Jul 11, 2010

[Technicolor Musings] The Mutual Benefits of the Fag Hag Relationship

My partner and I were enjoying brunch at the mall one morning when we started to talk about my past gaydar article and trying to figure out other "tells" for identifying queers in public. And so like many other gay men around the world, we played the classic game of calling out if a passing individual was straight or not based on their clothing, appearance and demeanor.

Oh come on, we all find ourselves doing it when we have a clear view of lots of people.

It is not unusual in many societies throughout...Image via Wikipedia
While the people walking by at the time were hardly a challenge for even the more novice of gaydars, what was more interesting was how many of them were holding hands with a girl at the time. There clearly no romantic associations with the way they were walking - this was more along the lines of how two girls look like when they walk with their hands together, which remains more acceptable than two guys doing the same thing for some reason. As time passed, more and more queers, especially younger ones, all seemed to be doing this.

So instead of my original plan of running another gaydar update piece, I ended up with this little reflection on the gay male - fag hag relationship.

Will & Grace Cast

It's somewhat ironic that my partner and I have been going through the seasons of Will & Grace in recent weeks that I now talk about fag hags - those girls who just get along so well with gay guys. The show presented two very different versions of this concept -the near soul mate Grace versus the hedonistic and indulgent Karen. These are hardly the only kinds of fag hags out there, but they do help define some of the more extreme territories.

For those not so familiar with the term, a "fag hag" tends to refer to any straight woman who has very close gay / bisexual friends. The term certainly has its origins as being derogatory but now it's really just more about rhyming and the term being catchy. Let's face it - a lot of gay lingo sounds somewhat offense or shocking to the ears, only because it's designed to. Anyway, the role of the fag hag is nothing special - it just means fully accepting the gay friend for who they are, hanging out together frequently and even going to gay clubs with them. It's slang after all, so don't expect there to be definite rules and absolute definitions about this sort of thing.

Holding HandsWhat interests me now is the fact that this whole holding hands thing is a strange nuance to the complex friendships gay men develop with their female friends. Some might consider the gay guy to be just an accessory of sorts - a shield for the woman against straight men who might make advances. The only reason they'd not approach the girl would be (1) the totally ignorant and misguided notion that the gay guy is her boyfriend for those people in the world without gaydar or (2) just the discomfort with being in close prolixity with an openly gay man. It all sounds very shallow, I know, but then straight men tend to hold on to a lot of ancient beliefs about what gay men are likely to do in their presence.

On the flip side, this also benefits the gay guy as (1) the girl is a nice way of getting straight guys to come closer for greater eye candy scrutiny or (2) the girl gets to play the role of living doll that the queer gets to dress up and devote all his pent-up creative fashion energies. Let's face it, while not every gay man wants to be a woman, there are still those who aspire for that and are continually frustrated that they don't look quite as good in heels or in a halter top. So the next best thing is to play dress up with a real life Barbie doll and see how that works out.

Either way, these kinds of relationships just work and it's hard to imagine gay life without the eventual fag hag or seven. The relationship is really one of friendship without the complications of sexual tension or other silly things. For the more feminine homosexual, this is a great way to get to fully embrace the girl inside him and do all the girl things he wants to do with his fag hag. For the fag hag, this can mean a great companion who also has physical strength as a side bonus. Or it becomes an excuse to have a hot man in close proximity, regardless of the lack of sexual interest or attraction. Whatever floats your boat, right?

But the question remains - why do more and more younger queens find the need to publicly attach themselves to a fag hag like the ones we saw in the mall? When did this holding-hands thing become so prevalent and why didn't I ever get a fag hag at that age? It's something to ponder - not because it's somehow "wrong" or "shocking", but more because it's interesting to me. 

What do you think? Is this a full-blown trend that is happening more and more or am I just dealing with an above-average hand-holding fag hag population in the greater Cubao area? Weigh in through the comments or contact me directly, for those who know me.

Then again,there's always Twitter or something.
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