Serena Freewomyn

Ode to Fag Hags

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | January 15, 2008 8:57 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: fag hags, fruit flies, Margaret Cho

I'm a fag hag. Always have been, always will be.

mt1113694325.jpgI love me some gay men! Seriously. I don't think you'll find a bigger or better hag than me. Which is why I thought I would post my tips for being a good fag hag, as well as give a shout out to one of my favorite iconic fag hags: Margaret Cho!

And while we're on the topic, I wanted to discuss the term "dyke tyke," which is supposed to be the lesbian equivalent of "fag hag." I hate the term and think we need to come up with something better. But I also wanted to give gay boys who love lesbians some tips on how to be a better "dyke tyke" (for lack of a better word).

Here's what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

A fag hag is a slang term for a woman who either associates mostly or exclusively with homosexual men, or is best or good friends to a gay man or men. It originated in gay male culture in the United States and was historically an insult. Some women who associate with gay men object to being called fag hags, while others embrace the term. Men who have similar interpersonal relationships with lesbian women are called dyke tykes; furthermore people who associate with gays, lesbians, and bisexuals may be called "fruit flies" regardless of their sex.

Wikipedia also explains that typically, a fag hag is "frequently stereotyped as lonely or unattractive women, sometimes overweight, who are seeking a substitute for heterosexual relationships, or who are secretly sexually attracted to gay men."

I've got some issues with this definition. First of all, despite what "Will & Grace" would lead you to believe, not all fag hags are secretly in love with their gay male friends. In a patriarchal culture that devalues women, sometimes it's just nice to be around a guy who doesn't want to get in your pants. Plus, gay men will compliment you on your outfit or tell you if you've gotten it entirely wrong. You can't get that from a straight guy. And as a lesbian, I find that most straight guys I know think that because I'm a lesbian, they can tell me how hot some chick is because they think I'll agree. Gross! Also, I have problems with the ugly, overweight stereotype, because I'm fucking fabulous.

Personally, I like Margaret Cho's definition of a fag hag better:

I am fortunate enough to have been a fag hag for most of my life. A fag hag is a woman who prefers the company of gay men. The marriage of two derogatory terms, fag and hag, symbolizing the union of the world's most popular objects of scorn, homosexual and woman, creates a moniker that most of those who wear it find inoffensive, possibly because it smacks of solidarity.

Margaret Cho

If you're a gay man who hates fag hags, perhaps you should consider this: where would gay men be without the likes of their hags? We're usually the first to know you're gay, we help support you through the coming out process, and we help you refine your sense of style. In those oh-so-awkward stages of the early coming out process, we help boost your confidence and make a nice security blanket for that first trip to the gay bar. Yes, my gay friends, you need us just as much as we need you. Perhaps your aversion to fag hags has come about because there are some women out there who don't know what it means to be a fag hag.

So here are my suggestions for the ladies who don't seem to appreciate their role as a fag hag. It's a very serious job, not to be taken lightly.

1. Don't cock block. Ever! When you're at the gay bar with your friends, your role is to talk up your fag to prospective hotties and then hit the road. Once your fag is engaged with a hottie and/or grinding up on him on the dance floor, make like a banana and hit the road. Enjoy your cocktail, strike up a convo with the nice mullet dyke in the corner, or head outside to bum a ciggy.

2. Don't get offended when your fag chooses ass over hag-ship. For clarification, refer to rule #1. If you've done your job properly, your fag will be getting laid tonight. You should probably plan ahead for your own transportation home. And there will be times that your fag completely flakes on you because he got ass. A case in point: a few years ago at Long Beach Pride, I was supposed to be collecting petition signatures to support marriage equality. I had recruited a few friends to help. When they went out to the Queen Mary for a circuit party the night before the parade, I knew they would flake in the morning. I was right. But I didn't get offended. Don't hate the player or the game, cuz that's just how it is.

3. Step your fashion game up. Part of being a hag is knowing how to dress yourself and how to dress your fag. Ya'll need to look fabulous. That's your job. Remember, insisting on good grooming isn't shallow. It's a fundamental principle we should all live by.

4. Stock up on condoms. Safer sex is good for everyone. And having an extra condom in your purse to help out a friend in need is just thoughtful.

5. Get tested. Remember what I said about safer sex? Lead by example. Get tested on a regular and encourage your fag to do the same. Hell, you could even visit the clinic together and then go out for a latte and/or shopping afterwards.

As for the role of the dyke tyke, every lesbian needs a little male luvin' in her life, even if she is a gold star member. The best dyke tykes I have had pretty much follow the same guidelines that I've offered for fag hags. Instead of condoms, they're familiar with dental dams. And they're not afraid of menstruation. In fact, my favorite dyke tyke has tampons available at his house, just in case he has a female visitor who needs one. Now that's what I call being a good host.

But getting back to the point of language, can we find a better term than "dyke tyke"? There has to be something better and it doesn't have to rhyme. I leave it to you, dear readers, to find a solution.

Finally, I leave this piece of advice from my own best fag Nick:

I like to say that I "came out" into the women's movement. I've always found something divine in the relationships I've had the privilege of sharing with women. I've never been a fan of "rules" of any sort, but if I had to describe the one key rule for being a fag hag is to live life as the diva that you are, and to help your fag live his life in the same way. Women have a power (some call it the "divine feminine") that gay men CONSTANTLY envy. The WORST thing that a fag hag can do is hide her inner diva, or hide the diva inside the gay man she loves. So, in short, the key to being a successful fag hag, in this fag's opinion, is to let your feminine beauty shine--and help your gay man make HIS feminine beauty shine. If life's a drag, a good fag hag makes all of life a drag ball!

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What a fun, great post, Serena!

I will be the first to say I'd be nowhere without the strong, amazing women in my life!

God bless our girls for supporting us and loving us when no one else would!

brilliant post serena! I was actually about to make a guide to haggotry, but you beat me to the punch!

Like your fave fruit, Nick, I came into my queerness as I came into my feminism. Fags and Hags need to stand together to fight the heteropatriarchy. Cho is right, There's not much else that the hierarchy likes to hate on other than queers and women (although it should be noted that gays and feminists often side step big issues... like race and class in our zeal for prime oppressed cohort spot)

But, one thing to all the fags of these hags who might be reading... The ideal fag hag relationship is not only based on gay guys getting laid, but also on the idea of solidarity. As hags, many of these women are straight and thusly have some portion of privilege or agency through that statues. In the same way, as men, we have a bit of agency that's different from straightness, but still there. It's important to remember that even though hags make great accessories, especially in bars (I've always said that the quickest way to a fag's heart is through his hag), that a fag-hag relationship is mutually beneficial. Gay men make the best patriarchs, and I'm tired of gay men making sexist comments about "ew vagina!" or fish this, fish that, or objectifying a woman (even though we might not want to bed a babe, we certainly like to make snarky comments on her clothes or body). So fags of the world, support your hag as much as she support you!

In fact, my favorite dyke tyke has tampons available at his house, just in case he has a female visitor who needs one. Now that's what I call being a good host.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! That seriously cracked me up. Good host. *snickers*

I loved your post, Serena. I've had plenty of fag hags in my life - and I've loved 'em all!

Oh, my, I haven't heard about/from Nick in forever. I remember when that kid was coming out (was he ever really "in"? C'mon)....

Perhaps your aversion to fag hags has come about because there are some women out there who don't know what it means to be a fag hag.

This is a real problem. Mmhmm. Too many think it's just about finding a dress-you-up Ken doll and as an extension to their own personal lives. A pet, if you will. I was burned young by one such pseudo-hag... meow!

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 15, 2008 1:03 PM

I love this post Serena!

Thank you for laying out the rules.

I had one female friend who really did not understand the first rule. There were a number of times that I wanted to say to her "I love you, but I really want to love this boy at least for tonight."

chandler in lasvegas | January 15, 2008 1:13 PM

The two most popular terms for this relationship in the gay lexicon are:

Fruit Fly (alliterative)
Fag Hag. (rhyme)

Both have double nasties that either rhyme or are alliterative. It is like a double negative, they cancel.

Dyke Tyke rhymes but tyke is hardly nasty or pejorative.

Which is why I like my version.

I am a Diesel Weasel.

Alex, I think I know the hag you speak of. Her name didn't start with a B did it? ;^)

Fannie, two cheers for solidarity!

No, a C. The meow was a hint. Let's just say that she's a multi-personalitied poll-dancer who I had the privilege of debating with for a semester before she flaked out to go to a Paul McCartney concert.

That might narrow it down... :)

B.'s awesome. I love her to death.

Thanks for posting this. I'm a queer-identified woman with a lot of gay male friends (way more than lesbians) and was frustrated about the assumptions that only straight women can be fag-hags. There is something exceedingly comfortable for me about being friends with gay men. There's no sexual threat, and they understand about being queer.

While I would definitely call myself a fag hag, I have a different definition than you have presented...

1: I have a tendency to always fall in love with gay men-- most of the time, before I even know they're gay. In fact, whenever I develop a crush on any man who would "appear" straight, or whose friends inform me definitely /is/ straight, I am immediately suspicious, because my habit is to find homosexual men attractive, and there has not been a single case where a man I *have* been attracted to has turned out to be straight.

However, there are men I've been attracted to that have turned out to be bisexual or pansexual. Only one of these men was ever attracted to *me*, but I'd like to inform the fag hag community that some of my "fags" are really bisexual.

2: I am pansexual myself. Ah! The universe is so unfair, because almost all of the women I've ever been attracted to are straight. Go figure! And I've also had crushes on a f2m, but he turned out to be a gay man as well. Ironic? Definitely. I think someone up there hates me. At the moment I'm in a relationship with a wonderful woman, and I love her. So far, I've only had luck romantically with bisexual and/or pansexual people of any gender. Are there any other fag hags that have this problem?

3: I object to the assumption that gay men who have fag hags are necessarily feminine in any way, or that they must have an inner "diva". I certainly don't, and while I do have gay friends who think of themselves as having a feminine *side* (don't we all?), they don't consider themselves as feminine, transsexual or transgendered. What attracts me to gay men is a mystery to me, but for the most part the men in my life who are gay either don't have the stereotypical mannerisms, or did not originally have those mannerisms-- they were developed after they integrated themselves into the gay community, as a way of announcing themselves to potential lovers their orientation and a way of finding other gay men outside of bars and clubs. Surprisingly, my men are quite gifted at picking up boyfriends *anywhere*, and don't have to rely upon gay bars. (Facebook and myspace, apparently, work much better. ;) )