The two of us are sitting in a banquette in a dimly-lit bar downtown. Throughout our friendship, we will meet in many more trendy, dark bars, the type that, as former nightlife reporters, we both favor. We drink Pimm’s cups or champagne, vodka highballs or frozen Cosmos. We meet at The Hudson Library, Fez, Pastis, and G in New York, The Standard, The Chateau Marmont, and The Formosa in Los Angeles. Our rendezvous have an escapist air—tucked away from the outside world, we can indulge our love of swanky surroundings, stiff cocktails, and gossip. We must look like a couple, our heads leaning in toward each other, quietly laughing. It occurs to us that we embody the quintessential urban marriage—a gay man and his straight female friend.
When we first met, Tom was twenty-four and Melissa was twenty-seven. Our relationship started as editor to writer, but soon deepened into lasting intimacy, thanks to a flurry of e-mails covering everything in our lives from personal triumphs and crises to vacation reading lists to esoteric pop cultural dish. Even as we’ve lived on different coasts for the past five years, our friendship has intensified, our exchanges marked with an unwavering support for each other’s literary ambitions, a rare and unexpected gift between writers. We are colleagues, confidants, kindred spirits, and each other’s greatest cheerleaders.
In the summer of 2005, we spent a heavenly week together in Lake Tahoe, California, a relaxing interlude with both of us working on our latest books, talking shop, grilling up fajitas, and lazily sunning on the dock. Melissa had big news for Tom and his family—she and her husband Mike were three months pregnant. Everyone toasted Mel and Mike and this exciting new chapter in their lives.
A few weeks later, when Mel suffered a miscarriage, Tom was one of the first people she told. His strength and unfailing optimism helped her through one of the toughest times in her life. As she worked through her sadness, it occurred to Mel that she had never encountered a book that documented and explored a friendship like theirs—the deep and loyal bond that exists between straight women and gay men. She proposed that they put together an anthology of personal essays about the subject, and was thrilled when Tom was as enthusiastic about the idea as she was. (We are also happy to report that Mel had a beautiful baby girl just as this book was going to press.)
When we first conceived of this project, we wanted to show the many ways in which this friendship can manifest. Of course there would be stories, the type celebrated in popular fiction, films, and television, of the single girl-about-town and her gay best friend going on shopping sprees and bonding over brunch. But we knew not all relationships fit this mold. While many of our contributors embrace the classic “fag hag” archetype, claiming it and reinventing it as an empowering moniker of their own, others have created new and unusual paradigms of friendship, love, and solidarity.
Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys is divided into five sections, each dealing with a different aspect of this special relationship. Gays and Gals focuses on group dynamics, whether it’s a gaggle of frivolous fashionistas or lifelong friends who have helped each other through infatuation and heartbreak. Close Confidants is about those one-on-one relationships that are the bedrock of many a straight woman and gay man’s life, whether they’re in Hollywood, the New York theater world, or the Ivy League. A Fine Romance is filled with stories of love and lust, from mixed signals and comic misunderstandings to well-intentioned advice and tearful resignation. Growing Up, Coming Out covers friendships that started in the formative years, with outcast girls and misfit guys banding together. And the final section, Father and Daughters, Mothers and Sons, is about the ties that bind, as friendship and family are redefined, often with hilarious and poignant results.
Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys: True Tales of Love, Lust, and Friendship Between Straight Women and Gay Men is a book we have always wanted to read. We hope it makes a powerful statement about alliances between the gay and straight communities at a time when many in our country are striving to be divisive.
We hope you too will find your stories reflected in these pages, though we realize that one book could never cover the plethora of relationships that exist between gays and their gals. It is our wish as well that others will keep writing and talking about this topic, as it’s one that’s close to our hearts. Come visit us online at www.girlswholikeboys.com, where you can learn about readings, special events, and our online musings on the interplay between gay men and their gals. We can’t wait to meet you, either in person or virtually, as you, the real-life gay guys and their gal pals, are the readers for whom this book was created.
-Melissa de la Cruz and Tom Dolby
Los Angeles and New York
From Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys: True Tales of Love, Lust, and Friendship Between Straight Women and Gay Men, edited by Melissa de la Cruz and Tom Dolby, copyright 2007. Published by Dutton.