Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What's up with Brian? -- straight guys in gay bars

A friend told me to turn on the TV and look at a sitcom called "What About Brian?" One of the sub-plots had to do with a guy who decided he wanted to be celibate. His friends arrived at his office and told him he needed to get out and they wouldn't take no for an answer. So he wouldn't be tempted to have sex, the guys -- remember these are straight guys -- take him to a gay bar. Cute, huh? Naturally there was the scene when this gay gay comes up and speaks to one of the guys, clearly interested in him, who manages to be minimally friendly [he even thanks him for the compliment] even though he wonders why the guy thought he was gay [gee, maybe it's because he was in a GAY bar?] with the usual somewhat distressed reaction. The same gay guy misinterprets a conversation during which one of the straight fellows tells his roommate he's moving out, and offers one of the guys a tissue [for tears or something]. The straight guy takes the tissue but has this kind of what-a-weirdo look on his face as he walks away.

The actor playing the gay guy wasn't especially effeminate but he was a little "precious," undoubtedly so that the actors playing the straight guys [one or two of which are probably gay in real life] would seem more masculine. More tiresome stereotyping. The straight guys weren't exactly homophobic in a blatant sense, only terribly snide. In fact, they were the kind of straight guys who in real life wouldn't be caught dead in a gay bar. If guys like that occasionally wander [generally by mistake or accidentally on purpose] into a gay bar, they might make it past the front door, but chances are good that they'd be asked to leave before too long. Most gay men don't really tolerate straight people arching their eyebrows and making "cute" remarks while congratulating themselves on their heterosexuality. Just the dismayed look on the celibate guy's face as he realized what kind of bar he was in would have been enough to get them all sent packing in a hurry. The sequence wasn't offensive in any particularly outrageous manner, just silly and dumb.

I've read here and there that there are straight guys who go into gay bars -- get this -- to allegedly pick up women. The theory is that these straight guys figure that many gay men bring straight women -- or "sisters" -- into gay bars with them, and they can score with these gals because there's little if any competition [Brian and his friends obviously didn't consider this possibility]. What's wrong with this theory? Well, first of all, many of these women are themselves gay. And straight women often go to gay bars because they don't feel like being hit on, or because they're married and have boyfriends and like our celibate friend on the sitcom don't want to be tempted. But if a guy is such a total loser that he can't stand the competition in a straight singles bar, what makes him think the few straight women he may run across in some gay bars are even going to be interested in him. They're more likely to think he's a closet gay [or bisexually curious], and chances are that he is.

Yeah, you can picture it. Straight guys in Brooklyn and the Bronx coming home from a hard day at work and thinking to themselves: "I want to get laid tonight. I think I'll go into Manhattan and go down to Chelsea or the Village and party with the gay guys. I'll pick me up one of those straight women that come in with the gay guys. Yeah. That's what I'll do."


More likely a legitimate straight guy will go to one of the many hot singles bars all over Manhattan and in the other boroughs where there are LOTS of straight women anxious and willing to [hopefully] meet him.

Unless, of course, he's a loser who tries to pick up women in gay bars!

[And don't get me started on straight bartenders in gay bars, all 0 of them!]


Wilma said...

Thanks for writing this.

Bill Samuels said...

My pleasure! Thanks for your comment.