As the average gay guy would tell you, one of the first things you do as a homosexual man is to reject the notion of homosexuality entirely – ‘I am not like the others’, you tell yourself, stiff-lipped – in fact, you’ll tell anyone who’ll listen – ‘I won’t let this define me’, ‘I won’t be the gay person’, all the way till you reach the quintessential ‘I won’t be who I am uncomfortable being.’
You complain about the stereotypes, over bottomless mimosas at brunch, hating other gay men for experiences you’ll never be able to have. You may hate (and hurt) yourself because you feel like you need to, before anyone else – straight, or from the very community you are reluctant to be a part of – has the chance to hate (and hurt) you first.
And then you download Grindr.
Sure, we crave acceptance like we crave gluten-free bread, but we all like to bite off a little more than we can chew. You are not like the others, you say, you aren’t a threat – and since being gay is linked to sex, that’s what you do – you attack the sex lives of others.
Like a voracious carnivore who’s gone cold turkey vegan, it’s quite the norm for gay men to behave in a certain way once they enter the comforts of a monogamous relationship. Glad to have been finally rescued from the shackles of Grindr, gay bars, and (the occasional) golden shower, they chide the irresponsible and irrelevant men they’ve left behind – lonely men who are still seeking the One in cyber space, or worse, the corner stall of the public restroom.
Never mind the fact that traces of his Hugo Boss still cling to the air in the dark smoking room of his favourite club – the same one with all the sexcapades – but as far as he’s concerned, he has nothing to do with that world anymore. It’s as alien as wearing crocs in public. But that’s the thing, whether we choose to take part in these activities or not, it’s still our world. If the gay community does really exist, which it does, before you point your accusatory (but manicured) fingers at me, then we have to accept that these kinds of things happen, but no, it doesn’t reflect on you in anyway (unless you let it).
Why are people (gay and straight) so obsessed with gay men’s sex lives?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The list of clichés attached to being a gay man can be as endless as the number of attendants at the Zara store, and equally unhelpful – we are stylish, hedonistic, sex-crazed and drug-addled party junkies, to just name a few.
Some of these will be self-perpetuating; there will always be hook-up apps, there will always be drugs, there will always be clubs, and the only reason these clichés exist is because such people exist.
It has always been easy and convenient for a gay man in a monogamous relationship to dismiss others as plastic and promiscuous, simply because it’s the easiest thing to do. “We are the new norm,” they think, “we aren’t ‘like everyone else’ – we are just as good as our ‘straight friends,’” they laugh.
But what they don’t realise is that they are creating new stereotypes of their own, which are just as toxic – the prissy gay man who thinks other gay men shouldn’t behave in a certain way that straight people wouldn’t approve of, so we could ‘fit in’.
There isn’t anything wrong with monogamy; in fact I’ve been in multiple monogamous relationships myself. It’s a wonderful idea, and for a lot of us, it’s the heartwarming dream, the proverbial light at the end of a dark, dreary tunnel. If you really want it, you should go out of your way and fight the odds to get it. Be the Netflix movie that you secretly despise. But that still doesn’t give you any reason to step on and snigger at people who don’t fall in line with your idea of dating.
Nor should those who reject the notion of monogamy scoff at anyone who follows it. It’s not exactly ‘heteronormative’ to want a monogamous relationship – I know plenty of people who have their Tinder on speed dial as well.
But then, the concept of gay monogamy has always had a different tangent from its straight counterpart. Straight relationships usually have set milestones – courtship; engagement; marriage; children; and grandchildren till you reach that constant state of bliss spent bickering over who gets the remote control (or control over the Netflix account) in the end.
What do gay people have? Fall in love, settle in and move in together… and then what? Get a dog? Get a couple of kittens? A twin Vespa? Get matching cardigans and go on a world cruise, maybe?
Until marriage equality and relaxed rules around adoption come into play, gay men will have to wait – and we might as well wait around with some company.