A Gentleman's Guide





Captain America and Bucky, Batman and Robin and Superman and Jimmy Olsen will forever go down in history as the most notable duos in comic book history. They, along with almost every other well known hero has a less capable, less mature sidekick who is used for rescue fodder and comic relief. Sidekicks get little, if any credit for anything they do, despite the fact that they know how to keep their hero motivated better than anyone else.

The sidekick is likable, sometimes funny and a reliable moral compass that serves to keep their main-character boss in check. But at the end of the day few people really care about the sidekick- and they can be written out of the script at any minute. Batman can carry a series on his own without Robin just like Superman doesn’t really need Jimmy Olsen. It's very rare for a sidekick to step from under the shadow of his hero but in the instances where he does we see one of two things happening; he either gets a successful solo series or he silently dies on the editing room floor. We, like many sidekicks are prone to experiencing the same fate as a result of being used as the accessory to the social outfit of the heterosexual woman.


Some (a very key word) heterosexual women still use us as their accessories. If you’ve ever been called a gay bff, gay husband or anything of the sort, you’ll completely understand where we’re going with this. There’s nothing wrong with having a friend of the opposite sex, gender or sexuality, but specifically befriending someone because of these things is highly problematic.  We’ve all seen or heard of instances where heterosexual women have befriended or accepted support from same gender loving men only for things go left for whatever reason. We know the speed at which their reverence turns to revilement as the once coveted GBFF becomes every punk, sissy, bitch ass nigga, and faggot known to man after the slightest disagreement. We’ve all wondered where that energy was when they were relying on their designer fag to step in when their worthless ass baby’s fathers either couldn’t or wouldn’t. Where was this energy when they needed their hair and makeup done or when they needed a shoulder to cry on after having their heart broken for the umteenth time?


The concern here is that these women enter these friendships out of a convenience they would have otherwise forfeited had they chose to engage in a platonic relationship with a heterosexual male. They benefit from using us as a double agent of sorts because we provide a male perspective that their female friends don’t and their heterosexual male friends won’t. Yet they tend to exclude us from “normal” masculinity because even though we all have penises and interact with them on a regular basis, they don’t always consider us as being a man’s man (there’s irony in that, somewhere). And while every woman in America with a gay friend doesn’t act in this manner, enough of them do.

Women tend to select their designer fags the same ways that they select their designer bags. They look for quality, style, functionality and anything that qualifies as being a status symbol. Our quality lies our durability, a durability that she won’t witness in a lot of her heterosexual male friends. Our durability comes from overcoming years of insecurity, exclusion and homophobia. We endure all of this while living as men of color as well. She relies on this durability because its where much of the wisdom we offer comes from. In a perfect relationship she balances all of these qualities with her own and doesn’t have to worry about us trying to get in her pants.

We, like many handbags, come with a style unmatched by any of her heterosexual male friends. While we’re not all the fast talking and neck swinging type, we do all have a flare that, when paired with hers creates the best kind of light. Starbucks, iPhones and passports make for some pretty distinguishable status symbols, but so do we.

Our friendships with heterosexual women are built using the same fundamental building blocks of honesty, trust and confidence. Trust that your homegirl is not telling her homegirls about her insecurities the same way she’s telling you about them and she’ll probably be more open to receiving constructive criticism from you as well.  The goal is for our relationships with women to be symbiotic as opposed to being parasitic.


When you’re in a symbiotic relationship with a woman, you’re not her designer fag, you’re her actual friend. This doesn’t mean that you all won’t get into an argument or two throughout the course of your relationship as much as it means that she won’t resort to calling you all kinds of bitches, sissies and fags in the event that you do.  We’ve seen the situational homophobia before and we need to do our best to protect ourselves from it at any cost, because some of these women will pick you up and tote you around just as quickly as they’ll throw you to the back of the closet when you’re no longer in season.

There are ways to discover whether or not she’s using you as an accessory or not. If she’s more adamant about her coming to the gay bar with you while never inviting you to the straight bar with her- you’re an accessory. If the she’s insistent about going shopping with you and only talks to you about her boy problems- you’re an accessory. If you find that she’s not genuinely concerned with your personal experiences and if you hear her use a derogatory term towards another same gender loving man (or woman, for that matter) you are her what? Accessory.

Relationships between same gender loving men and heterosexual woman should exist because of the acceptance, understanding and trust that the two feel for each other. We all have something to offer one another, and the moment you feel that you’re not being offered as much as you are offering it's time to go. The moment you feel as if you’re being used as a counselor, stylist or life coach, it’s time to go! You’re not her Will and no matter how hard she tries, she’ll never be your Grace.

At the end of the day we’ve got better things to do than to be tokenized and accessorized because of our sexuality. We are not Robin or Bucky. We are not Jimmy Olsen and we damn sure aren’t anyone’s accessory. We are men first of all, almost everything else about us is secondary to that.  

Jeremy Carter