People always want to analyze the constructs of any community and label each component. We all do in order to understand the unique complexities that structure a culture’s behaviors, customs, and even thought processes. Understanding the mechanics allows us to be able to understand why people are the way we are. And the gay community is no different. We have certain things about us that are a part of our daily lives that help us in one way or another. Often, when asked about what things are involved in our daily lives one thing always comes to mind that makes our experience as gay men truly unique.
Now this is the one accessory that nearly every gay man has in their possession. It serves as a calendar and journal that documents the inner workings of your life in just about every aspect. Most of us, at some point, reference to these record keepers as they are often the ones that help us analyze our lives. No matter how feminine or masculine any gay man claims to be, this is acquired in one way or another and is a part of your daily life. And it always comes in the form of a woman.
This woman does just about everything with you. From picking out clothes to going to night clubs together. Workout together. Eat together then obsess about your weight so you have to go workout together again. You have great movie marathons and dance parties to occupy the lonely nights or just because you love to dance. Road trips and music concerts become your freedom anthems. You cry together over breakups and laugh after your latest conquest in the arena of love. She defends your honor and stands by you
They are most likely one of the first people we tell that we’re gay, if not the first. And even though they have always known they quietly sit as you shed copious amounts of tears and console you, all the while allowing you to tell your story. Even though they will never completely understand what it’s like to be different they do everything in their power to make sure you don’t feel different around them. They let us know that it’s okay to be who we really are and let us know that there is always someone there no matter what anyone else thinks.
Often they are the voice of reason that talks us through the pained experiences that we encounter every day. Not only do they witness the trials we face as gay men when we are ridiculed and harassed, but also when we are facing that prolific battle of accepting ourselves internally. Because we all know that there is so much more than saying the words “I’m gay” when we come out. They stand there with us to lift our spirits and tend our wounded hearts and egos.
They will rally at our first gay pride parade and compare notes on deciding if the insanely hot guy that walked into the coffee shop plays on our team or team hetero and then have some of the most intricate dialogue to see who’s right. Throughout so many first steps that we take as gay men are greeted by the solace these women provide.
They will listen to you when you both attempt to decipher the biggest mistakes made in both past and current relationships. They will listen for hours on end to the endless mounds of exposition that you give on life because you do not understand why relationships have to be so damn complimented. They simply have a way of making everything in life a little more glamorous.
They grant us a smile just because they want to brighten our day. To assist in the most mundane of tasks to the wildest of adventures. From our resounding victories and conquests in love to the devastating life altering despair of ending relationships, they are there for us. To the casual outside observer, the dynamic of a gay man with a straight woman as best friends would resemble a tv sitcom. And maybe in some ways it is a little like Will & Grace. But it’s not all sunshine and smiles.
When we’ve done something wrong, they won’t let it slide.They will call you out on your crap faster than anyone else. They now when to coddle us and when to tell us to stop feeling sorry for ourselves, to pick up, dust off, and get back in there and fight for what we want. It is not asked for it is demanded because they often see the strength that we are unable to in our more fragile moments. They challenge us to challenge ourselves to be better men than we once believed.
By now you know who I’m referring to. They are referred as the hags of our communities. And I know there’s another word that goes before that. A word that we are called when we are bullied and beaten and threatened. A three letter word that can haunt some of us for our entire lives because it is associated with being weak. And we are not weak. And neither are the women that stand by us and as a result I refuse to say it, because for me it is a word of disrespect no matter the context.
See these women are not accessories. They are our friends. Too often we lose sight of that and treat these treasures like the latest fad that can be ditched at any time. They are not the sidekick to our superhero complex, there merely to provide some form of comic relief to our overdramatic lives. These women are in the thick of it right along with us. To many of us they become a never-ending source of strength when we are at some of the most vulnerable times in our lives. These women have a somewhat detailed account of the experiences we go through every day. They love us. So why would we ever degrade the magnitude if their significance by calling them a hag?
I know that most of us do not treat these exemplary women that are in our lives in such vapid fashion. But this is for the ones that do openly, or may not recognize that they do. I also know that it’s about semantics. I know that words only have the power that we allow them to possess. But it still needs to be said from time to time that these magnificent women are not to be the brunt of our jokes whenever we’re feeling vindictive or projecting our own insecurities upon. They do not exist to merely serve our purposes, both deep and superficial in nature. They are not and should never be at our beckon call. They are people just like us. They are not hags. They are our friends. One of the best kind.