The other day, when we gals were discussing an office weekend outing, one of the timid ones in the group called NB blurted out that she could not possibly sleep alone and if she were to be given a single room, she would shack in with someone to avoid getting terrified at every sound and shadow. Promptly another gal SP, retorted jokingly that she was not gay and hence could not sleep with NB. The joke went over the simple girl NB's head. I didn’t find the joke pleasant at all and snapped at SP that she was acting a little too Americanized. The other gals, who also found the joke unpleasant and totally out of place, immediately supported me.
I remember a mail from a gal, who wrote in saying she liked my posts. She also reassured me that she was very straight and her mail was just a gesture of appreciation :) I can understand and empathize with her need to emphasize the “I am straight” fact, after a few encounters of the above paragraph kind.
I cannot talk about guys, but we gals form deep friendships with other gals, friendships that are closer than the relationship sisters share and these friendships are a support system that we rely on heavily for, from a pep talk when you are demoralized to a shoulder to cry on, to unbiased advice when you need it and a whole host of things that only girls will understand.
Holding hands, exchanging clothes, sleeping in each other houses etc is a very natural thing to do with friends whether they are close friends or not. But today this relationship, perhaps the only relationship apart from that of a family that is not looked at with jaundiced eyes, is under siege.
People hear words like ‘gay’ without understanding its full import and use it sullying friendships. Friends are getting afraid to hold hands, or hang out together too long or have close same sex friends. It is cool to use the word gay, like in, "your clothes are so gay" to "you look so gay in that red shirt". What these people don't realize is that to be really cool, they should be tolerant of minority groups like gays and not poke fun of them!
The reason I snapped at SP was because, I am getting more than a little annoyed at the constant jibe some people take roomies, best friends etc playfully joking about them being gay. Though these are jokes, it does make the 'accused' a little less comfortable with his/her friend and puts a strain on friendships.
I am glad I am from the generation where we had no such pressures on friendships. But the people who subscribe to such views don’t realize the harm they are doing to friendships, with their half-baked prejudiced views colored by watching too many American serials, they don’t really understand.