Homie-Eroticism: All the gay shit breathas do

Homie-Eroticism: All the gay shit breathas do

Tongue-in-cheek, but like, in your bro’s cheek.

Dunedin is one of the few places on earth where you’ll hear the f-slur casually used by straight breathas who are mere hours away from drinking out of each other’s nutsacks.

I posit that Breathadom creates a unique space for playful, casual male intimacy that remains socially acceptable. It’s messy and rife with internalised homophobia, but I also posit that it’s kind of beautiful. And while it may seem counterintuitive for me to write a pride article about one of the most homophobic subsects of Dunedin culture, this isn’t exactly a calling out – it’s more of an open love letter.

Breatha, I see the way you cling onto your mate’s waist as you shoot through town on Neurons, holding each other close like that scene from Titanic. There’s no way it was necessary for all of you to pile onto a single scooter, and it’s definitely not necessary for you to awkwardly let go, glance to the side, play it cool, and check your phone at every single stoplight. You’re too drunk to read it, anyway. Just stay leaning in tight, pretending you’re not deeply inhaling the bro’s 5-in-1 shampoo and missing his musty Lynx Africa scent when you disembark.

You can wear as many socks as you like and let nothing but “no homo” slip from your lips, but that can’t erase the tender, stolen glances as you and the boys don matching outfits for every occasion. Some things are just undeniably camp. There’s a certain drama – a yearning, even – in the act of cheering as you pour the bro a rancid funnel, with the knowledge that you’ll be the first one to help him upright after, tell him that he’s a wanker and that he absolutely fumbled it, but you’re proud of him anyway. You’re always so proud of each other.

Dylan/Liam/Sean/Dave/whoever – you firmly grasp the other by the shoulder as you help him light his cones. The night lengthens enough to dissolve the secret barriers of men; you can hold each other freely when you’re drunk enough, and when you’ve all stumbled through x number of bars, thus completing the magic formula, you can tell the boys how much you love them with a speech carefully tailored to each and every one. The carefully slurred words may hide your affection to outsiders but, to breathas, this is code for authenticity.

Drinking games yield thinly-veiled experimentation; it’s the genuinely affectionate beer pong compliments, the “Where’s my kiss, bro?”, the dick jokes that extend an olive branch for the boys to make as many gay comments as they can – as a joke, of course. Maybe you’ll laugh about it again later, as you hold your jackets out of the way while you chunder on each other, or as you strip at every hazy opportunity. What is it with breathas and group nudity? It’s serving munt.

You always wingman the bros and give them shit when they fumble the bag, but it’s okay because she just doesn’t see how amazing he is. You pash the boys when you’re on the gear, always passing out in a tangled pile on the decaying couch at the red card. Tomorrow’s dusty morning will see you pry his unconscious head off your shoulder, more carefully than you let on. You’re virtual strangers during weekdays, but as soon as Friday night comes along the camaraderie returns, as do the fleeting moments where you can bear your souls to each other. Sometimes it’s queer, sometimes it’s not, and both are okay.

I know pride and the queer scene can be intimidating. You might feel like you don’t really “get” the rainbow thing, and that all the changing language is confusing. I’m sorry that the only time you can be emotionally close to another man – whether romantic, platonic or something else – is when you’re both on the piss. Patriarchy and the double-edged sword of biphobia hurts everyone. Our culture of kiwi hyper-machoism can be suffocating, but I’m proud that you’re figuring out ways around it. I hope breatha-ness is able to serve you and not hinder you. And keep kissing the homies goodnight. It’s okay.

Also stop using “gay” as an insult. Please. 

This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2023.
Posted 3:11pm Sunday 26th March 2023 by Lotto Ramsay.