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File:IncompatibleOrientation 1826.png

Elliot (straight)<-Justin (gay)<-Susan (straight)<-Catalina (lesbian)

"'Cause Carol's a lesbian... and I'm not one. And apparently it's not a mix-and-match situation."
Ross, Friends

Alice has a thing for Bob. Maybe they've been friends for a while and she's ready for a Relationship Upgrade, or perhaps they just met and it's Love At First Sight, but regardless, she's perfectly smitten.

But there's one problem: Bob is gay, and he's already in love with Charlie.

A character has an Incompatible Orientation when they are coveted by someone who can never have them, because they just don't sway that way. They can be any character who has an incompatible sexual orientation to their admirer, and they will usually already be in a relationship with someone else. Note that this can also apply if someone is Asexual (not interested in a sexual relationship with anyone, male or female).

To meet the requirements of this trope the relationship must be stated as hopeless or impossible in-universe (by a character or through Word of God) at some point in time. This means that Incompatible Orientation doesn't have to be a permanent state of being, and attempts may be made within the plot to 'fix' it.

In a lot of works, especially Manga and Anime, this is often done mostly for amusement purposes, by turning the person in love into a Hopeless Suitor or even a Butt Monkey. Lesbians are particularly prone to receive this treatment, although others are not exempt from it.

Can be the result of Even the Guys Want Him or Even the Girls Want Her. The admirer may or may not be a Fag Hag or Hopeless Suitor. May overlap with All Love Is Unrequited and Gayngst. The reason why Sorry, I'm Gay is supposed to work. May be resolved if the admired decides If It's You It's Okay. Of course, some characters can simply resort to Jumping the Gender Barrier.

Compare to Settled for Gay, where they may have incompatible orientations, but they decided they probably wouldn't find a suitable suitor anyways. Compare also Last Het Romance, where the incompatibility causes a character to discover they're gay and break off the relationship. See also All the Good Men Are Gay. If a character informs someone about an Incompatible Orientation, it's either Sorry, I'm Gay or Dude, She's a Lesbian.

Truth in Television, of course.

Examples of Incompatible Orientation include:

Anime & Manga

  • Almost aggravatingly so in Hana Kimi with Nakao and his blatant crush on the womanizing Minami Nanba, whom Nakao still believes he has a chance with.
  • In Sasameki Koto Masaki Akemiya has an adorable, albeit unfortunate, crush on his girl-loving classmate Sumika Murasame.
  • Kuroko from A Certain Scientific Railgun has a major crush on her Onee-Sama Mikoto, who in turn has a huge crush on Touma, the main character of Index, a guy. There is hope for her though, since she's made it clear that she lusts after anyone who looks like Mikoto, and Mikoto has 10,000 clones. At least one has to be a lesbian who would be interested in Kuroko.
  • In End of Evangelion, Maya is revealed to be a lesbian with an unrequited crush on her "sempai", Ritsuko, who is very much into manly men. This also caused Kaji's earlier attempts to flirt with her to fail.
  • In Taishou Yakyuu Musume, Tomoe Tsukubae is all but screamed to be in love with her good friend and teammate Koume Suzukawa. Who is oblivious AND is in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage to Saburou Kitami. It's very telling that, when Koume introduces Saburou as her boyfriend to the baseball teams towards the end, the other girls are very thrilled... but Tomoe's Oh Crap reaction mirrors exactly that of Koume's Dogged Nice Guy Takahara.
  • Kämpfer: This is the primary romantic woe of Senou Natsuru: His crush, Sakura Kaede, turns out to be a lesbian. This became more complicated when she falls for his female self.
  • Falco Lombardi and Katt Monroe in the canonical Star Fox manga Farewell Beloved Falco. The Incompatible Orientation is that Falco has never wanted a girlfriend, nor will he ever want one. It becomes blatantly clear that Falco has never felt swayed or had any sort of Male Gaze for any female character. Though whether this makes him gay or asexual is never made clear from only this context. The other contexts, however...
  • Masato from Manga no Tsukurikata is in love with his childhood friend Morishita, who in turn is in love with his sister.
  • Kudo from Doki Doki School Hours has a major crush on Suetake, who in turn is totally oblivious regarding his feelings. Of course, this could also be due to the fact hat Suetake is a complete dolt.
    • Likewise, Kitagawa definitely has a thing for her teacher Mika, who doesn't appear to swing that way at all.
  • Toyed around with endlessly in Maria Holic. Kanako goes to an all-female school to meet girls, and basically falls in love with every girl she meets. However it seems like really no one she has met is a lesbian.
  • Saber Marionette J makes a running gag of the attraction the flamingly gay rich boy Hanigata has for the poor, industrious (and fundamentally straight) Otaru.
  • Girls Bravo has the Psycho Lesbian Kosame and eventually Hijiri falling in love with and attempting to molest the very straight Kirie.
  • In Working, Jun is having a hard time with his feelings for his colleague Yachiyo, who in turn is in love with Kyouko, her female boss at the family restaurant they work at.
    • Questionable - although Yachiyo is utterly devoted to Kyouko and would almost certainly be willing. There is no direct evidence that they have ever been lovers or that either have ever had lesbian sex with anyone.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn Lussuria has a creepy love for Ryohei to the EXTREME even though he is straight (and one of the few to be obviously married in the future).
  • Jessie from Battle Athletes is completely straight. That doesn't stop her from attracting a one-episode female Stalker with a Crush.
  • Kou from Aoi Hana has it tough, since Kyouko, the girl he is engaged to, is a lesbian--at least judging by her crush on Yasuko.
  • Mahou Tsukaitai takes the cake for having multiple cases in the same Love Dodecahedron. Aburatsubo, the bishonen gay vice-president is crushing on Takeo, the straight club president (who lusts for Cute Witch Sae, who is too shy to express her feelings for Takeo). Meanwhile Nanaka (another Cute Witch and club member) has a crush on Aburatsubo, which he can't return either. They have a heartwarming moment when she confesses and he turns her down in the most polite way he can come up with... but admits that he knows fully well how she feels, unable to have the one you love.
  • Vampire Game: Laphiji is in love with Seiliez, his Not Blood Sibling. Unfortunately for him Seiliez is shown to be straight considering his crush on Ishtar. However this can also be subverted for it is hinted later on that Laphiji and Seiliez do begin a sexual relationship... albeit one that is likely to not last long.
  • Happens twice in Karakuridouji Ultimo. Akitsu has a crush on Rune, who has a crush on his best friend Yamato, who has a crush on a girl named Makoto Sayama. And Rune does not take it very well. At all.
  • Sara from Tenshi ni Narumon develops a big crush on Mikael in the second season but it never goes anywhere because first, Mikael has only eyes for anything related to angels and second, he's already in love with his male teacher, Raphael - even if he has problems admitting the fact to himself
    • Similarly, Natsumi has some questionable feelings towards her deceased older brother Fuyuki over whom she obsesses throughout the whole series, but again, it never goes anywhere because first, Fuyuki is well, dead and he turned into an angel Raphael and second he's in love with his male student, Mikael
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, Luca confesses to Hayate that if he were a guy, she'd have fallen for him. She thinks he's a girl because she's only met him while he was crossdressed, so she doesn't know that Hayate is actually a guy, and that she actually did confess to him because of it.
    • Even before the confession he didn't want to let her know he's actually a guy.
    • Both Miki and Ayumu have expressed romantic interest in Hinagiku as well, and decided to take a backseat to things, since Hinagiku is smitten with male Hayate. Ayumu has expressed interest in Hayate as well, allowing her to possibly supercede the limits of this trope without changing any orientations.
  • Bakemonogatari: Suruga is in love with Hitagi, who is straight and dating Koyomi.
  • This is the official Word of God response to questions about the relationship between Konata and Kagami in Lucky Star. One of the girls is in love with the other, who is straight. They didn't say which one is which, though.
  • Possibly the case in Kyo Kara Maoh. Wolfram is head-over-heels for Yuuri. Yuuri wishes people would stop assuming he feels the same. Alternatively, the rest of the world could be right, and Yuuri could be living in a Transparent Closet.
  • In Shinshi Doumei Cross, student council president Shizumasa aka Takanari has so many women chasing after him that he has Maguri, another male member of the Student Council, pretend to be his lover. The problem with this arrangement? Maguri actually does have feelings for him, and has to sit by and watch while he chases the main heroine instead.
  • Camp Gay Arms Dealer Fred Luo is in love with straight Handsome Lech Gene Starwind from Outlaw Star, but neither of them seems to Gayngst about it. Gene uses Fred's crush to score better deals on parts and weapons, and Fred uses Gene's desperation for said parts as a bargaining chip in his less...legitimate business endeavors.
    • Lampshaded when Fred tells Gene that, in exchange for supplies, he 'owes him a favor'. Gene doesn't miss a beat before responding "I'm not going to sleep with you Fred."
  • Furui of Poor Poor Lips, despite his initial dislike towards her, ends up having a crush on Ren. This causes him no small amount of angst since one of the causes for his initial dislike is his discomfort around the fact that Ren is an out of the closet lesbian.
  • Juri of Revolutionary Girl Utena is all but said to be a lesbian (or, IF bi, leaning almost only to girls), and has a crush on the very straight Shiori. This causes her a lot of Gayngst. Word of God implies that Shiori may be able to return Juri's feelings, however.
  • Ladies' man Sanji of One Piece is wanted by the entire population of the queer island Kamabakka Kingdom.
  • Happens to Ikuno from Darling in the FRANXX, a young lady who's in love with her fellow Action Girl Ichigo, who cares for her as a friend and companion but is straight and simply cannot return the other girl's feelings for her.
  • Played very tragically in Yuuteitou. The trans man Tetsuo Sawamura, when he was still living as a woman, was in an Arranged Marriage to a guy named Shirou Honjou. He loved him as a woman, Tetsuo saw him as a friend only and wished he'd see him as the guy he actually is. Later, Shinbanmushi took a hold of Shiro and horribly disfigured the guy, then mortally injured him; he dies giving Tetsuo a Dying Declaration of Love.

Comic Books

  • Batman villain Two-Face has spent the better part of the last decade obsessed with Renee Montoya despite her lesbianism. In fact, it was one of his attempts to woo her that ended up outing her in the first place.
  • Lipstick Lesbian Karolina spent much of the first two volumes of Runaways pining for her best friend, Nico, who was a little shocked when K finally tried to kiss her. Then again, this hasn't stopped them having Ship Tease moments since.
  • Northstar once had a crush on Iceman. It didn't take him long to realize it would never happen, since in his own words "He's straight. End of story."
    • It was only introduced to squash fan speculation that Iceman might be gay.
  • Subverted in Exiles: Morph had a crush on teammate Sunfire without realizing she was a lesbian. When she made The Reveal, he accepted it wholeheartedly and continued to act as a brother figure to her, even supporting her relationship with Spider-Woman.
  • Strange example in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comics. Female Slayer Satsu falls in love with Buffy and they have sex at least twice. But Kennedy, another lesbian Slayer, dissuades Satsu from pursuing a relationship with her. Why? Because she claims that ultimately, Buffy is straight.
  • When Lady Blackhawk joined the Birds of Prey, she began nursing a crush on Creote, the muscular, deadly, Russian ex-special forces soldier who is the partner of Savant, the not-quite-irredeemable villain that Oracle is trying to rehabilitate into a good guy. Everybody knows that Creote is in love with Savant, except for Savant himself, but nobody quite gets around to letting Zinda in on this. When she finds out she is somewhat surprised.
  • Tom Pearce never stood a chnce with the object of his crush in Camelot 3000. Of course, it was further complicated by the Gender Bender nature of reincarnation.

Fan Fiction

  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fic Compelled, there was a subplot where a male OC had a crush on Kennedy, who is both lesbian and taken. It mostly served to give them some Character Development.
  • In Respawn of the Dead, the RED Spy is in love with the RED Engineer, who is both straight, and has a family back home. Needless to say the Engineer rejects him (not helped along by the many atrocious acts that Spy commits over the course of the story), and the Spy ends up killing himself.
  • In the Katawa Shoujo fanfic From Shizune's Perspective, which was written prior to the game's release, Shizune is bisexual and Misha is heterosexual, resulting in Misha rejecting Shizune's confession. This becomes Harsher in Hindsight (or Hilarious in Hindsight, in a VERY ironic way) when considering their backstory in the final game - which is exactly the opposite, with Misha as a lesbian and Shizune turning her down since she's not into her.
  • In Fallout Equestria Lilpip grows up with a crush on Velvet Remedy, who is straight. They later become best friends and Velvet goes so far as to become something of a motherly figure to her. Notable in that it's Lilpip's feelings for Velvet that compel her to leave the Stable when Velvet runs away. So this trope actually sets off the plot! (Not that kind, Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter!)
  • In a now Lost Forever Digimon Adventure 02 fic, Sora falls in love with Yamato. Yamato cares for her greatly, but is gay and in love with Taichi. And Taichi is in love with Sora, who cares for him but doesn't love him back. The three speak about their love woes and act quite Wise Beyond Their Years about them, no Die for Our Ship-related Melodrama about it.


  • Cher falls in love with Christian in Clueless right off the bat. But it ends up okay - he becomes her favorite shopping buddy.
  • The Kevin Smith film Chasing Amy is primarily about a straight man trying to win the affections of a lesbian woman he fell in love with. And for the record, her name isn't Amy. The title regards a story within the story.
    • To make matters more complicated the woman in question is technically bisexual but identifies lesbian, and this confuses everybody.
    • Not to mention the possibility that the straight guy's best friend may be feeling some secret Ho Yay for him as well....thus leading to the disastrous suggestion Holden makes at the end of the movie.
  • In Threesome: Alex is in love with Eddy, but he's gay and in love with Stuart - who is straight and in love with Alex.
  • The Object of My Affection is all about this trope; a woman falls for the gay man who becomes her roommate after her husband leaves her.
  • In Rock N Rolla, One Two discovers that his close friend Handsome Bob is gay, and secretly has feelings for him. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Election, this is why Lisa stops being friends with Tammy. She was straight (and only "experimenting"), while Tammy was a lesbian who thought that the two of them were in love.
  • At the end of The Children's Hour it's revealed that Martha was in love with Karen, her straight best friend who was going to get married, the entire time they've known each other.
  • Occurs in the film The Upside Of Anger, when the youngest daughter Lavender tries to seduce a classmate and he rebuffs her by declaring he's gay.

 Lavender: Have you ever had gay sex? What about sex with a woman? Just have sex with me and if you don't like it, then you can be gay.

Gorden: That's really nice of you. (leaves the room)

  • In Radio Days, Bea is desperate to get married and goes on a string of dates looking for love. When she tells her date Fred that she has a crush on him, he comes out to her. Being the 1940s, it takes Bea a few minutes to fully understand what he means.


  • In Doctrine of Labyrinths, especially at the beginning of the second book, Felix (gay man) is attracted to Mildmay (straight man). Incompatible Orientation isn't even the biggest problem here; the biggest problem is that they're brothers. Less squickily, a girl they meet on a journey develops a crush on Felix and decides it's true love; he has to explain to her that no, he's not interested.
  • The Inda series by Sherwood Smith combines this with All Love Is Unrequited. Hadand (straight woman) is in love with Evred (gay man), who's in love with Inda (straight man). To make things more complicated, Evred and Hadand are in a highly political Arranged Marriage (they're king and queen; he's an Unexpected Successor and she was betrothed to the previous heir), Inda and Hadand are siblings, and Inda is Evred's military second-in-command.
  • Rules of Attraction features a bisexual college student in love with another guy, but this guy's straight and in love with the former's (female) best friend.
  • In Master and Commander, Mr. Marshall, a known "paederast," is hopelessly attracted to Captain Aubrey.
  • Lord John's hopelessly unrequited love for Jamie in the Outlander series.
  • In The Princess Series near the end of the first book Snow White is placed back in her magic coma and can only be awaken by a True Love's Kiss. Talia (Sleeping Beauty) kisses and awakes her openly showing her love for Snow White for the first time. Snow is a major flirt who is blind to Talia's true feelings. Talia seems to realize it wouldn't work out so tells Snow that she just used a spell to wake Snow.
  • In Kiss by Jacqueline Wilson, shy Sylvie believes she is in love with her best friend Carl, and is convinced they will one day get married. However, Carl discovers he's actually gay, and Sylvie not only has to deal with the aftermath (including his being bullied and attempting suicide) but also come to accept that he can never love her as more than a friend.
    • In the Girls series, Ellie has a very strong crush on an older guy she meets in town, and pretends to her friends that he is her boyfriend Dan (causing her embarrassment when they meet the real Dan, who is awkward and nerdy.) It turns out that the older guy is gay, but he and Ellie become good friends later on.
  • Luna by Julie Anne Peters includes a subplot about a straight girl being love with another straight girl ... because the girl she likes was born with a male body and hasn't told her friend she's transsexual yet. The friend with a crush thinks 'he' is gay - "But gay people get married, right? They have kids. He could change." There is some tension after The Reveal, but they stay friends.
  • In Thief of Souls, Drew (who is gay) has a crush on Michael (who is straight).
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Sansa sports a crush on the gallant and handsome Ser Loras, Knight of the Flowers and confirmed lover of the late King Renly.
    • Likewise, Brienne falls in love with Renly.
  • Comes into play in Robin Hobb's Farseer and particularly Tawny Man trilogies between hero Fitz, who is quite straight, and his best friend the Fool, who is quite in love with Fitz. The Fool is quite open about his feelings, though he denies that there's anything sexual implicit in love; the situation serves, however, as a major source of discomfort for Fitz once rumors start flying about their relationship. Possible subversion in that the Fool might be a Wholesome Crossdresser, but probably not.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, Melenna feels this way about Vanyel in the Last Herald-Mage trilogy.
  • In the Alex Delaware novel Self Defense, one of Alex's patients, Lucy, tells him that she's falling for Alex's Friend on the Force Milo. This puts Alex in a very awkward position, since he can't violate Milo's privacy by telling Lucy that Milo is gay, and can't violate Lucy's by telling Milo about the crush.
  • In Sputnik Sweetheart, K (the narrator, straight man) is in love with Sumire his best friend. She in turn meets and falls in love with Miu, another woman.
  • Not as romantic, but in Ben Elton's Dead Famous, the somewhat perverted Sgt Hooper asks Straight Gay policewoman Trish out after she's spent a while naked and wearing a variety of wigs to trick the murderer. Her response? "Sorry, sarge. I'm gay."

Live Action TV

  • Season 4 of Heroes has Claire's roomate Gretchen reveal herself as a bisexual who has a crush on her. This appears to be a case of incompatible Orientation as Claire is thought to be completely straight at this point. This however is subverted in the episode "Pass/Fail" when Claire officially declares she also has feelings for Gretchen.
  • A George Carlin HBO special had "Love and Regards," which begins with Rebecca asking the narrator to "give Klaus her love," and ends with:

 'What if Klaus doesn't want Rebecca's love? What if Klaus wants to give Wilhelm his love? If he asks do you say, "BULL-shit, Klaus! You give your own love to Wilhelm! I'm off to find... Rebecca!"'

  • In Glee, Kurt has a crush on Finn. In one episode, Rachel points out that she will always have more of a chance with Finn than he does because of the simple fact that she is a girl.
    • Mercedes also had a crush on Kurt. For reasons unfathomable, he turns her down.
    • Kurt also starts making out with and dating Brittany in one episode because he feared that his father Burt saw the heterosexual Finn as a better son. His dad is understandably confused.
    • Also, Blaine and Rachel, if only for one episode. After a drunk kiss with Rachel, Blaine (who has until then believed himself to be gay) decides that maybe he's actually bisexual. They go on a date, but when they kiss again while sober, Blaine realises that he was wrong about being bisexual. Subverted, as Rachel didn't seem to actually be in love with Blaine. It seems that the fact that he can sing and is a good kisser is enough for her to decide to date him, and she's positively thrilled when he tells her that he's gay after all:

 Rachel: That was amazing! I am speechless! I just had a relationship with a guy that turned out to be gay; that is song writing gold!

    • Also, in one episode, after Kurt gives Rachel a pep-talk, she says that she wishes he was her boyfriend. It's mostly joking though, since they are both taken.
    • Santana ultimately turns out to be this for Puck. He takes it well, though; by the time she's on the road to coming out, he's moved on, and in the episode where the club helps Santana dealing with her outing, he says that he knows that he "was just a phase" and is fine with it.
  • Several examples in Skins:
    • In the second season, Maxxie, who is gay, is stalked by a girl whom everyone calls Sketch. She sabotages her way into the school musical just so that she can kiss him, convinced she can make him love her. She also follows him home, sneaks into his house, masturbates on his bed and then hides under it while he is sleeping. Now you know how she got that name. The strangest thing about Sketch is that she is aware that Maxxie's gay and somehow thinks that by dressing in masculine clothes and binding her breasts, she'll break through the Incompatible Orientation barrier. When she decides to go after his best mate Anwar (who is straight) instead, she stops binding and starts wearing more frills and make-up.
    • Naomi tries to tell Emily this in the third season, but it's eventually revealed that she was just Armoured Closet Gay and has always loved Emily and only Emily.

 Naomi: Me, not muff-muncher. Me, cock-cruncher.

    • J.J and Emily. Emily offered to take his virginity the same day that she came out of the closet.

 Emily: This is a one-time only charity event, you understand?

J.J.: Got you. Because you are gay.

Emily: Yes, I'm gay. Get on with it.

      • This understanding didn't stop him from hoping for the possibility of a relationship when she asked him to the Love Ball, but it turned out that he was her beard, and she left him when Naomi showed up.
    • Cook and Naomi. She tried to jump him when she was still in denial about her sexuality, but stopped after about forty seconds of mad snogging, since she realized that she didn't want to do it. In the fourth season they share a big heart-to-heart, and Naomi ends up giving him a very platonic kiss, giving us:

 Cook: [beat] for f--ks sake, I’m never gonna get to bone you, am I?

Naomi: [Very matter of factly] No, I love someone.

    • When new character Alex is introduced in the sixth season, Liv gets a crush on him, only for him to reveal that he's gay when she admits her feelings.
    • The American remake has a very strange version of this with lesbian Tea and straight Tony. Tea sleeps with Tony as a joke, but he gets feelings for her. Yet, for some reason, she keeps sleeping with him, out of either a power trip or because she's confusing their platonic chemistry with sexual chemistry, depending on which interview you read. It ended up as a Relationship Writing Fumble since Tony and Tea were more believable together than Tea with her actual girlfriend and love interest, Betty. And yet, the show kept insisting that she was a complete, 100% lesbian with no interest in Tony.
  • In a Will and Grace episode, Grace encounters a Fag Hag who is in love with her gay best friend. Having been down this road, Grace tells her that she has absolutely no shot with him whatsoever. She denies it at first before confessing why they can't be together despite their perfect compatibility.
    • For that matter, virtually the entire premise for the series ("I wanted to raise the kids to be Jewish; you wanted to sleep with men").
  • My So-Called Life: After her disastrous crush on Brian, Delia has that glorious dance scene with Rickie. By the last episode, the only one oblivious to her newfound crush is Rickie. When he tries to reciprocate, she tells him she knows he's gay (in that awkward, teenage way--"You're gay, right?")
  • In Allo Allo, the very campy Gruber is hopelessly infatuated with the very straight Rene, who is frequently discomforted by the fact that Gruber "fancies" him. (Ironically, Gorden Kaye, the actor who played Rene, is in real life a very content and "out" gay man.)
    • The series finale showed that Gruber had married Helga after the war and had many children with her, perhaps making this a further case of Incompatible Orientation from her side.
  • Played for comedy in an episode of The Catherine Tate Show where a lesbian nurse falls in love with (the very man-eating) Bernie.
  • In a second season episode of the television comedy Frasier, "The Matchmaker", Frasier introduces Daphne to his new boss, Tom Duran (not realizing that Tom is, in fact, gay). Daphne finds herself immediately smitten to Duran, only to be crushed anew when she learns that he could never share her attraction.
    • In a sub-plot, Tom finds himself attracted to the heterosexual Frasier. At one point he even confesses to Frasier that he had no idea the man was straight.
  • In Waterloo Road, Phil and Roz find that they're compatible personality wise, and form a relationship which runs smoothly until Roz falls in love with her female teacher. At the climax of this plot point, Phil and Roz agree that since Roz is now a lesbian, they probably wouldn't go well together after all.
  • In The George Lopez Show, this is subverted in the episode "What George Doesn't Noah". Carmen brings home what seems to be the ideal boyfriend, Noah, after dating bad boy Zack. George and Benny spy on Noah and find him with another man in a movie theater. Turns out, Carmen was using Noah as a cover so that she could date Zack secretly.
  • In Lip Service, Ed has a hopelessly unrequited crush on his lesbian friend Tess.
  • Following J. K. Rowling's outing of Dumbledore, Saturday Night Live did a sketch portraying McGonagall having this sort of relationship with the gay Dumbledore:

 Dumbledore: Oh Minerva, if only you had a penis and balls!


 Buffy: Willow, you're a gay woman! And he...isn't!

Willow: This isn't about his physical presence! It's about his heart.

Anya: His physical presence has a penis!

Willow: I can work around it!

    • Willow's case overall in the series tends to fall under No Bisexuals: now that we've established her as lesbian, we just couldn't have her be interested in a man, despite her previous physical relationships with Oz and Xander.
    • In the same episode Willow attempts to get around this trope by using a spell to change the man into a woman. Fortunately for him Xander and Spike stop her from completing the spell.
  • The last episode of Britannia High, has this funny moment between Ronnie and Jez:

 *Ronnie pushes Jez against the lockers and kisses him*

Jez: Ronnie! ... I'm gay!

Ronnie: Awww, so!?

*Grabs Jez and smooches him again*

  • Seth and Stefon on "Weekend Update." Well, so far.
  • Fiona from Degrassi has come out of the closet, in the process revealing she had a thing for her best friend Holly J. However, after Holly J finds out, she tries to set Fiona up with another girl at a school dance. This doesn't amuse Fiona, but the two later reconcile, remaining best friends.
  • In The Nanny episode "The Playwright", Maggie is in love with Gracie's ballet teacher, who helped her with her make-up and does great Liza Minelli impressions. Fran is just suspicious until Maggie says something about him getting along well with his "roommate" Chuck.
  • The short-lived John Ritter show Hooperman featured a Running Gag involving a gay cop named Rick and a fellow officer named Mo who repeatedly hit on him despite him having no interest in women.
  • Molly Hooper has a rather obvious crush on titular character Sherlock who seems to be asexual. Irene Adler, who's gay, has a crush on Sherlock - who is still asexual, although possible Watson-romantic - who is not gay. At all.
    • Thanks to being Heterosexual Life Partners with Sherlock, John is now officially Married to the Job. John attempts to maintain heterosexual relationships, but they never last because Sherlock scares all of his girlfriends off. Your Mileage May Vary as to whether John has become Sherlock-sexual; he's certainly given up correcting people who mistake him and Sherlock for a couple.
    • Sherlock definitely has feelings for Irene Adler, part of which is based on the fact that she actually challenges him intellectually. As his brother points out, that Sherlock refers to her only as "the woman" seems to indicate that he thinks of her as literally the only woman worth thinking about. If Sherlock's feelings for her are sexual in nature, then he might not be asexual.
    • They don't have to be sexual. Asexuals are perfectly able to have steady romantic and emotional relationships. It's pretty clear by the end of the second season that Sherlock is deluding himself about being a sociopath, because he has at least 3 friends who he cares about more than his own life. Given this, you could decide that Sherlock is in a steady nonsexual relationship with John, or pursued a rather less stable one for a while with Irene. Romance does not always mean attraction, and lack of attraction does not necessarily mean lack of romance.
  • In one episode of the British sitcom Coupling, Jane becomes determined to sleep with a gay man she is hanging around with. Being rather ditzy, when her friends advise her that she does not have a chance, she brushes it off with the assertion that she is bisexual, which to her mind resolves the problem. It doesn't.


  • The T.A.T.U. song Malchik Gay (or Mal'chik Gey, "Gay Boy" in Russian) is about a girl in love with a gay boy who spurns her.
  • Amore Si by Tanita Tikaram is a heartfelt evocation of unrequited homosexual attraction where the singers' acceptance of the impossibility of a relationship collides with blind love. Going on with a friends-only relationship is tearing the protagonist apart.
  • Rihanna's "Te Amo".
  • White Town's "Your Woman" (later covered by Tyler James), about a straight guy in love with a gay woman, which makes the line "I could never be your woman" kinda obvious.
  • "She'll Never Be Your Man" by Chris Cornell, which is either about the bitterness and resentment of either a straight man losing his girlfriend to a gay woman, or a gay man losing his boyfriend to a straight woman.
  • Celine Dion's (French-language) single "Ziggy", about a girl in love with a gay man she knows she'll never have.
    • This song is actually from the famous (in France) musical Starmania (known as Tycoon outside of France), where a barmaid (who somehow serves as narrator) is in love with a very gay fan of David Bowie.
  • Weezer's Pink Triangle.

 I'm dumb, she's a lesbian,

I thought I had found the one.

    • Inspired by something that actually happened to Rivers Cuomo, but ironically in reality it turned out to be a case of Mistaken for Gay: He wrote the song after harboring a crush on a girl, then noticing a pink triangle patch on her backpack one day (not "on her sleeve" as the lyrics state). However, long after he'd already written the song and fallen out of contact with the girl in question, he learned that she was straight, and was wearing the symbol to show her support of gay rights.
  • Reel Big Fish's "She Has a Girlfriend Now" is about a guy despairing that his ex now only dates women. He offers to get a sex change to appease her, causing the girl to croon "Oh, that's so sweet!"
  • Of Montreal's song "Tim, I Wish You Were Born a Girl" is about this.
  • At the end of the music video to "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen, it turns out that the dude she's been obsessing over is gay. This is followed by Carly giving an expression of pure, undiluted "WTF".
  • This is one interpretation of R.E.M.'s song "Losing My Religion": that it's about the (male) singer's gay crush on a straight man.
  • The Pet Shop Boys' cover of Oh Romeo's "Try It (I'm in Love with A Married Man)" changes the perspective from that of a woman in an adulterous relationship to a gay man in love with a married straight man.
  • "Beautifully]," by Jay Brannan is about a girl very much in love with a boy who can't return her feelings.

Newspaper Comics


Video Games

  • Implied to be the reason Juhani and Dak Vessar had a falling out. They were both Jedi Padawans, but started to have their doubts about the Order. Dak made up his mind to run away, and tried to take Juhani with him, pleading he loved her. Unfortunately, Dak...wasn't Juhani's type.
    • The male player character can try to flirt with Juhani. It doesn't work very well; she's openly disgusted in fact.
  • A number of Female Shepard players probably ran into this regarding Subject Zero. If you keep talking to her after her personal mission, she'll assume you're interested and "let you down" surprisingly gently, considering what she's normally like.
    • It's possible to have Kaidan run into it with Shepard in the first game if Liara is chosen in the confrontation.
    • Male Shepards can run into this in Mass Effect 3 if they try and hit on Samantha Traynor.
  • Implied in Fallout: New Vegas between Craig Boone and Manny Vargas. When Boone's wife was killed, Manny could hardly hide the fact that he was glad, leading to Boone ending their friendship. Conversation with Manny (particularly if the player has a certain perk) shows that Manny was always jealous of Carla, though Boone is apparently unaware of his true feelings.
    • Similar to the Mass Effect example above, Veronica for a male Courier. Then again, a female Courier doesn't have a shot with her either.
  • In the female protagonist's route in Persona 3 Portable, the later ranks of Aigis's Social Link have her lamenting that she's not male and, between that and being a robot, is thus not an ideal love interest for the heroine. Exactly how incompatible she is with the heroine's orientation is to some degree open-ended, but there are no opportunities for the heroine to actively reciprocate her feelings, making it fall more or less into this trope.
  • In Katawa Shoujo there was a failed confession between Misha and Shizune, with the latter being either straight or, if she ever liked other girls, simply not into Misha.
    • In Emi's route, Hisao thinks the track team captain will be a rival for his affections for Emi, but it turns out that she once confessed to him, only to find out that he's gay. They're still friends, however, and Emi finds this hilarious..
  • In Mortal Kombat X, Kung Lao's nephew Kung Jin is Straight Gay. A sort-of Running Gag is having some female kombatants who aren't aware of this comment on how good-looking he is, and while he doesn't directly go Sorry, I'm Gay on them, he's rather annoyed.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Origins: Alistair is only avaliable to Female Wardens (as long as they're human or elves), Morrigan is just romanceable by Male ones.
    • DA II: While many characters are bi, Sebastian can only be romanced by Female Hawke.
    • DA Inquisition: Cassandra and Dorian can just be romanced by Male Inquisitors; Cullen, Blackwall and Sera can only be with Female ones, and Solas will only fall for a Female Elf one.


  • The straight pop star Stasia in Marry Me is adored by her lesbian fangirl Parker, who doesn't stand a chance. At an inopportune moment during a concert, Parker hands off her 'marry me' sign to Guy, her male, heterosexual best friend. Stasia is still emotionally unstable from her last breakup, and ends up accepting Guy's "proposal".
  • In Something Positive, Peejee nursed a crush on Jhim (gay) for years.
    • Peejee is established as having this as a near-superpower, up to and including precognition. At one point, one of her ex-boyfriends, a lying scumbag who cheated on her with a different woman, ends up coming out as gay not long after the breakup.
  • In Queen of Wands, bisexual Angela has a thing for her straight best friend Kestrel. It becomes a major point near the end of the comic, nearly ending their friendship.
  • El Goonish Shive has this times three five, because Gayngst is one of the things Shive writes well:
    • Justin Tolkiberry (a gay male) has Melissa, a straight girl (and his former best friend) who's in love with him and refuses to accept that he's not interested.
      • Melissa thinks that she can "cure" Justin. Currently, she's in a relationship with Noah. He claims that their relationship is a mutually beneficial one "for close comfort and pleasure". It hasn't been stated outright, but the vibes are that Noah is himself gay, or at least bi, and that Melissa sees her relationship with him as some sort of "proof" that Justin can be "cured".
    • Susan had a crush on Justin before she learned he was gay. Notably, they're still very close, relate to each other very well, and during the Gender Bender party they had a heartfelt moment which almost escalated into something they would have regretted.
    • Justin himself is in love with his male friend Elliot Dunkel, who's straight.
    • Nanase's relationship with Eliot turned out to be a case of this. Nanase liked him but wasn't really attracted to him. When she learned of Sarah's crush on Elliot, she ended the Love Triangle in short order by breaking up with Elliot and admitting she had just been going through the motions. Nanase didn't really consider the ramifications of this, until Elliot accidentally created an Opposite Sex Clone that Nanase found disturbingly attractive.
    • And now there's Catalina who's in love with Susan; the latter still wishes to be friends however. Susan even had an Imagine Spot about a date with Catalina, but she's well aware she's straight.

 Susan: Could've been nice...

    • Susan herself expresses 'strangst' (straight angst) in an early appearance, wishing she were a lesbian because of her and her mother's issues with men. Susan's own mother is saddened that her daughter isn't attracted to women.
  • Chad Dracul in Muertitos is lusted after by pretty near every girl in his school, but is himself asexual.
  • Averted in Arthur, King of Time and Space; although either Tristram or Isolde may be gender flipped depending on the arc, their sexualities will always change to match. Also avoided; in at least one arc, Nimue is a guy, but how this affects her/his relationship with Merlin is never addressed.
  • Out There has more than one.
    • Rod and Araceli. She's gay, he's a rake. They have a history. Ari is in favor of letting history remain history; Rod wants history to repeat itself.
    • Araceli and Sherry. Araceli has a secret crush on Sherry, who is straight (at least as far as Ari can tell).
  • Ménage à 3 has Gary, who loves Yuki. Yuki, while not gay, has... issues with men.
    • There's also Dillon, Gary's former ex-roommate, who has a gay crush on straight Gary.
  • In Questionable Content, Tai often complains that of all the attractive lady friends Marten has, he's dating the only one who is into girls. Of course, that doesn't stop Tai from hitting on all the other girls every chance she gets.
  • In Homestuck, Karkat falls in gay hate for John. Not only is John straight, a concept inapplicable to Karkat's species, but John's human and doesn't even have a concept of romantic hate.
    • Later, Roxy is shown to have a crush on Dirk, who is gay. She knows, or at least suspects, that they're fated to have kids together, and is at least partially interested in the idea. Too bad about the "ectobiological cloning" thing... On the other hand, Dirk has a crush on Jake, who is straight.
  • A bizarre inversion in One Over Zero: So there's never been a fourth wall, and there's very little in the setting except a featureless plain and a bunch of tiny things who chat. Terra would very much like to fall in love with Zadok, but Terra's a lesbian earthworm and Zadok's a male grass golem. She briefly gets a personal fourth wall in order to lose the concept of lesbianism (solely an out-of-universe thing, since none of the characters are human and Terra is the only character with a metabolism), but self-deception is a turn-off for him. The philosopher of the group solves things by successfully arguing that applying the constraints of human biology to people without it is absurd. Love is therefore a function of personalities, and therefore limiting it is a violation of free will and their purpose as characters. Around 1/0, we call this a Tuesday.
  • Oglaf, being a (very NSFW) sex comedy comic, has this in spades. Recurring offenders are Ambassador Sandoval's desire for strictly straight Ivan the Apprentice, and the various men (and odd shapeshifter) trying their luck and getting shot down by snarky lesbian mercenary Greir.
  • In Dubious Company, Marty has a tremendous crush on Elly. Both are straight males. Marty has yet to understand the "male" part, despite being repeatedly told by everyone that Elly is a man.
  • In Shortpacked, Leslie Bean has a habit of developing crushes on girls who don't swing that way, although once she managed to be an exception.

Web Original

  • A parody short posits that the reason Sonic the Hedgehog makes such fast tracks when Amy's around is because he doesn't have the heart to tell her he and Tails have long since passed the point of goo-goo eyes. Amy is not impressed.

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Actress Lea Michelle joked about the fact that her father once told her that of all the men in her life, the only one that was worthy of her was her best friend and Co-Star Jonathan Groff. It is easy to see his point.
  • Herman Melville's attraction to Nathaniel Hawthorne.
  • Mixed-Orientation Marriages of the type where a person who is in the closet about his or her exclusively homosexual identification is married to someone who identifies as heterosexual. Now also called "brokeback marriages" after more recent famous fictional examples.
  • A depressing fact of life for many a queer person in his or her middle and high school years. He or she will usually end up crushing on multiple peers of the same sex before graduating high school. Given the relatively low numbers of those who identify as gay or bisexual, at least one of these crushes is likely to be heterosexual and therefore of Incompatible Orientation. And even if the crush's orientation is compatible to theirs, they may not even be open about it due to either the homophobia in their surroundings, or simply due to being private about their orientation. And on top of that, sharing orientation doesn't mean someone is necessarily interested in you, and even if they are, you might not have anything in common other than being gay.
    • Even after middle/high school this is a common occurrence. Depending on the local area and the subculture they're associated with (and especially so in the more homophobic countries/regions), queer people may continue to have mostly heterosexual peers in adulthood. This can unintentionally (although depressingly) result in this trope, simply mostly due to the lack of compatibly-oriented people nearby. And if they try to "fix" this by dating people of the opposite sex, this can end pretty sadly for The Beard too, when they find out their love interest is incapable of returning their feelings (and may even feel they were used or manipulated by said SO).
  • It's also a cliche that straight girls involved in theatre or music in high school will inevitably crush on at least one closeted gay guy.
  • OkCupid installed a feature where bisexual and gay users can keep their profiles from showing up for straight people, due to an epidemic of straight men messaging lesbians despite posted evidence.