Glee Demonstrates My Straight Man-Gay Man Theory!

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I swear, I had no idea yesterday that I’d be predicting what happened on Glee last night! Don’t worry, this post doesn’t have too many spoilers about the episode if you haven’t watched it yet. (Although, in case you weren’t sure, a male duck is actually called a mallard.)

In case you missed my post yesterday, I postulated how straight men can benefit from friendships with gay men, both in how they reconcile their “masculinity” and how they treat women. On last night’s episode, Kurt and Finn ended up demonstrating just that.

Now, let’s be honest: Kurt’s crush on Finn is a little unhealthy. There’s always the chance that our favorite singing virgin might be open to experimentation, but Kurt’s potentially setting himself up to get hurt (not unlike how Rachel did in the episode). What I’ll give him credit for is that despite his innocent attempts to eke homosexual admissions out of Finn, he does seem to really care about the guy. While Finn might feel awkward if he understood how actually Kurt feels (a denouement we have yet to see), it definitely seems that Finn grows a lot in the episode thanks to Kurt’s compassion.

At the beginning of the episode, the Glee-ers have to pair off to sing a ballad to someone. Finn is concerned when he draws Kurt’s name, pleading to Mr. Schu, “I don’t know if I can do this with another guy.” But the fates have spoken, and Kurt’s heart is all a-flutter.

A bit later in the episode, we see the two meeting up for a rehearsal. Kurt implores Finn to sing everything he feels, but Finn explodes, saying, “I can’t! I can’t sing to a dude! I’m sick and tired of people pushing me to be somebody I’m not!” Finn cools back down and Kurt patiently invites him to open up about the stress in his life. He discusses his love for his unborn daughter (even though we know it isn’t his) and all the things he wants to tell her that he doesn’t think he can. Kurt encourages him to sing it out, telling him it’ll make him feel better. (Thank goodness Kurt never missed a piano lesson! Neither did I.)

It’s at this point in the episode we realize just how serious it’s going to get! Seriously, if you’re a regular Glee watcher, this episode gets pretty heart-wrenching. I’ll leave out the spoilers and let you watch for yourself. In the hallway back at school, Finn thanks Kurt for the idea of singing to the baby: “It worked like a charm. I owe ya one, dude.” Kurt launches into some narration about his love for Finn, including a cute scene where Kurt gives Finn some skin-care advice.

Finn invites Kurt to help him with some fashion advice as he prepares to join Quinn’s parents for dinner. As Finn unpacks his dad’s trunk, the two share some really touching bonding, relating to the experience of both having lost a parent. When Kurt talks about sneaking in to smell his Mom’s perfume, Finn adamantly reassures him, “That’s not stupid.” Despite an awkward moment as Kurt helps match a tie, Finn continues to open up about his feelings about his dad and the stresses of Quinn’s pregnancy. Kurt reminds him that his dad wasn’t empty-handed in battle and so he, too, should use his greatest weapon: his voice.

When Finn gets nervous at the Fabrays’, he actually calls Kurt in the bathroom for moral support. Kurt reassures him, “Just remember the power of the ballad.” Finn quickly hangs up, explaining, “I have to go; they’ll think I’m pooping.” Finn makes some karate chops in the mirror (to perk up his masculinity), but then follows through on the plan to sing to Quinn in front of her Glenn Beck-watching parents. (I won’t spoil how that goes, but it was not so gleeful. Talk about patriarchy!)

In their final scene of the episode, Kurt consoles Finn, who is upset, but has no regrets. He invites Kurt to sing his ballad, which he identifies is “I Honestly Love You.” Compared to the beginning of the episode, Finn seems totally chill (though of course a bit oblivious in true Finn style). “Sounds awesome!” he says, “I don’t know the song, or whatever, but it sounds positive and nice and stuff.” Unfortunately, Kurt does not have the opportunity to follow through on his own advice of openness and honesty because they are interrupted for the episode’s heart-warming finale.

While these new developments in their friendship have yet to totally play out, I think the episode speaks to the ideas I was discussing yesterday. By opening up to Kurt and connecting with him, Finn seemed to develop a stronger sense of security regarding his masculinity and sexuality. Even Finn can’t be so oblivious as to not have a clue what the song “I Honestly Love You” might be about, and his willingness to be sung that by Kurt shows incredible development.

Sure, it’s Glee, which is fiction and often absurd fiction at that, but I think there are some powerful lessons to be learned as well. If the fictional star quarterback can learn to be less homophobic, I’m willing to bet the real ones can too. It’s just about understanding ourselves and each other so we can truly all get along.

We all need somebody to lean on…

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There are 5 Comments to "Glee Demonstrates My Straight Man-Gay Man Theory!"

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Zack Ford, Zack Ford. Zack Ford said: ZackFord Blogs – Glee Demonstrates My Straight Man-Gay Man Theory! – – #lgbt #glee […]

  • Corey Kosak says:

    The idea that Kurt (and Rachel) might be “setting [themselves] up to get hurt” misses the broader point: both characters are so intensely focused on their own petty feelings that they can’t see/don’t care about what the other person really wants or needs.  Given that (so far as Kurt knows) Finn is the father of Quinn’s unborn child, Kurt’s desire to push their relationship beyond friendship shows how selfish he is being and how bad his timing is.   The situation with Rachel is basically identical.  Mr Schuester (or Finn) has a wife (or girlfriend) who is newly pregnant, and even though Shuester (Finn) has never communicated to Rachel (Kurt) any signals other than kindness and friendship, Rachel (Kurt) has chosen this time to make their intense feelings be known, relationship and unborn child be damned.
    This is all deliberate of course, and the fact that the writers have made all of the characters into selfish jerks (with the exception of maybe Puck, who is behaving pretty honorably so far) certainly makes the show interesting.

  • ZackFord says:

    I generally agree Corey, certainly in regards to Rachel. I think with Kurt, though, I see a bit more restraint. I remember what it’s like to be a young confused guy struggling with coming out, and it often includes some really strong feelings that are hard to control. Kurt was sincerely helping Finn in this episode, with no ulterior motive like we would expect from Rachel. He seems to understand that his love can’t be returned, and he’s just trying to follow the very advice he gave Finn about being open and honest—which I think is what will ultimately help him get over his crush.

    I really don’t think all the characters are selfish jerks. They overreact (like Mercedes with the window), but the show is built on this over-the-top kind of life. That’s what glee itself is all about: the production. I’m not saying I love everything about every character, but I worry that you are too quick to paint them all with the same brush. And frankly, I actually don’t have much respect for Puck because he has maintained this lie to his best friend Finn and he’s only in Glee to win the hearts of cougars. Where is this honor you speak of?

  • Phil says:

    I’ve been saying this for YEARS!  Every single straight male friend I’ve ever brought to the gay bar with me has gone home with a girlfriend.  Being friends with gays is the best thing that can happen to a straight guy, let’s be real.  And its symbiosis, because the LGBT community needs strong allies, especially in the straight male community.  My straight male friends who cherish me?  They vote for my rights.  They also tend to be up a little earlier and are more willing to come over and help out if I have a tough project to accomplish, or need someone with a truck to haul something across town for me.  Love my gay boys, but they always seem to be busy for that stuff… 😉

  • Corey Kosak says:

    The “honor” had to do with respecting Quinn’s choice of mate even though he strongly disagreed with it, and keeping his mouth shut about it (well until now).  You’re right that not all of them are selfish jerks; that was an overstatement.   Just some of them are.  I’m still stinging from Artie’s smackdown of Tina.  To throw away their precious love connection because she’s been faking her stutter was a huge overreaction to what was at most poor judgment and possibly was also based on real emotional pain of her own (“oh, you’ve been faking it, you’re not a true outsider like me… you have a choice… blah blah blah”… not to diminish his physical disability but he’s letting it define and limit him and he’s assuming way too much about how much (or little) she’s been through.  In the style of Sue Sylvester: “You want suffering, Artie?  I have to watch this show every week; now THAT’s suffering”)

    And ok, yes, Kurt’s going through some intense feelings.  And Finn is the most luscious boy in school and also seemingly a basically sweet person (when he’s not acting like a juvenile delinquent).  But that’s still not enough reason to drop the ONJ-bomb on somebody!  Right now Finn is a wreck, barely holding it together (btw, am I the only one who thinks that some of the best acting on this show has been when Finn has his emotional moments?  In an earlier episode when he broke down with Schuester and then later with his mom?  Really moving… I didn’t think Cory Monteith had it in him)… and anyway, the last thing Finn needs to hear right now is someone belting out “If we both were born / In another place and time / This moment might be ending in a kiss”.  I mean, come on, Kurt, keep it in your pants at least until this baby thing is sorted out.

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