mrdreamjeans: At concert in Sugar Land, TX, January 2017 (Neil-Profile)
[personal profile] mrdreamjeans
My title is mostly tongue-in-cheek, but it brings up a topic that I discussed with another LJ friend a couple of months ago. I've been delighted to have a baker's dozen of women as my friends on Live Journal. I like having diversity of thought, opinion, reaction, sensibility in my blog ... find that my women friends offer distinct points of view that enrich the experience of making meaningful connections through our writing. Even within my female friends on LJ, there is diversity ... a range of age, experience and identification ... straight, lesbian and bi ... that delights and enlightens me.

One of my gay male LJ friends, who I don't know well, wrote that he didn't have women in his life in any significant way ... pondered why so many gay men seemed to have close connections to women. I responded that I genuinely like women. I enjoy their company. I'm emotionally in tune with them. I am close to several women, too many singer/actress friends to mention. I am blessed with dynamic and loving women in my life, both straight and lesbian.

In my inner most circle of friends, I have five gay men, one straight man, two lesbians and two straight women ... I didn't consciously pick them for diversity ... and of course, the definition of "inner most" is entirely subjective. I am close to my sister, niece and mother. I'm not happy living in a gay-male-bear-centric bubble. In fairness, many of the lesbians I know tend to exclude gay men from their lives; sometimes, I've been the only "approved" man in their circle:) Not sure why, but so be it.

Many men do want to live a gay male centric life and that's fine, but I often don't fit in with them comfortably. I must admit, I don't understand men who genuinely don't like women. There are folks of all genders that each of us likes or dislikes, but I don't take a look at anyone and dismiss them as potential friend simply because of gender. I am creative, empathetic, right-brained ... I wonder if that's a factor in how I relate to women.

Of the baker's dozen of women on my friend's list, about half still actively write or comment on Live Journal. I read everything they write. As in the general population, most now have a Facebook account and I don't often see posts from them on LJ. For me, the continual feed on FB really makes it difficult to stay in touch. With LJ, I can go to their blogs, read, savor and respond to their posts when I am able to.

So, I ask my friends ... separate from your partners ... If you're male, what role do women ... straight or lesbian ... play in your life? Do you have close friendships with women? What do those friendships mean to you? If you're female, what role do men, gay or straight, play in your lives? Do you have close friendships with men? What do those friendships mean to you?

I am going to leave this post open, so that men and women you might know, also have an opportunity to offer their points of view.

Date: 2010-11-06 01:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hi Neil,

I feel the same as you regarding women. I have always gotten along with women better than with men. My best roommates were always women, too.

I have many women friends and feel that my best friendships have been with women through the years.

I guess for me, it's harder to have an intimate friendship with a male where there aren't some sexual overtones. but that is generalizing, since I do have male friends, but I think my successful male friends have all been couples, not single male friends and I don't really have any straight male friends. and yet I do have both straight and lesbian female friends.

Jim and I are good friends with a great lesbian couple that live near us.

Anyway, still not quite fully awake and I'm rambling!

Date: 2010-11-07 02:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I guess for me, it's harder to have an intimate friendship with a male where there aren't some sexual overtones.

I found this to be the case for decades.

Ramble on, my friend! :)


Date: 2010-11-06 02:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Coming from a very large family..women have always played a significant part of my life. As many know, I was married for over 25 years and have a daughter.

I have difficulty with blanket statements from gays about if there is one "cookie-cutter" woman, and all women behave the same way. Take away the sexual overtone (undertone?) factor and friendships with women have pretty much the same probabilities in terms of success or fact I would go so far to say, they are probably better.

A good platonic friendship does not start with "Oh look...he has lots of hair and he's overweight *sigh* Therefore, he'll make a fabulous friend"
...yet many gay friendships seem to start exactly that way.

Date: 2010-11-07 02:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm trying to shy away from blanket statements. I'm just curious as to what my male and female friends have to say, straight or gay ... I have been more successful with my friendships with women and straight men than I have with gay men until recently. I hope I'm evolving for the better ...

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Date: 2010-11-06 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I work in education, so professionally, probably 80% of the people I interact with are women. (The group of 7 teachers I'm working with this year are all women. Of the 28 teachers in the project, there are 6 men; my group is the only one without any men. *and* of the 7 of us staffing the project, there's only one other man.)

I have six sisters, and three brothers. I was fairly close with the brother just above me when I was young -- the next older sibling is about 5 years older than me -- but ultimately I think I'm closer with some of my sisters and one sister-in-law. The sister-in-law always treated me my age, and she was the only one to do that -- when I was 5, she treated me like I was 5. When I was a teenager, she treated me like a teenager. A couple of my other sisters have actually opened up to me a bit more and made more of an effort to connect with me as a person more after I came out. In a strange way I think it helped them see me more as my own person and not just as their baby brother.

My gaming group includes two women, a couple. (One is transgendered, MTF, and I'd known them both for years before she transitioned. They were already married when I met them.) The rest are men -- but only one other is a gay man. Oh, and another guy sometimes brings his wife, maybe three or four times a year. We meet about twice a month. P & M have been great friends -- we will occasionally socialize outside the gaming group. (Mark isn't in the group, though he sometimes joins us long enough to have dinner.) They have two sons, and they have named us as guardians if something happens to both of them (the parents). When P had her surgery and both were gone for 12 days, we took care of the boys (they were in 2nd and 5th grades at the time).

My LJ here has a few women, but not a large number compared to the number on my flist. It's not by design or anything that there is a paucity of women. I think I've only met two(?) in person, and I met both at leather events before we became LJ friends. (I think. One for sure, I can't remember for the other.) I keep remembering more women on my list as I type this... Anyway, I don't feel as close to them as I do the men; the one I have the most connection with doesn't seem to read other journals much, at least, she doesn't comment much. Her posts tend to generate a LOT of discussion (and a lot of flirting among her myriad of gay men) and are always interesting to read. The next closest often posts about gay issues in her country (European) and she does make an effort to connect. The others -- not so much. Occasionally, and I appreciate it when they do. I wish they would comment and post more.

My other main circle of friends are my leather groups, which are exclusively men.

Sorry that was so long!

Date: 2010-11-06 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Not too long at all! This is the kind of response I was hoping for ... the dynamic completely interests me. I've always found it much easier to connect with women on a friendship or emotional level.

Until the past five years, my male friendships have been complicated by sexual overtones; I wouldn't let anyone close if I felt there couldn't be a connection without sex involved ... sort of a damaged response to not knowing how to connect without sex as the first course on the menu to friendship. I didn't know how to be close to another gay man without it being sexual first.

Earlier on, I also had to struggle and overcome homophobic thoughts. I had a tendency to push gay men away who I felt were effeminate or hyper-masculine, the extremes, questioning their authenticity. I've learned a lot about myself in the 4.5 years I've been celibate. I don't make those judgments ... well, not nearly as often as I once did:)

WIth women, I feel I can completely be myself and have a tendency to be the best version of me. I am very affectionate and emotionally accessible, all about communication. Recently, I've been able to be that way with men, too ... but, it's always been that way with my friendships with women.

Thanks for letting me get to know you a bit better through your response!


Edited Date: 2010-11-06 03:19 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2010-11-06 03:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've always had female friends, since high school and beyond, there was always a female friend or two that I was close to. All were straight, not that I sought that out (i have a few lesbian friends, as well) but it just turned out that way. I also had friendships with straight men, but I always felt closer to the women. Nowadays, I have a mix of close friends who are both sexes, gay and straight but I tend to hang out almost exclusively with the gay folks. Primarily since the straight folks are all married with children and we just don't have the same life experiences.

At work,, my closest friends are straight women. I seem to feel more comfortable around them in that I feel like I can talk about personal things more readily with them rather then any male friends (who, incidentally are straight). However I tend to not socialize with my work colleagues.

Date: 2010-11-07 02:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It really is all about the comfort level ...

Only in the past couple of years ... and in this forum ... have I been able to form friendships with other gay men that didn't start out as a sexual encounter or dating situation.

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Date: 2010-11-06 03:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was mostly gay-male-centric until I started square dancing. Then I met lots of women, bi and transgendered people. I even made friends with some of those so-called "straight" people.

I don't dance these days, but luckily some square dance friendships have carried over to LJ and FB.

Date: 2010-11-06 03:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd miss hearing from you, Gary.

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Date: 2010-11-06 03:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It is an interesting question.

My closest female relationship growing up was with the mother of my best friend in high school. Certainly not sexual in any way, Ellie was my mentor. She taught me how to drive, how to tie a tie, how to interact with people. She encouraged me to grow out of the shy adolescent and face the world. We talked in more depth about life and the world then I did with anyone else. Her death when I was married and 24 affected me more than any other death I've had in my life.

Friendships with older women seems to have followed me, possibly from that early relationship. I trust older women intellectually, where men have always been at arms length for me. I've had male friendship, but there is always the element of tease and fun that's not really there with the femail relationships.

The flip side of that is that I also am frustrated by what I perceive as the jekyll and hyde part of women. That came from dealing with the day-to-day emotions of women in an office environment. Every morning was a challenge, not knowing if the women in the office would be friendly and pleasant or a mess of angst and unpleasantness. Men, I didn't have that issue with. If I said "Hi" to men in the mornings, I'd get the same "Hi" back with no drama.

Women that are my peers I enjoy hanging around with, especially Lesbians. I'm not sure I always fit with the crowd, but since there is no sexual drama with women for me, it makes is okay (unless it slides into the 'office drama' type thing.

Date: 2010-11-07 02:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I had an Ellie in my life. Her name was Dora and she passed away 12 years ago at the age of 80. She was the first straight person I knew who could have cared less if I was gay, loved me unconditionally. Also, she was just a hoot to be around. I learned a lot from knowing and loving her ...

I am working on not keeping men at arms length. In the past, I haven't known how to get past the have sex first, then get a name, progression of knowing another gay man. I'm figuring it out, slowly, but surely. LJ has helped me with that.

I do have one leasing consultant who is all over the place emotionally. We recently had to have a "come to Jesus" meeting about her behavior and how it affects everyone in the office. I told her if she came in again, was a bitch to the other people and couldn't focus on her work, that she would be asked to go home without pay. Our boss is a woman and suggested this as a solution.

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Date: 2010-11-06 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was raised an only child by a wonderfully strong and funny divorced mother who surrounded herself with other strong and funny women. I've found that over the years, I've generally gravitated to friendships with strong funny women.

Shocking, I know!

This period of my life is the first that I've had that I don't have a female "best friend" and it's a little wistful for me.

But I loves 'em, I does!

Date: 2010-11-07 03:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I miss [ profile] jodfoster, don't you? I can imagine you ruling the roost in nursing school, adored by all! :)


Date: 2010-11-06 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hello again, and thank you for not being judgemental, given that I'm probably the "gay male LJ friend" :-)

Could it be that women are more challenging to communicate with, and perhaps also more rewarding for those who can figure it out ? I'm self-diagnosed with "Aspergers Light" (as I call it), and so communication, while something which I'm very interested in, is also something which is sometimes very difficult for me, perhaps more so with women ?

Date: 2010-11-07 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Exploring this topic was never about judgment, just simple curiosity. Yes, you are the LJ friend to whom I was referring, but I didn't want to identify you unless you were comfortable with it:)

Women are much easier for me to communicate with. I don't put up as many barriers; and because the possibility of sex isn't ion the table, I am much more accessible emotionally. It's why I've asked the questions I've asked. I wanted to see, if in my circle of friends and acquaintances, if you were more the norm or if I was more the norm when it came to gay men and friendships with women.

Date: 2010-11-06 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Certainly I've had friendships with women over the years, though I'm much more inclined to socialize with (usually gay) men. My oldest friends from my 20s and 30s are women back in the UK. There are two in particular that I still frequently correspond and talk with. My definition of friend is someone I could call at 3am and know they'd be there for me, so that may limit those I'd list these days.

I have had male friends over the years, but few endure. Some died of course; others moved on. I do find with gay men I need to work harder to maintain a friendship particularly if we are geologically separated; with women it's easier somehow. The man who helped me come out (and taught me how to dress with style!) is still a frequent correspondent, though both of us have been through many jobs, various relationships, and have lived in different countries for much of our friendship.

Oddly, I find I make fewer friends now. You'd think being settled in one place for a long time would make it easier to build those relationships, but it seems to be that most people in their 50s have built their true, strong relationships, and now need more social acquaintances than new friends.

It is, as several people before have said, an interesting question.

Date: 2010-11-07 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My definition of friend is someone I could call at 3am and know they'd be there for me, so that may limit those I'd list these days.

I have a similar definition ... If it's a close friend, are they someone who is happy to hear from me every day and I to speak with them every day? Can I go long periods of time without speaking and pick up the conversation as if time never passed?

I am open to new friendships, but spend a lot of my time nurturing the long term friendships that I have in place.

I look forward to getting to know you.


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Overall, I find it easier to speak with women. Straight men are more difficult and gay men are the most difficult, of all. Generally speaking, I have not gone out to dinner with men, with the possible exceptions of Earnie and my former best friend- Mike and the members of the group which i had formerly belonged to. I do however visit my male friend's house in Tucson, upon occasion.

I was going to have dinner with my friend Tina tonight. Tomorrow will be her 51st birthday. Unfortunately she had twisted her ankle last night and was unable to attend dinner. Hence, I had to change my plans. We will reschedule dinner for sometime next weekend.

I had changed my plans also. As a result, I am having dinner at Feast instead. I have more of a rapport with the
waitresses than I do with the waiters. In fact one of the waitresses appreciates many of the
same art styles, which I do. Nevertheless, I have the distinction of normally dining alone. Most of the people who dine out are either couples, or in groups. As of this writing, the private dining room has almost filled completely! Of course there were some handsome bearded men in another section of the restaurant.

As far as work is concerned, many of my colleagues are male. I happen to get along better with most of the engineers, than my fellow technicians!

Edited Date: 2010-11-07 02:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I find I get in my own way when it comes to friendships with other gay men, though if sexual attraction or flirting isn't part of the equation, it's usually not a problem for me.

Since Tim and I became roommates, we often share meals, but if he's not around, I usually dine alone. I don't mind it.

Date: 2010-11-07 02:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hope this is not another post "inspired" by or a reaction to Stephen Frye's comment on men and women?

I only like women who have flatter chests than me. Big boobs scare me. Thus, excite me. Hence, manboobs.



Date: 2010-11-07 02:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Huh? Who is Stephen Frye?

I really have no idea what you're talking about.

Date: 2010-11-07 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree with you. Relationships with woman are so important. My relationships span from my grandmother and mother to my sisters-in-law to college friends to church friends to best friends.
Sometimes you just need a woman to talk to or go shop with!! I value the friendships I have, especially with Anna and Tammie who have helped me through plenty of hard times. They are very special to me!!!

Date: 2010-11-07 03:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You were one of the people I thought about when I wrote this post. You seem to have close friendships with your posse of male friends, but seem really connected to Anna, Tammie and your artist friend. I don't want to attach too much meaning to it, but you and I are so similar in how we view friendships, spend a lot of time nurturing them ... Could there really be something to us having the same birthday?


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Date: 2010-11-07 05:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love men, I just don't want to sleep with them. ;) And the gay men I've had in my life are open, loving, creative wonderful people. That's why I have them in my life.

Hugs! Did you read my last 2 stories?

Date: 2010-11-07 03:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love you, too:)


I'll go to your journal. I believe I have, but let me check!

Date: 2010-11-07 06:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't discriminate. My LJ has a few female readers, and that's cool. If they can relate to, enjoy or tolerate my various posts and interact, they are automatically cool people. Likewise, I find more than a few things in common with them, and enjoy their entries and outlook. The same goes for me in real life. Life is too short to be limited. A varied community of friends is a vibrant one, and incorporates many points of view. I know quite a few gay men who want nothing to do with women for whatever reasons, and I don't see that as a wise move.

There is a tired notion that people keep bringing up that children are best raised in two parent, conventional households. I can see it to some small degree, but I think that limiting it to childhood is wrong. An ongoing life with interactions between both (all?) sexes, different races, mindsets and such is healthy for humanity as a whole. Look at what happens in the case of so many societies where women are subjugated to minor roles (or even less) within those societies. I think the same thing can happen on an individual basis as well. People become the product of their own limits.

Date: 2010-11-07 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Do you and your partner have close women friends? Socialize as a couple?

I know quite a few gay men who want nothing to do with women for whatever reasons, and I don't see that as a wise move.

I agree .. and have to admit that I don't understand it. Who wants to remove a color from the rainbow?


ps ... Hope you're healing well!

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Date: 2010-11-07 06:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'd feel bereft without women in my life. As you know, one of my very closest friends is a woman. I have a list of longtime friends I see or correspond with a few times a year...many of them women.
I have only one lady friend on LJ - met through you, and she's wonderful.
A couple of my oldest friends are gay men, both met in college. Interestingly, LJ has expanded my gay friends circle quite a bit (you should know *grin*)and, as I've posted, I've found LJ to be my first experience with an actual (and/or virtual)gay community.
Over the years I've been fortunate to have a few friends I think of as my personal "Dolly Levi"...they come in both genders, though the guys have been mostly gay and the women mostly straight.
I'm accustomed to being almost preternaturally self-sufficient in my day to day existence...yet, looking back, I somehow doubt I could have made it this far without friends watching my back and guiding me along. It's lovely to be so indebted.


Date: 2010-11-07 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't know if I'd want to be your Dolly Levi, perhaps more your Horace Vandegelder:) You are preternaturally self-sufficient, but what I hope is that you now understand that the Bonnie's and Neil's of the world are out there for you and we do have your back. We love you, grumbling and all:) You will never be alone as long as we're alive.


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Date: 2010-11-07 07:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have some pretty significant relationships with women, especially at "the ranch". I value them for their insight and concern for me. Okay, it's not a bad thing that we can gush over "hot electrician guy" that appears from time to time (he's drop dead gorgeous).

Honestly, I would much rather deal with women than men, including gay men. I haven't had many "healthy" gay male relationships in my life, save Scott, Erik, Dan, and you.

I would like to have more...but who has time?

Date: 2010-11-07 03:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's been an evolution for me over time to learn how to be friends with other gay men. Sex always seemed to muck it up, though my closest gay male friends, with one exception, started as dating situations or relationships. I worked really hard to be open to friendships with other men, as it doesn't come naturally to me. I'm glad that you feel you are creating healthy friendships with the four of us. You have much to offer.

I find it interesting, though, that you speak of your friendships with women at work, but don't mention Lisa. I ask this question very respectfully ... I know you love Lisa ... I know she is your wife ... but ... Is Lisa your friend? I think it's an important question. If it makes you uncomfortable, please feel free to ignore it. I won't mind.

Why it works for me...

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Re: Why it works for me...

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Date: 2010-11-08 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] apparentparadox
I was going to say that I have friends, and that the gender and sexual orientation aren't important, but on thinking about it, it is more difficult for me to find straight men as friends than other combinations. I do have straight male friends, but not nearly as many as gay men/women or straight women.

One thing that might be an issue for me is that I meet mostly white folks where I live, and the only straight white men that I can be friends with are the ones that don't have the "privileged white male" syndrome, the ones who can actually understand what it means to be an underdog or outcast.

Date: 2010-11-08 12:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hear you. The one straight man that I am close to is a stage manager and actor. We've been friends for years, but Bill isn't a typical (I use this term advisedly) straight man.

I don't specifically create friendships based on gender or orientation, but over time it has proven easier to be friends with women. But, as I've said ... that has changed in the past five years and I am much more open to friendships with gay men ... before I but up barriers and I am willing to acknowledge that it was me and my "stuff".

Thanks, Tim!


Date: 2010-11-12 01:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It had seemed like the journals of gay men seemed to have f-lists that were largely composed of other gay men. No idea if that reflects their real life circle of friends too or if it's just a byproduct of relatively small internet circles of acquaintances.

In my LJ life, I like reading a wide variety of perspectives and thought I had amassed a nice cross-section of people. I didn't ask for gender though that would've been nice to see too since there are a few people that I'm still not sure I know if they're male or female. From this poll I was surprised to see that so many of my f-list were first-borns.

In the real world, I tended to form my closest friendships with men. Wasn't until my mid-to-late 20s that I started being closer friends with women. I think that's due to having been a tomboy and working in tech (which still had more men but now seems to have plenty of women in the field too). Plus for several years, my main hobby had been swing dancing so I spent the bulk of my time dancing and socializing with guys.

Date: 2010-11-12 01:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've been very happy that we've connected here on LJ!

Date: 2010-11-12 04:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm in a (situational) place where I don't have in-person female friends, and I don't like it. They provide a valuable alternate perspective on things, and are just fun.

Date: 2010-11-13 11:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've always had close female friends ... it's been much easier and more rewarding, since I seemed so clumsy in making gay male friends without sex mucking things up. In the past five years, it's changed a lot .. Due in large part to my participation here on LJ.


Date: 2010-11-30 04:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Most of my friends are women, mostly out of habits formed early on. Growing up, I was not accepted by str8 guys, and most gays (myself included) were either in denial or in the closet to avoid persecution. Women I could relate to, and they were, in general, less threatening. I do have a few male friends, most of them str8, whom I've met through women I know, but surprisingly few gay male friends -- there's something freudian in there somewhere.
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