Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Stand by Your Man

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Stand by Your Man

Article excerpt

Something's been bothering me lately, and it makes me want to talk. I want to tell a secret about lesbians. No, it's not about lesbian bed-death or sock fetishes or why dyke couples switched from cats to dogs in the '90s. This one is a secret hiding in plain sight, a secret that could have been told any old time if anyone ever chose to pay attention. And that's what's bothering me: Why doesn't anyone ever acknowledge the deep psychic bond between lesbians and heterosexual men? We all know about the love-that never-shuts-up between gay men and straight women. If you missed all the Tennessee Williams biographies, there's always My Best Friend's Wedding to jog your memory. It's a connection that even has a term -- fag hag -- to legitimate the undying symbiosis of the het female and the homo male.

Not so the equally resilient bonds connecting straight men with women of the lesbian persuasion. No movies. No biographies (well, Gertrude Stein, maybe). No vocabulary lesson. Yet again the disequilibrium between lesbians and gay men results in lesbian invisibility. It's my contention that the natural alliance between dykes and our straight brethren is one of the remaining great untold stories of the queer era. I should know. After all, some of my best friends are straight men.

I guess it all started 20 years ago, when I broke up with my then boyfriend and abandoned the male erotic world forever. It was the most amicable breakup in history -- or at least in my history: We told everyone we'd broken up because we both fell in love with other women. Immediately I had to renegotiate my relationship to all the guys with whom I used to go out in the old "marital" social life. To my surprise it was automatic. They just switched to double dates with my new girlfriend and me. No muss, no fuss.

It was after she and I broke up that I discovered the real advantage of guy pals: nursing our wounds suffered at the hands of unkind women, comparing notes on the bullshit that women pull, warning each other about babes to watch out for. "You're kidding! She said that? It's the same line I got handed last weekend! What's wrong with these women?" It seems absurd to state the obvious, but here goes: Dykes and straight guys have a profound bond based on sharing the object of affection. …

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