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Gay Bravado
"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 Fangirls win!)

Occasionally, Bob will make the mistake of accidentally directing one of these comments or suggestions to a man who is, unbeknownst to Bob, Straight Gay. 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, where men do stereotypically gay or feminine things but aren't doing them to show off their heterosexuality. 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:

Anime and Manga
  • Yuu Narukami from Persona 4: The Animation has a very quirky sense of humor, and does this against both Kanji and Yosuke at different points.

Film
  • The "trash talk" scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin ends this way.
  • In the 1986 tennis movie Jocks, one of the players on the team psychs out his opponents by pretending to be gay and making kissy-faces at them. When they face off against a better team, his opponent takes the gay Up to Eleven, and he freaks out and leaves the court, calling him a faggot.
  • A very strange version of this makes up the main plot of the Argentinian film Plan B: Bruno goes to great lengths to befriend, flirt with and even kiss Pablo, but it's all right because he's just doing it to drive him away from his ex-girlfriend Laura so that he can hook back up with her. Until he finds himself falling in love with Pablo for real...
  • Jarhead has an entire mock-orgy, just out of view of a TV camera nonetheless.
  • A running gag in Saving Private Ryan, and one of the film's few moments of levity, is the squad making kissy-faces and sexual comments at each other. One of the signs that Upham is finally being accepted by the squad is Reiben commenting on suddenly being attracted to him when Upham translates a French love song being played on a record before the final battle.
  • This is basically the plot of the movie Humpday. After a long night out drinking, two straight friend decide to shoot a gay porn movie because "they're totally okay with that". It turns into a game of gay chicken when neither of them wants to admit that they think it's a terrible idea - one because giving up means he's now settled into his 9 to 5 life, the other because giving up means he's not actually a cool drifter who can't be bothered by anything.
  • There's a scene in the James Bond film Skyfall in which the villain touches Bond in a very suggestive manner, asking, "First time for everything, yes?" Bond matter-of-factly responds by asking him, "What makes you think this is my first time?". That's right—James freaking Bond, womanizer extraordinaire, just insinuated that he's gotten it on with another man.
    • Well, he was a public schoolboy with all the tropes that implies.
    • Anything for Queen and Country.
    • The villain, meanwhile, despite a fairly campy style throughout the rest of the film, briefly looks shocked and disgusted at this revelation, suggesting the villain's advances themselves may have been an unfriendly case of this.

Literature
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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..."
    • An extremely upsetting variant on this is when he attempts to force Olly to continue a relationship he doesn't want to be in through physically sexually harassing him, to indicate who's supposed to be in charge.
  • Many of the jokes in How I Met Your Mother are essentially this
    • Sometimes it occurs more between the writers and the audience, such as showing Barney and Marshall in a bathtub together.
    • Other times it's simpler, such as Marshall coming back from the bathroom and realize Ted wasn't in there... and informing the group he may have made some wildly inappropriate homoerotic comments to a guy with the same shoes as Ted.
  • 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.
  • Big Bad Moriarty in Sherlock is introduced as poor Molly's Transparent Closet boyfriend. After this turns out to have been him hiding right under Sherlock's nose, he says he was "playing gay" but continues to blatantly flirt.
  • Many of the comedians on Have I Got News for You will flirt with each other, but probably the best example of this trope came during the extremely memorable episode where the position of chairman was taken by BRIAN BLESSED, who has been in a heterosexual marriage since 1978. He spent some time alluding to being "a lovely bit of rough" for great stage actors and coming on to Paul, who eventually gave in to his advances during The Stinger.
  • A flashback in Breaking Bad shows Hector Salamanca make lewd comments and kissy faces while publically urinating towards two men inexperienced in criminal dealings while waiting for their cartel don, although it's probably less about being playful or asserting comfortable sexuality and more about being sexually aggressive and domineering (a prior flashback had also established his racist feelings towards the men in general).
  • Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor and Jack take part in this quite often, although it should be noted that both characters are bisexual (well, Jack is loud-and-proud Extreme Omnisexual and the Doctor is technically the same but in practice more Bi the Way), and they also flirt with each other unironically at other times. It seems they started flirting as masculine posturing, and carried on because they both fancied each other.
  • In The Outer Limits (1995), episode "Dark Child", an Alpha Bitch harrasses Tammy and accuses her of being a lesbian. Tammy drives her away by claiming she actually is one and then hitting on her.

Video Games
  • 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!
  • The Demoman from Team Fortress 2 has one line that plays with this trope. "If I wasn't the man I was, I'd kiss ye!"

Web Comics

Web Original
  • The Gay Chicken episode of commodoreHUSTLE. 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.
  • In an episode of Game Grumps, Arin recounts the story of a group he once belonged to, called the "D Club", which started for this very purpose. It must be heard to be believed.

Western Animation
  • This was a main tool in Bugs Bunny's arsenal of provocation.

Real Life
  • 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.
      • A joke goes that the longest game of 'gay chicken' went for 17 years when in the process of adopting their second child one guy said "Sorry man I just can't take it, this is too gay."
  • 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?
    • It should be noted that some time after the series ended, Zachary Quinto (Sylar) came out as gay. This still applies to all the other guys though.
  • 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.)
  • Can occur in high school team sports where the guys are comfortable being naked or showering around others, such as naked hugging. Or done around others to make other people uncomfortable.
  • Get Vitriolic Best Buds/Heterosexual Life-Partners Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict ("Howling Mad" Murdock and Face respectively from The A-Team) in the same room together. Odds are that within minutes (if not the very first lines out of their mouths) they'll start flirting with each other.

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