Recently a friend of mine was lamenting the loss of a good friend. For lack of a better word, this friend was a “fag hag”, a term used to describe a straight woman who befriends a gay man. As any straight woman is wont to do, she fell in love with a man and has begun a new, budding relationship with him. My friend, as usually happens in these situations, is left out in the cold, at a loss, feeling uncertainty and confusion.
The “fag hag” population within the gay man’s world is significant, especially with the younger set. You’d be hard pressed to enter any gay bar and not see at least a few girls hanging out and having fun with their gay friends. Whether they meet at a bar, at school, at work, or any other place, there’s a certain attraction between these types of women and men.
Women who tend to be “fag hags” like being able to party with guys who aren’t after only one thing. Sometimes they’re attracted to the guy and secretly hope for a miraculous change in sexuality. Other times they’re just fascinated by the whole gay thing. Many gay men, on the other hand, enjoy having fun with women. Gay men and straight women tend to have similar tastes in many things, so there’s a genuine interest in it for the both of them.
Oftentimes, great friendships are borne out of these quasi-relationships and both parties benefit from the pleasure and joy that comes out of true friendship. Many times, though, these friendships don’t endure for too long. Eventually, as both friends get older, the woman will search out a mate, a straight guy to share what life’s supposed to be about: good old fashioned love and marriage.
How things turn out between the friends always depends on the guy in the relationship. It’s possible and even realistic to say that there are straight guys who are totally cool with their girlfriend or wife’s gay friend, but many are not too cool with it. I’ve had several “fag hags” in my life and so I speak from experience.
Thea is a girl I met when I was 19 years old. We worked together in a department store for about five years and we had a lot of fun together. Though it took awhile for me to tell her that I was gay, and there were rough patches during that period, we remained good friends for a long, long time. Together, we’ve been through more than 25 years of memories and we’ll always be special in each other’s hearts.
During the earlier days of our friendship, Thea dated a few guys here and there. Through those times, of course, our time together would dissipate. Many times her relationships wouldn’t last too long and things would go back to the way they’d been. That is, until she met him.
Anthony was a guy Thea had met while working at a bank. They started dating and became more serious as time went on, eventually marrying and having kids. I can’t complain too much about Anthony. He was such a straight dude, never really comfortable in my presence, but he never stopped Thea from hanging out with me. Of course, as they married, moved into a house and had children, my time with Thea diminished more and more. We still speak today, but that’s rare and we both know that our lives have taken such turns that things will never again be as the same.
I’ve come to accept this as a fact of a gay man’s life. I know this kind of thing happens with all sorts of friendships as people grow and branch out in life, but I think that in a lot of cases gay men should know this and be prepared for it. Their “fag hags” usually haven’t gotten serious about their own lives yet, but eventually they will, and those feelings of longing for the good old days will come.
As for my friend, all I can say is hang in there. Just realize that it’s not you, but unfortunately when a potential mate comes into play, friendships falter, especially when the friend is a gay man. Take what you can from the times you’ve spent together and if she was ever a true friend, she’ll stick around in some way.
Not too far in the past, I was having a conversation with a friend in which the term “fag hags” came up. He said that he didn’t like that term and came up with another name, which I can’t remember for the life of me. I remember that I liked it, though. While I was writing this piece I texted him to ask him if he remembered the term he used. He texted back, “Hmm, ‘fruit flies?'”
That wasn’t it. That much I could remember. I don’t like the term “fag hag” either. It carries such a negative connotation. So for now, I’ll use the term “fruit flies.” Any other suggestions?
For more on gay language and terms, check out Gayspeak: Is There a Gay Language?