"Fag Hag"? "Fruit Fly"? By Any Name, They're Bigger Than Ever

Get to know the girls who like boys who like boys

Is the term "fag hag" ever OK? Probably not, because two bad words don't make for one good phrase. And yet it falls so trippingly from the tongue, and it's certainly sexier than the synonym "fruit fly," which always calls to mind the expression "nuttier than a fruitcake." I'd rather be a fag than a fruitcake, though most women would probably prefer to be an insect than a hag. But whatever you call ladies who cling to gay men as if they were handbags—let's go with the familiar "girls who like boys who like boys," or GBBs—they're still out in full force, the phenomenon riding all sorts of societal evolutions to become a permanent fixture in LGBT life.

I've generally found that there are two primary kinds of GBBs: the beautiful ones who need to hang with gay guys so no one will hit on them for a change, and conversely, the offbeat ones who don't get the attention they deserve from straight guys, so they envelop themselves in a world where sex isn't an option and they can't feel rejected. But what happens when it becomes an option because they start lusting for the gay guys? More rejection! I'll get to that later.

Let's start with Lauren Gould, a beauteous mid-20s design director at a New York ad agency. "If I had to label myself," she told me, "I'd go with 'fruit fly,' though I don't mind 'fag hag,' either. For me, the appeal is that I can surround myself with fun, fabulous, and intelligent men without worrying about them having alternative motives. It's hard to strike up a platonic conversation at a bar with a straight male because they always think it means more. But going to gay bars as a girl with a posse of gay men, you can dance your ass off without anyone trying to rub up on you in a sleazy way." Because they're all rubbing up on each other in a sleazy way.

"Fruit fly" Lauren Gould and her boys.
Jena Cumbo
"Fruit fly" Lauren Gould and her boys.

"I started hanging out with gay men," continued Lauren, "because my best friend was homosexual, so it was only natural for us to split our time between straight and gay places so we could both have a chance to meet potential dates.

"And back when I was single, hanging out with gay men was actually a great way to meet straight men. A few bartenders or patrons at every gay bar would wind up being straight and chat me up." So in trying to run away from too many straight guys with an agenda, a GBB can actually find some in a gay bar and like it! Cur­i­ous­er and curiouser.

Lauren happened to meet her current boyfriend because her gay best friend was hitting on him at a concert, and when he found out the guy was straight, he brought him over to Lauren like a cat holding out a mouse. Far from the stereotype of the lovelorn GBB, hanging with the gays has actually helped this woman's love life.

And the gays are way more sensitive to be around, right? "Definitely NOT!" she shrieked. "My gay friends are always the first to tell me the harsh truth, whether it's about a pair of shoes or something more hurtful. But I like the blunt honesty of it all. That's why I turn to them for ego boosts, too. Nothing feels better than receiving a compliment from a gay male." I'm still waiting for one.

Searching for a GBB with more vulnerability, I found Lizzie Johnson (a pseudonym), a 30-year-old art world employee who told me she prefers to be called a "fruit fly." "I don't like the 'hag' part," she added. "Maybe you can call me a 'fag fly.' " A giddy laugh.

And why is she a fag fly, pray tell? "I've never been able to have good conversations with straight men," explained Lizzie, echoing other GBB respondents. "I don't like the monosyllabic answers or the disinterest in talking about life or in anything other than sports facts and other mundane conversations. Not to stereotype.

"Of course you fall in love with the gay guys sometimes. The first boy I had a crush on was the first one I did anything with. But when it's unreciprocated, that's where the danger is." Broken-hearts mountain. (This sharply contrasts with Lauren, who told me she's never wanted to consummate with a gay friend: "No matter how hot I think they may be, it's a line I'd never cross.")

GBBs, I was learning, tend to be either scarily secure or a tiny bit masochistic. Lizzie is such a fag fly she's even starting to wonder about her boyfriend! "The jury's still out," she admitted to me. "I have my doubts. He's in art, too—another tricky sign. I tell him I want him to be exactly who he is and if he decides he likes boys, just tell me and we'll work it out." Why not? They already go to gay bars together, anyway. "He likes the conversations and fun that we have there more than with his straight friends," said Lizzie.

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14 comments
pumbaaj
pumbaaj

Michael! I love love love your columns!  What do you think of the letter "A" being added to LGBT?   Are our GBBs exactly the same as gays?   Do we need to celebrate heterosexual love during pride month in order to be inclusive?   Gay teen support groups are becoming GSA's in the name of inclusion (and high school volunteer/charity/service points).  My own teen group is no longer a "gay safe place".  it's just another high school yearbook photo.

Laney Bizzle
Laney Bizzle

Point of views from women who: 1.) Are so phenomenally high maintenance and not fun to be around that no straight male would EVER want to talk to them without them putting out; and 2.) See gay men as nothing more than a stereotype custom-built to go shopping and gossip with them. (And no offense to Musto and the Village Voice, just some of the quote I read from the women interviewed made me wanna hurl)

jeannesmith
jeannesmith

Drag shows are the only thing I get out from under my rock for.

nycqgrrl
nycqgrrl

I'm a niche in a niche. Queer/Bi grrl engaged to the butch of my dreams but totally preferring hanging with the non bio grrls. I'll take Kylie and Britney over Ferron or Holly Near any day. Live for old school Paradise Garage and real non-disney non-ALW Broadway, and my butch and I love being the two woman among the 250 guys at Hedda's Chelsea Classics showing of "The Women" where we both can recite the lines!

lund519
lund519

Lusting for gay guys?  Doubt it.  Most of us can't even stand the sight of each other, opting to jerk off to pictures of 18-year-old straight jocks instead.  So who do gay men hang out with when they can't stand other gay men because of their piece-of-shit attitudes and rejection and 'I want to be the girl' personalities?  It'd be nice to find a female who can't stand gay men as much as me, even though I'm gay myself, but can't stand the stereotypical gay guys who are basically 7th grade girls in a gay body.  So I doubt very much that's anything that anyone, male or female is 'lusting' over.  I think that straight jocks still win that category and gay guys need to get over that delusion that our community is just overflowing with these kinds of guys - they ain't out there.  

SavannahMontgomery
SavannahMontgomery

There's another "sub-set" out there...the "wanna-be's" who use their gay friends to get into the hot clubs with their gay "ticket"...once in, they act like they are the be-all, loud and obnoxious and are going to "convert" or at least "prove" their va-jay-jays will rule the day...hence the "Ugh. A woman!" when one walks in."

But those are the "bad ones"...and that self-esteem thing...and you gays that bring her, don''t send her over to "interview" me either!  That girl "wingman" thingy seldom works.

jamie.sanford
jamie.sanford

I co-host the Fag & Hag Podcast with my BFF David. (Plug - fagandhagpodcast.com) We "dated" in high school (you can do the math on how that worked out), and have been best friends ever since. We are not friends because David is gay, we are friends because we enjoy each other's company and laugh at the same ridiculous things. Yes I am a fruit fly, but not because I pursued it.

williamHK
williamHK

These women have issues, I have to deal with fish all day at work, I don't want to socialize with them. 

rogienepomuceno
rogienepomuceno

Great coverage - of a subject that's familiar to a lot of people. If I may suggest a similar but far less discussed topic, how about the Guys (gay or straight) who like Women who like Women? One of my lesbian pals called me a Dutch boy - from enjoying the company of dykes - and I realized that there's a whole new world (and jargon) out there. What I also find strange is how lesbian couples immediately sense that I'm an ally (for want of a better word for now) and welcome me without hesitation. I just ascribe it to a sensitivity that women have in spades, more than men of any type. So - yes, lesbians and their male groupies, soon please!

jackson30
jackson30

Fag hags forever! This column was all so dead-on true.

bethesda
bethesda

I love the honest of these two women. I'm suddenly anxious to find my own personal GBB.

pumbaaj
pumbaaj

@nycqgrrl What the heck did you just say? I didn't understand a word of it!

pumbaaj
pumbaaj

@SavannahMontgomery Amen!!! They also enjoy c%ckbl^cking as well- if a guy hits on their gay friend, they may step between them and stop them.

SavannahMontgomery
SavannahMontgomery

Ok...I'm on a roll now...I know you can't help it, BUT...stop using your purse to "stake out" territory!  The bar..as in seats at the actual bar...space is limited, yet you, will find (or be offered) a seat and then blam! goes the purse, phone, gloves, hat, glasses, your "posse", whatever so that everyone else is now "squished" for being nice...and you wonder why you get eye-daggers.

 
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