In Defense of Fag Hags

Earlier this week, I was at a divey piano bar, and we were all having a good time. Until they showed up.  A gaggle of girls/women. From Westchester. With their boyfriends. Everyone was drunk, and one girl was wearing a tiara (of course). They spent the time being obnoxious, loud, requesting Total Eclipse of the Heart, and then Grease when informed that this was a show-tunes bar. These are the types of women who have watched too much Sex and the City and usually have or crave their own Stanford Blatch to their Carrie Bradshaw. These women dread the phrase fag hag, because it tends to carry the association of being overweight, classless, possibly promiscuous, losers who don’t have anything better to do then hang out with their gay friends and discuss baby names for when they both hit 35, single, and their marriage compact kicks in.

No, these women will proudly let you know that they are NOT losers, and that their Bump-It™ and Prada bag informs you that they are a different breed of girl. There’s always some sort of stupid name they come up with whenever some drunken idiot comes up with “Hey, aren’t you Mikey’s fag hag?” “No, I’m not! I have a boyfriend! I’m wearing a tube dress and a tiara cause it’s my birthday!! I’m a fruit fly/fairy princess!!” Yet, I’ve noticed something missing about these women when push comes to shove. An inner strength that I found in every woman I’ve known who’s worn the badge “fag hag.”

In college, I knew two women who were loud and proud to be fag hags. One of them had the most active sex life I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot. Low self esteem has its perks). One of her specialties was to go out and find a big hulking red-neck and first introduce him to her gay friends, then the gay clubs she hung out with, and rock his world with things he never thought he’d  allow himself to do/have done to him (we’ll just leave it at that). The other one I knew was one of the sweetest humans I’ve ever met. She always had a smile on her face, and a kind word. She’s the type that will grow up to be Sharon Gless on Queer as Folk. And that’s a good thing, folks.Later on, I meet a young woman at a music conservatory who knew how to treat her gay friends. She was pretty, just out of the armed forces, and studying musical theater. She abhorred these bridge and tunnel bitches that come into the city and try and instigate Straight Night at Splash. As she put it, “As a straight girl at a gay club, you’re like the puppy someone walks in the park; you’re there for conversation starters and not to be the center of attention.” I might not completely agree, but I do appreciate that she was willing to recognize that she wasn’t in “straight world” and therefore, tiaras and annoyingly drunk behavior weren’t cute, nor were they wanted. As a gay man, I barely like that in guys that I’m interested in, so when Miss Jersey Ego shows up, it’s just insufferable.

On the flip side, I spent a few months being one of those folks who stop you on the street going “Hi!!! Do you have a minute for gay rights?” (we can talk about that later) Numerous times I stopped a young (or a youngly dressed woman), often carrying an armful of bags. I would proceed to get an earful about how they supported their gay friends (with whom they were having lunch with this weekend, even!!). And they vote for gay friendly politicians! (only, like, every 4 years, when it’s a choice between the Anti-Christ and a hard place) But, as I could see, they were broke (since they just spent WAY too much money on shoes) and they’d love to help, and couldn’t they volunteer or something? (do you have a law degree? No, well, we don’t really need any envelope stuffers, thank you.)

The girl I used to sublet from was one of these girls. Drowning in credit card debt (thus she was trying to sublet her studio apartment for double what she was paying), thought her Snooki hair poof was the shit, wore a hounds tooth patterned coat, dated a total jerk, thought I was super awesome for being gay, but quickly turned into disgust as it turned out that I wasn’t the type to fawn over her.  Things got ugly VERY fast. And then she got hit by a car while out on tour, but that’s neither here nor there.

For a long time, I wanted to be liked by these girls (of course, I also wanted to be liked by a hot rich, hung 35 year old millionaire with light chest hair and a . . . I’m sorry, I’ll be in my bunk.). I thought it would mean that I had achieved some sort of level of social acceptance, like I finally took off the glasses and braids and put on a cute slinky dress to find that people really liked me. Only it took me a while to find out that when Josh finally asked me out to the Non-Denominational Winter Dance, that he was just using me for free publicity. While plenty of folks might be nice to that person’s face, at best, we’re all just waiting for her to end up as a Real Housewife, only without people being interested.

So, here’s to the fag hags, the girls who are a gay man’s true friend. The ones who will be there when you’re drunk and high, and can’t find your pants.

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