Ah, straight guys — also known as “the normal ones.” What a load of complicated feelings I have toward them.
I see straight guys now and again in groups together. Sometimes they’re hanging out in town together; other times, kicking around the soccer ball on a field. Sometimes they’re shirtless, hooping and hollering as they have fun.
Maybe this sounds like a lust-inspiring scene for a guy like me, but actually not so much. It evokes more of an emotional longing. A deeply profound longing.
It’s a feeling of wanting to be like them, to be one of them. To be normal and accepted by ordinary men and be like ordinary men.
But it can’t be that way. I’m different.
Still, I remind myself: it’s probably not as ideal as it looks. These guys probably don’t show affection of any kind to each other or throw their hands up to say “no homo” if they come within even an inch of physical contact.
But still. I feel that longing of things that could be or should be.
For the longest time in my life, I had few to no friends at all. Growing up, I never quite fit in with the other boys.
I was never outright shunned or hated, per se, and I was generally considered a nice guy. But no one ever wanted to hang out with me. I was far more interested in drawing, the arts, movies, and creativity in general.
The other boys? Big shock, they were interested in sports, cars, sports, video games, and sports. Throughout middle school and high school, I disliked how many of the other boys could be so crude, obnoxious, loud, and temperamental.
I had some general friends in my classes, but those relationships never went beyond the confines of school.
In four years of high school, I was never once asked to hang out by another guy. Or a girl, for that matter.
I wanted to correct this in my college years. I knew my introversion had gotten in the way of asking other guys to hang out and that I should’ve taken more initiative.
I’ve already written about Mark, my straight friend who I regularly hung out with at this time. He was pretty much my only “success” when it came to regularly hanging out with anyone. But if you’ve read the story, you’ll remember it was still far from ideal.
A lot of online advice I read simply went: You HAVE to take the initiative and just start talking to someone! You never know, he may turn out to be someone awesome.
And I tried that. Just about every time I did work up enough courage to talk to a guy in any of my classes, he’d give me this dead “why are you talking to me?” expression with one-word “yeah” or “cool” responses. It was like talking to a concrete wall.
Sometimes I tried to text or Facebook-message some guys I’d been sorta friendly with and take the daring leap to ask them to hang out. I guess this is how it feels when straight guys ask out girls on dates?
Most of the time, I got no response (but, of course, the messages were marked as “seen”). Other times, I got the awful: “Hey man, I’ve been really busy right now. I’ll let you know if I’m free to hang out.”
Ah, the good ol’ “I’ll let you know” OF DOOM. I’ve been waiting six years for some of them to get back to me.
Needless to say, these unrequited attempts at male friendship hurt. They hurt a lot. Roommates, classmates, coworkers — it was all the same response.
I’ll let you know.
What was I doing wrong? Was I coming across as awkward or desperate? Did I smell funny? Did these straight guys think I was gay and trying to date them? Did I have such bad luck that all these guys were legitimately too busy to hang out? Or did I simply choose the wrong college to attend?
I’ve come to realize the bittersweet truth that it was probably none of those things.
I simply don’t emotionally click with straight men. Odds are, it probably wouldn’t have mattered when or where I went to college. My attempts at friendship would have created the same scenario of loneliness.
Ever since joining YOB a couple years ago and being active in this “Side B” world (holding to a traditional belief on sexuality and marriage), I’ve realized I emotionally click so much better with gay/SSA (same-sex attracted) men. They tend to be so sensitive, creative, loving, affectionate, and temperamentally similar to me that it’s spooky.
Meanwhile, just about all straight men I’ve met and interacted with have been cold, dissonant, unemotional, uncreative, boring, and unwilling to show any sign of affection, let alone any sort of physical touch.
Of course, they are more than happy to slobber their affection all over social media about how “I’m marrying my best friend!” and bleEeEeEegh, but I digress.
Other guys in the Side B world will assure me that not all straight men are the same. They tell me that they have really amazing straight friends who are very emotionally supportive and even physically affectionate.
It makes me wanna tear my hair out.
Where were these straight guys in my high school years? Where were these straight guys when I was so cold and alone in college? Where were these straight guys when I was going through whirlwinds of emotional hurt in my twenties?
After discovering how much easier I could make friends with gay/SSA men within YOB and the Side B world, enjoying it immensely, I gave up on pursuing relationships with straight men altogether. Because of how distrustful and resentful I had grown toward them.
That is, until last summer when I made my first visit to fellow blogger, Benjamin. We took a short trip to a nearby town to meet a fellow YOBBER (one of our Patreon supporters). He lives in a house with a straight roommate.
This YOBBER and his straight roommate were very close emotionally and had even cuddled a little bit — not “hardcore cuddling,” but something like watching movies with arms around the shoulders.
As we chatted in the kitchen, the roommate arrived and introduced himself. He was a handsome, athletic guy. More importantly, he was extremely friendly and wanted to have dinner with us.
As we ate, we shared our stories, including our sexualities. He didn’t seem weirded out and was very attentive. He even related to my story, saying that he went through long stretches of loneliness and feeling outcast when he started at a new school.
Even better, he gave us hugs before he went up to bed.
Wow, a straight guy who actually doesn’t mind physical touch with another guy? What dimension am I living in?
The next day, as Benjamin and I were loading up the car to leave, the straight roommate came running out of the house — he had been doing homework in his room all day and we hadn’t seen him — and said, “Wait! I need to give you guys hugs before you go!”
And just like that, he wrapped us up in some of the nicest, warmest hugs I’d ever received. Oh, the warm fuzzies!
It goes to show that there are straight guys out there who are happy to give affection and love to other men. They may be needles in haystacks, unfortunately, but it’s good knowing they’re out there.
Yeah, it’s extremely frustrating that they haven’t been in my life. But I’m at least given new hope.
The long stretch of friendlessness hurt. While I sometimes want to blame straight guys for it all, I think God had a plan behind it. He’s taught me never to take any relationships for granted and how to deeply love those who are hurting and going through the same situation as well.
My friendless stretch has taught me a lifetime of lessons that has helped me love my brothers here on YOB well.
Are you a gay/SSA man with many straight male friends? Do your relationships include much physical or emotional affection? If you are a straight man, how do you feel about showing affection to other men? Do you think gay/straight men have inherently different inclinations with affection, or do social constructs govern “acceptable affection” in men’s relationships?