“Gal Pals” is often code, not cluelessness.
The female lead actor in a huge movie franchise was recently seen at a public event enjoying the company of a woman friend. Their body language led many observers to wonder about the nature of the relationship. There was much mockery on tumblr of descriptions by the press of the two of them being “gal pals”.
“Straights are clueless!” “Heteronormativity makes people blind!”, etc.
Well, probably not, at least not in this particular circumstance. Consider:
1. Press outlets have been blacklisted or sued for publishing information that stars, powerful agents, or studios haven’t wanted published, like the real romantic lives or sexual orientations of various actors. This is less of an issue today, where more and more celebs come out casually in social media and whatnot, but it’s still an issue.
2. While the love lives of stars captures eyeballs, directly outing people is considered unethical by many outlets (and rightly so).
3. Many journalists who cover gossip and entertainment news are themselves not “clueless straights”.
So, code. Euphemism. Read unironically, “Gal pals” is a goofy, 30′s screwball comedy-esque way to describe a female friendship in 2017, but it’s a useful way to hint while skirting saying something outright that might be proven wrong later or get you into trouble. The articles documenting say, K-Stew when she was constantly being seen out and about with various women, but before she started openly talking about her sexuality, weren’t written by idiots. “Gal pals” is the modern version of “confirmed bachelor”.