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.”