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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A fashion Question

Tell me, if your Gay Best Friend is blond but dark hair would suit your ensemble better, do you change the GBF or just make him dye his hair?

I mean it’s a compelling question. Teen Vogue has just announced that GBFs are the new MUST HAVE ACCESSORY. Forget hand bags. Forget shoes – GBFs are what you need ladies! And it’s nice to see we’re training teenagers to look at us as items and things used to complete the ensemeble.

But your accessory must match, right? I mean, not every woman has an entire stable of GBFs to pull out to match every outfit – so how much must you co-ordinate your GBF with the rest of your outfit? Maybe you could shave him and have a collection of wigs?

Of course, you COULD treat that GBF as a person rather than as a sidekick or accessory – but that would be quite novel. Would you get points for being original? After all, the GBF as accessory meme is hardly new and you’d think it’d be getting tired by now (And no, the little editors note at the bottom saying don’t objectify GBFs means bugger all after a full damn article of objectification and treating us as accessories.)

You know what? There was a fashion not too long ago to have certain dogs as accessories - little lap dogs. And people got angry because you were treating animals the same way you treated your shoes or handbag. Can we have a little of that respect please? You wouldn't treat your damn Sharpe-chiouaoua-shitzu like this

I am sick to the back teeth of it – and it’s not just in the media and the magazines. It’s real life. Whether it’s objectifying us sexually (trolling pride parades and gay spaces to see gay men kiss) or descending en mass to the local gay bar to play tourist and try to make as many of the potential GBFs pay attention to your straight self as you can. One of my favourite pubs is a no go area now because it is so saturated by straight women trolling gay men that it’s not fun.

I’ve lost count of the number of straight women I have known for 5 minutes – or less – suddenly decide I am their pocket agony uncle. Or assume that I give a damn what they’re wearing. Or believe that a few minutes casual acquaintance means I am now their best friend ever

And have you ever been introduced to someone as “Hey this is Sparky, my gay friend” yes, I am a gay friend. Not just a friend, not just Sparky – no, gay Sparky, it has to be known. It is clear – my sexuality is an essential part of the damn introductions now. Kind of like dropping in that your bag is Gucci and your shoes are Prada – make sure they know your “friend” is gay. Maybe I should write it on my business cards “Sparky – Lawyer and Gay BFF!”

And that’s before we get to the personal questions (which is part of a choice – you alternate between deeply personal questions and conversations where everything said is all about her and we’re supposed to nod at the right moment – maybe occasionally inserting the odd “fabulous” or shocked expression or “gurlfriend!”)

I have friends. I have female friends. I even have female best friends. And they’re friends with me not because I’m fashionable or in or an accessory – they’re not even friends with me because I’m gay. They’re friends because they like me, the person. Not me the accessory. Not me the stereotype. Not me the fashion trope. Me, Sparky – a guy who happens to be gay. Not Sparky the GBF.