Gays and Girls Behaving Badly: The Dynamics of the GBFF Relationship -Podcast Episode 3

One of the most visible relationships in the Queer community is the straight girl-gay guy combo. Long before many of us had the language to express our identities or dared to “stand in your truth” as the kids say these days, we had our best girlfriends who, for better or for worse, adopted us, protected us, and at times even gave us the language for what we were feeling. 

This relationship is so significant that it has been reproduced in various shows and movies over the years. Who can forget the iconic duo of Will and Grace, or the Sex and the City girls’ GBFFs Stanford Blatch and Charlotte’s no-nonsense friend Anthony Marantino? Then came Glee’s duo Kurt and Michele, who, though vocal rivals, found friendship in their shared adversity, and even to the more “toxic” duo on the show Girls, Hannah and Elijah. Even outside of TV land, real-life GBFF – Gay best friend forever – and straight girl duos exist. Sarah Jessica Parker’s friendship with Andy Cohen, the host and executive producer of WWHL is well known. As is actress Gabourey Sibide’s friendship with embattled actor Jussy Smollett. Comedian Kathy Griffin and American news personality Anderson cooper are besties, and music icon Mariah Carey ranks producer and screenwriter Lee Daniels as one of her very best friends. 

“You can be naked with someone and remain unknowable. You can be someone’s secret without ever knowing what the full secret is. You can know he’s even more scared than you are, but that doesn’t make you any less scared yourself.”
― David Levithan, You Know Me Well

But aside from these iconic fictional and real-life dynamic gay guy- straight girl duos, the GBFF has, at times, been considered a trope, as some straight women stand accused of “acquiring” gay men as social additions to their lives without necessarily being an ally or even being pro-LGBTQIA+. It might be funny to some to realize that the GBFF relationship is so sought after that there is an actual Wiki How article advising GBFF seekers on how to acquire one, but before you reach for a pitchfork and start baying for the editors’ blood, it must be noted that the article itself is clear on advising GBFF seekers to look for a soul connection, rather than getting caught up in the flamboyance of your stereotypical gay guy! 

Are these relationships however all they’re cracked up to be? Gay men have been known to idolize their straight female friends and turn their favorite female pop culture icons into living legends. The very term “Friend of Dorothy (FOD)” was a non-aggressive, non-pejorative term used to identify Gay men in the 1950s onward was coined from Judy Garland’s immense Gay fan base, and the subsequent adoration of her daughter, performer Liza Minnelli. And celebrities like Madonna, Lady Gaga, and even Beyoncé have come out strongly in the past in support of LGBT rights and causes. 

Read More:

As it turns out, there may even be a scientific reason behind why Gay men and straight women tend to have an affinity for each other. According to an article published in Evolutionary Psychology, this relationship is not only peculiar to humans, but it also serves an evolutionary function, as “due to the absence of deceptive mating motivations that frequently taint their relationships with straight men (sexual interest) and other straight women (mate competition).” And even though, evolutionarily speaking, there are no obvious “reproductive benefits” gotten by straight males who cultivate relationships with straight females, there is still an advantage to be had for Gay men in cultivating such relationships since “The sexual interest and competitive motives that may taint gay men’s friendships with each other are notably absent from their relationships with straight women.” 

The fact that both Gay men and straight women are attracted to men isn’t a deterrent in this relationship either as, “Despite being sexually attracted to the same gender (i.e., men), gay men and straight women are neither potential romantic partners nor mating competition for each other. They are thus uniquely positioned to provide one another with mating-relevant advice and support that is not tainted with ulterior motives borne from intrasexual rivalry or competition.” This has however not stopped many from taking issue with such relationships. Increasingly, many are calling out the portrayal of Gay men in TV shows concerning their relationships with Straight women, and it is often stereotypically fem men who are considered “one of the girls”, leading to the “emasculation” of Gay men or the negation of their gender identity by Straight men. Language around “acquiring” a GBFF as one would an accessory has also been called out. 

“I hate that word. Straight. At the very least, those of us who are nonstraight should get called curvy. Or scenic. Actually, I like that: ‘Do you think she’s straight?’ ‘Oh no. She’s scenic”
― Nina LaCour, You Know Me Well

It is undeniable that, while there are many good things to be gained from such relationships, there are also numerous toxic traits and stereotypes that have cropped up from the same. And Beijing’s Queer landscape is no different as the nightlife is painted pink and rainbow by Gay guy – Straight girl pairs at the trendiest spots and hottest clubs. Boitha, a friend and GBFF certified ally in Beijing offers her perspective on this, the toxic traits of such relationships, her experiences coming of age in Africa and having a GBFF of her own, and much more on this week’s episode of Piquing Duck. 

Listen on Spotify and Anchor here. 

PS: Apologies for the sound quality. We got carried away and entirely forgot that there were microphones present and that we needed to be close to them at all times. 

Photos: Unsplash, Getty Images, Boitha

One thought on “Gays and Girls Behaving Badly: The Dynamics of the GBFF Relationship -Podcast Episode 3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: