What girl wouldn’t want a relationship like the title characters in “Will and Grace”? Seriously, Will could be considered the perfect guy: Grace has someone to shop with, live with – hell, he even pays her bills and provides her with insightful advice into the male mind- if that’s what you’re looking for of course. And all with no strings attached. Men like him could only exist on Must-See TV.
Or do they? Could this man possibly exist in the real world?
With open homosexuality being more accepted today than in the past, there is not much stopping girls from seeking out that perfect gay best friend. The near-scientific clone of Will is the goal. But is this a trend and if it is does it objectifiy gay men into an accessory? Is having a gay best friend the Tamagachi of the new millennium, or is there truly something more between a girl and favorite gay male?
[one] Joe Kort, a psychotherapist in Royal Oak, said it’s not a trend, it’s simply a fact of life. “I don’t think it is happening any more than it ever has,” Kort said. “Straight women and gay men have a long history together as friends.” He also added he thinks the attraction between a gay man and a straight woman is a natural one. “While I don’t think that straight women seek out gay friends, I do think they are drawn to them.”
Clayton Johnson, communication junior, who is gay, agrees with Kort. “I think it trivializes it to say that women are being friends with gay men simply because it’s fashionable or a trend,” Johnson said. “We are becoming more progressive and accepting, and it’s easier for men and women alike to have openly gay friends than it was in the past.”
A women can enjoy several benefits by having a gay man as a best friend. Kort notes the sexual tension is taken off the relationshipm and there is no competition between the two, as there could be in a friendship between two women. However, friendships aren’t meant to just “benefit” one party and should be based on mutual trust, respect and commom interest.
This rings true for communication junior Alita Moore, who said having gay friends is a good thing and loves the relationships she has with them. “Gay guys will tell you the truth about almost any situation when sometimes girls will lie to spare your feelings,” Moore said. “They cause less drama than girls.”
Dr. Barnaby Barratt, a sex therapist in Farmington Hills, said gay men also benefit from this type of relationship. “Gay men have an interest in women,” Barratt said. “Many gay men enjoy having close relationships with heterosexual women.”
For Sean Lipke, social relations sophomore, who is also gay, having a girl best friend is better for him. “I seem to connect with women better than men generally,” he said. “How conversations go, I converse with them better.” Lipke also said that it’s easier for him to be friends with a girl because there isn’t a threat of anyone coming onto anyone.
But while many friendships are built upon common interests and comfort, Sharon Matthews, journalism sophomore, has met people who want a gay friend just for the novelty. “I do think it is a trend, because I will be around girls who haven’t even ever met a gay guy, and will be like ‘I want a gay best friend so bad,’” Matthews said. “It seems like they’re either saying it to sound like everyone else or just because they’re stereotyping all gay guys – as girly, gossipy shoppers.”
Johnson finds this type of girl offensive. “I think it would annoy anyone if someone wanted to be friends with them based on one aspect of their life,” Johnson said. “I’m not a toy or something to be gawked at.”
Lipke also agrees that girls who go looking for gay males to be their friends isn’t something he’s into. “If it’s because they wanted to learn more about gay people or broaden their horizons, then I wouldn’t be offended, but if they wanted to be my friend just because they wanted a gay friend, I wouldn’t be that hurt, but that’s not a real friend.”
Whether or not being a girl and having a gay best friend is a trend, it’s no surprise pop culture may play a role for some. Television shows and movies may glorify the relationship, as well as create stereotypes. Mike Pawlik, chemical engineering freshman, agrees creating stereotypes is rampant in the media. “I think it’s a trend,” Pawlik said. “Girls have been watching ‘Will and Grace’ and they think that a relationship with a gay man would be fun.”
[two] Moore also agrees pop culture may be a culprit in the start of this so-called “trend.” He said the media glorifies this image “because it goes with the stereotype that they are fashion queens, and they know how to do all the girlie things,” Moore said.
Brian Casey, international studies junior, who is gay, agrees that pop culture may be an influence in how straight women perceive the gay community. “Shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has people thinking that we’re all like those guys, but we’re not all like that,” Casey said. “But with shows like that, it also shows that people are becoming more accepting of gay people.”
Kort isn’t convinced that this recent surge of programming doesn’t have a major effect on people forming friendships “I think that the popular culture is coming out more about these relationships,” Kort said. “It really is not a secret, nor has it ever been a secret, that straight women befriend gay men.”
Barratt also is skeptical. “The influence of pop culture is so complicated that no one knows how it works,” he said.
Gay men and heterosexual women have a unique relationship that can’t be duplicated. Both halves of the couple can find what they’ve always been looking for in a friend. “There is a closeness gay men obtain with straight women, sometimes even more than with gay men,” Kort said.
Johnson agrees. “I have a guy best friend and a girl best friend, and I go to them for different things,” Johnson said. “For me, it’s essential to have a man and a woman’s point of view in my life. There are things that men relate to more than women and vice versa.”
No doubt there are straight women out there looking for a gay man to give them fashion advice and do their toenails, but luckily, it doesn’t seem like a majority are looking to take advantage. “I haven’t experienced in any great numbers a girl wanting to be friends solely based on the fact that I am gay,” Johnson said. And let’s face it, not all gay men are that feminine and all women are not either. Gender stereotypes in pop culture can be influential but real life is much more nuanced, and so are our friendships.
So if you’re a girl and you happen to come across a great relationship with a great gay guy, don’t take it for granted. However, if you’re trying to find your own version of Will, turn off NBC and stay away from Bravo- real friends aren’t accessories and don’t fit a perfect TV formula.

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