Your boyfriend is probably gay – but that doesn’t make you less of a woman

Don’t let others’ liberation become your oppression

Cambridge columnist Gay best friend homosexuality Isobel Cockerell johns LGBT LGBT Cambridge liberation oppression

ISOBEL COCKERELL, Week 3: Sexuality

There are plenty of good looking, intelligent men in Cambridge. Trouble is, they’ve mostly already got boyfriends.

Straight girls are left to scrap over the remains, and lets face it, it’s pretty slim pickings. Every marginally attractive – and often intensely unattractive – heterosexual male in Cambridge is spoilt for choice. Like shooting fish in a barrel, as the saying goes.

As it happens, sooner or later, most of them cross over to the other side, too. That’s just the nature of lovely experimental Cambridge. Well, it is lovely, until your man does it too.

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Face it, he’s not into it

I don’t know what it is, but the women in my family have quite a knack for snagging gay men. Maybe its because we have a certain ‘handsomeness’ (oh, the horror) about us – I’ll get to that later — but my sister and I have matching gay boyfriend stories.

Last summer, I took the guy I was seeing to a party. My trusty gay best friend (GBF) took one look at him and said – ‘your boyfriend is gay.’ ‘No, he’s seeing me,’ I snapped, ‘he’s straight as they come.’

My GBF looked him up and down, narrowing his eyes. ‘He is not gay,’ I hissed.

‘Nope. Definitely gay. Wanna bet? I reckon I can turn him before the end of the night.’ I dared him to do his worst.

Needless to say, he swept to victory.

It took him all of an hour and a half before they were necking fiercely, while I watched, genuinely quite impressed. They proceeded to actually drop me home in an Uber. I sat in the front seat, sulking at my defeat, while they writhed on top of each other in the back.

Instead of having a boyfriend, you could spend your time collecting phallic art

Instead of having a boyfriend, you could spend your time collecting phallic art

One day over the Easter holidays, my sister stormed in the door. ‘I’ve had it with this damn permissive society,’ she spat. ‘Liberal bloody values, why do we have to live in this day and age. Fifty years ago this would never have happened. He would have done the polite thing and repressed it!’

Turns out her boyfriend had come out while they were having sex. They’re staying together, though, because he’s not ready to come out in the big wide world yet. So, somewhat ironically, only his girlfriend knows he’s gay. ‘He keeps asking me if I’ve told anyone, in a sort of hopeful way,’ she said to me the other day. ‘I think he’s praying I’ll just come out for him.’

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Actually, these guys are all straight. Apparently

Both of these stories are utterly absurd side effects of what its like to live in – as my sister calls it – this ‘bloody permissive’ modern age. Sexuality is becoming an ever more fluid concept – thank God. And that’s a truly beautiful thing.

There’s no denying that as a straight(ish) woman, it’s a fucking ball-ache. But we have to face facts, and the only way to react when you’re cast aside for someone of the opposite sex is through humour. Sadly, 90% of the time, this isn’t the typical response. Whenever I’ve relayed either of these frankly hilarious anecdotes, the reaction isn’t mirth. Instead, I’m greeted, typically, by sad looks of pity.

‘That must have been awful for you,’ my friends say, taking my hand and looking all sick-makingly concerned. ‘It really wasn’t,’ I say, ‘it was quite funny and cool actuall-‘

‘No, but you’re just being brave, there must be a part of you that finds it upsetting. Aren’t you embarrassed?’

Truth is, I’m not being ‘brave’. I didn’t find it particularly upsetting. And failing that, I definitely wouldn’t find it embarrassing. Let’s examine the logic behind this supposed humiliation. It decrees that a) you’re stupid for not working it out sooner; b) you’re somehow ‘manly’ to the extent that c) you’re the straw that broke the camel’s back; you’re so unattractive you actually pushed him out of the closet. Bollocks to that.

Sometimes he kisses me, but he doesn't mean it

Sometimes he kisses me, but he doesn’t mean it

If you had a boyfriend who turned out to be gay, that’s a pretty fucking massive compliment. Despite his latent homosexuality, he still found you attractive enough to want to be with you. You brought him to a place where he could begin to understand his identity.

When people you know come out, whatever the situation, and however much it fucks with your life, your future, and your heart, the least helpful thing you can do for them is make this about yourself. Don’t let others’ liberation become your oppression. Don’t ever let society tell you, for any reason, that you’re any less of a woman.