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Friday, June 22, 2007

Stag trumps Hag

From Day and Night magazine in today's Irish Independent

The 'fag hag' is finally getting her moment in the spotlight, having spent decades playing a supporting role in the never-ending drama/romance/horror/satire that is a gay man's life.

Two out and proud ladies have edited a celebration of fag-haggery in all its glory, entitled 'Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys'.

For the uninitiated, a fag hag is a gay man's straight gal pal, who has at various points served as date, beard, pub/club companion and therapist to said gay man (and vice versa). Think Grace in Will and Grace — or Niles in Frasier!

I've long suspected that the gay man/fag hag dynamic has had its day, and I think one of the reasons why is hit upon in this book by contributor Simon Doonan. He claims that fag hags have become obsolete because "straight men are now less obnoxious to be around".

From the gay man's point of view, Doonan makes a good argument. Metrosexualisation – itself a byproduct of gay culture – has prompted a lot of straight men to embrace different lifestyles and cast off engrained attitudes. They know they cannot hold onto old prejudices and fears if they are to function in today's world.

As a case in point, I have a few straight male friends who have no problem going to gay bars with me. They're like my 'fag stags', if you will: guys who are either so secure in their own sexuality and/or are such good friends that they have no qualms about socialising in gay venues.
Gay and straight men have both been known to equally intimidate the other, but, with some very serious exceptions, this appears to be fading away. The simple shared experience of being men might just be enough to transcend sexual labels. I think both sides can gain things from these friendships. Except for the kissing of the girls. My straight friends can keep that one for themselves.

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