Gay is the new cousin.

Last Sunday’s New York Times had a humorous yet poignant article entitled A Prince Charming for the Prom (Not Ever After Though), about how gay men have replaced cousins as prom dates:

LATELY I’ve become wary of the question “Frank, what are you doing next Saturday night?” In the month of May it can only mean one thing: I’m going to yet another prom. And no, I’m not doing a favor for a cousin. Cousins are out. I’m this century’s new answer to the last-minute prom date: the gay best friend.

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And unlike the goofy cousin who might arrive in a ruffled, powder-blue tux and tell embarrassing stories about computer camp, I’m a safe, chic choice. Neither of us will blush with sexual tension when it comes time to attach corsage to bosom. I won’t make a fool of my date or myself with awkward straight-boy dancing. And I’ll help her figure out the details of her dress and hairstyle. After all, we wouldn’t want anyone committing social suicide on the biggest night of our tender young lives.

As the gay date, I also make one of the evening’s most unpleasant moments a breeze. I have no problem meeting the girl’s parents, a typical sticking point for most guys, because I know that wise and open-minded parents are smart enough to realize that a gay guy is their daughter’s best and safest prom bet.

If I were a worried mother of a dateless daughter, I would scour the hip coffee shops of my town waving a rainbow flag in search of recruits. It might cause my daughter to die of embarrassment, but at least she would have a fabulous night out and wouldn’t make me a grandmother anytime soon.

Actually I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner. After all, my kids have often told me that gay guys get the best girls.

The author does wonder how some of these women end up without dates for the prom:

The one thing I can’t understand is why many of my female friends, who are charming, attractive and fun to be with, don’t have straight male suitors to accompany them. Surely the school halls aren’t filled with date-snatching floozies offering the one thing no teenage guy, except the gay best friend, can say no to. So I’ve got to believe I see things in these girls that straight guys can’t because with me the element of sexual attraction was never there to begin with.

Maybe when it comes to women, gay men are just smarter that straight men.