Gay Bravado

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Nice view. You wanna make out? Just two gruff, military hardened dudes sitting in an elevator, snuggling out their woes in a totally hetero way.
Grayson Hunt, Bulletstorm

Bob is your average, macho, heterosexual man. Everyone knows that he is an average, macho, heterosexual man. But nonetheless, Bob will routinely make outrageously homoerotic comments and suggestions to his (presumably also straight) friends and co-workers. Why? It's actually a way to reinforce just how macho he is; by doing this Bob appears to be utterly secure with his own sexual identity, and if he unsettles other people by doing this, then Bob is the one who comes out looking the most unflappable and collected (and above all, manly) in the room. It's a kind of homoerotic jiu-jitsu. Sometimes the target buckles in uncomfortable silence, or sometimes they'll catch it and reverse it (Gay Bravado Chicken: whoever loses, the Yaoi Fans win!)

Occasionally, Bob will make the mistake of accidentally directing one of these comments or suggestions to a man who is, unbeknownst to Bob, Invisible to Gaydar. This is almost always Played for Laughs at Bob's expense.

It's worth noting that this is not just innuendo. Someone shooting for Gay Bravado does not stop at merely innuendo. Nor is this just normal dialogue accidentally mistaken for homoeroticism, or innocent dialogue intended to remind the audience of homosexuality. This is completely intentional. There are of course some Unfortunate Implications in that male homosexuality is treated as a joke at best, and at worst as a weapon to make straight men uncomfortable.

A subtrope of Faux Yay. Contrast Girl-On-Girl Is Hot. See also Real Men Wear Pink. On the surface appears to be a complete inversion of Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?, but can be simply a way of making the same point by means of irony. Near inversion of Armoured Closet Gay.

Examples of Gay Bravado include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Yuu Narukami in the anime of Persona 4 has a very quirky sense of humor, and does this against both Kanji and Yosuke at different points.

Film[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain reveals just how incessant this is in restaurant kitchens, with the predominant insults revolving around "who takes it up the ass". Someone with Gay Bravado, as Bourdain demonstrates, will get more respect than someone who gets offended. Truth in Television, as anyone who's ever worked in the restaurant biz can tell you.
  • Marco of Animorphs frequently refers to his and Jake's friendship as a marriage, not to unnerve anyone but merely to lampshade their Ho Yay.

Live Action Tv[edit | hide]

  • Bunk from The Wire is possibly the best example. Some gems from him include:

"And if I'm wrong, I'll give you a backrub you ain't ever gonna forget."
"Look at that bow-legged motherfucker. I made him walk like that."

    • Occasionally, another character (usually McNulty) will throw it right back at him.

Bunk: "Now it's time for you to show the Bunk some love."
McNulty: "You want some love? Come over here and get in my lap."

  • Hawkeye does this a lot in early episodes of MASH, usually to unnerve the extremely homophobic Frank Burns, but occasionally to Henry Blake or Trapper John as well.
  • Shawn from Psych does this occasionally.
  • In The Thick of It this trope is one of Malcolm Tucker's favourite tactics for unnerving male colleagues:

Jamie: "I'm not leaving it to you, eh? You couldn't organise a bumrape in a barracks."
Malcolm Tucker: "Au contraire..."

  • Many of the jokes in How I Met Your Mother are essentially this between the writers and the audience, such as showing Barney and Marshall in a bathtub together.
  • Dr. Cox and his brother-in-law Ben from Scrubs have been known to use "Gay Chicken" in place of Rock-Paper-Scissors to settle disputes.
  • JT on Degrassi the Next Generation does this for one episode.
  • It's not normally in their characters, but the main characters of Peep Show are forced to act like this at one point to impress their sexually adventurous girlfriends. Being Peep Show, it quickly becomes ridiculous, ending in a full-on kiss as each tries to outlast the other. One thinks "if I keep going the longest, it'll prove that I'm the most heterosexual".
  • Glee's Puck and Sam, with exchanges between these masculine characters including the lines "Dude, your mouth is huge. How many tennis balls can you fit in there?", the response "I don't know, I've never had any balls in my mouth... have you?" followed by a smirk, and, in a later episode, followed up by "Dude, that makes your mouth look even... bigger... Of course, what with multiple other allusions to the possibility that Sam's sexuality is not quite what it seems, this could be a potential aversion. Puck still fits this trope quite nicely though.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Cloud's "flirting" with Barret in Final Fantasy VII, particularly during the early hours of the game when the two of them are duelling egos trying to out-masculine each other. Cloud seems less concerned with proving his own heterosexuality than he is in annoying Barret for his own amusement, though.

Barret: Come waltzin' in here makin' a big scene!
Cloud: It's no big deal. Just what I always do.
Barret: Shit! Havin' everyone worried like that and you don't give a damn 'bout no one but yourself!
Cloud: (Striking a pose) Hmm... You were worried about me!
Barret: Wha!? ...I'm takin' it outta your money, hot stuff!

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Coealsquid: Consensus on the debut of this game was that Spartan Gay Chicken ends in a 30 year committed relationship complete with bickering over when to open a joint bank account and where to place the ottoman.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The Gay Chicken episode of Commodore HUSTLE. Features, among other things, Morgan climbing into bed with Bill half-naked, and both of them cupping each other's balls.

Morgan: Bill's gotten a lot more... gay... lately. Bill's always been a stone-faced recipient of my misplaced gaiety, but now he's actively responding in kind. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that.

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Some teenagers have a version called "Are you uncomfortable yet?" in which teens of either the same sex or both sexes (depending on if you have friends of both sexes or associate exclusively with the same sex) get progressively closer to and more suggestive with one another, while asking the above question. Whoever says "yes" first loses. A lot of this is really just an excuse for teens to explore their sexual identity/get close to cute people in a socially acceptable manner.
    • Another name for it is 'gay chicken', in which two reportedly heterosexual males get progressively closer to kissing each other and the first one to flinch loses.
      • Thanks to Rule 34, there's a gay porn version of Gay Chicken where kissing is only Step One.
  • David Cameron appears to have adopted this as his favoured way of coping with the tidal wave of Ho Yay innuendo around his coalition deal with Nick Clegg (see "as someone who has recently gotten into bed with an ardent Europhile", and recent references to Brokeback Mountain). Clegg has not tended to join in much, possibly for good reason.
  • On pretty much any given Heroes commentary track, particularly from the first season, plenty of (ostensibly) straight male cast members can be seen blithely remarking on the Ho Yay in their own scenes. Or on the attractiveness of other castmates.

Sendhil Ramamurthy: [during a particularly intense conversation between Mohinder and Sylar] Are we becoming one now?

  • There are several YouTube videos of men, including soldiers, dancing to Lady Gaga. It's almost certain that you'll find a few comments on how secure they must be in their heterosexuality.
  • A lot of heterosexual actors who have played gay characters, most notably James Franco, seem to enjoy the sexuality speculation that develops around their choices of roles and tease the media about it rather than outright dismissing the rumors. But even with those who are more transparent, there seems to be an awareness in Hollywood that too much defensiveness and evasiveness only raises people's suspicions, and so many straight actors who come up against these rumors manage to clarify them in a way that still shows their comfort with the gay community and how much they love their gay fans. (One notable example is Darren Criss explaining in Out how as a musical theater geek from San Francisco, so many people automatically assumed he was gay that he essentially had to "come out" as straight.)