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Sound Advice

Girls, You Never Know

Pop culture loves the magical gay BFF: the one-stop shop for no-pressure male companionship, a night out without all the subconscious competition with your girlfriends, standby sperm, fashion sense, and above all, the best relationship advice.

OK, so my gay BFF in high school didn’t really fit the stereotype, except that he did always give excellent advice. But it wasn’t just the advice I valued, but the source. As a teenage girl—the most cutthroat species of information broker on the planet—I thought having a close male friend was like having the Oracle of Delphi on speed dial. And, since he was gay, his understanding of the world was much harder-won and all the more valuable. So I accepted advice from him that I resisted from my mother or girlfriends. How could I tell if a guy was interested in me? Was he any good for me? When should I kiss him? Have sex? Keith knew.

 

To be fair, he got something out of it too: In high school, there weren’t many people he could talk to about dating guys (he once had me pose as a lesbian so he could take me to his gay teen support group). We remained close through college and grad school, although we finally drifted apart after Keith and I both settled down with nice men in different cities.

When Keith came to my wedding, we hadn’t seen each other in three years. I met his partner. We didn’t have much to say to each other. We'd both found our answers.

biopic

TMN Editor Liz Entman Harper has lived in St. Louis, New York, and Nashville. She sweats the small stuff, like hyphens and commas, and has a day job, but won’t bore you with the details. More by Liz Entman Harper

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