The love and sex wisdom of my gay mates
What can gay men teach straight women about love and sex? Well, here's what my friends have taught me.
"Dating isn't so hard. You see someone you like, you tell them, and ask if they prefer coffee or wine. Why do straight people waste so much time playing it straight?" - Michael.
Michael is old enough to know that you only get what you want if you ask for it. He's also spent enough time pretending he wanted something else to realise the pain of not getting what you want isn't worth the apparent ease of going along with the flow.
Having met and courted and married a woman because it was just what you did, he knew the so-called easy route is never really that easy. It was much harder to admit he liked men, and tell his wife, and family than just carry on bumbling through the status quo, but it was worth it, in the end. It was worth taking a risk and talking to another man. Because it was what he wanted, and it was right, and that's all there was too it. So what if the cute bloke by the bar wasn't interested? He had a go and that's what counted.
"Marriage isn't about one big day. It's about all the small moments that make one big love. Why do straight people take make such a big deal about the big day, and forget it's about forever?" - Paul.
Paul wants to marry Jon. They met eight years ago. Paul was 25. He'd just finished a relationship with a boy he thought he'd spend a long time loving. Turned out they weren't all that suited to each other - the other guy had far more growing up to do than Paul realised. But it wasn't until Paul met Jon that the amount of growth became clear. Ten years his senior, tall, confident and capable, Jon, Paul realised, was not just a grown man, he was the man. Jon was the one.
Later that day, they kissed. Paul was surfing a wave of blissful exhilaration from the moment their mouths met. It was unlike anything he had felt before. It was like a dream. But there was Jon, real as anything, staring back into his eyes. Certain. They both knew, then, this was different. This was real. This was so much more than just right now, so much more than just one night. This felt like the beginning of something big.
Big is also the word I would use to describe the wedding Jon and Paul attended late last year. A wedding with all the bells and whistles, it cost the proverbial arm, leg and kings own ransom. It was beautiful, it was dramatic, it was everything the bride and groom desired - it even made the pages of a local wedding magazine. Jon and Paul looked handsome and in-love as they joined the ceremonial brouhaha and toast after toast of Champagne. They looked more in-love than the 'happy' couple.
And, as the recent divorce party demonstrates, they actually were, and are.
"You want it, they want it, that's all there is to it. Why do straight people insist on overthinking something that is really so very simple?" - Phil.
Phil never understood what was so groundbreaking about 50 Shades of Grey. But then, he never had to worry about whether his boyfriend would think he was a dirty slut.
I have my own answers to each of the questions posed above.
Why do straight people make sex a big deal? Maybe because we're still so confused about gender. Maybe we're still nursing a pre-The-Pill hangover. Relatively recent is this age where sex between us may be for pleasure, not procreation. Children were never a consideration for chaps in love, and making it, but they've always been 'the problem' for heteros who desired the practice and not the resultant baby.
Why do straight people make such a big deal out of the big day? Well, probably this comes down to centuries of experience. Weddings signified the deal-sealing, the contract of trade, and so they were what mattered, not the feelings of the bride and bride-groom. Weddings celebrated a successful exchange, and gave the community an opportunity to relish in it. Weddings were, and are, big business. They were also the solution to the aforementioned progeny 'problem'. It's not the right way to look at them now, especially when the conversation should be about healthy marriages for all, but that's certainly partly why weddings are what they are. And maybe why some straighties are so reticent to share the whole shebang.
And why do straight people waste so much time playing it straight when it comes to dating? Because we're scared, probably. We're scared of what would happen if we really put ourselves out there. This is a fear some of my gay friends know well. It's a shadow of the fear they conquered when they came out of the closet. Straighties have never had to consider their sexuality, and the impact of it, in the same way as the same-sex attracted.
And it's our loss. Big time.
What can gay men teach straight people about life?
Don't you agree?
- Sydney Morning Herald