Some of my favourite stories are Gay For You. I like the idea that friendship (or, even better, total animosity) can be so intense that it might take you in an unexpected direction. I like the angst of a good Gay For You, in that a character is usually totally blindsided by his or her own desires.
But here's what I don't like: the crazy idea that another person can somehow make you gay.
That's crap. What another person can do is give you the courage to explore a part of yourself you might have had on lockdown most of your life, but you cannot catch Teh Gay.
Sexuality, gender and identity are weird, slippery fishes. Tricky to catch, impossible to pin down, always on the move. (Okay, now I'm thinking I could have picked a better analogy than fish, but it's late and I'm tired. And earlier I watched a program that had fish in it.) The point I'm making -- I think -- is that Gay For You is only half the story. And if you read a lot of romance, it's usually the only half of the story you get to see because a big Happily Ever After descends and there are rainbows and unicorns and puppies and bubbles.
(I mentioned it was late and I'm tired, didn't I?)
Okay, so here's an example.
Once upon a time, there was a boy called Max. And he had a best friend called Paul. And one day Max looked at Paul and thought things that he'd never thought before. These new, unsettling thoughts began with kisses, and ended somewhere Max had never imagined he'd go.
But he did, and it was good, and it was Love.
That's where romance drops the curtain. Except what if five years down the track Max finds out that Paul screwed around? Or what if Paul gets a job on the other side of the country? Or what if Paul is killed in a car accident? What if, for whatever reason, the man that Max was gay for is no longer in his life?
Does Gay For You still hold? Does Max magically no longer enjoy sleeping with men? Suddenly he's straight again? Of course he's not.
I don't believe there is such a thing as Gay For You in real life. I believe there is Out For You, it's just that in romance it's difficult to spot hidden under all those happy endings.