Saturday, November 04, 2006


I attended another one of our semi-organized gay outings a week or so ago, and we wound up at a pretty good Chinese restaurant [if you order off the front of the menu, you are in serious Pu-Pu Platter territory, but towards the back it begins to resemble actual Chinese food, and they also respond gracefully to requests for food they might actually consider eating themselves, so it all balances out.] A number of the guys ordered drinks that came with the obligatory paper umbrellas, and much was the [oh so gay] fun had with those.

I was plowing through the very good beer at a certain pace, and had arrived early enough to anchor the table and get a head start, so I wasn't uptight enough to actually grit my teeth. We were a wildly mixed bag of types, so I may not have been the only one not-quite-gritting my teeth, but somewhere along the line I got the sense, as I so often do, that I was neither fish nor fowl, and that the fish [the fowl?] were definitely in charge. From what I have seen so far, many if not most GMMen wind up feeling somewhat that way -- our experiences are by definition different from so many of our fellow-bent-fellows.

The problem is that at some point [after the second beer?] I start saying the things I am thinking. And that's where the trouble really starts to kick in.

Mark Twain
said that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt; that's more or less the issue here. Don't get me wrong. Everyone was very polite, and there were no dead silences at the table while everyone tried to remember who had come up with the idea of including me in the invitation -- but [as I have surely said before] I do eventually get into my car and drive home, at which point the tape of the evening starts playing in my head. And I realize that I had said things like how I was sure, after thirty years of actively trying not to look gay, I was now presenting myself as gay -- or if I didn't, at least I wasn't fooling anyone. Did any of us?

Of course it was the question that I should have swallowed along with my sweet-and-sour sauce; making self-deprecating comments about oneself is almost a Olympic-level gay event, but tarring your friends with the same brush begins to look, well, unpleasant if not

And the other thing that really disappears sometime after the second beer is the ability to wonder [before talking] whether what has popped into my mind is relevant to the discussion and/or of any interest to my companions. I spent a good deal of time waxing eloquent on various aspects of Asian food, into which I have done truly extensive research. And that was not the only topic where I probably "participated" more than anyone else... Now why can't I remember ahead of time that no one loves a smart-ass? The know-it-all must be up there somewhere, too. Well, I guess on some level we all go through life "depending on the kindness of strangers." I just wish I could manage to depend a little less.

At some point I am bound to bring things up from my not-yet-out past -- how could I not, since I am only three months into this life so far? -- and then words like "our" and "son" and "daughter" do keep cropping up. And there is a subtle motion in the group, like wind in the undergrowth. Not anything overt, but just a reaction. I can't tell whether it is a simple "Oh, God, there he goes again -- can't he just shut up about it?" or whether it is a visceral response, positive or negative, to having a non-fish in the school, a non-fish who is busy pretending to be covered in scales.

My real problem with these evenings is how much they wind up costing; the eventual settling on the Chinese restaurant generally makes me heave a great sigh of relief, as it is by far the cheapest place to go. But even there we did in fact wind up ordering appetizers and a dish per person, which brought the price well, up, and also meant that we had to spend almost as much time figuring out who was going to take what home as we did actually eating dinner... People are weird, and weird people are -- actually, no weirder than others when it comes to plain old human behavior. Witness my reception on Leather Night...

Well, one of these days I will have been around long enough that someone will let drop enough information for me to figure the secret handshakes out.

Or maybe they'll just teach me...

A couple of events that have made life hang less heavy on my hands: two coffee meetings with guys in my situation [more or less -- rather less than more, actually] and the return of the Far-flung Voice.

The coffee meetings were quite enjoyable, though I have to say that I can't shake the knowledge that the cross-over
GMMen I know have all settled with also-married men, so there is always a hum in the background that should in theory not be there on meeting anyone for the first time. "A" yes, "B" no. "B" is the guy I enjoyed hanging out with more [Afternoon on Bald Mountain]. Go figure. As is so often the case, it was not what I expected: hence the "rather less than more" -- both were left by their wives, both would have stayed married if left to their own devices, and both came out later while living as single parents. That provided a fertile ground for discussion, as my experience is.... well, different.

And there's not much to be said about the Voice; just that hearing him again cheers me up. And I do treasure the things that do that...

Hang on and hang in there.
Around here we do our best to do so.

1 comment:

  1. "At some point I am bound to bring things up from my not-yet-out past -- how could I not, since I am only three months into this life so far? -- and then words like "our" and "son" and "daughter" do keep cropping up"

    I've recently started the separation process with my wife. One of the things that I've noticed is that I need to retrain myself to think in the singular (me and mine vs. us and ours).

    On a side note, I recently joined a mailing list for gay dads that you might want to check out: