This weekend I accompanied a friend to a birthday party here in San Francisco.
Said party was being held at a bar, that, based on the clientele, seemed to be chiefly a lesbian hangout. Being a non-drinking heterosexual male, hanging out at a lesbian bar is very refreshing- there is nothing going on in that establishment that requires any form of action from me. Having nothing to prove, it was a pretty fun evening.
But I noticed something peculiar.
My friend and I were chatting with one of the guys there, a very nice gay boy. He mentioned something in passing about his ex-girlfriend, which I figured was just a figure of speech. Then he introduced us to his current girlfriend and proceeded to hold her hand and put his arm around her and do other things that one might do with one’s girlfriend. She was, among other things, a girl. Like born biologically, currently gender identified, socially signified, unambiguous, straight-up girl. Who was the girlfriend. Of a gay guy.
Now, let’s be clear: I’ve lived in San Francisco for over eight years now, frequently had gay roommates throughout my life, have a social circle that is about fifty percent same-sex oriented and worked for three and a half years in a company that served the gay and lesbian market. I know a gay boy when I see one- I still occasionally do false negatives but I almost never do a false positive.
This was not the guy in college who has a girlfriend because he doesn’t know he’s gay yet. This was not the closeted gay or bi guy who’s with a woman but secretly fools around with men on the side. This was not an FTM who’s dating a lesbian. Or any other ambiguous phenotypes you might name. This was, in speech, mannerisms, facial hair arrangement, dress, and any other signifier you can think to name a straight out of the Castro San Francisco gay boy. And his girlfriend.
But that’s not all. At the counter there was another blazingly apparent gay guy locked in several forms of steamy embrace with a curvy, non-draggy, non-tranny, non-MTF woman. Scattered around the room there seemed to be a few other examples.
Have I missed something? Is there a new trend? Was there an article in the New York Times about it recently that I just glossed over?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s some considerable appeal to the idea of living in a polyamorous garden of delight where anybody could be going out with anybody else, regardless of gender or orientation, at any time. It does change the competitive landscape in potentially troubling ways, though. I’m not sure I can dress as well as, be as funny as, or be in obsessively as good shape as, your average gay boy. No fair re-setting the bar that high!
Maybe it’s time for me to get a Queer Eye makeover after all…