The life of an A-gay

The trials and tribulations of being a vain, self-appointed elite

Not that I’m an eavesdropper, but I was eavesdropping while a gaggle of late-20s/early 30s gays chattered and nattered away on a starlit patio recently. Their favourite topic? Themselves, naturally. How much their shoes cost, which friends they wanted to meet later and how much their shoes cost. New belts and how to wear them. Where on earth were they going to go now that Fly was closing and how to avoid “basic bitches” — and for the record, I’ve never heard anyone use “basic bitch” who wasn’t so much of a basic bitch himself. I tuned them out at this point to focus on my date and our appetizer, but something one of them said caught my full attention:

“It’s hard being an A-gay. Everyone thinks it’s easy, but I wish they knew.”

He didn’t so much say it as sigh it, with heaving shoulders weighty with fatigue from shoe discussion. It caught my ear because it was sighed with genuine conviction! This A-gay wasn’t being ironic at all, and his sentiment was backed up with agreement from the rest of his supposedly A-list table. They proceeded to take turns telling each other how they kept up their individual A-gay status (pro-tips included not having unattractive friends, buying a new smartphone every six months, and using your gym membership card as much as your credit card). The phrase was bandied around to the point where it started to seem like they clung to it like a life preserver . . . if they were ever demoted to being a B or C gay, they’d cease to exist.

A-gays work in fields like public relations, retail and media, but, oddly enough, aren’t top-ranking people in those fields. They are very particular about facials, hair, belts, the price of shoes, but also the documentation of those things. Expect to see their timelines filled not just with selfies, but closeups of pores, haircuts and buckles.

They are at every film festival party (but don’t go to the films,) every gallery opening (but aren’t into art) and every single nightclub, bar and lounge with mind-numbing regularity, where they are photographed together with their equally well-coiffed, scrubbed and dressed A-gay brethren. They’re pleasant enough and never offended or offensive, because life is too much of a whirlwind to be either. They’re often “very close friends” with bartenders and doormen (to avoid the trials of a difficult evening of nightclubbing) but never seem to know the last names of their “very close friends.”

They’re usually besties with the spornosexual, a newly coined breed of gay. The term is a blend of sports and porn, introducing elements of rampant masculinity, competition, exhibitionism and ego. The spornosexual differs from the A-gay mainly in that the A-gay wants to be respected for his possessions and status, whereas the spornosexual wants to be respected not just for his physique, but for the amount of likes his physique gets on Instagram.


Among us gays there will always be an element of vapidity, materialism and bottomless ego. We know it comes from low self-esteem and we know that decades of oppression takes its toll and fucks up our collective psyches in various ways, but this faux over-achievement needs to be checked. It’s summer, you guys . . . let’s all unclench a bit and remember that under the labels and social status, we’re all the same. The best things in life are free, and having stuff, being pretty or getting “likes” doesn’t make you a better gay. And if you truly think it does? You’ve got bigger things than letters of the alphabet to be worried about.

Toronto at Night appears in every second issue of Xtra.

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Culture, Opinion, Canada, Toronto

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