As 'Andrew Garfield gay' peaks on Google Trends, we unpick why the reaction is so ludicrous...
Earlier on in this fine 2023 summer (if you can call it that), I was heading on holiday with friends when I overheard the most ludicrous conversation. ‘Bro, I’m telling you now if you ask me to put sun cream on you it’s not happening, okay?’ one of our guy friends declared to another as we sat down on the plane. ‘What, you’re not going to give me a little rub down to stop your guy from burning?’ the other replied jokingly. ‘Seriously bro, don’t ask me, I’m warning you,’ he returned.
It was a seemingly light-hearted if-not-ludicrous conversation, but lo and behold when it came to applying that ever-necessary sun scream to any hard-to-reach areas, none of the guys asked each other to help out – even when us girls weren’t around. They would rather burn, in record European temperatures no less, than ask another man to put sun cream on them.
But seriously, it’s a real thing with the men, the old sun cream saga. And its perhaps why Andrew Garfield is the centre of rather ludicrous debate today – because he has, in fact, been pictured having sun cream rubbed into him by a male friend. Okay, it could be something else going on, but take a look at the below picture and tell me that’s not a man about to have sun cream rubbed into his back, hands steadying himself so as not to be shaken about by the unnecessarily aggressive slapping men tend to do when tasked with rubbing a lotion in.
By law of male fragility and toxic masculinity, this picture apparently means he’s gay. Seriously, it’s going viral today accompanied by a plethora of innuendo and memes that imply Andrew Garfield is not the straight man he’s defined himself as in various interviews of the years. Of course, for legal reasons we should note here, we’re being sarcastic – this picture does not say anything about Andrew Garfield’s sexuality, but the reaction online certainly proves that many would deem it so. Right now, ‘Andrew Garfield gay’ and ‘Andrew Garfield bisexual’ are breakout search terms on Google.
Now, this is not a case of a male celebrity opening up about his sexuality and thus leading many to question or even dream that he is not entirely straight. In fact, Andrew has been outright asked about his sexuality in interviews before, after playing a gay man living with Aids in the National Theatre’s current production of Angels in America. In an interview with OUT magazine, he explained that while he views sexuality as very fluid, he identifies as heterosexual.
‘My stance toward life, though, is that I always try to surrender to the mystery of not being in charge,’ Garfield said. ‘I have an openness to any impulses that may arise within me at any time. If I were to identify, I would identify as heterosexual.’
Of course, just as Garfield seems to believe himself, sexuality is a spectrum on which you can move at various points in your life depending on your experiences, the people you fall in love with or have lust for and of course, your comfortability at truly expressing yourself. Many previously identifying heterosexual people have gone on to come out as queer later in life, but as of right now it’s clear Andrew identifies as straight – so why the hullaballoo at this picture?
Frankly, it seems to be a case of internalised homophobia underlining the unnecessarily explosive reaction. Because, dear men, being afraid to have another man rub sun scream on you for fear of being gay is homophobic. In case you weren’t aware, appearing gay is nothing to fear, and another man touching you does not automatically make you gay.
And thus, seeing a picture of four men shirtless on a boat – regardless of how Jennifer Coolidge about to be killed on The White Lotus this scene really feels – with one perhaps readying himself to touch another, should not immediately elicit claims that any of said men are automatically homosexual. To assume so says a lot about how fragile your masculinity really is, that a mere stroke from another man can be considered an affront to it.
Like the Barbie movie test, perhaps this is another we should be putting our male companions through this summer: if he can’t let another man rub sun cream on him without complaining, run.