Ten Minutes Left in the Candy Store: Coming Out Late in Life: Part I
I was 21 when I had my first sex with a man, an older guy, probably all of 25 or 30. But talking to guys over the intervening decades of my gay existence, I realized I had come out rather late in contrast to so many of them who boasted about having their first man-to-man blow-out at 15 or even 12. That’s why I’m amazed when I encounter men on the other end of the age spectrum who waited until their fifties, even sixties before they decided to kick open their own private closet door and lead an openly gay existence.
As you may expect, many of them were married marrieds who tied the knot with a woman in their twenties and married for all the reasons guys who should know better do: family obligations, family or peer pressures, professional reasons, the desire to have children, etc. I even know one guy who married a second time simply to have a woman help him raise his four year old son after his first wife (who knew nothing of his gay side) died in a car accident.
This is not to say these guys didn’t fuck around with guys all those years of suburban wedded bliss; but it was usually on the sly: on out-of-town business trips or solo visits to out-of-state family; or when they used bowling night with the guys as a cover. Wonder why those peepshow bookstores with the pay booths and cheap neon signs have survived the gyrations of our changing gay landscape?
Then there are the truly closeted men living all their lives with a parent who they care for until the end while they faithfully play the organ at church every Sunday morning; or living solo lives letting the demands of a 50 or 60 hour a week job absorb their entire existence.
But finally comes the day when the married guy meets Mr. Right or realizes he is getting nothing out of his relationship with a member of the opposite sex; or the parent dies; or the time for retirement arrives; or the man experiences a life-changing event like a near-fatal car crash; when, at 55 or 58 or 63, he asks himself the rhetorical question of the ages:
What am I waiting for?