Telling Your World

So now finally even Jodie Foster’s done it before millions on TV (like we didn’t already know). Hell, it’s becoming so tres chic to tell the world that you’re gay I think that even some boring str8’s are doing it just to sound more desirable and cutting edge.

O.K., but now let’s get real men. You’re just a regular gay guy, comfortable in being a guy. Should you tell YOUR world you’re gay? You know the world I’m talking about, the shitty little two-by-four world each of us occupies, work, school, family, friends.

So, should you spill the beans?

Well, my answer to that lofty question is the usual politician’s cop-out: it all depends.

If you live in a megalopolis, your retro-hippie parents raised you in a commune, most of your friends or co-workers are gay, bi, or super liberals, you work in a gay-friendly office or an industry or profession where being gay is actually a plus, well, what the fuck, why not?

If, on the other hand, you live in Smalltown, Nowhere, your parents read the Bible while taking a shit, your college buddies think a wild Friday night is finishing off a couple of six packs, cursing in the office is frowned on, or you work for an ultra-conservative employer (like I did – the Catholic Church), then I don’t think so.

Using some common sense, and what God gave you upstairs, you have to decide whether coming clean is more grief than benefit.

Sure, sometimes there are financial and legal advantages, like if you have a legit partner and he and you live in a state or city where same-sex marriage is legal or you work for an employer that offers domestic partnership benefits. (It always blows my mind when I think about Disney, one of the most family-oriented corporations on the planet, also offering same sex benefits even if it took them awhile.). But if signing up will only make you a pariah with co-workers or your tight-assed boss (Human Resources personnel are notorious for being the biggest blabber mouths in a company), you and your guy may reluctantly just pass it all up.

A buddy of mine decided to take advantage of domestic partnership benefits at his job for him and his partner, only to be grilled by the H.R. director for all sorts of documentation that living-together straights are never asked for. I admire him for not backing down and bringing a discrimination grievance against the prick.

Again, you need to carefully weigh your own private reality and see if it makes sense. White lies are not mortal sins, but if questions from family or straight friends about marriage start getting under your skin, and you’re tired of dodging the bullets (and possibly misleading some woman into thinking you’re ready to buy the engagement ring), maybe it’s time to consider relocating to a place where nobody knows you and you can live your life as you want. (Change jobs, decide to go to college out-of-state, etc.) That’s not being a coward; sometimes it’s just being sensible.

But what if you’re already married, wifey truly suspects nothing (doubtful), and you wake up one morning and decide you’re tired of waking up to a woman? Well, again, whether you kiss and tell may be dictated by circumstance.

Is there a family legacy you must protect?

Is she your boss?

Would a divorce leave you broke? For a woman I think marrying for money is about as recession-proof an investment as you can make. If you’re not a woman, spend the $50,000 on a sex change operation; then snarl a guy with some medium bucks, get fucked a few years, then divorce the jerk and get half of what he’s got. Sure beats playing the market. By the way I hear women at the gym constantly tearing up their hubbies or boyfriends, I’m beginning to wonder in this great age of feminism if more and more ladies aren’t following this playbook.

Is there some guy waiting in the wings, or do you think leaving your straight life behind for a studio apartment in Boystown would solve all your pent-up sexual angst? Don’t count on it. A lot of older men who leave their wives in their fifties or sixties for “The Life” are ripe territory for the humpy, do-nothing men in this wonderful sub-culture of ours who’ll sweet talk them all they want for a room in the old man’s luxury condo or the keys to his BMW. (“But he loves me!” says one of my retired, financially comfortable but sadly deluded friends who’s housing a meth head who at 50 has nothing.)

But if you really want to tell your world, I mean, REALLY want to tell them, just keep two maxims in mind:

Reality #1: There’s no gay law that says you have to tell the world. Do people walk up to total strangers and ask them if they’re straight or got their ladies to suck their dick yet? Whose business is it anyway what people do in their private lives, as long as they’re not raping young kids or robbing banks? I am constantly bewildered by some gays’ obsession to spill their guts out. Why? Who the fuck cares?

Reality #2: Don’t assume that just because you’ve bared your soul, everyone will be accepting and understanding and ready to buy you a wedding gift in advance just in case you meet the man of your dreams. Contrary to gay fantasies, life ain’t no made-for-Logo movie. We have all known of guys (maybe we’re one of them) who have been:

  • abandoned by family, guilty that they somehow failed as parents, or embarrassed that the world knows they have a “pervert” for a son;
  • thrown out by wives who feel inadequate or betrayed and take out their anger in bloody, knock-down divorces;
  • abandoned by their children who may not be as enlightened as we thought they were; or by a str8 adult son who’s fearful about inheriting the “gay” gene;
  • shunned by naïve girl friends who thought they had a shot at the aisle;
  • demoted or dumped by bosses who just don’t like faggots; or
  • deserted by lifelong buds who suddenly begin dissecting every past gesture of buddy affection between the two of you.

So be ready for the backlash; just because you want to lead your life gay doesn’t mean the people in your life (present and past) have to agree with you.

Now, my longtime partner and I have never brought up the subject with family, co-workers or straight friends. They all know we live together, co-own two houses, four dogs, etc., etc., etc. Unless they’re all pretty dumb, I’m sure that at some point most of them figured out that with G and me, 2+2 = 3. But never, never has anyone confronted us or thrown it up in our faces. And if they did, I think we would just say, “yep,” and move on.

Bottom line, you don’t have to flaunt your sexuality or wear it on your sleeve. If people know and respect you, they either don’t care, or have figured it all out a long time ago anyway.

Right Jodie?

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