15 Things Straight Men Were Told Not to Do Because It's "Gay"

Amber Garrett - Author

Feb. 18 2020, Updated 3:55 p.m. ET

straight fragility
Source: Apatow Productions

Thankfully, homophobia seems on the decline, but despite growing acceptance for LGBTQ people, straight fragility is still definitely a thing. Basically a sub-genre of toxic masculinity, it's the concept that straightness is so fragile, certain behaviors some unseen Arbiter of Straightness deems effeminate either make you gay or make you look gay. You know, things like having good hygiene, owning more than one towel and laundering it regularly, or, as my husband was once told as a kid, owning a lunchbox. 

A recent Ask Reddit thread asked straight guys to report the silliest things they were told are "gay" at some point in their lives. Judging from this thread, it's apparently super hard for guys to stay straight!

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Practicing basic bathroom hygiene

man on toilet
Source: istock

Several commenters pointed to recent threads in other reddit communities where women learned their boyfriends were not properly washing their genitals or butts because touching any penis or anus belonging to a man — even their own — would mean they were gay. Honestly, I think reading that just made me gay, because I may have to swear off men entirely now.

Using a bookmark?!

man reading
Source: istock

"I was reading a book and a couple dudes called me gay, wrote RJ1337. "Not for reading a book, but because I was using a bookmark." As another commenter points out, the manly way to consume a book is to tear out and eat the page after you're done reading it.

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Being from California

the californians
Source: NBC

After moving to the East Coast, Californian iph0ne learned just being male and from the state of California made him gay or at the very least bisexual. Given that California is the most populous state in the country, that's one heck of an LGBTQ contingent! 

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Drinking cocktails

mad men
Source: AMC

Though not a man, Glubmerrow dates them, and once went out with a guy who insisted cocktails are gay. "So he'd only drink beer to be more masculine." I wonder if his problem stems from the word "cocktails."

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Sitting next to a man at the movies

men sitting together at movies
Source: istock

I am definitely familiar with this one: Some guys think if there isn't a seat between them at the theater, people will think they're on a date (so?) and OMG maybe if everyone thinks they're on a date they'll fall in love for real? So stupid. A woman commenter, FiveTwoThreeSixOne, says two men once approached her in a sold-out theater and asked her to sit between them "because we're not gay so we can't sit next to each other." She did say they paid for her snacks when she obliged, but it was weird nevertheless.

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Eating long cylindrical foods of any kind

man banana gym
Source: istock


There are some dudes out there who won't eat certain foods because they might resemble a phallus. Cucumbers, bananas, hot dogs, you name it. I mean, do you, man, but you're severely limiting your diet, especially since fruits and legumes, being the sex organs of plants, sometimes resemble the sex organs of the animal kingdom. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

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Source: istock

A gay father and his gay son, apparently.

No, not the dance — which would be ridiculous as well — this person thought the oral hygiene practice of flossing was gay. "Apparently, gingivitis is something only hetero people have," remarked DeadWombats

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Wearing glasses

ghostbusters chris hemsworth
Source: Sony pictures

User maybeiamonreddit shared, "I saw a Twitter screenshot a little while ago from a woman who thought glasses 'looked kinda gay.'

"Caption on the screenshot was, 'Fellas, is it gay to see?'"

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Wearing a scarf

idris elba scarf
Source: Getty

Sorry straight dudes, no warm necks for you in winter. Redditor freecain recalls getting ready to go to a kind of upscale bar with his roommate and throwing on a scarf with his wool jacket. Though he didn't outright say he thought it was "gay," his roommate seemed stunned by his straight roommate making such a choice to... bundle up against the cold.

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Using a straw

men with silly straws glasses
Source: istock

PI3M3I says he knew a guy who wouldn't sip drinks with a straw "because apparently it’s like having a tiny penis in your mouth." My man, the fact that you thought that says a lot more about where your mind is than anything.

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Buying towels

man buying towels
Source: istock

Shiasurasa's best friend told him linen shopping was gay. How does this man acquire sheets and towels? I'm not sure I want to know the answer to this one. In response to his pal's insane response to an adult man buying his own linens, Shiasurasa said, "That's nice bro, but I need towels. Deal with it."

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Being polite

"A guy in the bus offered his seat to a woman that was standing," writes Akinory13 She looked at him and said "Are you gay or something?" like it's gay to be polite." 

OK, this explains a lot to this subway commuter. I guess all those guys who pretend to be asleep when pregnant and elderly passengers board are just worried people will will question their straightness if they're courteous and give up their seats. You'd think John Wick himself being a noted subway humanitarian would battle this notion a little.

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Using an umbrella

singin in the rain
Source: MGM

Gene Kelly was straight — that's why his umbrella isn't open.

BoilEmMashEmBoilEm's sister once told him a male friend of hers said he "hated being a guy because he COULDN'T USE AN UMBRELLA. Apparently it's gay to keep yourself dry." 

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Cleaning the house

man cleaning
Source: istock

Plenty of women are perpetuating stupid stereotypes about the things straight guys supposedly don't do — to their own detriment. A friend of chinchenping's got dumped by a woman who thought he must be closeted because he liked "having his apartment clean so he cleans it every evening and somehow, doing house chores is gay." Incidentally, his new GF loves this about him.

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Doing math

math gay
Source: Imagine Entertainment

A friend of egmalone's is pursuing a doctorate in mathematics and was (for some reason) doing some equations while at the gym. A man asked him if he was counting his "reps" and when he replied, "no, this is my math homework," the gym rat replied, "what, are you gay?"

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