Friday, January 14, 2011

Gay for you?

The gay romance genre comprises a number of sub-genres. The usual sorts, such as fantasy, science fiction, historical, and so forth. But one of the sub-genres unique to m/m romance is what's sometimes abbreviated as GFY - Gay For You.

In a GFY story, the characters were not previously gay, or at least didn't know they were, until they met that one special someone and embarked on a gay relationship with them. The implication is usually that one or both protagonists wouldn't be in a same-sex relationship except with this one other person. Because they're Gay For Them.

Personally, I'm fine with GFY stories, but there are lots of readers who really don't like this particular story trope.

I've seen "Zero at the Bone" referred to as a GFY story a number of times. I never thought of it that way myself. I can see how it could be considered as such. Neither Jack nor D has really ever had a long-term or significant relationship with another man before. Both were at one time married to women, although both relationships were over long before they met each other. Jack is described as having had at least physical relationships with men. D hasn't, but he's had romantic and sexual feelings for men before.

So in my mind, it was clear that they were both gay before they met each other. They just hadn't had a gay relationship before. That could be considered GFY. But they were both gay for more than just each other, so using that definition, it wouldn't be.

What do you think?


  1. I think Zero is a story of two men who weren't "comfortable" with the idea of being gay, but couldn't deny their feelings for each other. And personally, I like the GFY genre, but I think of it as fantasy. Then again, I'm not someone who needs realism in my reading material.

  2. The way I took the story when I read it was Jack and D were both gay. D had always had the feelings, he just didn't admit to them due to his circumstances in life. Me personally, I didn't when I first read it and still don't think it's a GFY. I do like the GFY genre, especially if it's a HEA. Even if the stories are fiction, no one can help who they fall in love with.

  3. No problem with GFY, if well written.

    But I never saw ''Zero'' as part of this sub-genre. I agree with Connie (*waves at Connie*) that D wasn't comfortable with being gay, but Jack was, as far as I remember.

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  5. As above. ;-) Well-done GFY is good, and I've read a few excellent ones . . . but ZERO can only be considered GFY if one ignores both characters' back stories! It's not GFY, IMHO.

    BTW I re-read it for like the 5th time recently after reading the short you released recently. :-D Any excuse....

  6. Interesting... I thought GFY meant just as you said. Then I read somewhere, ( dont remember where) GFY is referred to as a contemp sweet M/M romance novels. Didn't mention "virgin" gay characters. So I started assuming the latter.
    Either way, I never thought of Jack and D as GFY... I dont think I classified it as anything but AMAZING!!! But I guess if one had to classify it, it could be GFY because of D.
    Wait a minute... is it GFY if one of the characters is a "virgin" physically but not mentally?

  7. I never got the GFY vibe from Jack and D. To me that idea falls somewhere in the catagory of soul mates, people fated to love one another and to me finding that has nothing to do with gender. D and Jack were always gay but D wasn't comfortable being who he was until he met Jack. Jack, of all people, gave D (mister tough guy not even bullets stop me) the courage to love and be loved. The fact that Jack got to be the one to burst D's gay cheery as it were was the icying on the cake.

    Love is crazy, complicated, wonderful and at times a bit dangerous and the fact that D, control freak extriodinare, made himself open to all that is amazing in and of itself. D ended up willing to risk anything and everything (twice) for Jack. So were Jack and D GFY? No, but they were definantly MFE (made for eachother)

  8. Becca stated, I never got the GFY vibe from Jack and D....the problem with labeling any facet of fiction, is that it gives the stories connotations which may or may not apply -- it all depends on the individual reader, because our imagination plays into our interpretation of the story-line...:-)...for me, I thought of it as two rather lonely people who discovered each other at a time when they most needed to have each did not matter whether they were "gay" or "straight", as it is a story about discovering yourself thru love with -- as Hitchcock would say -- the "McGuffin"!!!...:-)...

  9. I like GFY stories. I actually make an effort to find them. There is something about falling in love with a person, not their physical appearance but their 'essence', that is highly romantic to me.
    Many of the romantic stories I find myself interested in have that premise. Het or Gay.
    The idea that your sexuality is not denied so much by the physical but can be influenced emotionally is just interesting to read.

  10. Not fond of GFY, I will and have read it though. Having said that my personal opinion is that GFY justifies certain peoples beliefs that it's a lifestyle choice, so you can just "snap out of it" or be "fixed" by religious nutbags. I do not see the two MC's of ZATB being GFY characters at all. Jack had previous experiences, D had a sexual encounter whilst in the army. These two men are not walking billboards of the stereotypical gay male, they are just two blokes that are also gay but, for reasons that everyone knows happens, were married when they were younger. I must add, I just found this book, read it in a day and a half and just fell for D and Jack.

  11. I never got the GFY vibe from either of them. I got the impression that Jack has known all along, that he isn't particularly closeted but that he also is pretty private so it doesn't come up.

    D. is coming out, not just suddenly gay. He's cut off of his emotions, especially love, because of who he is and what he does. He didn't acknowledge his own feelings when he was younger because he didn't want to, and later, it just didn't fit his idea of a macho hit man. But he admits they were there before. So it's not GFY. Which is good, because that bugs me. It's okay if they've always known they were bi and this is their first gay relationship but GFY just annoys me.

    So when oh when is the next one???

  12. It's not GFY. D admits to having feelings for a man before even meeting Jack. Jack had been attracted to men before meeting D. What's the confusion?

    As far as GFY stories, I like them if they're believable. Well, as believable as any romance can be. ;)

  13. Just found this book through a used book vendor. Didn't really consider it GFY (although I love the premise of stories like that--the heart wants what it wants--no labels need apply). But absolutely loved this story and fell hard for the characters, especially D. His emotional "moat of protection" makes The Mariana Trench look shallow. Read the book in one day to find out what happened, then went back to savor the story.