Closet Cases

Gay life is shades of gray, and closet cases are no exceptions. But if you tried to neatly organize them into categories, I’d say there are generally two types: closet cases, lower case “c,” and closet cases, ALL CAPS.

Closet cases with a small “c” lead their professional and personal lives on parallel tracks that almost never intersect. Professionally, they’ve “arrived” and realize disclosing or broadcasting their sexual preferences would have no practical advantages and could lead to innuendos, outright bigotry and even loss of job. I worked as a senior executive with a six figure salary for a Catholic health care system so I know what it’s like. A fellow administrator, who was up for the CEO job and who had more degrees and experience than half the shitheads in the organization, got passed over because everyone knew about his scene and the archbishop vowed “no queer would run one of our hospitals.” Period.

But that doesn’t mean closet cases with a small “c” can’t have robust lives outside the office with their gay friends, partners, fuck buddies or any combination thereof, and feel content and well adjusted about being gay. (I rarely use the word “happy.” The only “happy” people in this society are on psychotropic meds.)

A variation of this “In-Out” variety are guys who are wild pigs in bed but very wary about any other part of “The Life,” i.e., being in a gay bar or anything that even smells queer. One of my fuck buddies was that way; we’d have great sex but when it came to meeting him at his house, I could see by his hesitant welcome in the driveway that he was concerned someone might see me and somehow piece together his checkered Secret Life. (Do you think my high heels and mascara were giveaways?) Or the great average guy (I find some so-called “average” guys extremely sexy because they think they aren’t) who couldn’t stop kissing me in Slammers, our local sex club, but when we left at about the same time didn’t even look at me as he hightailed it to his car.

But then we have the Closet Cases, cap C, cap C. These are the guys who not only wouldn’t dare even use the word gay in a casual conversation over the water cooler but, worse, hide or even deny their sexual identity in their personal lives. They’re particularly prevalent, for some reason, in the suburbs or rural areas, though the burbs and boonies hold no exclusivity to these strange paranoids.

You know the type. The guys who, when you make contact with them, want you to meet them in strange places like the cereal aisle at the supermarket, or ask you to park in the mall shopping lot two blocks from their house or apartment so no one (like their nosey neighbor or, God forbid, their girl friend or wife) sees you. Or better yet, since they usually don’t post a face shot or posts one that’s 20 years old, this gives them an opportunity to judge you before you can judge them. The guys who say they’re bi, want to experiment, but aren’t sure. The guys who respond to your bar or bath house advances or ad or profile with another twenty questions about you without once even divulging their name. The guys who, when you ask for a photo, say they’re on another computer their sister borrowed when she went to Prague to finish her doctoral degree in Medieval Studies. Or who have no camera or pics (check out Walgreen’s digital cameras with self-timers for a hundred bucks). On a hook-up site and no pics? What are we meeting for? To play Monopoly?

To these guys I have only one thing to say: make up your fuckin’ minds. Either don’t act on your sexual impulses and move on, or DO IT ALREADY! So you were brought up Catholic and didn’t get molested by your parish priest, or you’re married with kids, or you were the class jock with the girls waiting in line to get fucked by you. So?? You can’t be discrete and still play? If you’re truly unsure about your sexual identity (and if you still are at 25 you’ve got other problems, buddy), the only way to find out is DO IT ALREADY!

What are you waiting for? Til you’re too old (and some guys are over the hill at 35), and the magnetic strip on your gay access card doesn’t register anymore?


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