Settled for Gay

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Are you a straight girl? Have you not had luck with men of late? Remember your old gay pal Will that you're a Fag Hag for? Why don't you settle down with/marry him? Because really, he's the love of your life, the best friend you'll ever have, he'll never leave you. So what if he doesn't ever want to boink you? This is the best you can ever do in life, really!

The opposite of Jumping the Gender Barrier, this is a female character being told that she just can't have what she wants in life AND sex too. May involve one or both partners shagging others of their preferred gender on the side, but in the end, the girl never finds a single straight guy to partner with instead.

This is often applied in a setting where it would be hard or impossible for the man in question to live openly gay or for the woman to remain unmarried, so the marriage keeps him in the closet and her a respectable woman. Obviously, this much has historically been Truth in Television.

Compare Last Het Romance.

Examples of Settled for Gay include:


  • The movie of A Streetcar Named Desire implies very strongly that Blanche's former husband was a closeted homosexual. It was flat-out stated in the play.
  • At the end of Bend It Like Beckham, Jess's friend Tony tries to do this. He doesn't want to tell his parents he's gay, and she wants to go to university in California to take advantage of a football scholarship, so he surprises her by lying to their families that they want to get engaged, on the condition that before they get married Jess should go to university anywhere she wants. Jess chooses instead to tell her parents she wants to go play football.
  • A rather strange example in the now notorious movie A Different Story, where a gay man and a lesbian move in together, fall in love, have a kid, and no longer have any interest in people of the same sex.
  • Beginners: Turns out Oliver's mother knew that Hal was gay all along and actually proposed to him, thinking that she could fix him. It doesn't work.


  • Cosmo Richter's parents in the novel Hot Target by Suzanne Brockmann. He points out that if you were pregnant in Ohio in the early seventies, marrying a gay guy was probably everyone's best option. Mom is never mentioned as dating anyone, though his adoptive dad had a live in Uncle Riley.
  • Lee in Lily White by Susan Isaacs.
  • Laria in the Talents series by Anne McCaffrey. Sure, you're living on an alien planet and the dating pickins are slim, but is it really fair to tell a young, gorgeous girl that she'll have to settle for her gay pal and boink the local Casanova when she wants a shag?
  • Terrence Cee from Lois McMaster Bujold's Ethan of Athos at least acknowledges the possibility when he voluntarily exiles himself to the titular planet of men
  • In Michael Chabon's novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, After Joe Kavalier joins the Navy and is declared MIA, his fiancee Rosa Saks -- who is pregnant with his child -- winds up marrying his best friend/cousin Sam Clay, who had been dating a male radio actor but was traumatized into avoiding men after being the subject of a anti-gay raid by the FBI which culminated in him being raped by several agents. Subverted in the end when Joe comes back; Sam divorces her in part so that Joe and Rosa can be together.
  • At the end of Magic's Promise, Melenna offers this to Vanyel, since she loves him and it will make his parents happy. He tells her firmly that he's flattered, but it's not a good idea.
  • A female friend of Tommy's suggests this in Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Catch Trap because she wants to concentrate on her career but would like to have a husband who won't interfere with her lifestyle. Tommy is still holding out hope that someday he can openly be with his true love, Mario.
  • Jacky and Higgins in The Wake of the Lorelei Lee.

Live Action TV

  • An episode of Sex and the City had Carrie think about this option with her pet gay, but decided she didn't want to do it when she found out she wouldn't get all his family's money.
  • Will and Grace It's sort of the premise of the series.
    • A particular Hide Your Gays reversal of sorts would be making Will, who was technically supposed to be Invisible to Gaydar, also rather campy to keep the show on air, apparently.
      • Also, Karen and Jack are a more definitive example by the end of the series, since they lived together into their old age or something because neither could really hit it off with anyone (it was implied once in awhile that Jack mainly liked Will, and neither really ever got together).
  • In the Showtime series "United States of Tara" Marshall gets a girlfriend since he's still trying to figure out his sexuality. When he realizes he has no attraction to her, he tries to break it off, and she tries to invoke this trope arguing that ignoring the whole sex issue, they get along quite well... It doesn't end well.
  • On The George Lopez Show, this trope is zig zagged. Carmen has no trouble getting guys, but her parents don't approve of the guy she's with. So she dates all around good guy Noah. George and Benny later find out he's gay and Carmen's using him as a cover (and he's using her as The Beard).


  • The song "Gay Boyfriend" by The Hazzards is the crystallized essence of this trope. It's also unbearably catchy.

I'm tired of boys who make me cry
They cheat on me and they tell me lies
I want a love who'll never stray
When he sees other girls, he looks away
And if he never kisses me, well that's alright
'Cos we can just cuddle all night

  • Garfunkel and Oates also did a "Gay Boyfriend" song - although, since theirs is a more modern version of the relationship, it's with an understanding that the boyfriend will eventually come out and leave her, but that won't stop the girl from enjoying him now.

Video Games

  • The classic Visual Novel H-Game True Love has your gay best friend confess his feelings for you if you don't manage to hook up with one of the girls.

Web Comics

  • Branwen's parents from Something*Positive were like this. Her dad did have a boyfriend, but her mom just wanted a family without having to be "bugged for sex all the time."