As anyone who watched television in the past 15 years knows, gay men and straight women are always the best of friends. Always.
As everyone knows, gay besties are here to nix hideous wardrobe choices and fag hags are always down to slide us in a cab after we’ve puked on the cute bartender at Industry.
Psychologists at Texas Christian University developed a fictional Facebook personality, “Jordan,” and evaluated how participants related to this persona.
For the 88 straight women involved in the study, “Jordan” was either a straight man, a straight woman or a gay man. For the 58 gay men who participated, Jordan was alternately a straight woman, a gay man, or a lesbian. Jordan’s sexuality and gender differed from subject to subject, but everything else about him/her was constant.
After getting to know Jordan by reading his (or her) profile, the subjects were asked to imagine themselves in a number of hypothetical scenarios with their new, hypothetical friend. The situations took place at a party, in which Jordan would offer them “mating-relevant advice,” such as commenting on their interaction with a potential romantic interest.
How trustworthy did they theoretically find their fake friend’s advice to be? And how likely did they think Jordan was to help them in nailing down “a fling,” “a date,” or even “a potential relationship”?
As you might expect, the study showed that straight women were more trusting of “mating advice” from a gay man, and vice versa. (The results indicated, though, that gay men and straight girls don’t think the other is particularly helpful in helping them land a man.)
The theory put forth by lead researcher Eric M. Russell is that gays and gals connect because we see each other as “uniquely trustworthy sources of social support.” In other words,we’re not gonna cockblock.
Wow, how much did this study cost?
By this standard, gay men and lesbians should be even tighter—since there’s zero chance of there being an unrequited crush—but the authors say a shared history of “social challenges” hasn’t really led to a BFF-type situation between sissies and sapphos.
If this study sounds forced that’s because it is: It’s impossible to chart friendships like a chemical equation—nevermind that the participants have undoubtedly been influenced by years of Will & Grace and Sex & the City to think they should be besties.
And let’s not kid ourselves that gay men and straight women don’t sometimes have ulterior motives for friendships (beards, fantasy boyfriends, sperm/egg donors, etc).
We really got irritated, though, when the researchers extrapolated that lesbians and straight women don’t click because the dykes secretly just want to jump their bones. And that us gay men love hetero girls because we know they have other gay-male friends we can bang: “It is likely that gay men perceive women to have close connections with other gay men who could become romantic partners.”
We’re not scientists, but it really sounds like Russell started with the theory that we’re all Carries and Stanfords, and worked backwards to prove it.
The gay man/straight woman friendship is a something of a social construct, not evolution. Some gay men have close women friends, and some do not. Some of us form close-knit relationships with girls when we’re first coming out—because we’re absolutely terrified of straight men and gay men—but then find those bonds fade as we emerge from our shells.
And, in 2013, many of us are making friends all across the spectrum—straight guys, gay women, the works.
h/t: The Atlantic