Probably the largest group of this kind for most of you is heterosexual men. You know they're handy to have around if there's a dead animal in the driveway, or you want a subdivision built, but in chance encounters with them, you're never sure if you're saying the right thing.
The first thing to remember is that straight men are not one monolithic group. There are many different kinds of straight men, with many different interests. The worst thing to do is to deal with them according to false stereotypes. You may think you are being thoughtful if you offer a straight man a plug of chewing tobacco, for example, or a hat with fishing lures hooked into it, but in reality you are just perpetuating harmful myths. Not all straight men chaw or fish.
Likewise, avoid conversational pitfalls. Do not ask a straight man how his pickup truck is running unless you actually see him getting out of it. Some of them ride motorcycles or drive Camaros.
It is difficult for many of you to understand why straight men watch sports incessantly. Perhaps the best way to explain this phenomenon is by way of an example. For a straight man, missing the big game is like you missing a new episode of Glee. He feels deprived, and doesn't have anything to talk about the next day with his friends.
You may wonder why straight men have such limited clothing choices. Is it because they are poor, and can't afford outfits? Surprisingly, answer is often "no." Straight men can afford any clothes you can afford, but most of them have grown up in fashion-deprived environments. They simply don't know any better, so when you see them wearing clothes they have purchased at Target,simply politely look away.
If you are invited into a straight man's home, keep in mind he is likely to be housekeeping-challenged. It may not be perfectly clean, and most straight men have a better chance of winning the lottery than they have of owning matching furniture. When you talk to your friends afterwards, don't say "But right in the middle of all that ungodly filth, he's got the huge flat screen TV tuned into ESPN, just like the rest of them." Such remarks only serve to widen the culture gap.
Do not refer to them by deprecatory slang. "But they call each other 'bros," you may say. That's their privilege, not yours. Other unacceptable slurs include "rednecks," "trash," "jocks," "idiots," "boneheads," "jackasses," "jerks" and the completely offensive "a**holes." It's okay to call them "men," "guys," or "dudes."
Likewise, repeating snarky comments you have heard thoughtless people make about straight males when they encounter them, comments like "I wonder if he even OWNS a mirror," is a barrier to understanding. Obviously, straight men own mirrors, otherwise they couldn't comb the food out of their beards and sideburns.
As for bullying and bashing, if you are even tempted to do so, you need far more help than reading these few paragraphs will give you. Science has not completely answered the question of what causes heterosexuality in the male, but research indicates it's a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Common sense tells us it's not a "choice." Who would deliberately chose to go through life using only four types of shoes, all more or less the same color? Or refusing to wax upper arm hair? Or never owning a single bottle of lotion?
The answer is clear. Being born straight is innate. Straight men deserve the same understanding that you would extend to any other human being. Try to think of them as merely being amusing when they are at their most bizarre, like when they paint themselves in team colors, off-road race or have wing-eating contests.
Most importantly, no matter what, always remind yourself "They're people, just like us."