Sunday, January 14, 2007

Something To Think About 1/14/07

Gay relationships are just fucking difficult. And one of the most common issues that arise are the roles that people try to put on those relationships. Think about it. Whenever you see a gay couple, what's the first question that comes to mind? "I wonder who's the man". "Or, I wonder which one is getting fucked". I can't lie, I wonder these things also. And I think that most people have been conditioned to wonder these things. All throughout our lives, we have seen nothing but straight couples and that is the only example that we as gay people have to follow. But in our relationships, do we really have to conform to any role? I think not.

In most straight relationships, *as if I really know* men seem to take the more "dominant" role and women take the "passive" role. The women cook and clean and the men take care of the yard and take out the trash. The women have tea with their female and gay male friends and the men watch sports with the boys. The women take care of the kids and the men take care of the women. In straight relationships, these role have been followed for years and years and will probably continue for many more. And this setup seems to work.

So what are us gays/homosexuals/SGLs to do but follow their example? The problem is that we can't do that. When 2 men or 2 women are in a relationship, who is gonna be expected to take out the trash? Who is gonna be the one expected to cook? Who is gonna be the one expected to gossip with friends or watch sports with the boys? I mean, these roles have never truly been defined for gay relationships. Most people will assume that the more masculine person is the "man" and the less masculine person is the "woman". But that isn't always true. Confusion surely sets in when there are 2 people of the same level of masculinity. So who is supposed to do what? The answer: whoever is comfortable with doing whatever.

In my only live-in relationship, we didn't have a role of who did what. No one couldn tell who was the "man"or who was the "woman". And believe me, people always wondered who was fucking who. Who took out the trash? Whoever got to it first. Who cooked? Whoever felt like it. Who did the driving? Whoever wanted to. Who watched football. The one who enjoyed it.
What kept people confused was that neither of us was more masculine or feminine than the other. And we all know that that is the method that people use to label gayrelationships. When people asked us who was the man I always said "We both are, that's why we are called homos." *I'm such a smart ass*

I say all of this to say that we really can't label the people in a gay relationship. We don't really need to put labels on the people. The only thing that we can label is the relationship itself. We have enough to work on being 2 men or 2 women. Let the roles go and work on everything else. And to the ones on the outside of the gay relationship wondering, there is no one man or one woman. If there were, I wouldn't be writing this post.



Blogger Hondo's Boy said...

I agree wholeheartedly with what you said. As I read the first questions you posed, I thought to myself "whoever wants to" and then that's what you said.

I would add this though, it's not always so cut and dry. I, like you, tend to find myself in relationships with men like myself (not overly masculine but not overly feminine). However, there are members of the gay community that are very "fem" or hyper-masculine and they take on the same roles as heterosexuals in relationships. It's what they like and they seek this type of relationship out. It just so happens that the dynamic you speak of works for you and me but let's not forget the world is not comprised solely of people like you and I.

12:32 AM, January 15, 2007  
Blogger j_shanlin said...

Oh my God..that was so well written. I feel kinda guilty now, cuz I be the first one to be like..."uh uh...what are they doing together?"....that was a nice mind starter for this SLOW Monday morning of mine!

11:00 AM, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Trent Jackson said...


Gosh, you know how we do (pisces)...we always have to be the ones to set the example.

11:18 AM, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Cyrus said...

I can't think of any question that frustrates me more than the old "but, which one of you is the man?" I always feel like the person who asks this question will never be able to see past their heteronormative world view. And, as Hondo's Boy pointed out, even a lot of gay folks have been limited by society's obsession with masculine / feminine role conformity. We, of all people, should be free from such limitations.

I do have to disagree, just slightly, with the assumption that gay relationships are, by nature, somehow more difficult than straight relationships. 50% of all straight folks' first marriages end in divorce - even with full societal support including a lifetime of hetero-positive imagery and preperation and family support. The divorce rate for second and third marriages is a lot higher!

I think that the very existence of long-term gay relationships - given the societal and familial obstacles - says a lot about our capacity to love.

I actually feel quite blessed to be able to spend my life with my best friend and share similar interests...and not have to spend my life trying to understand my partner as "the opposite sex."

And, if I don't feel like taking out the trash - he can.

Really outstanding blog, by the way.

11:19 AM, January 15, 2007  
Anonymous Steve said...

I know plenty of straight relationsihps where the woman is "the man." And I know many gay relationships where "the man" might be either one of them on any given day, in sex as well in other aspects of life. But, on the whole, it does seem we tend to select certain roles for ourselves. Maybe it's easier? I don't know. These days, it seems to me, at least, more gay relationships seem to be on a more or less equal basis. You just never know. Like you say, it's really not important - why we even care is beyond me.

The *funniest* thing, however, is how many really butch men just can't wait to bottom for their partner. Truly throws a monkey wrench into trying to figure out who is whom.

11:29 PM, January 15, 2007  
Blogger B Free said...

Yeah thas definitely a thought provoker. I geussthe whole role thing depends on the couple and their limits. We all know that when you are REALLY feelin another dude that you will or have done things that you wouldnt normally do. SO when you get down to who is gonna take out the trash then your relationship may have some other problems. Maybe one of you should wait outside with the trash. I think the key to an effective relationship is willingness to be flexible and that could go may diffrent ways for all you freaks lol. Take turns, you drive and do trash this week, he drive and does trash next week. But if im comin for dinner and its his turn to cook, i dont mind rescheduling on your week lol. Thas jus my lil two cents worth

11:45 PM, January 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. Being a homosexual man, I really don't understand hetero relationships. When you see old hetero couples in a car together, the man is always the driver. Doesn't the man get tired of always driving? And doesn't the woman get tired of cooking and fixing his plates? That happens in my family. Women fix plates for their boyfriends/husbands. Doesn't the man have two thumbs and thus, the capability of fixing his own plate. Your post proves that the joy of homo relationships is flexibility and open-mindedness when it comes to who will do what.

7:05 AM, January 16, 2007  
Blogger terpFAN said...

while I agree it’s unfair to assume that same-sex couples work like hetero couples w/ each partner assuming a “man” or “women” role, I still feel that roles are still very important in any relationship (gay or str8)

for instance 2 very dominate personalities may not get along when they decide to live together. then there may be other factors like money and education as in relationships where one partner makes significantly more money than the other partner and so he or she wears the pants in the house because they bring in the most money and keep the lights on; then there are age differences where the older partner may assume the lead; in any case there is a lot more involved than who assumes what sexual position

9:21 AM, January 16, 2007  
Blogger ReddMann said...

I think your view of roles in straight relationships are a bit dated. For the most part in the relationships in my family the roles are quite blurred.

I have seen my aunt take out trash and my uncles pick us up from school and shuttle us to soccer practice and to Target for supplies for our school projects.

But I totally agree that we gotta let the roles go.

2:08 PM, January 16, 2007  
Blogger Cocoa Rican said...

Recently I’ve encountered the who-is-the-top-and-who-is-the-bottom issue in my dating adventures, but the issue became quite serious when even my dating choices and I had trouble determining what roles we would assume – sexually that is. I think we sometimes try to oversimplify matters by thinking we can be attracted to someone, enjoy their company and somehow the sex (and our roles) will fall into place. We as gay men have the added pressure of top/bottom/versatile and degrees of versatility to add to our mix of common chores. F*ck the outside world and their questions – I need my man to workout the details between us first…outsiders are no longer even a concern.

9:53 AM, January 17, 2007  
Blogger Soldier said...

When he was younger, and his friends made fun of him because he was playing with dolls AND firetrucks, my friend told me he would always ask them if the Bible says anything about Boys and what they should be doing of their free time ! lol
The " traditional roles " are such a joke.
The sad part is that some people hold on to them, swear by them, live by them. Who conceived them ?

Labels, roles, categories are usually pretty stupid. A human being is so complicated !
The richer will pay for the caviar in the fridge if he wants to, the best cook cooks when he can, the one who likes gardening can trim the grass and if none does, some neighbourhood boy will do it for 10 bucks. It's as simple as that !

1:17 AM, January 18, 2007  
Blogger E said...

Why are we so fixated on putting labels on folks? Ironically I hate when people label me but I'm guilty of doing the same.

This is definitely a thought provoking post.

9:30 AM, January 18, 2007  
Blogger TrinaBeingTrina said...

I have a problem with the "traditional" roles. I think even in a heterosexual relationship it should be the way you described things to be in a gay relationship. Who is to say that a man can't cook dinner just like a woman can. Or a woman can't take out the trash just like a man does. Or a man can't take care of the kids and get them off to school just like a woman can. Or a man doing dishes just like a woman would.
In my other relationships I expect my man to not just pay for the things in the house but also take care of the house like I would and vice-versa

4:57 AM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger Bougie Black Boy said...

Thanks for visiting my site. You have a lot of things going on over here. I'll definitely have to return. I'll be in ATL for a book signing Feb 7-11th. Perhaps we can meet up.

11:11 AM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Honey-Libra said...

I can't lie and say that I've never thought that to myself when see a couple walk down the street...what you've said is very true...thanks for making me think :)

12:37 PM, January 23, 2007  
Blogger kennyking78 said...

So true and so honest... I don't care what people say, the idea of roles do exist... for so many reasons... not only because we see roles in heterosexual relationships, but because many of us are not even living lives that are 100% gay. Some of us try so hard to fit in with hetero norms that we find ourselves trying to play out those norms in our homosexual lives.

My partner and I--- from time to time have to sit down and get things straight. We both played the hetero game for some time and occasionally have to iron the baggage that comes along with that out.

Great post.

6:32 PM, January 23, 2007  

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