INTRODUCTION
in the late 1990s, Will and Grace, a television sitcom about a gay man and a
straight woman who were best friends, was one of the most watched and
awarded shows. I watched the show and compared it to my own twenty-plus-
year friendship with Mike, a gay man (I am a straight woman) who is my best
friend. I related to how Will and Grace made each other laugh and finished each
other’s sentences. And whenever I was introduced to the few of Mike’s friends I
had not met previously, they nearly always characterized me as his ‘‘Grace.’’
Through my casual conversations with friends and acquaintances, it seemed
that ‘‘Wills’’ and ‘‘Graces’’ were everywhere. As both a scholar who studies
relationships and interaction and someone with this kind of friendship, which I
refer to as
‘‘intersectional,’’∞ I paid close attention to television and cinematic
representations of relationships that looked similar to my friendship, at least
on the surface. These friendships also were portrayed in such feature films as
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), The Object of My A√ection (1998), and The Next Best
Thing (2000), just to name a few. Yet television and other media portrayals of
these friendships were distorted and exaggerated in ways that seemed to mock
the significance of these ties. They also focused on gay men and heterosexual
women; there was a conspicuous absence of portrayals of friendships between
lesbians and straight men. I knew that these relationships existed. At the time,
my roommate was a lesbian with a best friend who was a straight man. Her
girlfriend at the time also had a straight male friend whom she talked about in-
cessantly. Yet none of us could recall a single depiction of the lesbian–straight
man friendship on television. The more I thought about these di√erences, the
more interesting the topic became. Why were friendships between gay men and
straight women portrayed as ‘‘natural,’’ while a similar expectation was lacking
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