James Bond might be a fictional character, but for many men he served as something of an inspiration and educational guide. With his trademark charismatic charm and sartorial dress sense, Bond came to symbolise what many believed masculinity should be: intellectual, powerful and oozing sex appeal. Bond is the reason why so many of us have fantasies about jetpacks and laser watches. He’s the man that encouraged us to go beyond sweatpants and a crew neck and get into tailored suiting. We began to dress better and look sharper, take more interest in current events so as to appear worldly and interesting, and when it comes to the ladies, we may not have been as brazer or shown as little regard as Bond did at times, but we tried to lay on the charm just like him.
When Daniel Craig stepped into the role of 007 – one he’s come to redefine as his own in many ways – he presented a character who was more complex than what we’d previously seen on the screen. As debate over Bond’s demeanour intensified, with many questioning if such movies could still hold up in a society that had lived through a #MeToo movement, Craig brought a vulnerability to the role that defied such expectations of masculinity that had previously shrouded the character. And even outside of the role, Craig is challenging masculinity as he admits to frequenting gay bars to meet women and avoid the “aggressive dick swinging” of hetero spaces.
In a recent interview on the podcast Lunch with Bruce, Craig explained: “I’ve been going to gay bars for as long as I can remember. One of the reasons: because I don’t get into fights in gay bars that often.”
The actor revealed that he started going to gay bars when he was young because he wanted to avoid ending up “being in a punch-up” during a night out, something he admits happens “quite a lot” in straight venues. And while Craig has been married to fellow actor Rachel Weisz for a decade, he said that when he was single, gay bars were a great place to meet women. “[Gay bars] would just be a good place to go,” he said. “Everybody was chill, everybody. You didn’t really have to sort of state your sexuality. It was OK. And it was a very safe place to be. And I could meet girls there, ‘cause there are a lot of girls there for exactly the same reason I was there. It was kind of an ulterior motive.”
Many in the LGBT community have been quick to praise Craig for not shying away from discussions of sexuality, and his comments on the podcast were widely welcome. Still, some were a bit uncomfortable with the idea of trying to meet women in gay spaces but as culture magazine Glue suggests, “OK, the last bit is a tad gross, but who amongst us hasn’t taken a straight friend to a gay bar who’s ended up pulling.”
Craig and the podcast host, Bruce Bozzi, are old friends and during the interview recalled a moment when they were photographed hugging outside a gay bar in Venice Beach, California, in 2010. The incident sparked tabloid speculation about Craig’s sexuality. “We’re tactile, we love each other, we give each other hugs, it’s OK. We’re two fucking grown men,” said Craig. “For me, it was one of those situations and the irony is, you know, we kind of got caught, I suppose, which was kind of weird because we were doing nothing fucking wrong.”
Craig added, “What happened is we were having a nice night and I kind of was talking to you about my life when my life was changing and we got drunk and I was like, ‘Oh, let’s just go to a bar, come on, let’s fucking go out.’”