My straight boyfriend and I say things like “I love you” to each other. It’s serious. But in a no homo/go homo way, you know? It’s 2011, so I hope we’ve all realized that straight men are not the enemy – stupidity is. Meet my straight boyfriend D, who is: wicked smart, handsome, queer friendly, a good poet (his day job is publishing, since I know “poet” means about as much as “tooth fairy” to most of you) and well, my straight boyfriend. Clearly I have high standards. Look at all those adjectives.
So what exactly does a contemporary relationship between a gay man and a straight man look like? I don’t know. This is a love affair and it looks like this. Every day we email and text back and forth about who we’re sleeping with, how we’re sleeping with them, and if we should continue to do so (in his case it’s just one girl in Paris who he’s in love with). We email poems to one another (this is less gay than it sounds since we’re both poets, which is more gay than it sounds), we have event nights, non-event nights, and date nights where we get together for really expensive drinks we can’t afford and remix Chrissie Hynde with Camus and (oh my god) our feelings.
D basically talked me through my last relationship and break-up (the perks of having a straight boyfriend is that you get to cheat on him…a lot). I get something really different from him than my gay boy-friends (who I’m friends with) and my gay boyfriends (who I’m sleeping with), and god it’s so hard writing about life today—so many parentheses and dashes. Sometimes I feel like the camp and irony with which my gay boy-friends and I approach just about every subject, from relationships to after-this-song-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life, can prevent us from being as candid and emotionally available as possible. Not always—and don’t get me wrong!—I would be dead without camp and irony. I wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning and face the big bad expensive world we live in. But D is really into being brief and to the point, like straight men tend to be, without having any “off limits” subjects like gay sex or shoes or how infuriating living in New York (or anywhere) can be. My friend Marie has this really great phrase, “radical emotional openness”—that’s what it’s about with D. Who knew I’d find it in a straight guy?
I kind of knew things were serious with D when he sent me a love poem he wrote for me some months ago. I think it may have originally been a kind of, I wrote this for you what do you think of it thing, but I wasn’t about to give him any edits. Please. Send that shit to The New Yorker stat. I can’t remember a time when a man wrote a poem for me and called it a Love poem, capital L. And it better be capitalized twice because I like those kind of typos. Give it all or don’t give it at all. I hope all the gay men I’ve slept with are reading this.
And here’s the thing. I want to put this word out there right now because it’s like when James Franco makes a movie. We all hate it but we’re interested. Metrosexual. D is not Metro (but together we do go to that fag bar in Brooklyn sometimes). He’s not Metro because I’m saying he’s not. Metrosexual is some irrelevant term that erases politics, sexuality, and creative autonomy. It positions gay and straight men in a false cultural give and take. Straight men are not indebted to us for showing them what kind of jeans to wear and get laid in, okay? And gay men aren’t some flimsy accessories that can only participate in a dominant straight culture by throwing glitter everywhere and giving makeovers. That’s dumb. And a real elementary way of understanding one another.
Somebody told me while I was writing this that my gay-straight relationship with D doesn’t count because he’s not really a straight guy, he’s a poet. Now listen. Don’t hate because he picked up a pen and not a football. In college he bro’d it up, punched walls and did angry straight guy things like that. He has that side to him too, but I won’t share his biz with everyone. Plus, Robert Frost was a straight guy poet and I wouldn’t have wanted to be straight boyfriends with him, know what I’m sayin’? He wasn’t thinking of those woods like I am (though I do love him, he just feels like more of a bottom to me).
Anyway, last night over drinks with D I even texted my very best lesbian girlfriend and told her that I needed another hour with him—alone. This made me think about how not only is my relationship with him different than what I have with my boys, but it’s also different than the die-hard-walk-through-the-fire-for bond I have with my girlfriends. It’s a new, “other” kind of vulnerability than I’m used to. Watching a straight guy talk about Love and Loneliness (I love the capitals) and how he did it in some car. I mean these are the guys who are supposed to call us “fag” right? They’re supposed to hate us because their girlfriends love us more than they love them. And now we can talk to them about our lives in a real way—can we? Is it just me? I don’t think so. Straight boyfriends are everywhere! Find yours today (kidding! they have feelings too!).
And then there’s the question you’re all thinking. Do I want to fuck my straight boyfriend? I may have before we got into a relationship. But only in this I-want-you-because-I-can’t-have-you-way (I grew up with Jesus, okay). But I do get to have him. I get to have a lot of him, if you know what I mean.