Follow TV Tropes


Gay Bravado

Go To

"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

It's not gay if you don't care if it is!

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 is of course the message implied when male homosexuality is treated as a joke at best, at worst becoming a weapon to make either straight or genuinely LGBT people uncomfortable (the latter a particularly sleazy form of bigotry).

A subtrope of Faux Yay. Contrast Girl on Girl Is Hot. Can sometimes take the form of a "Take That!" Kiss. 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.


    open/close all folders 

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

  • 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 a notch, and he freaks out and leaves the court, calling him a faggot.
  • Played with in Plan B, to the point of deconstruction. Bruno spends most of the film developing a homoerotic-laden friendship with Pablo as part of a Zany Scheme to get back together with his ex-girlfriend and the two of them joke to their friends about being boyfriends and even kiss for a female friend's enjoyment. However, it's also shown that their bravado breaks down when they're confronted with the notion that they really may be gay/bi for each other: Pablo is much more reluctant to kiss Bruno when they're alone and don't have the excuse of being drunk or dared to do it by others and Bruno reacts to a friend asking him seriously if he likes guys by throwing up, and their emotional turmoil over falling in love with each other for real is not Played for Laughs in the slightest.
  • 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 Skyfall in which the villain touches James 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.
  • When the ultra-macho biker gang the Satan's Helpers threatens Pee-wee Herman in Pee-wee's Big Adventure, their sadistic suggestions for what to do to him start to get a little...interesting, such as when they contemplate forcibly tattooing him (presumably after a Shameful Strip). They are, however, 100 percent straight, because only the lone female member of the gang makes a pass at Pee-wee.
  • Exploited by the pansexual Wade Wilson in Deadpool (2016) to threaten the pizza boy stalker in the opening.
    Wade: Or you'll find out that I have some hard spots, too. [Beat] That came out wrong. [Beat] Or did it? [Kisses stalker on cheek]
  • In their introductory scene from Clerks, staunchly heterosexual (later confirmed to be deeply-closeted bi) Jay randomly tells his Heterosexual Life-Partner Silent Bob that he's "cute as hell" and wouldn't mind going down on him. He then mimes this, then realizes what he's doing, calls Bob a faggot and announced to no-one in particular "I LOVE WOMEN!!"
  • Alien: Resurrection: Johner is The Big Guy of the group of space pirates, and earlier in the film tries to flirt with Ripley 8. However, at the very end, when he is lucky enough to be one of a handful of the Dwindling Party to survive, he spontaneously plants a Smooch of Victory on his teammate Vriess.

  • 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.
    "Well, I don't have any secrets from Jake. I think that's the basis of a good marriage: openness, honesty."

    Live Action TV 
  • The Wire:
    • Bunk 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: It's time you show Bunk the love.
      McNulty: You want love, you come and sit on my lap.
  • Hawkeye does this a lot in early episodes of M*A*S*H, usually to unnerve the extremely homophobic Frank Burns, but occasionally to Henry Blake or Trapper John as well.
  • The Thick of It: Malcolm Tucker loves this, and uses it with practically every other male character, often combined with No Sense of Personal Space.
    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:
    • 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 publicly 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 bisexual), 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.
    • The Master loves this tactic, especially with the Doctor. Of course their infatuation with each other isn't so much subtext as text.
  • 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.
  • Green Wing: Boyce initially does this to his tutor Alan to troll him, but both get really into the dynamic over time. Alan eventually starts to just roll with it, finding excuses to snog Boyce. (Boyce isn't bothered.)

  • Taken to extreme extremes with The Lonely Island's "No Homo." The characters all suggest doing increasingly homoerotic things such as hot-tubbing naked ("We're all friends, ain't no need for trunks!"), watching a gay porno (" a joke..."), having sex with men and coming out of the closet. But they're not gay, because they said "no homo" afterwards.
  • Eminem:
    • One of the many ways Eminem dealt with being accused of homophobia for lyrics was by portraying himself as an Armored Closet Gay for humour ("Rain Man", "Just Lose It", "FACK") or - in the case of his Relapse album - rapping in the persona of an antiheroic Dahmer-esque Depraved Bisexual serial killer who seduces young gay men.
    • In "My Dad's Gone Crazy", Slim brags that he has had his balls removed, bronzed, and hung up next to his Gay Best Friend Elton John's glasses on his "drag wall". Then announces he's coming out of the closet, and 'this whole time, me and Dre have been fucking with hats off'.
    • "Killshot" contains numerous references to Machine Gun Kelly being a Loony Fan in love with him (like Stan, from his own song), ending with an insult that Kelly can't rap because he's too busy sucking Eminem's dick. And that he should keep going.
    • In his verse on "EMPD2", Em raps "I hit 50 via text / Told him that I love him 'cause I don't even know when I'ma see him next". 50 later revealed this was about a real text Em had sent him, which actually read "when you gon fly me in private, so I can land on that dick?". 50 loved it, saying Eminem "said a line a bitch was supposed to say, and made it sound cool".
  • In 50 Cent's hook on "Bump Heads", a Diss Track against Ja Rule, he croons to Ja, "I know you want me, baby" — mocking Ja's possible bisexuality.

    Professional Wrestling  
  • Lumbee Warrior demands the referee check his opponent for weapons, normal enough. But then he demanded the referee pat him down for weapons, front and back, lifting his own sash off his hips to make it easier.
  • Even with his strip dances, pink attires and hip gyrating, Magnum TOKYO did not fear getting called something he was not.
  • Mr. Cacao, better known for his Macho Pump gimmick which started in 2001 at Michinoku Pro Wrestling. He goes beyond the usual baby oil associated with pro wrestlers and put on a dog collar and in general seems like an aggressive Hard Gay, but is 100% straight.
  • Bob Sapp often wore pink feather boas and danced his way to the ring, but nobody in Japan would have called him gay, and pretty much nobody in the world would have had guts to do it, at least during his prime.
  • April Hunter developed a lesbian following based on T&A tag team with Talia Madison. When approached, Hunter would describe other women intriguing and beautiful but state to not being sexually attracted to them in the same sentence.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy:
    • 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!
    • In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Cloud and Rufus continually trade sexual innuendos while squaring off on the Shinra building's roof ("Now it's just the two of us." "Let's make it a night to remember.") He also repeats his slight flirtation with Barret as their friendship develops, calling each other 'SOLDIER boy' and 'big man'.
    • In Ultros's storyline in Mobius Final Fantasy, Ultros makes a fuss of calling Wol pretty and hitting on him, obviously insincerely ('did that creep you out?'). Wol calls his bluff by flirting back, grossing out the octopus, and forcing him to admit he actually hates muscleheads.
  • 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!"
  • In Metal Gear Solid, Snake flirts with most villains he meets as an act of intimidation, including the men.
    • When Raven emerges from the tank, Snake suggestively comments, "must have been a tight fit for a big boy like you".
    • After Snake is captured to be tortured on Ocelot's revolving torture table:
      Ocelot: Finally, just the two of us. How are you feeling?
      Snake: Not bad. I caught a nice nap on this revolving bed of yours. Too bad I was sleeping alone.
    • Solid Snake also hits on Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty a couple of times, mostly to get an annoyed reaction out of him (such as commenting on him looking good in the uniform and making a comment about his 'walk', and being amazed Raiden can walk around like that). He also teases Otacon in decidedly flirty terms - "Reminds me of when we first met".
  • Disco Elysium:
    • Played with in multiple parts of the game. You can attempt to assert yourself in front of male characters making homophobic remarks about your character by making an outrageous declaration about how gay you are. However, Kim, who is gay, will be perturbed and uncomfortable if you make comments like this, as they are ultimately just homophobic as well. There's also several implications in the story that your character is attracted to men in addition to women, suggesting that your character is exploring his own sexuality through making homophobic jokes.
      • One example of this is how, when talking to Cuno, he will suggest that you managed to sneak into an area by being gay. You can retort that this was true and you dressed Kim up as a prostitute, which doesn't impress Cuno (or Kim, who apparently thinks you would make the more convincing prostitute).
      • If Cuno calls you a 'f***t', you can shout back "You're goddamn right I'm a f***t!", which leaves Cuno speechless.
      • Failing a check when squeezing the Racist Lorry Driver for information leads to your player character making weirdly suggestive threats, along the lines of going somewhere together quiet. When the RLD starts laughing at him, asking him if it's a 'f***t thing', you can insist it actually is, which causes Kim to intervene.
    • The Hardie Boys, all extremely tough macho guys, try and freak you out by referring to the unbelievably disgusting decomposed corpse as "Pretty Boy" and acting like they're attracted to his 'pretty-boy smell'. (You don't get the opportunity to play along.)

    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.
    • Honestly, about half of Arin's dialogue with his co-hosts, Danny especially, revolves around this trope.
  • Markiplier is entirely straight, but by his own account, his humor is founded on nothing but dick jokes. He will use almost any opportunity to reference penises or gay sex — e.g. using a word or phrase for it as an answer in a quiz or improv game, constructing a penis in a sandbox game, drawing one in a game that allows it...and so on. He and his male friends often engage in gay bravado with each other by making verbal or visual innuendos, pretending to flirt with each other, deliberately Ship Teasing, or commenting on the attractiveness of male people or characters. And lastly, he is also a member of the above-mentioned D Club.

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