Thursday, 9 August 2007

When I grow up

Reading the blogs the "coming out thing" appears time and again. I'm in favour of openness, to some degree, so I agree you have to make a "statement" somehow, sometime. So I have been thinking about this time and again.

Obviously, I need an agenda. This serves two purposes: 1. etiquette "kind of" seems to demand a big "I have something to tell you" moment with close friends and relatives and 2. because I hate melodrama, and like to weasel out of it, I need the discipline of a deadline. This could be flexible, in order to fit events, but it needs to be somehow enforceable.

Next, I need to list my victims, and I need to order them because my best friend will kill me if I tell her last etc. This is where I hit a snag.

I call it my barrier: I'm really bad at talking about sexual issues with all but a select group of two or three people who have somehow managed to break through it. Those people already know, implicitly or explicitly. The privacy is what scares me; telling people I swing both ways doesn't scare me at all, I'm ready to blurt it out to some people, but I will be giving them an opening to my core, I will be lifting the barrier, possibly without ever getting it back in place. What's truly private might get violated.

These are, of course, deeper things than the "who screwed whom" bar talk. I'm fine with that. It's the HIV-safe sex-don't get beaten up-don't go to those parties with GHB and infected blood talk I'm really dreading. And the "when did you discover this" and all the full nuance that seems to be required when you have to explain a sexual preference that's not boolean. Handling it all would require some good preparation.

Even so, I'm against this whole process in principle. I would find it much more emancipated to just introduce the boyfriend to friends and relatives when the time comes. It's what everybody else does, right? I recognise I have to consider their feelings too, and I plan to take it as some weird kind of initiation rite I will just have to go through in order to properly join the team. However, what I consider to be private now will still be private afterwards.

Then there's The List itself.

Best Friend would not have a problem with it: she had a traditional hippy upbringing. I suspect she has plans for me in her life: talking to me about having kids etc. So she might be slightly disappointed, because she's not really my type sexually. For years I believed I would eventually settle down with her but that's off: this boy is no longer willing to compromise.

High School Buddy is a weird case. He kinda broke through the barrier, he should know, but I know he will want to be part of the ritual. It might have to do with his own sexual ambiguity, but he would hate to be left out.

Other high school friends, worldwide: no problem, might use my Facebook profile for that. I know, I know, I know: not the most courageous option, but sooo efficient.

College drinking buddies: difficult, we are friends at a very superficial, masculine level. We just don't talk about deep stuff. I might lose standing in the group, which I would hate, but I expect no problems from them. I suspect one of them is gay but he's so deeply closeted I don't know how he would react.

Work & work-related friends: no way I'm telling them. To paraphrase Matt, it would mean demotion from "office golden boy" to "that sort-of gay guy in ops". I have gay colleagues so I know how it works. No thanks, this is private, and I've always separated work and my love life and that works out quite nicely thank you very much.

Small home town: I would be the scandal of the century, so bring it on! That I can handle, even though I have delicious visions of mothers calling in their sons when I arrive in town. A real High Noon moment; the bad guy walking the deserted streets. Hot!

Room mates: fuck 'm, I will be leaving soon anyway.

Maybe I'm wasting my time with all of this worrying. It might be obvious to a lot of people anyway, so it could be like telling them rain is wet. I have been groped by men in bathrooms (unsolicited, seriously) so I might broadcast a little, who knows. And there will always be some snickering, it happens even if you're introducing a girlfriend that does not live up to somebody's expectations. Part of making choices.

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