Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gay For You?

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. 

The End. 

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. 


J.A. Rock said...

Should I take the puppies unicorns rainbows and bubbles out of my latest HEA? Is it too much? There are also sparkles. And skywriting.

I agree--no GFY IRL. There's also the whole thing where being bi doesn't have to mean a 50/50 split in attractions. A character can be bi and only act on same gender attractions once (or twice, or however many times) in his/her life. I think "gay for you" is misleading. Like you said, it's being gay or bi and finally exploring those previously unexamined desires.

Love don't care about labels. And the gay can't be switched on and off.

And yeah, I'm always down for a well-done GFY story.

Lisa said...

Ooh! Skywriting!

GFY stories are great, but yeah, they're a pure fantasy. Sexuality is so much more than flipping a switch.