While I do not consider myself to be a man of sweeping romantic gestures or sentimentality, I’ve always been a fan of romantic comedies. There’s something about the whole “opposites attract/love surviving against all odds/rushing to tell the person you love that you want to be with them before they disappear from your life forever” thing that has always stuck with me. In fact, I will admit to being teary eyed every time I see Drew Barrymore’s face light up in “Wedding Singer” when she realizes that the in-flight entertainment is really just Adam Sandler singing an incredibly romantic song to her.
I will further admit that while I did not know I was gay when I was younger, I was always slightly envious of the female characters. I wanted someone to shower me with affection and show me what lengths they were willing to go to just to show me how much they cared. For all intents and purposes, I wanted to be the girl. I wanted a hunky young guy, (preferably Paul Rudd in Clueless) to challenge me, excite me and make me laugh. But I would have also settled for having Cher’s wardrobe and or/house.
You don’t have to be a scholar to know that gay relationships are highly underrepresented in mainstream media. There are almost no major box office hits that focus upon gay love stories. And those that do focus on gay love stories choose to center on the tragic nature of the relationship- such as Brokeback Mountain. Where are the gay movies that focus on two men or women bumping into each other at the dog park and bonding over a cup of coffee? Where is the entirely cliche story of a gay man rushing to LAX to stop the love of his life from boarding a plane to go to England for a year? I mean it’s not like I’m asking for every story about gay people to end up as an Oscar nominee- I’d gladly settle for a ridiculous gay romcom starring Kate Hudson (IN A SUPPORTING ROLE) with a completely predictable ending.
There are people out there who think that gay love is okay as long as it’s not shoved down people’s throats. And more often than not these people are the ones who wince at gay PDA but don’t think twice about a straight couple kissing in front of them. And what I wish is that those straight people realized how important it is for gay PDA to be okay (and by PDA I mean holding hands and small pecks, not full blown BJS people). Because we don’t have our own rom coms, we need evidence sometimes that gay romance does exist. We need to know that maybe there is a Paul Rudd out there waiting for us.
Growing up I always identified with female characters. I almost always played as Princess Peach and I was a huge fan of Barbies. And sometimes I think that it’s because my views of gender differ a bit from the norm, something I’ve totally grown to accept. But I think part of it is that I wanted to be someone’s “woman”. I didn’t want to be the guy. I wanted to be the one who was swept off my feet and doted on. I wanted to be held by something stronger than me and protected from the rest of the world. And maybe I acted more feminine because I thought if I was more similar to girls that they would like me just as they liked girls. And since I didn’t know that gay people existed let alone were capable of romance- I thought that my desires made me more of a woman. I felt that because I wanted traditionally more feminine things that I was somehow less of a man because of it.
I didn’t really have close male friends growing up. In fact, most boys thought I was weird and bullied me because I didn’t play sports and enjoyed theater. So I did what I thought was the best move- I avoided boys all together. I spent all my free time with girls and they ended up being my protectors. This all become further complicated when I started to realize that I was gay.
The worst part about interactions with boys is that there were moments where I got the chance to interact with a genuinely nice guy. I mean he usually wasn’t a Paul Rudd, but he was pretty great nonetheless. But because I wasn’t used to guys being kind to me- I would convince myself that there existed some type of attraction that never really did. I would convince myself that the guy was gay because no straight guy would be that nice to me. I couldn’t accept kindness from a straight guy because I didn’t think straight guys were capable of being kind to me. And it really sucks when you meet someone who treats you just the way a Paul Rudd should- only to find out he’d never be your Paul Rudd. I mean everyone wants a happy ending, right?
I’d go into the reasons why gay men are attracted to straight ones, but that’s an entirely different topic. What I’m saying is that I wish that gay love stories existed in the world of big budget fantasy love stories. And I mean big budget- not the shitty indie films about gay love that look like they were filmed on one of those Barbie cameras. And by love story I don’t mean a film about how hard being gay can be or how hateful the world around us is. By love story I mean- two gay guys, preferably in NYC or San Fran, constantly bumping into each other and slowly developing feelings for each other. By love story I mean- Judy Greer playing the role of a sassy assistant who just needs to know the deets of her boss’s date. By love story I mean having one of the characters engaged to a douchey boyfriend or having them own a cute dog that exists solely to be an adorable prop. I think gay kids deserve to feel like somewhere out there there’s a completely exaggerated, over romantic hot chef/doctor just for them. And for once I want to watch a film and not imagine myself as Julia Roberts or god forbid Ginnifer Goodwin- I want to be the man, goddammit. But like the man who gets swept off his feet while working in a fun office with ethnically diverse friends- and I also want montages. I deserve montages!