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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, The Beard, Fallback Marriage Pact.


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    Comic Books 


    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • In the Tower and the Hive series by Anne McCaffrey, Laria. Sure, 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? Inverted - the inevitable boinking happens anyway, and he settles for straight. Or as McCaffrey rather oddly puts it, "turns" straight, impling No Bisexuals.
  • 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. Note that he's heartbroken over the loss of his heterosexual lover and Ethan is the only other person who's ever offered him unconditional acceptance.
  • 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.
  • Jiramondi and Melissande agree to this at the end of Sharon Shinn's Jeweled Fire. They're well aware that they'll be seeing other people, but the marriage is convenient for both of them: he benefits from moving to a country more accepting of homosexuality, and she from a layer of respectability.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sex and the City:
    • An episode had Carrie think about this option with her Pet Homosexual, but decided she didn't want to do it. They considered it because he's promised to get his share of family money once he gets married. However, it turns out his distributing-money grandmother knows about his orientation.
    • In a later season, a woman in late forties/early fifties who is sort of friends with the group gets married to a guy who all thought to be gay. She claims they sleep together and that they have hot sex, but Carrie and co are not buying it. She later gets pregnant.
  • Will & Grace:
    • It's sort of the premise of the series. In the first season, she suspects that she wasn't interested in dating because she was having to much fun with her Platonic Life Partner Will. The two decide to have a baby together, since both expect to be single for the rest of their lives, but Grace decides against it when she meets Leo.
    • 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.
  • In 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).
  • Heavily implied to have happened to the very sexy Private Helga and the very campy Lieutenant Gruber at the end of the 'Allo 'Allo! series.
  • Raj from The Big Bang Theory felt increasingly lonely with all of his friends paired off (and especially with his heterosexual life partner getting married) and ended up calling his parents in India to have them set him up with an Arranged Marriage candidate. Their meeting goes well, she's pretty, and they enjoy each others company, and then it comes out that's she's a lesbian that wants to use him as her beard (although in a twist she thought he was gay as well and it'd be a mutual thing). Poor Raj was so lonely he actually considered going through with it, but his friends intervene and buy him a puppy to help combat his loneliness.
  • Averted in Mad Men When Bob Benson proposes to Joan. Bob had been portrayed as an ambitious young executive who was somewhat popular with the ladies and only later revealed to be gay. His friendship with Joan had grown throughout making the viewer wonder whether or not she knew. This was resolved when he proposed to Joan who, though flattered responded that she didn't think he should be with a woman. He replied that he'd actually "been" with several women tacitly acknowledging what she was saying and brushing it aside as unimportant. He then went on to make the basic argument stated in the trope explanation and saying that she'd never get a better offer. She politely refuses saying that she still has hope.

  • The song "Gay Boyfriend" by The Hazzards is the crystallized essence of this trope.
    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 

    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".

    Web Original 
  • The CollegeHumor sketch Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends has an assortment of gay men cheerily listing their advantages as husband material while explicitly threatening to invoke and exploit this trope if the straight male viewing audience refuses to support gay marriage. They go so far as to debunk the idea the marriage would be sexless
    "...We could play her like an upright bass! And the kind of threesome she wants? Oh, we're cool with that."