STUDY: Why Straight Women And Gay Men Are Totes BFFS For Life

will-grace8As 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.

But now a new study published in Evolutionary Psychology has discovered, like, the science behind this mutual-admiration society.

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”?

Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 3.09.57 PMAs 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.

Imagine that.

h/t: The Atlantic

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  • skcord

    I often feel guilty about the fact that my best friend is a straight girl instead of a gay guy…. but we had this same convo a few days back. I contribute these relationships to the fact that with the gay guy / straight girl dynamic there is a lot less competition than there would be with a gay/gay girl/girl friendship. Gays and girls often aren’t competing for the same careers, clothes or men so it is easier for us to “stay in our own lane.” There is none of the internal comparrison and competition one experiences in relationships with peers. At least that has been my experience. I hate the fact that I often subconsciously compete with gay friends (best dressex, most successful etc) but it happens without us even trying, I think the competing gene is an all men though…

  • Ogre Magi

    I have never clicked very well with straight women (or straight men for that matter)

  • damon459

    I don’t get it never have, I just don’t understand the point of straight female friends. I’m gay but I have no interest in women’s fashion, and their nether regions gross me out including tits.

  • Jeremi

    I have gay male friends, lesbian friends, straight male friends and straight female friends, but I will admit that I am usually more comfortable forming friendships with females than with males. When I was younger I think it was more because of a fear of being beat up if a guy wasn’t cool with it, as much as teasing from jocks in middle and high school because of how non-athletic i was fueling that fear. I think on occasion that still stays with me in adult life, particularly if i’m befriending guys that I only know from the gym or meeting out in public as opposed to guys from work or classmates and professionals working in the same field I am.

  • DBBromberg

    These studies are never fair, on the up and up they are always bias to what the author of the study wants it to be.
    skcord said “I contribute these relationships to the fact that with the gay guy / straight girl dynamic there is a lot less competition than there would be with a gay/gay girl/girl friendship.”
    This is true but in my opinion it is more commonality we both want a man, we both have or take the same roll in a relationship, especially domestically. These are a few of the things that a gay boy and a woman can bond over. The reason there is no competition is although we both want a man a gay man does not want her and a straight man does not want me so there is nothing to compete for or over, as Skcord said “we stay in our own lane”

    “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.”

    I would say this is close, in my opinion I think we grab on to women, friends because they are more understanding, more supportive and helpful. It is not fear but insecurity at having grown up being told we would be one thing and finding ourselves with feeling, emotions, desires(whatever you want to call it) more in line with that of a woman.
    I loved my close friendships, relationships in those years with the women around me and yes they fade in time as we get comfortable and confident, they go their way we go ours. I am 49 now I came out in the leather community at 17ish for myself that closeness with those women, friends were some of the most wonderful relationships in my life, I am thankful for each and everyone of them!
    One of my biggest regrets is as the years have passed…I guess, I thought there would always be a few women around, in my life in this capacity. :(

  • Damianvargas

    My closest, longest friendships have been with straight males. My worst experiences were with married straight females. Those relationships ultimately died out because of the fact that they would always project on to me and then expect whatever it was that missing from their marriage/spouse. Then whenever I didn’t adhere to that , I ultimately was treated like a put upon husband. God forbid, I started dating someone. I literally had a friend who said I was “cheating on her” by dating someone regularly one of of two nights a week I had off.

  • adam madam

    It’s time for this stereotype to die out, guys. _Will & Grace_ wrung the gay besties stereotype dry for almost a decade. The satirical newspaper The Onion has skewered it. Now, junk science is getting in on the act. It’s very 1995, and worst yet, who cares?

  • bmwblonde

    Many genetic “ab-normalities” (i.e, not being in the center of the bell-shaped curve in any population distribution – show that MANY different-from-“normal” traits show up about ten percent of the time. We gay people are – according to many studies – about ten percent of the overall population. To quote Mr. Spock: “Fascinating!”

    This brings up the fascinating question: If one is non-religiously-brainwashed enough to see the OBVIOUS elegance and power of the (pretty well totally proven) “theory” of Evolution, then why does nature keep selecting this minority “gene” (or multiple gene) (or multiple gene plus complex expression of those genes) to REMAIN 10% of the human population? We queer people have to go through some unusual contrivances to “have” children. And yet, that 10% persists and persists. Well now,I have this TERRIFIC theory:

    We keep on being selected for survival because Nature loves art. And somehow, the gay “gene” (or constellation of genes) — somehow is incredibly intermingled with artistic sensibility. Any comments, guys and girls? (I don’t think that the “gay” gene or whatever is misogynistic, by the way (woman hating). I just think that a lot of gay guys have a lot of left over mess with their train-wreck mothers.) A total co-inky-dinky. Those of us who love women as people, but aren’t attracted — merely have less unresolved “mother crap” contaminating our vision. Ciao

  • Elloreigh

    While many of my best friends have been straight women, I’m most comfortable around lesbians (all very generally speaking, of course).

    Of those friendships with straight women, most of mine arose from them initially pursuing me as a potential romantic interest (something I’ve only learned after-the-fact). By the time I could work up the courage to tell them I was gay, they’d already be so emotionally invested in having some kind of relationship with me that they would settle for being my friend.

    Now that I’m able to be more open and out, and have committed to a long term relationship, this phenomenon has ceased. Straight women seem less likely to get emotionally invested in gay men who are already taken, at least in my experience. Your mileage may vary.

  • WayDifferent

    Gay men REALLY, really, really need to ditch this fad if they truly want to progress. Pay close attention to what’s happening in the supposed “first gay defined neighborhood” in Chicago because of this. These heifers are lying all over the street at 2:15am when they’re ditched for a trick.

    This is not funny —- at all. I give 18 months more, max, for gays and these homily, loud-mouthed “straight” females to patronize each other before the next TV show exploits both confused parties.

  • WayDifferent

    @adam madam: Exactly. It was in 1995 that I first had experience with this obviously up-and-coming trend/problem.

  • Carmen

    I wonder how generalizable this study is. Did they really sample an accurate portion of the LGBT community? I doubt it, when they only sampled from a single university setting. Additionally they sampled from undergrad students whose average ages are 20! I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, or whatever, but they’re experience, or lack thereof, is minimal and probably highly biased by modern media. Being a lesbian myself I wouldn’t take advice from a guy friend just because he’s gay. I would take advice from a guy friend who is or has been in a steady, long-term relationship. And really how many of those kids have figured out what their actual orientation is?

    Since they only sampled from a single University, it makes an incredibly HUGE difference when you take into account they used a subjective Likert scale. Opinion of gay culture can vary dramatically in different geographic locations. This study really isn’t all that inclusive. I find it really sad because if they conducted the study online they could have reached out to a HUGE community to sample from, which would make their results a lot more reliable in my eyes.

    Lastly, it’s evolutionary psyc. ‘Nuff said.

  • WayDifferent

    Gay men love and connect with lesbians in Chicago because they have “so much in common” (misery) and oh, “there’s no sexual tension”. That aspect IS comical.

  • Shannon1981

    I never understood the “fag hag” phenomenon. The thing is, lots of times, gay guys are collected by straight girls, like pets. Also, you are their ticket into the hip party/nightlife they crave. Everyone knows that a group of straight girls in a gay bar is annoying, but, if she shows up with a gay guy instead of her gal pals, she is suddenly welcome. I just never got the whole thing myself. The same happens with lesbros, though often they are less clingy about it. Hell, I had to shut down a friend (and he is, indeed, a great friend) who asked if he could come to women’s group at the LGBTQ center. I had to hold my tongue to keep from going all WTF?!?! on him.

    The thing is, until gay and straight are equal in this society, it really does behoove us to put our queer friends first and our straight ones second, except for true allies who simply want to be there and understand, not goggle at us in gay bars as if we are animals in a zoo.

  • TVC 15

    Outside of work, I try to ignore straight people (female or male) as much as possible. They’re annoying.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    If a person is nice and not arrogant or conceited, it doesn’t matter what gender their body became. Molecules are superficial to the person occupying them.

  • LadyL

    @1EqualityUSA: Nicely said; totally agree.

  • DustinStarrak

    The only straight woman I like is my mother.

  • SocialMediaMan

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