Once upon a time, back in college, it was suggested that I might be gay. Except it was suggested multiple times, by total strangers, including one of the leaders of my university’s Gay/Lesbian Association, who, apparently had a crush on me.
Embarrassingly known as a heterosexual player at the time, I remember asking my favorite gay professor why this kept happening to me. He said, in so many words:
“You dress well. You’re articulate. You’re cute. You look men in the eye when they talk. You know how to communicate about your feelings. You’re not homophobic. And since gay-dar is an imperfect science, all gay men can do is pick up on these traditional clues and take an educated guess. Sometimes we guess wrong. Frankly, I think you should take it as a compliment.”
And, ever since then, I have. Then again, I never declared in a public forum that I was going to be part of a “couple” with my best guy friend. That’s either very weird, or very homosexual.
While most men can acknowledge that another guy is attractive, it’ll generally be under the guise of “Wow. That dude’s got serious guns,” not, “Brandon’s cute and one day, he will be mine”.
So let’s dissect this peculiar latent bro-mance.
First, guys DO like to make gay jokes. But most of them are straight, and they’re usually doing it in a derogatory manner. Being gay is one of the most popular insults from the sub-100 IQ and homophobic set. This doesn’t at all describe what’s going on between Mark and Brandon.
Second, close guy friends CAN make jokes about being a couple – but it’s usually done in a self-deprecating way. I used to call my former roommate “my wife”. After all, we lived together, worked together, and shared an apartment for 9 consecutive years. After another bad dating stretch with toxic LA women, I might joke that it would be easier to just marry my best guy friend. I was kidding. I suppose if you wanted to read into it, you probably could, but, to a casual observer, these jokes were made without intent.
But what makes your situation unique and compelling, Aki, is that this doesn’t sound like a joke.
Societal conventions have taught us that the role of women friends is to support other women friends – even to the point of disingenuousness. “No, you don’t look fat in those jeans!”, “He’s a total jerk. He doesn’t know what he’s missing!” “Have you lost weight? Your figure looks amazing in that dress!”
Men, on the other hand, exist to belittle each other. Insults ARE their bonding mechanism. As a result, a guy is more likely to be called fat, bald, stupid, lame and gay than he is to be called “cute” by his best friends. While most men can acknowledge that another guy is attractive, it’ll generally be under the guise of “Wow. That dude’s got serious guns,” not, “Brandon’s cute and one day, he will be mine”.
Thankfully, Aki, this dynamic makes your job really simple.
If you’re really “with” Mark, then he’ll start acting like your boyfriend – calling you consistently and trying to get into your pants every chance he gets. If he doesn’t do this, it doesn’t matter whether Mark is gay.
He’s just not that into you.
Whether he’s into Brandon or Britney doesn’t really make a difference.
Why He Disappeared is the smart, strong, successful woman's guide to understanding men. If you want to learn how men think, and rediscover how to have meaningful relationships - all from a man's point of view - click here to learn Why He Disappeared.
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