LGBT media and LGBT characters featured in media have grown in prominence the past few decades. As the visibility grew, a common romance trope was employed over and over again enough that so that it almost becomes cliche: A gay teenager (who is the Audience Surrogate
) ranging from Camp Gay
to Shrinking Violet
falls in love with/actively pursues/crushes on/is paired up with a popular, muscular and (usually) closeted jock.
So many gay stories use this trope for several reasons, best written by Brent Hartinger
, author of Geography Club
1. The Star-Crossed Lovers
trope is Older Than Dirt
and used for so many love stories already, so it stands that it can be used for a same-sex tale of romance and woe.
2. Rule of Drama
: The geeky gay and jock not only come from different "classes" (so to speak) but also face different hurdles in a Coming-Out Story
: The geeky gay always is less conventionally masculine, so he doesn't have much to lose by being honest and open. The jock character, by contrast is a Straight Gay
, and by coming out may lose a lot more, especially dropping down the privilege ladder which can lead to tons of conflict and obstacles for the pair getting together.
3. Most of these writers are gay and this trope could be construed as a form of Wish Fulfillment
: The shy, awkward boy landing a popular handsome athlete is a pretty common fantasy amongst gay men, so it stands that this convention would be pretty prominent.
While a common fantasy, this trope is also Truth in Television
as this kind of pairing does indeed happen in Real Life
See also Sensitive Guy and Manly Man
and Star-Crossed Lovers
. Frequently employs Gayngst
and the Armored Closet Gay
trope. See also Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy
and All Guys Want Cheerleaders
for the heterosexual version of this trope.
- One of the subplots in Another Gay Movie was between the nerdy Griff and the athletic Jarod figuring out their feelings for one another.
- The British film Get Real had the Shrinking Violet Steven discovering jock and School Idol John was gay after he found him cruising in public toilets. They later start a relationship.
- Were the World Mine has Timothy, the only openly gay boy in his class, in love with Lovable Jock Jonathon, the captain of his school's rugby team.
- The film adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, this plays out just like in the novel (see below).
- Genderflipped in Show Me Love, where the quiet and almost completely isolated Agnes falls in love with Lovable Alpha Bitch Elin. They get together.
- Basketball Jones, a gay African-American romance novel by E. Lynn Harris featured a smart, studious man carrying on a secret affair with a basketball player.
- Geography Club used this trope in 1998note with the geeky Rusty falling in love with Kevin, a closeted baseball player. Gender Flipped with his best friend, the bisexual Asian and Nerdy Min secretly dating soccer player Terese, and in a later book in the series, falling in love with a cheerleader.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower has Patrick, falling in love with Brad, the star athlete, as does its movie adaptation (see above).
- "This Year's Prom King" depicts this kind of relationship, with the twist that the jock is the main character doing most of the pursuing as the gay geek is a sarcastic loner who thinks that all jocks are jerks and hates that he's attracted to one.
- Glee has Camp Gay social outcast Kurt crush on Finn, the quarterback, freaking the latter out. Later, they become friends and stepbrothers after Kurt's dad marries Finn's mom.
- Degrassi first had the Camp Gay Marco and his relationship with star hockey player Dylan, and then later flipped the trope with popular Armored Closet Gay football player Riley and his feelings for the artistic, and very much out of the closet, Zane.
- In an episode of MTV's Undressed, a former high school geek is hit on and makes out with the (closeted) former high school jock that tormented him. His Fag Hag teases him about it being the ultimate fantasy of bedding a jock, which he admits.
- Inverted in another episode, where a popular football player, Henry, is more open about being gay than his insecure nerd boyfriend, Brian. Meanwhile, another closeted football player, Nate, is trying to break them up because he wants to be with his teammate. But Henry actually loves the fact that he and Brian are so different and is determined to hold onto him.
- Played with on The King of Queens. When Danny goes to his Class Reunion, he is Mistaken for Gay and manages to accidentally pick up the former football team captain.
- On The Hard Times of RJ Berger, Guillermo was having a secret relationship with Max, who more publicly dated girls like Jenny and Robin.