Recently I found myself out to lunch with a good reporter friend of mine when the Gay Friend glass shattered. We were talking about a good (and gay) writer friend of mine. My reporter friend asked, “Is he the one you met on set last summer?” The answer was no, he was referring to another good (and gay) model friend of mine. “Is he the one you went to high school with?” Wrong again. “Is he the one you took to Bass Hall a couple of months ago?” Nope, though a good guess, since the friend in question has accompanied me to Bass Hall before. The reporter looked at me for a moment and said, “Huh. You really have a lot of gay friends, don’t you?”
Well, my word. It’s not like I turn down friends because I’ve met my gay quota.
The reporter went on to explain that most women have one Gay Friend, or perhaps a Gay Friend that’s been upgraded to a Gay Husband. That’s when the glass shattered for me. He was absolutely right. Women tend to have one Gay Friend, a fact I had previously never questioned. He asked how many Gay Friends I have and I had to stop and think. It’s not like I’ve ever counted. Why should I have?
This discussion at lunch was especially interesting to me since the reporter friend himself is also a “Gay Friend” of mine, not that I ever think of any of my friends with this title. Sadly, many women do. Why? For some, it is more of a status symbol than a friendship. These women feel trendy if they have a Gay Friend. In fact, I’ve known several women who actively seek the friendship of gay men simply for the sake of having a Gay Friend, the kind of social accessory that puts women in the Women Who Lunch category. One particular woman I know tried desperately to get her very own Gay Friend, but firmly (and publicly) sided with Chick-fil-A during the scandal last fall, thus severing ties with the Gay Friend she fought for so valiantly. When you see a friend as an accessory to your societal outfit, what happens when the seasons change and that style is no longer en vogue?
Readers of GayStraight.com, I ask you this: just how progressive are women who have one token Gay Friend? When we have friends for the love of their friendship – no matter if they’re straight or gay, male or female – then we’ll really be getting somewhere.
Katie-Rose Watson is a publicist in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and creator of The Rose Table.