Fag Hags and Gal Pals

It’s curious to me that straight women and gay men have two strongly bonded relationships – the fag hag and the gay best friend – while there are no parallel relationships being lesbians and straight men.

For context, I beleive in diversity when it comes to friends – the more kinds the merrier. But the Fag/Fag Hag relationship seems to be a particularly unhealthy relationship, when a woman makes a gay man the centre of her emotional well being, because it is a role that a gay man cannot fulfill, they can do anything for love, but they can’t be straight.

At least, there seems to be no parallel between straight men and lesbians; but I think it’s there – just not named.

Yes, anyone can be friends with anyone, and without any subtext and in all honesty, some of my best friends over my life have been and are straight men – but these friendships were on par with any other friendship with any other person – the closeness was owing and arising from the personality rather than tapping into any social role.

And it’s movies and TV programs that reflect the relationships that we form in life, art reflecting life, which is in return, copied back into real life.

It used to seem like there were straight people and gay people and each side contained the genders; but when you consider people behaviorally in a broader spectrum, neurologically, it seems that gay men have much more in common with straight women than with straight men – but straight men and lesbians also have overlaps, they do not form the same friendships and relationships that gay men and straight women do.

At some levels, the strong bonds between gay men and straight women can be harmful, if not counterproductive. A fag hag is not merely a woman who enjoys the company of gay men and is friends with some or one in particular, but rather the fag hag is a woman who is in love with a gay man that she cannot fulfill a romantic and sexual relationship with – in a way, he is her idealized safety net that prevents her from forming romantic bonds with an available male, who could harm her, disappoint her or let her down – all the things that happen in a real relationship from time to time.

In a way, the fag hag to fag relationship, is reflected in the current angsty virginal teen to vampire – an eternally unrequited love, the attraction between innocence and a self aware darkness, the promise to be unfulfilled, lest it wholly consumes and destroys the parties.

As a lesbian, it has been a curiosity to me to see straight women flock to be – not groupies in the rock n roll sense, or harem in the Arabian sense – but a level of fannish girl crushes in adult women who are otherwise fully engaged in life – marriage, children, work and personal relationships, – never the less, turn into swooney teens and indulge in some kind of group fantasy of unrequited and therefore safe attraction and semi-devotion to attractive, but needy and insecure gay men who, not exactly string the women along, but who certainly revel in the attention.

Although, it seems that there are some on both sides who take it farther – to the fag/fag hag stage – and the gay man and straight woman, end up in a tight bond of everything that is meaningfully a marriage relationship, except for the sex, which, the woman is often so devoted to the gay man, that she doesn’t form romantic or sexual relationships with available straight men, and accepts that the gay man is having sexual and romantic or sexual relations with other gay men.

It occurs to me to wonder why these women are seeking such strong emotional attachments that can do anything for her, but it can’t do that one thing.

In a parallel, I also wonder about women who work in the criminal justice system, who fixate on a prisoner, often going so far as to marry him – full knowing he is in jail for life, often for violence crimes against women for rape and murder. What is it about him? That forbidden, that he has harmed and maimed and killed, and that you will be the one woman to save him? To rescue him from himself? To be so loveable that a man who has harmed, maimed and killed other women won’t be able to treat you in the same way? To be unattainable because imprisonment holds you apart and wreck vengeance?

Is love for violent prisoners incarcerated a manifestation of the vampire’s self imposed restraint?

Do we just enjoy flirting with disaster and our own destruction?

After all, to fall so completely in love with someone we cannot have for some reason – they aren’t real, they are gay, they are in jail – that they would harm us either by taking our lives, as in the case of vampires and criminals, or use our life vitality, as in vampires and gay men – what is the fatal attraction that straight women seem to have for the unattainable, the harmful, the destructive?

Is this fatal attraction what separates straight women from lesbians – and why lesbians do not have comparable relationship intensities with straight men as straight women do to gay men?

It’s not like fatal attraction to the unattainable is absent from lesbians – many desire straight women – to rescue or steal from the men, the unattainable, the forbidden the unconquerable holds a fascination, has a compelling aspect, a siren song that is difficult to ignore for some.

But consider:

During World War II, the men of Canada and America went abroad, while the women stayed home with all the other broads.

The woman who stayed home and became Rosie the Rivetter became friends with the men who didn’t qualify for military service. The Geeks.

Geek men, charlie males, computer – dungeons and dragons – anime – braniacs – these are the men that are friends to lesbians – our Gal Pals.

Men who aren’t afraid of strong women, who admire them even, just as they are.

Joss Whedon, creator of the Buffyverse, and Robert Tapert, creator of the Xenaverse, are Gal Pals.

They are guys who are pals to women, who are strong, who are determined, and who are willing to leave their own unique mark upon the world.

11 thoughts on “Fag Hags and Gal Pals

  1. Great post, the line “Do we just enjoy flirting with disaster and our own destruction?” reminded me of my time years ago as a prison pen pal. About five of the men were in prison for a short time and when they left prison we stopped writing. The last guy, called Joe, was in for a long time, he was in for a violent crime, (i looked it on the Florida correctional website) but he or I never mentioned it. Like the women you mention I became emotionally involved, we wrote to each other for two years, I even contemplated visiting him in prison. Eventually the spell broke and the letter writing stopped, but for that period I think we both did each other a bit of good.

  2. Interesting post, as usual. I’m a straight guy with a few lesbian friends, and it feels like a brother-sister thing to me. I wonder how it would be if the roles were reversed though.

  3. Again, so many points to consider! You might consider breaking down your posts into smaller bites, so we can respond without being overwhelmed. I hope you take that as the compliment it is meant as!
    I’ve always disliked the term fag hag – I’d be hurt if someone said that about me, I’d hate to be called a hag! I’m glad to have a fuller definition of the term, though – I clearly do not qualify. I love the freedom to ‘be me’ some gay men have – that also goes to straight men who cross dress, though. I find the bravery in the face of possible painful adversity very inspiring. That said, I have no close gay friends of either gender, just a ton of bi people (nearly all my of mates, actually. Hmm).
    Perhaps a lot of straight women would actually prefer a lifelong asexual relationship with a close friend, and a gay man is the closest they can get? I can’t imagine straight men feel the same about gay women. Maybe they are closet lesbians too scared to take that first step and believing the hype that all gay women are scary butch women who won’t go shopping with you.
    Quite likely I’m way off base, but these are the ideas that came to mind :)

    • Well, fag hag is more than just being friends with gay men – it’s not a healthy relationship in which both parties have their emotional needs met.

      The woman is not getting her needs met because she’s fixated on a particular guy she cannot have. I guess that’s part of the whole virgin/vampire allure.

      I was friends with a gay man – but he was also in a fag hag relationship with another women and theirs was not a healthy relationship. It turned out that I met her through a different person, so was given both sides of the relationship independent of anyone knowing that I knew the other side.

      I think there’s something that the hag brings out in the gay man that she is taken advantage of throughout the relationship.

      • I see women do that with they gay men I know, I just never put a lot of thought into how it is unhealthy. Everyone always seems so happy when out n about. I guess they would, though. I’d much rather a close friend than a sidekick – but I attract much younger people to me and I occasionally feel as if they want to be a sidekick. It’s an odd feeling – and about the only time I get even close to maternal: over protective :)

    • Yes, I know there’s too many points

      I have having about 6 different conversations in my head at any time, and whenever I get a discussion to make sense, i blog it

      so you’re saying I need to slow down more so am easier to follow?

      that’s helpful

      • More that I have thoughts all the way through reading it, but by the time I get to the bottom and comment, I’ve lost some of my train of thought. I normally just talk shite, so I don’t mind when the last thing I say is the one people focus on. But you have important points, it would be a shame for eejits like me to not give you proper feedback.

        • I think of them as blogging off points for other people.

          Take anything I post and run with your own spin !

          Then we link back to each other and see how many other people will play with us

          • Ooo, does anyone do that? I’m quite light on my blog, but I try to keep away from religious folks and anyone who irritates me with small minds. I’d like to throw out some important issues. I’m pretty young as a blogger, and all over the shop with what I talk about already! I think you’re great, though – and you’re the only blog I chose to follow based on your religious views, BTW.

  4. I believe the term is “lesbro” or “dyke tyke” (although sometimes I see it “Dyke Mike”). But I think you’re right in that it’s probably a different dynamic than the fag hag to gay man relationship — not so much about wanting the unattainable, forbidden, etc., (At least, I don’t think.)

    • I think men are more likely to want sidekicks than women.

      Thus, the fag is willing for a fag hag to make him the centre of their world.

      Lesbians are less likely to tolerate that unattainable crush dynamic, so a guy who’s friends with a lesbian has to accept what lesbians are – we are pals because we can be each other’s wingperson – it’s a partnership of equals with common, but mutually exclusive goals

      I think I like lesbro better than gal pal.

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