Is Your Husband Gay?

And other things women Google about their spouses

Here’s a cheery thought for the holidays: American women would rather have a cheating, alcoholic, depressed, heterosexual husband than a gay one. Discuss.

This gem popped up in a piece in the New York Times’ “Sunday Review” about the underreporting of gay men in the U.S. The writer, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, is a newly-minted Harvard Ph.D. in economics.

When you think about it, what red-blooded heterosexual gal wouldn’t prefer a drunk, morose, skirt-chasing spouse to a homosexual male, no matter how polite or fashionably accessorized?

Stephens-Davidowitz’ evidence, much of it based on Google searches, is hardly scientific. He reports that of all searches by married women that begin with “Is my husband…,” the most common word to follow is “gay.” It’s 10 times more common than number two, “cheating,” eight times more common than “an alcoholic,” and 10 times more than “depressed,” he writes. 

These sexuality searches force gay husbands into the closet, he suggests, which leads to the low balling of national estimates. (Not gonna go there. You’re welcome.)

The states with the highest percentage of women Googling the spousal sexuality question are also, in the author’s words, the least tolerant: South Carolina and Louisiana. Moreover, in 21 of the 25 states where the sexuality question is most frequently asked, support for gay marriage is below that of the national average, according to Stephens-Davidowitz.

Given Pennsylvania’s primordial attitude toward same-sex marriage, its exclusion from the Top 2 is an outrage. Maybe heterosexual wives in the Keystone State are more tolerant of their gay husbands. Or maybe gay husbands are so good at impersonating heterosexuals that their wives buy it.

Frankly, I don’t understand why more straight women don’t marry gay men. On purpose, that is. They’d be crazy not  to. Gay men are more empathic and supportive than straight men. They’re better listeners. I’m not making this up – there’s actual scholarship about this. Also, gay men like to shop and cruise dudes. What’s not to like?

Everybody knows that gay men make the best girlfriends, and that every straight woman should have one. So it’s not exactly a stretch to say that gay men make great husbands, too. In fact, some argue that the perfect marriage is one between a hetero female and a homo male.

Enter Will & Grace.

NBC’s monster hit (1998-2006) starred Eric McCormack and Debra Messing as best friends, roomies and soul mates. Except for the fact that she was straight and he wasn’t, they were the perfect couple.

In fact, Will and Grace were the perfect couple. As a team, they were unbeatable at word games.

Individually, no one came close to understanding them as well as they did each other. At one point, they decided to have a child together (but didn’t.) Even when Grace got married, her husband needed Will’s help to read her. The union didn’t last long.

As for the notion that real marriages must include sex, well, have you talked to many married couples lately? Also, what if a spouse has a physical handicap that makes sex impossible? Does that mean it’s not a marriage? Clearly, sex is no more the defining characteristic of a union than is procreation.

So wise up, heterosexual women of America. You could do a lot worse than marry a gay man, and probably have. At the very least, take a homo to lunch. If you’re lucky, he could turn out to be your best girlfriend.

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  • Josh Kruger

    It warms the cockles of my homosexual heart to be completely dismissed and marginalized into being the token pet for a lady person. Yes, I make the BEST girlfriend (even though I have a penis and am, you know, a man.) Thanks, Gail, so much for your enlightened views of what being a gay man is. Manipedis on you next “date?” Kisses!

    • iamaustinCG

      Josh, it also warms the cockles of my heterosexual heart to be completely dismissed and marginalized as lacking empathy, not supportive, that I hate shopping and that I don’t listen. This whole time I thought I was just a loving caring person and boyfriend to my future wife, I guess that means, according to our Rhodes Scholar friend, Gail that I am gay as well, never knew! .I wonder how we can stereotype and marginalize her?

      • Byron C Mayes

        See, and here we thought homos and heteros couldn’t find common ground!

      • You and Josh win the internet today. Sexism and stereotypes hurt us all, and Philly Mag never fails to bring the obnoxious and the trite with a full court press!

        • Teri Banks

          How true is that. Just stated much more pleasantly than I might have chosen.

  • Kurt Hirsch

    This makes my brain hurt. I love how the author makes the sweeping generalization about all gay men. Is it safe to infer, according to Ms. Shister, that “butch” women (whether they identify as lesbian or not) make great wives for straight men?

    There are many reasons why I will not buy copies of this magazine. This article is another example of why I won’t read it.