The Fag and Hag: An Unhealthy Pair?

fag hag relationship will and graceI was walking on Davie the other night and had one of those moments where you cringe inside because you see something or someone that reminds you of yourself at a time when you were a lot younger and knew a lot less about yourself and your place in life. There was a skinny guy and a bigger girl, they couldn’t be much older than 18 or 19, and they were both done out in glitter and make-up, their hair ‘did’, holding hands being loud and laughing about who knows what, “like OMG!” Not only am I cringing for these two youth parading around Davie St being so TRAGIC while everyone around them knows it but them, but because in another world that was me not 10 years ago (sans make-up, thank you very much) with one of my best friends at the time.

I’ll be the first to admit that I had a fag hag in high school. Growing up gay and realizing it from a young age, I always had a lot of girlfriends. I don’t know why, I just felt like I could get along better with them, be more myself with them. I didn’t think that I had much in common with the jocks, goth guys, science nerds or ESL crew at school so I hung out with a lot of girls.

She was the first person that I came out to, we were both really tight. We would watch sad movies together, go shopping together, practice kissing on each other, and fight over who would marry Ryan Phillipe and then decide that we’d share him. We depended on each other for almost everything. People often thought that we were dating. I didn’t care and neither did she. We were essentially in a (mostly) non-sexual relationship.

When I would try to meet guys on the net and such (PlanetOut anyone?) she would be supportive but I always detected a hint of jealousy and passive-aggressiveness in her voice. She was pretty good compared to some of my other gay friends’ hags. I heard stories of them picking fights with their prospective boyfriends at the time, hags asking their fag to choose between the guy they’re going on a first date with or them because they were going to miss ‘movie night’? Really manipulative and desperate behaviour.

I have my theories on why I needed that kind of companionship at the time, and why this story gets repeated over and over today. I think it’s natural to seek unconditional love, to find someone that will love and accept them no matter what. The fag-hag relationship is safe for both parties, it’s dependable (not to mention dependent) but it keeps two people from really growing, maturing and finding themselves in my opinion. It’s like they aren’t attracted to each other yet have this weird need to be each other’s back-up plans for marriage, and maybe that’s what keeps them both in situations like these. The guy because he’s looking for love and acceptance at age 18 in the gay community who no one takes seriously and goes from one trick to another and she’s that constant that can fill his void. And she’s too self-conscious with her appearance and he’s the only male figure in her life she feels comfortable with and so projects a relationship-like fantasy between the two of them.

Many of these relationships have since ended (my own included) over the last decade as we have matured and built up the confidence to begin to carve out the lives that we want. I don’t regret it at all, and we both helped each other through a lot of tough times, but I know I am much happier now than I was then. May ex-hag rarely speak these days as I find that we have little in common now that we don’t have that ‘need’ for each other and that familiarity. The story is also paralleled with the gay guys that I grew up with, a couple of which I am still great friends with. They too have trouble connecting and moving on from that ‘toxic’ relationship with their hag. They are still friendly with them when they see them, but it’s a bit like exes awkwardly trying to get along.

I know most of us gays have been there at some point and have probably had or might still have our hags. To be fair, I must acknowledge that there are many fag and hag relationships that have great boundaries and conduct themselves more like friendships than relationships fraught with jealousy, in-fighting, and head games. Great examples exist in pop culture, from Will & Grace to Lily Allen’s song about her and her fag hag. But I return to these two on Davie Street and hope either A) that they’re straight and happy, or B) that one day soon they’ll both find their self-confidence, figure out who they are and realize that they don’t really need each other like they think they do and will stop holding each other back from the rest of their lives.

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  • Christof Trafford

    Your opinion is harsh. 2 young teen’s dancing up Davie in glitter and make aren’t growing and maturing? You hope that their straight? Isn’t this a gay blog?!

  • I didn’t know…

    Coming from ND and not having any gay friends left me with a curious look on my face when my new friend who I had only met a few weeks before and who was also gay called me a “fag hag.” I had to ask him what it meant, because I’d never heard the term. I haven’t changed my behavior since meeting him, but still seem to have gay men flocking toward me, wanting to be my friend, which is more than fine with me.

    Today, this gay friend of mine told me that there is a possibility that me and one of his other friends who is also a fag hag will never get along, because she sees me as a threat. He says we both have really big personalities, but I have more gay friends. He says that she’s jealous of me because I don’t try, and the gay men flock to me, but she has to pursue them. I don’t do anything to these guys, other than be nice like I am to everyone, but they still come to me, and I guess that makes her mad. Will she and I (or any other fag hag) be able to get along? Ever?

  • Sionna Barton

    My fag actually sent me this message, telling me that this was so not us! I know the author is speaking in general terms, however I have to say that I have come across more healthy fag/hag relationships then tumultuous ones. I know I may still be young in some eyes, but I am not 18 but 25. Like the author I will reference Will and Grace, my fag and I are more along the lines of Jack and Karen though. I appreciate his zest for life, and his thrill in finding a sweet huney, and I like Karen have a lust for finding hot, rich, white men! We have no jealousy, and we do not stunt each others ability to mature, we are the shoulder each other leans on, when another lesson in life rears it’s ugly head.

    I believe more often than not a hag, (a true hag) is like a dog….please don’t murder me for that statement. The meaning behind it is – like a dog is to man being their best friend, and always there, a hag is to their amazing fag!

  • gay person

    aww sionna thats cute. good luck to you and your fag. and may all fags have hags/fruitflys(politically correct?) in their lives (esp. me). amen. lol.

  • gay person

    also, as a person who could seriously use the fag-hag relationship right now, i think the fag and hag relationship or friendship is so important because a year and some later following my gay journey i am finding having a fag hag would make my life sooo much easier…a non-familial female friend whose accepting my ‘gayness’ would be better than (in my eyes) 10 gay friends.
    i hope i find one soon. sigh.

  • Oh gay person, there’s tons of “accepting” girls out there who’d be perfect for you 😛
    You just need to bump into one… bond over a common crush that you then proceed to have a competition over- to see who can get their number first and PRESTO you have your hag for life ha.
    My suggested pick up spot is universities: they’re nearly all socially liberal and are smart so that weeds out the bimbos 😉 … oh god, now it sounds like we’re finding you a lover ha. and they are great, but maybe you haven’t found the perfect gay friends yet, cause the support and understanding they offer is pretty damn unique and irreplaceable.

  • gay person

    lol thanks for the tips.
    i know gay friends are priceless too but right now i am working through issues accepting my being gay as okay and i will still be loved, and for that a non-gay pro-gay (liberal) minded female friend is most important.
    bimbos AND smarties may apply lol as long as they don’t support anti-gay sentiments. and yea i was thinkin of takin some classes again so that university thing sounds good. thx again.

  • Michael

    gay person, I totally feel for you. You just need to meet the right girl and as Adam said, she is out there somewhere! 🙂

    Having Sionna (yes, she is my wonderful hag…luv you huney!!) in my life really makes it so much easier. I don’t have many gay friends sadly (due in part to where we live) and the few I have live other places, and with out her I am not sure I would be able to cope. All be it all my non-gay friends/family are completely ok with me lifestyle, having the supporting shoulder of a hag to fall onto is very comforting! She has been there for me since I came out, and our friendship has gotten stronger because of it.

    So good luck in your search for your hag. And good luck with your issues, whatever they may be. They may seem big now but soon they won’t be anything to you! 🙂 ciao

  • gay person

    aw thx for the message michael. really sweet of you.

  • no

    I’m a girl who has had faghag like relationships, but I actually think there are two (or more?) categories of fahgags. There’s definitely the hag who is in love with the fag one you speak of but also the one I was which is the hag who lives vicariously through the fag.

    These were both in high school. The second one I had me and another girl shared “custody” (we didn’t call it that but it’s what we did) of the guy and she was the first type and I was the second. And she hated me too because I came after her and she did view me as competition like someone else said. Also I was a “bad influence.” Anyway whenever the guy got a new boyfriend (which happened like five times in the year that we were close) I was always super excited and asked way too many questions and wanted to know details about the sex. And the other girl FREAKED OUT and played all sorts of passive aggressive games with him and hated the boyfriend’s guts and was just sooo annoying about it. And more than once she talked our friend into dumping the guy. Which sucked for me.

    So yeah I don’t think my way was great either, I’m sure it was just as unhealthy but I wanted to point out that not all hags are in love with their fags. But a lot are. I guess what the in-love one is wanting is a relationship with a safe guy and what I was craving was promiscuous gay sex?? But I was. And still am lol. Too bad I have a vagina.

  • no

    And I forgot to say that the first one was way more shy and I would always do things bad things like drunkenly, loudly harass him at parties where there was another gay guy and apparently say things like “make it happen.” haha which is part of why our friendship ended lol.

  • Kimme

    I have a best agy friend and i love him to death. We talk about everything and we love each but i never felt like we had a toxic relationship. I fell more like i push him to go met guys. Though we do have a mutual friend who is in love with him. I try to talk her out of it but she has felt this way for a long time. I think gay men are like the boyfriends we never had and it’s hard to not like them but you have to remember that they are gay and you cannot have them. Though i have seen some really hot gay men and i feel like damn it sucks i can’t have him.

  • Stevie

    I completely disagree with the conclusions of this article. I am in my early thirties and have had close relationships (read friendships) with gay men since my late twenties. My fags are my world and I am theirs. We would all do anything for each other. Yes, it is true that I have experienced a closeness with one of my fags in particular and our friendship did become, in effect, a non-sexual relationship. However, I wouldn’t change that experience for the world and even though we are now not ‘together’ like that, we are still best friends and there is nothing awkward about it at all. I am more than able to have my own romantic relationships outside of my role as hag. There is nothing unhealthy about it, I just enjoy the company of gay men and they enjoy me. I have more fun hanging out with guys, than I do with a group of girls – gay or straight – and I always have done. I hope my hag status continues for many years to come. Love to all the fabulous hags out there and the gay men that love them!