BEWARE: Your Fruit Fly is Not Your Friend
Fruit flies, also known as fag hags, queen bees, homo honey, fruit loops, Goldilocks, flame dames, fairy princesses, gabes (a sweet combo of “gay” and “babes”) and cherry fairies, are frequent companions of gay men and visitors to the Gayborhood. Historically, these are the girls who surround themselves with gay men, usually only associating with gay men. They’re everywhere, they love us, and I want them to get the hell away from me.
Now, before people start jumping down my throat, let me be clear: There is a huge difference between fag hags and allies. Fag hags ask me to go shopping. Allies ask me to hang out. Fag hags tell me I’m their gay husband. Allies know that’s just nonsense. Fag hags say they can “totally turn me straight.” Allies know that sexuality isn’t actually that fluid. You see where I’m going with this?
Fruit flies, or fag hags, are unique in that they don’t discriminate against gays, but they do stereotype us. Whether or not it’s intentional is up for debate, but no matter the girl, I always hear the same phrases:
“I’ve always wanted a gay best friend. You’re, like, totally my gay BFF!”
“You’ve never been with a girl? Then how do you know you’re gay? I know you know, but how do you know?”
“All the good guys are gay!”
“OMG, I have this gay friend. You guys should totally date.”
“Do you, like, love Lady Gaga’s new album?”
“You’re gay! You’re supposed to know about clothes!”
“Get in loser, we’re going shopping!” (Okay, that’s a line from Mean Girls, but it’s not like people don’t say it).
And my personal favorite: “I’m just a gay man in a woman’s body.” No, you’re an idiot in a woman’s body.
None of these phrases are okay. They aren’t cute. I’m not your toy, and you don’t get to talk to me like I’m your personal shopper, because I will take you to TJ Maxx and destroy your wardrobe. If you’re stupid enough to assume that my sexuality dictates my taste in clothing, you are absolutely stupid enough to wear those plaid jean shorts that I saw on sale at Buffalo Exchange. “No, bitch, they look hot because they look terrible. Yaaaassss, werq.”
It saddens me when I see gay men encourage this behavior. When I was a young gayby, I was guilty of this, too. I happily let myself be reduced to a stereotype because it made it easier for people to like me. I had just come out of a conservative all-boys high school where many of my classmates openly discriminated against gay people, so being liked for being gay was really exciting.
That is, until I started learning more about myself. I learned that I don’t qualify as a “good gay.” Lady Gaga isn’t my everything (although, to be fair, she totally was for a minute), I’m not really into shopping, I’m mildly amused by sports, I love video games, Brokeback Mountain was a snore fest, and I’m a mediocre dresser. So it irritates me when a perfect stranger walks up to me and makes conversation with me like I’m Carrie Bradshaw’s gay sidekick in Sex and the City.
If you do love shopping, rainbow glitter, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Lady Gaga and can redecorate a room at the drop of a pin, own it and love it. That is who you are, and that’s awesome. But that doesn’t mean you have to tolerate when people turn you into a doll with a pullstring that only says sassy gay things. You’re a person with interests, beliefs, and a personality. Just like it’s wrong to assume that a black person is a skilled basketball player, it’s wrong to assume that a gay man can dress you and redecorate your apartment while dancing around in rainbow underwear to Katy Perry’s new single.
This is not just a criticism of fag hags and their unapologetic stereotyping, but a call for gay men of all interests and personalities to stand up and say, “I’m not your toy. I’m not your gay BFF. And I’m certainly not your gay husband. I’m your friend and peer. And I want you to treat me as an equal.” I know it’s hard to turn away from enthusiastic acceptance, especially when many of us come from places where we’re aggressively rejected, but that doesn’t mean that we can accept being reduced to a caricature that is only seen in television and movies. I refuse to be “the gay best friend,” I’d rather just be your friend.