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Op shops and friend fall outs.


I was in the local Op Shop this morning, and as I wandered towards the exit I overheard a conversation between the two women at the counter. Such was the content of this conversation that I hung around, pretending to be very interested in the range of used bras.

Is it just me, or are used bras kind of worse than used undies?

Anyway, I digress.

I missed the catalyst for the conversation so I have no idea where it came from, but one of the women were talking about their used-to-be best friend. They’d drifted apart, not because of distance or time or a major argument, but because people questioned whether or not they were gay.

They were good friends – very close best friends. They each kept a room in their homes specific for the use of the other. Not a spare room – this room was designated for the other to use.

It turned out that the woman’s best friend did indeed “decide” she was gay. The woman doesn’t really believe that her friend is gay, she thinks it is more of an experiment or an attempt to be popular. But regardless of her friend’s sexuality, the upshot is that they’ve drifted apart, have nothing to do with each other any more, and she is quite fine with the fact that her friend is having barbecues without her now.

I’m sorry, but what the actual fuck?

I don’t even know where to start with this. I’m partly baffled that it resembles my own experience with coming out and the friendships I lost; partly baffled that I recognised the gay friend’s experience as so close to my own; partly wanting to ask the woman at the Op Shop if she needs a gentle tap with a boot in her bottom; and partly wanting to sit down with her and explain what this is like from the gay friend’s point of view.

And a huge chunk of me is angry that this woman thinks that sexuality is something that can be played with. Which makes me snicker because surely I could have phrased that better, because playing… Oh man.


A huge chunk of me is angry that this woman thinks that her friend has decided to pretend to be gay. I’m angry that she has so little trust in her friend (they were besties, remember?); I’m angry that sexuality is considered something that can be lied about; I’m angry that people do lie about it. What on earth would possess someone to pretend to be gay? It is such a breach of humanity – not just a lie to yourself, and to your partner, but to an entire group of people who have fought and are fighting for the right to love.

How could she think her best friend would do this?

Now, I’m not talking about experimenting. I’m using the words and the intention behind what this woman was saying. She felt that her friend was pretending to be gay because a) she was lonely, b) she wanted more friends, and c) she isn’t really gay.

I stood at the counter for a longer than I needed to when I was paying for the bits of stuff I bought. I looked at both the women there. They were around my age. I couldn’t tell which of them it was who had been talking. But I wanted them to recognise me.

I wanted them to see that I’m gay. I wanted to tell them about my own coming out experience, and encourage her to either re-assess the depth of the friendship she claims she had with this girl, or to go to her friend and talk to her.

It made me sad. I wish I’d spoken up. I had planned to and wanted to, but it just wasn’t appropriate given the people milling about and the fact that I had forgotten to brush my teeth.

What are your thoughts on this? Is my anger misplaced? Is it OK to pretend to be gay? Are second hand bras worse than second hand undies?

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