Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: How to handle your gay friend’s smelly boyfriend, and why we’re getting dumber

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Matt Labash
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      Matt Labash

      Hi, welcome to “Ask Matt Labash.” I’ll be your host, Matt Labash. The idea for this column – if idea isn’t too strong a word – is that it is not a column at all. Rather, it’s a conversation. One in which I do ninety-five percent of the talking. If you did most of the talking, you’d have to watch my eyes go dead and my attention wander until it was my turn to talk again. So trust me, it’s better this way.

      For those unfamiliar with me from my day job at The Weekly Standard, I’ll give you a capsule bio by way of introduction: I have the gift of wisdom. Does that sound arrogant? I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t choose wisdom. It chose me. If I had my druthers, I’d have chosen another gift, perhaps the untold riches of Lil’ Wayne, whose teeth are made of actual diamonds, or to be the sexiest man alive, like Rachel Maddow. But wisdom is what they gave me, so wisdom is all I have to give back to you.

      This is not, you should know, a mere advice column. If you need advice, I’ll give it. But the only rule here is that there are no rules. You can ask me a question about anything that’s on your mind: current events, pop culture, media, theology, string theory, fishing tips, wicker repair. The only limits we have are those of your imagination. And those of my knowledge base. Which is considerably limited, truth be told. So try not to ask me anything that requires research. Though they tell me I have access to Google on this computer if we need it.

      If all goes according to plan, ours will not be a traditional writer/reader relationship. It’s more complex than that. I might empathize or cajole. I might educate, instruct, or inspire. I might pretend to answer your question while actually reporting you to Social Services, since you’re a dangerous person who should not have contact with children. I might tell you to climb up on my shoulders, that you’re not heavy, you’re my brother. Or I might tell you that you are heavy, and that you should hop down until you lose a few pounds. I might just sidle up behind you, put my big strong man hands on the small of your back, and whisper in your ear the words of the poet, Kenny Rogers: “We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?”

      To which you’ll say something like, “I can’t, I’ve got to go home and wash my hair.”
      To which I’ll say something like, “Shhh. We’ve got tonight babe, why don’t you stay?”
      Wherever this takes us, our journey begins now:

      <i>Matt Labash is a senior writer with The Weekly Standard. His first book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Fly-Fishing-Darth-Vader-Evangelical/dp/1439159971">Fly Fishing with Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys</a> will be published next month by Simon & Schuster.</i>

EDITOR’S NOTE: Have a burning sensation? Consult your doctor. Have a burning question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

Dear Matt, I have this close gay guy friend who has recently acquired a boyfriend. I just met him for first time and I HATE him. He’s got some kind of weirdo autistic Asperger’s thing going on and he’s super irritating. Just very weird socially, can’t grasp very simple things, occasionally scowls at my friend out of seemingly nowhere. My friend is so nice and normal and what’s more, the guy physically stinks. This could get bad because my friend knows me well and it could be hard to conceal my thoughts about this weirdo. What do I do? — Fried and Frustrated 

Though I cannot authoritatively determine your gender from your “Fried and Frustrated” moniker, I’m going to assume you’re a woman. Because most straight men I know don’t refer to their gay friends as “close gay guy” friends, at the risk of causing the ladies to question their eligibility. And being a woman, you probably have high expectations for your gay friend. You want him to be lean and mean, with high discretionary income and a low BMI. You want him to be fussy and immaculate, to rifle off edgy one-liners, and to have really complicated opinions about your shoes. Since a good 95 percent of television these days seems to be written by gay men or the women who love them, I imagine it’s harder than ever before to be a regular old gay schlub, one who does not hail from the cultural stereotypes handbook. One who is socially awkward, who does not speak like a “Modern Family” gag writer, and who doesn’t smell particularly pleasant.

I feel for this man (platonically.) And we should all be grateful for his ilk, since the world is a big place, and the less-than-perfect  — the “weirdos” as you call them — need companionship, too. The Atlantic recently reported that contrary to popular belief, only about 2 percent of the population identifies itself as gay. As opposed to journalists, a third of whom, I’d unofficially estimate, either are gay or someday hope to be (which might explain why most people believe the gay population number to be quite a bit higher). But 2 percent of 315 million people is still a lot of people, and they can’t all be Carson Kressley (thank God). Maybe they don’t have it all “together,” as you’ve come to rigidly expect of your GBF. Maybe they have bad taste, and enjoy shopping in the men’s section of J.C. Penney, where they buy Lee’s Relaxed Fit jeans. Maybe instead of smelling like Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier, they smell like old cheese. But fashion-forward people aren’t the only ones who need love. Schmucks do too. And the last time I looked around at saggy-sweatpant’ed, fat-assed America, the shmucks held the majority by about an 8-to-1 margin.

But it’s your job to like your friend, not your friend’s smelly lover. It’s his job to do that. Which it sounds like he’s doing. Love is blind – mercifully – or most of us, gay or straight, would be single. A requirement of friendship isn’t that I love my friend’s wife, though I’m certainly willing to when my friend is out of town (Call me, Susie Carlson). And so unless he solicits your opinion, there is zero percentage in informing your friend about his beloved’s quirks of personality, which unless your friend is a dope, he’s probably already noticed, and is unconcerned by. Some people like pepperoni, others prefer sausage. To each his own.

Now the physical stinking, admittedly, is another matter — if Mr. Sausage spends much time in your vicinity. To that, I’d have no reservations about dropping a subtle hint. I suggest suspiciously sniffing the air in his direction, then asking if anyone else thinks it smells like Al Roker’s pants in here. He’ll either get the message and change his ways, or he’ll become a successful weatherman on “The Today Show.”