on and when the music stops playing. It is during times of personal crisis such as health scares, deaths and depression that a loyal straight friend truly displays his mateship.
Having a straight man as a best friend also provides balance to one’s life. They provide a sounding board on which you can bounce ideas, problems and concerns and receive advice back from a different viewpoint. Often if we spend too much time within our own community, surrounded only by other gay guys we can become caught up in the drama of daily gay life. Having a neutral, outside party with whom we can confer is important for ensuring not only variety but also one’s own sanity. A straight male best friend is also a reminder that in a world where we have been judged, teased and chastised largely by other straight males, there are those in our midst who love, support and care for us regardless of our sexuality.
Image by Olaf Blecker