I have spent far too much time treating my straight male friends like shit.
When it comes to friendships with straight male counterparts, my assumptions are quick, limiting and in many cases wrong.
This is a problem when I fight for and demand that we as men think and behave differently and when personally offered a chance to act differently, I refuse.
The men I have been fortunate enough to know are usually very excited when the topic of hot women comes up. There are the usual names bandied about despite race: (Halle Berry, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Aniston) if the men I’m speaking with are straight.
Idris Elba, Hugh Jackman, Taye Diggs if the men are gay.
My straight male friends know on a very real and legitimate level that they will never meet Halle Berry so hitting the sheets with her will never under any circumstances occur.
Once this realization occurs, my clear thinking and logical SMF (Straight Male Friends) decide to love and partner with someone more attainable and committed to building something substantial.
My SMF understand the difference between an image on tv (even though they might still desire said image) and that day to day existence is not something that will always be shiny and as glowing as the images they’ve been schooled to lust after.
Unfortunately, most gay men have very little intimate, non-exploitative contact with straight males who have done the work necessary to connect with gay men which could lead to insight regarding the blending of fantasy and reality.
We (straight and gay men) are taught that we are enemies and have nothing to learn from or contribute to each other’s lives.
The most radical thing any of us can do is tell the truth, demand it form our loved ones and make it essential to the relationships we create.
Over the years, I have chosen to befriend straight men then point out the things the ways that they behave as typical, stupid and childish.
I have no struggle in letting my gay male comrades that I love them deeply. I have no issues with sharing my intimate and passionate devotion to my female pals.
When it comes to my SMF , I not only struggle with the emotional honesty and closeness I bestow on others: I adamantly withhold it.
Like most power struggles, this is a place wherein I feel the need to belittle (periodically) to mark clear boundaries regarding whose “in charge”.
My fear is that given any slack in my vigilance, I will be misunderstood, taken advantage of and teased.
Surviving these things would not be impossible.
Thriving amidst them would mean work and a commitment to vulnerability.
I could make the decision to only be around gay men and strictly limit my thinking to the patterns and pathologies of our always interesting and often misguided subculture.
My decision is one that does not eliminate certain segments of the population because certain privileges have been bestowed which prevent a certain type of insight and thinking.
This begins now and must continue despite the fear and uneasiness it engenders.