this is a love story. the thing about love is that it’s not gentle or soft. not at all. love is strength, and full of terrible purpose. love is power. and it will never be done with you. ( venom #150 )
A Little Respect - Erasure || Burnin’ for You - Blue Oyster Cult || Don’t You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds || Call Me - Blondie || Always Something There To Remind Me - Naked Eyes || Missing You - John Waite || You Make My Dreams - Daryl Hall & John Oates || Take On Me - a-ha || What I Like About You - The Romantics || Take Me Home Tonight - Eddie Money || Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper || Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now - Starship || Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler || Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley || Tell It to My Heart - Taylor Dayne || Need You Tonight - INXS || Hold Me Now - Thompson Twins || Think I’m In Love - Eddie Money || Every Time You Go Away - Paul Young || Just Like Heaven - The Cure || Holding Out for a Hero - Bonnie Tyler || Just Can’t Get Enough - Depeche Mode || Wake me up Before You Go-Go - Wham! || I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers || Sweet Child o’ Mine - Guns N’ Roses || Lips Like Sugar - Echo & the Bunnymen || Stand By Me - Ben E. King || I’ll Melt With You - Modern English || Baby Hold On - Eddie Money || Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics || Lovesong - The Cure || I Ran - A Flock of Seagulls || Space Age Love Song - A Flock of Seagulls || Electric Blue - ICEHOUSE
Is there any other evidence of Barry being canonically bi?
There’s no real “Evidence”, no.
However, if you examine the show through a queer lens and take subtext into account, I think there’s some indication of mutual attraction between him and Eddie, him and Len, him and Oliver, and maybe other hints besides.
To preface, before I go into that, it’s important to note that Barry is (wonderfully so) a character who sometimes eschews traditional gender norms. He cries and wears his heart on his sleeve, is sometimes the one being saved by his lady love (like he’s the one saved by true love’s kiss in 3x17 [Duet]) and has a body type that isn’t the muscle-bound huge-armed male power fantasy we’ve come to associate with male superheroes.
So we have to take that into consideration when we consider Barry. Is he just a feminist and emotionally self-aware dude who is comfortable enough with himself to eschew gender norms, or does he have an actual attraction to more than one gender (and in this case, looking more specifically at whether he’s attracted to men and male-aligned folks). Let’s see if we can figure out if he’s just comfortable in his own skin or if there’s any attraction going on.
First, taking the easiest example, let’s look at how he sometimes negotiates his relationship with Eddie. Although not inherently romantic, we’ve got Barry thinking flowers are the right gift to get Eddie in the hospital.
There’s some guilt and layers to Barry being worried about Eddie here, and it is a very sweet thing for Barry to do to bring him flowers, but it’s still atypical.
There’s a lot more that gives us something more concrete to work with though. Like the scene between him and Eddie where Eddie is trying to help Barry get out his anger and he’s holding the punching bag for Barry, and the “harder” line?
If you take off straight goggles (which is basically how you put on a queer lens), this becomes a lot more… charged. The way Eddie starts stripping right there for Barry to watch, pectorals pronounced? The way Barry glances down at Eddie’s body? The smirk when Eddie tells him to hit it harder?
I’ll include this example too, mostly because it made me laugh so hard:
(Barry only shifts away from Eddie after Eddie pushes for more space, note).
And of course, what I think of as one of the more telling examples, Barry’s fantasy world / daydream in which Eddie and looks at him like he hung the freaking moon:
Eddie’s admiration is important to Barry, like very important. And obviously there is survivor’s guilt and layers to that, but just freaking look at Eddie’s expression. That’s Barry’s fantasy expression for how he wants Eddie to look at him. Awed. Admiring. In love.
So okay, queer lens, some indications of Barry being attracted to Eddie.
(For the record and as a bit of an aside, early in the show, Cisco also compliments Eddie and how attractive he is when Barry’s basically staring at Eddie with Iris at the bar. There’s tons of canon “evidence” for Cisco also being like, super bi. The way he compliments Eddie and “Jay” (Hunter)’s bodies and forms, the Chronicles of Cisco episode where he talks about Captain Cold’s blue eyes being mesmerizing. Cisco is Not Straight.)
Barry’s response to Hartley’s flirting doesn’t give us much.
Because he mostly just looks a bit put upon by it? Doesn’t flirt back, but he doesn’t say anything disparaging either. And we know that the actors weren’t unaware of how close they were standing in the earlier scene, based on the blooper reel:
(here’s the actual scene:
kind of intense, huh?)
Then of course there is the tension between Barry and Len which becomes especially palpable in 1x22. But there’s a flirting sort of lean to how Len asks for a ride back to town in 1x16 after the woods scene, and how close Barry gets to him to threaten him about not hurting anyone Barry cares about.
Then of course there is the space thing here:
If you want a reference, preferred interpersonal distance among acquaintances in USA is ~2 feet. This is far more of the “intimate” distance category (Sorokowska et al. 2017). Barry gets weirdly close to Len at times (and like I pointed out above, got weirdly close to Hartley).
(Not that Len’s always complaining based on his own expressions…)
Moving on more.
Barry and Oliver’s relationship could be interpreted as mentor/mentee, older/younger brother, or just friends. But there’s also an easy flirting-type bent to do it, a lot of the time.
(Look at these dorks and tell me they’re not flirting, honestly).
Look at how Barry looks at him. (Is this even canon? Is this a blooper? Or is Barry’s crush just that obvious?)
Then you’ve got Barry being distracted by Oliver’s arms and then both unable to suppress smiles because again, they practically can’t help but be a step away from flirting one with another at all times?
And look at how Ollie looks at him ffs. You’d have to pay me to convince me that Oliver isn’t trying to reel in thoughts of the things he’s tempted to do to Barry right here.
(They have a lot of chemistry; it’s part of why the crossovers always work so well).
Anyway, it’s clear Barry admires Oliver a lot and is eager to introduce him and talk him up.
(Barry, honey, your crush is showing. Even Iris isn’t as obvious about her crush on Oliver).
And like, this been since Barry was introduced to the DCTV canon. Pretty sure his crush on The Arrow predates his crush on Oliver.
(There’s some moment in this episode where he mentions how wonderful and handsome Oliver is so of course Felicity is in love with him. It’s written to sound jealous and downtrodden but he’s basically there acknowledging how attractive he thinks Ollie is).
And then this line, I mean.
I’m sure there’s a straighter way to say that…
So, in sum, looking across a few of his dealings with other men in the show, particularly men a few to many years older than him who don’t fit a parental role but instead challenge him? Especially men with broad chests and large shoulders? Barry displays some signs that we can take as attraction to these men, if we’re willing to set aside the heteronormative lens and put on a queer one.
None of this is conclusive, of course, and there are straight men who are going to display the traits Barry is here. But note that none of this is about, say, hugging men (like dragging Oliver in for hugs) and eschewing toxic masculinity by talking about his feelings. And it’s so much more than just complimenting these men. So none of this is coming from a place of “if you aren’t embodied toxic masculinity then you’re inherently queer”.
It’s about how he looks at them and their chemistry, the way they flirt, the way he embeds himself into the space of men, using challenge as an excuse to get right up and personal with them. The line between “heart thumping from fear-stress” and “heart pumping from attraction-arousal” is a crazy thin one, so thin it can be misinterpreted by people about their own emotions, and they misattribute fear as arousal (Dutton and Aron 1974).
So… I think a queer reading of Barry is a pretty valid one. I truly read him as bi and have from season 1.