Gay Men Aren't Here as Harmless Pets for Women ; `Gay Men Help Ladies to Shop and Lunch; They Shouldn't Argue or Campaign for Their Rights'

Article excerpt

IT'S ALWAYS startling whenever anyone cheerfully admits to being something truly awful, like William Hague's dad, the other day, taking pride in being a "hanging and flogging" man, or the letter I got the other day which began: "Sir, I admit to being a homophobe." For all I know, there are people who stand around saying: "I don't care who knows it; I think Adam Sandler's films are really funny, and I think public castrations for rapists would be a very good idea." But occasionally you read something that makes you think, "Oh, come on - don't you have any kind of shame?"

I don't use the expression "fag hag"; I think it's demeaning and insulting to heterosexual women who have homosexual male friends. And besides, it seems to me that there are a lot more hag fags than fag hags in the world; a lot more absurd homosexuals who are keen to hunt down women to dress up and harmlessly flirt with. But, however politically correct one tries to be, it's sometimes hard to deny that there are women prepared to humiliate themselves in this way, and who betray a demeaning and contemptuous attitude towards the people they declare to be such harmless fun.

A startling article the other day set me thinking. Sarah Mower was singing the praises of gay men, and saying that every girl should have one on her arm this season. "A close gay friend who likes fashion is more qualified than anyone to tell you what you should look like... a gay friend will know exactly just what you should do, he doesn't fancy you so you can dispense with the desultory ping pong of flirtation... my two close gay friends have such high standards of taste, grooming and perfectionism it is almost terrifying."

What this reminds one of, of course, are those middle-class white people who go out of their way to advertise their friendships with black people because they have such a marvellous sense of rhythm, dance so well and always know where to find the best quality drugs. No one says that sort of thing any more - it's obviously racist. But somehow homosexuals are fair game for similar comments. They love to shop, don't they? They absolutely adore hanging round in women's clothes shops and discussing hemlines, they'll always be there on your sofa with a cosy G&T.

They won't mind spending hours advising on your interior decoration and agreeing that, yes, Andy from accounts was always a heartless brute, you deserve so much better, and have you seen the gorgeous new shade of nail polish MAC has just brought out? …