Do platonic friendships among gay men exist?
My friend recently told me a story about this guy he met. It went per usual: They met at a bar, went home together, decided they weren’t compatible and should just be friends. This is a common narrative among our community. Being a marginalized community united by sexual identity, it’s no surprise why we’re more open-minded than our hetero peers. Our sex-positive, hook-up culture has definitely reshaped how we see platonic relationships. But is it a good thing?
When you go to the bars, you immediately feel men on the prowl around you. Whether there is or isn’t chemistry often dictates that first interaction among strangers. That chemistry can be a make or break a potential friendship before it even develops. This is either a flaw or a super power.
Once, I innocently complimented a gentleman’s jacket. He replied, “Sorry, I don’t fuck lesbians.” If he wanted to sleep with me, this story would have gone differently. We might have even become friends, but since he couldn’t look past his own sex drive, he lost an opportunity to get to know me. Checking myself, I realized I’ve certainly been in a similar situation, minus the name calling. Imagine all of the friends we could make if we’re not always “looking.”
Not every gay friendship starts with a kiss, obviously. However, sex is still present. Much of the reason why I met one of my best friends was because I thought he was cute. If I didn’t think he was cute, I might have missed out on an amazing friend, which is why our sex drive can feel like a super power.
Even if you don’t kiss first, it can feel like there’s a pressure building to test the waters. After all, there are many types of relationships. If we’re going to be friends, we should check to see if we are compatible romantically (open or monogamous) at some point, right? Or, let’s find out if we can be friends with benefits, maybe. Even if it’s just a one-time thing, most of us have done our due diligence to confirm that we’ve slapped the proper identification on our companionship with a fellow gay. It’s like hooking up is not only an inescapable prerequisite, but a tool.
Good or bad, it feels like there’s a certain mindset in our community to kiss first, brunch later. Personally, I want to break free from this. I don’t want to miss out meeting great people because I don’t find them attractive, nor do I want to miss out because someone doesn’t find me attractive.
Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hooking up first, as long as you’re not doing it because you feel pressured to. Just try to keep an open mind to people you may not initially feel attracted to. You never know who may enter your life. And when you are kissing (among other things) first, be safe and respectful. Besides that, there’s not much more anyone can ask of you.
Ty Seecof is a gay, New York-based writer. He currently works in advertising, but his work also includes essays and screenplays. Visit TylerSeecof.com or @The_TyGuy_ on Instagram.