The trope of the gay bestfriend is a painful reminder of the constant alienation of the queer community, especially on days like Valentine’s Day when queer baiting temporarily peaks. Read on for a personal piece on the same.
Valentine’s Day sucks. Not because I am single and perpetually heartbroken. But because I am gay. But then as per normative standards of viewing gayness I am not visibly queer enough for most folks. I don’t colour my hair or sport multiple piercings and there are no rainbow motifs around my social media handles (although not going to deny the presence of veiled hints for those wishing to look really hard). My wrist isn’t limp (you have childhood trauma to thank for that) and my clothes are more indie than unicorn dazzle. And hence the presence of women around me becomes a point of deep intrigue for those viewing me from afar.
Valentine’s Day sucks because being the gay best friend is tiring. We live in a world where the comfort of intimacy is only supposed to be sought in engaging in intercourse with a stranger you met on an app you downloaded two hours ago because you were drunk on your fifth shot at a friend’s housewarming party. Any sort of intimacy, specially of a physical nature, must be relegated to the realm of sexual because people in today’s world have simply forgotten the peace that is to be had in the romance of friendship.
Valentine’s Day sucks because a girl hanging out with a girl in a park is a sight for people to turn around and stare and engage in conjecture. See how they are leaning in pretending to talk? Whispers that follow you to the corner of cafes where over cups of hazelnut latte one can hear admonishing comments on grazing fingers and hands that seek to touch and put the arms as an expression of joy and happiness. There is no respite to be found in the conclusion that friendships are a romance of their own kind. To love someone so deeply and completely so as to forsake the expectations of any physical or carnal fulfilment of that love is to truly be in the presence of a love that is supreme and essentially fulfilling.
Valentine’s Day sucks because cafes across the city offer discounts on love that can be capitalised. It isn’t enough anymore for Yash Raj to earn millions when Rahul promises to love Nisha for the rest of his life while a thousand people cry in the darkness of the cinema theatre. Love must be sold tangible – through discounts and offers inscribed on menu cards and shopping banners. But these aren’t all that comes our way. Extra offers are deliciously reserved if you are queer and can bring with yourself a same-sex lover because your love is just a means to fuel the system that encashes the most fundamental and necessary of all human emotions.
Valentine’s Day sucks because it is painfully lonely to be the one man in your nearby vicinity who is proud enough to be out there – only to become a transit point for the rite of passage sexual awakening of all the queer closeted men around you. Men who use you precisely like a transit point, to never turn back and look upon once the transition is undisturbed and over with.
Valentine’s Day sucks because to be the gay best friend is to beg people to realise that you are more than just a Gucci handbag for people to sling onto their arms and strut around – claiming your space for their wish-fulfiment fantasies. You are more than an accessory to adorn the sorry lives of people, you are more than just the reductive heternormative gaze that breaks and splits you down to your tiniest atoms and you are more than your community which makes you guilty of always just not being enough.
Valentine’s Day sucks because people around you fail to realise that beneath all your pointed laughter and printed linens, very few people understand – looking at the million dazzling Valentine Day adverts – that the difference between alone and lonely shall perhaps always remain lost in translation.