Every week as I sit in the barbershop, I look around @ the hetero and homosexual men alike and often think about how amazing it is that we are all different, yet we are the same; and it is such a pity that what allow these ‘’ differences’’ to get in the way of us finding some common ground. The connection between gay men and straight women is SO familiar to the point of cliché, but friendships between gay and straight men are practically non-existent! Why is that exactly?
The REAL work for us bridging the gap lies NOT in political force, but in building alliances; and I’d like to think that I have some sort of friendship with a straight guy that I used to work with (though he is suspect). Somewhere in my mind I often think as he calls or texts to find out how I am doing that he MUST know about me. Straight men aren’t that clueless…right? Maybe he is a part of that (small) group of forward thinking men who get the variability of sexuality. I know all of the straight men in the barbershop would NOT stand up and say they do not have a problem with gay men, can you imagine anyone of them claiming a gay man as a friend? I get it, but @ the same time I find it to be crazy because in my opinion a gay man is very much an ally for a straight man. His energy is a force to be reckoned with and I DARE SAY THAT ALL HETERO MEN CAN TAKE THAT TO THE BANK! We are NOT competition so there is NO need for fear or hatred. I see this as learning experience for both of us, because as we can learn from each other. I get that male friendships have their own character and their own rules, and when you add that to the complexity of male collective process, is it any wonder that a friendship between a gay and straight man would be overestimated, while a straight one would be underestimated? I wish that I found this surprising, but I know, we know that men are ALWAYS feeling each other out in one way or another.
I suppose that men will behave with each this way until the end of time and the strain between heterosexual and homosexual men will remain where it has always historically been. And if the barbershop is any indication of the future, I do NOT see any reconciliation on an interpersonal level. How can we? The hetero men in the barbershop find it difficult to be buddy-buddy with us and treat us like ‘regular’ men. Wouldn’t you, if you had to pretend that your gay friend’s sexual advances are all in the name of “harmless fun’’? Nonetheless, if we are going to maintain meaningful male friendships, we homosexual men are going to have to demonstrate some respect for the sexual boundaries of straight men. We are going to have to start thinking of straight men as being “off limits.” Then maybe, just maybe we can see the flip side of homophobia and the hetero male can finally get that a MAN IS A MAN no matter what he does with HIS dick N’ ass.