What it Means to be Gay

Of course there is the obvious: being gay means your’e attracted to somebody of the same sex (or simply that you’re happy, depending on your generation).

However, there are other things that happen when your’e gay (the modern definition, not your grandfather’s definition). For example:

Last night Randy and I got together for dinner with a friend of his that he meant on-line (prior to meeting me). They’d gone on a few dates, participated in some kissing, but then decided to be friends. Since I’ve known Randy, they’ve only gotten together one other time (without me). And that’s fine.

And that’s also how I think gay couples differ from straight couples. It’s not uncommon to remain friends – even close friends – with your exes. And that’s usually okay with the new partners. I mean, Randy is still best friends with his ex. In fact, I met his ex only a week after meeting Randy and we have hung out with him nearly every weekend since then. Hell, I got together with Randy’s ex last Thanksgiving while Randy was in Virginia with his family.

Randy has also met some of my exes. In fact, when we met, he had just ended stopped dating a guy I was friends with (yet I didn’t know Randy was my friend’s ex until after we were dating for a week or two). Anyway, my friend was even encouraging me to date Randy since he was such a nice guy (my friend’s loss was my gain).

It all just seems so simple and so uncomplicated. It’s not an issue. Yet most straight guys I know get jealous when they’re girlfriends are still in contact with their exes. And most straight female friends I have get jealous of their boyfriends remaining friends with an ex girlfriend (though, it also seems very rare that many straight men remain friends with ex girlfriends in the first place).

But in the gay world, it seems that nearly every guy I know is still close with an ex or two (or more). Of course, that’s not always the case (I can provide one or two examples from my own past). I don’t know, maybe I’m just talking out of my ass (verbal farting?) but that’s my observation and I’m sticking to it.

What do you think?


  1. Comment by mindy on October 12, 2007 2:07 pm

    My brother is the *king* of staying friends with all his old girlfriends.

  2. Comment by Fred on October 12, 2007 2:58 pm

    Been my experience, generally, to agree with you – I’m still very close to my longest-term ex, and it’s, if anything, a little frightening how many of my friends are people I’ve dated in past; and, yeah, as you know, there’s a notable exception, but I think it’s a rule-prover. I think some of it has to do with all being guys and being relatively cleancut about how these things disintegrate/without so much emotional drama (after college, anyway). I don’t get the sense, from what I’ve seen/people I know, that lesbians, on average, are as likely to stay friends with exes. Not sure if a lot of it has to do with what’s said to be the case about women bonding/mating more on emotional and nesting grounds and guys being more into the visual/sexual thing and buddy-dom: breakups happen and can be ghastly either way, but there’s perhaps a less deeply cutting sense of betrayal or whatever (and, of course, there’s exceptions to everything…). In general, my attitude’s always been that if I like a guy enough to date him, I want to be his friend, anyway.

  3. Comment by jeff on October 12, 2007 4:03 pm

    From what I’ve seen it’s definitely a gay thing. Straight people are always shocked that I’m friends with my ex, and my current boyfriend doesn’t mind. They actually get along quite well. I think it makes for a nice time when people can be so amicable. For instance, how else would I be reading my brother’s ex boyfriend’s new boyfriend’s blog? We’re friends, you see.

  4. Comment by J.P. on October 12, 2007 6:33 pm

    I know many gay people that not only stay friends with their exes but they also somewhat maintain ‘benefits’ with them. I’m good friends with one of my exes (no benefits though), the other though, well I don’t know if I would even spit on him if he was on fire.

    I think it’s a gay thing, since we don’t conform to what society deems “normal”, we don’t have the artificial boundaries to remain in.

  5. Comment by karyn on October 15, 2007 9:59 am

    Er. Well… I don’t know. From the straight-girl perspective, all I can hear is Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally saying that men can’t be friends with women they find attractive because they always want to have sex with them. Sally asks whether men can be friends with women they find unattractive, and Harry says no, we pretty much want to nail them too.

    I need to get out more.

  6. Comment by Fred on October 15, 2007 12:30 pm

    Hmmmm….well, I think the mechanism with gay guys would be that, within reason, we all wanna nail each other, but, since we’re all guys, we realize that it doesn’t mean much in the absence of anything else going on. There’s a sort of universal reverse-magnet commitment-phobia phenomenon in action….which keeps things all equal all around, again, in absence of a larger commitment/investment…

    Jes’ a thought (grin).

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