I used to have this friend; let’s call him Jay. Jay and I were pals off and on for years. We did a lot of drinking, we did a lot of drugs and we spent a lot of time at bars and parties together. What made my relationship with Jay different from that of my other friends was a question of our relative attractiveness. Simply put, Jay was the “hot one.” Indeed, I was the Rhoda to his Mary, Janet to his Chrissy, Dorothy to his Blanche. During our tenure as friends there were countless occasions when I would be chatting up some attractive young man at a bar or a party, hoping to get some action, only to have him inquire if my “hot friend” on the other side of the room was single.
Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I think Jay actually relished this dynamic in our friendship. I have come to suspect that he had some shame connected to his own sexuality. He didn’t like to admit that he was going to bars to get laid and having a friend to tag along until he snagged his piece of ass for the night made him feel like less of a slut.
I had a period of time that I now know a lot of gay men go through when I started to really hate the bar scene. The constant cycle of intoxication and rejection was eating at my self-esteem as well as my health and I decided I wanted to spend some time away from the gaybourhood. When I suggested to Jay that we could hang out at some straight bars occasionally, he became irate and told me that I just needed to suck it up and deal with the fact that not everyone wanted to have sex with me. Easy for you to say, I thought.
If this had been the extent of the problem I may have been able to live with it but there was another twist to this saga. Not only was any man I was interested in more interested in Jay, but Jay had a habit of fucking a lot of these guys before I ever got my hands on them. It became a running joke among our friends that the easiest way to get into Jay’s pants was for Chris to want into yours.
When I tried to talk to him about it Jay would tell me I had nothing to be angry about. After all these guys had their own free will and if they’d wanted to have sex with me instead of Jay they would have. He told me I was being immature and selfish and that I needed to deal with my insecurities. I eventually stopped introducing him to guys I was interested in after this cycle played out one too many times. Our friendship ultimately fizzled, but not before having some major psychological effects on me that took several years to recover from.
Fast-forward five years to a backyard barbeque I attended recently populated exclusively by gay men. An acquaintance there who also knew Jay asked if we were still in touch. When I told him no he asked why and after a bit of thought about what to say, I opted for the truth. I told him about the problems with Jay constantly getting it on with guys I was interested in and that the tension this created in our friendship eventually pushed us apart.
What followed was one of those strange moments when you’re suddenly realize that everyone else is listening to your conversation. There was a moment of silence and then someone said, “That’s so weird. I used to have a friend who did exactly the same thing.” The group started comparing our experiences and eventually learned that every single one of us there had had a friendship that matched the description of my relationship with Jay almost exactly.
There’s a set of commonalities that go into the gay male experience — being bullied at school, fear of contracting HIV, having a condom come out less than sparkling clean. After this barbeque I realized that there may be another one we can add to the list: Having a friend who chronically bangs your prospective lays before you get the chance.
After Jay and I parted ways my life miraculously turned around; I got a new job, a great boyfriend and a big fat government grant to write a play. I can’t say for certain that his absence from my life was directly connected to this change of fortunes, but I do feel that the psychic space that was cleared with him out of the way made it easier for all these great things to come into my life.
I’m not generally one to give advice, however if you are reading this and you think you have a Jay in your life, I’ll politely suggest that you kick him to the curb. Though these guys can be well intentioned and may even believe they’re not doing anything wrong, ultimately you’re just going to keep getting hurt by their actions.
If nothing else, it will make you feel more confident about yourself and quite frankly, there’s nothing hotter than a man with confidence.