A year and a half ago I wrote a post for Thought Catalog called “The Importance Of Having A Queer Family” in which I praised the bonds between gay men. I talked about how overjoyed I was to have found such a close-knit group of gay friends after I had moved to New York and why these relationships had been so crucial to sustaining my happiness.
Unfortunately, sometime between then and now, I’ve found myself orphaned and in dire need of a new gay family. Don’t get it twisted, nothing terrible happened. A lot of my gay friends and I just grew apart and became casualties of demanding careers, lifestyle changes, and new relationships. A part of me feels like I may have romanticized these friendships and put them on a pedestal, leading me to wonder, “Did I ever really have a close group of gay friends or was I just embellishing?”
Whatever the case may be, the reality is still the same: my number of gay friends has shrunk considerably and now I am aching for some gay-on-gay platonic friendship. Whenever I see gay men hanging out in packs, I immediately feel jealous and insecure. How did these guys all meet each other? Was there a secret meet and greet in the beginning of the year that I didn’t know about? I feel so inadequate next to them and then I start to think, “What is it about me that has resulted in my failure of obtaining a decent amount of gay friends? Am I not leading a “gay enough” life?” The question may seem ridiculous but it does cross my mind. I don’t do a lot of “gay things” so, of course, my exposure to the scene is limited. But in a way it feels like a catch-22. I don’t feel like I relate and connect to a lot of gay men but, then again, maybe that’s because I don’t spend a lot of time with them. Which came first: the chicken or the gay friend? (Ew, sorry, that sounded like a bad Sex and the City joke.)
I want to feel like I’m a part of the gay community. Even though I love my friendships with heterosexuals, there’s something so important about being able to call a couple of your gay friends up and be like, “Yo, you wanna go and be gay tonight?” In the past, I’ve had some of my best nights out when I’ve exclusively been with gay guys. We go out to the bars and be gay together and it feels amazing. I realize that I’m being sort of glib and simplistic when I talk about what it feels like to hang out with only gay guys (what does “going out and being gay together” even mean?) but I don’t really have another way to describe it. It just feels good to be surrounded by other like-minded dudes who are into dudes. It’s like, “Wow, we get along as people and you also like to suck dick? Score!”
Quite frankly, it’s just hard for me to get along with most gay dudes. Some of them piss me off with their basic bitch mentality or make me feel weird for not hooking up a lot. I often leave the experience feeling very much like “the other” instead of connected. Granted, this is probably due in large part to my own issues with being gay. I’ve never felt completely accepted by the gay community because I’m not cute enough, and don’t listen to Lady Gaga or go to the gym, so I stay away from it, out of some misguided defense mechanism. I shut them down before they have a chance to shut me down. You can’t just write people off though. That’s not how you make friends with anyone.
At the end of the day, if I’m really serious about finding more gay friends, I have to stop being such a judgmental diva and put myself out there. Although the thought terrifies me, the prospect of going through my twenties without a giant gay support network scares me more.