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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Conversation With A Hetero Bro

Read about his situation, my response below, and feel free to give your advice for him in the comments. 

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Yo dude,
First off, you accidentally put "straight gay" in the subject, which I got a pretty sweet chuckle out of, so thanks.

Anyways, I read the post that you linked to and it does sound like your friend is attracted to guys, but he obviously doesn't feel ready to be open about it yet. You're in a tricky situation because you want to support him, which is awesome, but you also want to be clear that you aren't sexually interested in him. 

However you approach it, be sure that it isn't "accusatory" and that your tone is chill. Even just asking the question "are you gay?" can feel kind of like an attack. 

If you want him to feel more relaxed and like he can talk to you about it, when the topic of sexuality comes up, maybe tell a story (or make one up) that lays out that you are totally cool with homos. Again, it's not necessary to direct it at him. You can just say something like "bros are bros and I don't give a fuck who they are attracted to or sleep with" or "I wouldn't care at all if my brother were gay" or shit like that—open statements that let him know you're cool with it, but without forcing him into talking about it. 

Now the other part is more difficult. I can't say exactly whether he's in love with you, but it sounds like he's probably attracted to you—the hating on the girls you get with thing is pretty classic. Each guy-guy relationship is unique so it's hard to say how your situation will play out. Personally, I have had close hetero friends where when we first became buds I had a crush on them, but it faded and now I don't think of them at all sexually, and one who I never used to think of sexually, but do a little now. So keep in mind that even if he's in love with you, it's still possible he gets over it. 

I think the hardest part from your position is how you should act around him. You'd think that treating him like any other friend is the way to go: same level of physical contact, being naked around each other etc. It sounds like you try to make a point of not being homophobic, and this is nice in theory, but in reality if he likes/loves you all those little things—moments of physical contact or joke flirting—are just kind of inadvertently leading him on and fueling his thoughts that maybe there's some chance something sexual will happen between you. He sounds pretty sensitive though so you don't want to treat him like a molester and offend him either. 

Honestly and openness is key here, but without pushing him. There's also no reason to reject him unless he actually tries to make a move. Again just make general statements that let him know where you stand without involving him or making implications about him. I know that you probably just want things to be out in the open, but you're not the homo here, so it kind of needs to go at his speed, but you can drop hints that you're a supportive bro to help him in the process.

If he's anything like me, then the reason it's slow and hard is because we're used to being kind of the shit and looked up to and whatever. For the most part, I hit the jackpot in terms of what people in our society find respectable and desirable, except for that I'm into dudes, which is not exactly revered. Yes, we've come a long way, but when everyone sees you as X and you've heard the way some people talk about some gay people, many of us are hesitant to be associated with all those stereotypes and the residual stigma. 

Regardless, you're a great friend for taking all this time to be supportive of your bro. 

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Give Ryan your advice in the comments if you have any, bros.

4 comments:

  1. Yeah I agree with all of this advice. I think the main thing is patience and support here

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  2. Freshman year, my (extremely attractive) roommate found gay porn on my computer. I don't fit the stereotype, so he was the first person to know I'm not hetero. When he confronted me, I was shocked. I tried to deny it, but there's really no getting around that evidence, you know? In the end, it ended up being a really good thing. Even though I was initially horrified and sick to my stomach (this was at BYU, where that kind of thing gets you kicked out. It's not easy to be non hetero and Mormon,) the fact that my roommate sympathized with me and was still my bro made me feel great. I finally had someone to talk to, too. This was a couple years ago. Since then, I served a Mormon mission in Asia, where a lot of crap happened. During my mission, I came to terms with things, realized I didn't believe the Church is true, and basically figured some things out. Anyway, the point is that I think this Ryan guy should confront his bro again, even though it's generally best to let people come out at their own pace. Ryan, you've got hard evidence. Your closeted bro will feel bad momentarily, but in the end he'll be relieved, liberated. He's probably pictured telling you a hundred times, just never with the guts to actually do it. And having you to talk with will help him figure things out. Sorry this is sort of long.

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  3. Falling for a S8 guy -- we have all been there. Not everyone is so supportive as this reddit poster. You gave him good advice. Treat his gay friend the same but also don't lead him on with confusing messages.

    Even then, the gay guy still might miss the clues. The fact that he feels so threatened is a good sign that he has fallen for the S8 guy. But he has to realize that it won't happen, and he's just projecting what he wants in a guy on his S8 friend. Why wouldn't he? He's attracted to him, and more important they get along great as buddies. Still, feelings get hurt. Like I said, we have all been there one time or another and had to learn the hard way.

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