Nonfiction,  Poetry

“You’re the only friend I’d pretend to be gay for.” 

by a Friendly Neighborhood Queer


“You’re the only friend I’d pretend to be gay for.” 

The way you say these words is friendly, you’re joking, being playful, trying to get a laugh from me.  And I do laugh, your arm linked through mine.  But on further reflection, it’s impossible for me to find this phrase funny. 

I don’t know exactly what you meant.  I’m constantly trying to eke out the complex meanings in exchanged words, assigning too much purpose to each syllable.  I have trouble seeing things at face value. 

You’d “pretend to be gay” for me.  What does that mean?  Are you comfortable enough around me to not feel threatened by my queerness?  Do you think it’d be funny if we shocked and amused our friends, making an April Fool’s Day relationship status on Facebook? 

I’m not necessarily offended, not angry, not distraught.  But there is some disappointment.  Some tiredness.  Some slight sensation of melancholy, sweeping through my stomach. 

You see, I know that it was just a joke, I shouldn’t be taking it this way, blowing everything out of proportion, making a metaphorical scene in my head.  I know rationally that you weren’t trying to be hurtful, you honestly believed it amusing.  And I suppose it might be, in a way.  But I’m not in a place where I can recognize this muddled amusement.   

I can’t find humor in these words because you’re too much my type for it to be funny.  It’s too real, to close to home.   

Because you’re considerate and sweet.  You have a secret little reservoir of sass you can pull from.  You’re attractive, body and mind.  You’re exceptionally creative.  You’re a stupid dork, just like me.  You’re everything that I could hope for in a prospective partner. 

Using precious breath to remind me that you’ll never see me as anything more than your “gay best friend” is just a reoccurring twist of the knife blade between my ribs.   

I can’t find humor in these words because they frighten me; picking at my insecurities, my fear of loneliness.

I wish I could pretend to be straight.


  • Jolean Fultz

    This is love. So close but so far away. I hope this is just the beginning of the journey. Thank you for sharing your insecurities, truth, feelings, yourself. This is love that hurts so good.

  • kennedy Brashear

    I had friends who were gay when I was growing up never once did I say this. I see how this phrase has been hurtful, you can’t just pretend to be someone that you aren’t. I have heard the phrase but never understood why someone would say it. You writing gave me a clearer understanding and I thank you for that. I’m sorry that you have had people not respect who you are by saying things like this. Maybe it’s because they don’t understand who you are.

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