TODAY: Voices - Gay Men - God's Gift to Women (Jul 21)

Sunday, July 22, 2007




I DON’T think I could have walked through life’s journey without the handful of quality gay friendships that I have had in the last 15 years.

The relationship between a gay man and a heterosexual woman is unique; it is supportive and agenda-less, making it the most comfortable relationship in the world.

During the turbulent times in my life, it was Stanley who took me out and checked on me
every Sunday night to see whether I was ready to face the world bravely on Monday.

When I was entertaining thoughts of leaving Singapore and starting life anew overseas, it
was Stanley who wrote me an email saying he didn’t want me to go but would support me in
whatever decision I made.

And when I relocated to a foreign land, another gay friend suggested we become housemates as it would be safer for me and we could also save on the rent.

I remember telling my parents about having him as a housemate and my old man remarked:
“Consider yourself blessed.”

Likewise, women can be natural supporters for gay men. Many gay men tell me they did not have a happy childhood because they could not truly be at ease with their family members. It is usually through their female friends that gay men are able to experience the joys of having a loving family.

Through women, gay men can also be assured of a smooth integration into society at large. They can enjoy the joys of “fatherhood” through our children and fill the vacuum left by absentee fathers.

Contrary to what many people think, paternal instincts are as strong in gay men as they are in straight men. I remember taking Anil to the birth of a colleague’s son. As we walked out of the hospital, he said rather sadly: “As much as I want fatherhood, I can never have that unconditional joy.”

He once asked me if I would shun him when I have children, as most straight couples do. That question opened my eyes to a possibility I had never considered — that perhaps one day, he could babysit my children and enjoy the joy of being around them. Gay men can also be the best, nonpaid consultants when a woman is finding her feet in the world of dating.

Thanks to women’s lib and being forced to work and think like a man in the corporate
world, many women have forgotten how to behave like a woman during a date. Gay men have the biology and sex drive of men — and the sensitivity of women — to offer their female friends a helicopter view into the world of men.

Also, observing the way gay men reinvent themselves offers a woman some great insights
into how one can stay single, have demanding careers, go travelling and have exciting
hobbies such as joining Aids awareness groups.

Conversations with gay men can be liberating due to their being smack in the middle
of the human behavioural spectrum. Ken surprised me one night during dinner as we chatted for hours about South Beach diets, our waistlines and the hottest travel destinations.
Then, there’s Stanley who regularly emails me on his saucy sauna escapades and the like.

I know how all this sounds frivolous but, sometimes, we could do with some mindless
chatter to make us forget momentarily the goings-on at the office.

It is the gay men in my life who have helped me come to terms with my identity
as a woman — that there is nothing wrong with being a woman, and acting like one,
in a male-dominated corporate world. From Dash, I have received gorgeous Russian jewellery and a cute, really short dress as birthday presents.

Stanley, meanwhile, sends me heartfelt SMSes. When I agreed to go to a dance class
with him, he sent me a text message the same night, which said: “I am so excited to
see more of you in the future. Isn’t that wonderful! Hugs and kisses.”

He would also see me off after class. I used to tell him that I am older than him but having him dote over me does give me a warm feeling in my heart. I know he values me for my friendship — period. There’s no other agenda.

In praising gay men, I am certainly not talking down heterosexual men and I am thankful for all those straight men who have made many a woman’s life complete. But I dare say, for women who have discovered gay men as friends, life takes on a whole new meaning, with new horizons they could never have imagined before opening up.

Natasha is an accidental writer.