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Why My Friend Thought I Was Gay April 30, 2010

Posted by Onely in Dating, Everyday Happenings.
Tags: , ,

My friend at work told me the other day that he used to wonder if I was gay (I’m not). Why did he start to think that? Because he heard me tell a story where I said, “My friend and I were driving around the other day and happened to find this great Thai restaurant.”

Um. Sounds pretty gay, right? Yeah.

My coworker is a very intelligent, funny, kind person who just happens to get wierd ideas in his head sometimes. In this case, his thought process went like this:

Hm. Christina and ‘her friend’ were ‘driving around’. You don’t usually ‘drive around’ with someone unless you have enough time to spend together to do something totally innocuous and timewasting like ‘driving around’, and that would only happen if you were in a romantic relationship with them. And if she were in a romantic relationship with a man, she would have said ‘my boyfriend’, but because she just said ‘my friend’, her partner must be a woman.

I was interested in his assumption that someone wouldn’t just “drive around” with a platonic friend. Since when did driving around become an exclusive habit for couples?

I don’t actually remember where or with whom I was driving on the fateful day of the Thai restaurant. My mystery friend and I might have not actually been driving around aimlessly at all–I may have just misspoken when telling the story to my colleague. Or perhaps we were driving aimlessly. All carbon footprint discussion aside, I do have some friends with whom I could imagine myself ending up “driving around”. Probably it would have to be a pretty good friend, to be with in such a spontaneous and undirected environment.

Do people tend to think that friendships are not strong enough for such “driving around”, but romantic relationships are? My coworker seemed to feel that way. What other activities do people think are fine for couples, but unusual for friends to do together?

I’ll answer my own question: getting tickets together. Apparently this same coworker became further convinced I might be gay because I sent out an email to some friends inviting them to the D.C. Improv, and I told everyone to get their own tickets, because “Susan and I already have our tickets”.  This was because Susan and I regularly go to the Improv–it’s Our Thing. We get our tickets, and then ask other people if they want to come. But somehow the way I worded the email made my coworker–who really is a lovely person and I feel bad blogging about him behind his back–think that Susan and I were a couple.

My theory is that so many couples overuse the “we” construction that they have effectively co-opted it exclusively for couples’ use, and therefore we single people can’t even use “we” without being presumed to be part of a couple (gay or otherwise).


Photo credit: Philippe Leroyer

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