Wednesday, October 31, 2007

But... you don't look gay!

I have been told by some of my friends "you don't look gay" and right or wrong, that always gives me a feeling of comfort. I feel guilty about wanting people to say that, thinking about it, that is more my style of flying under the radar. I don't like attention, I actually want to blend in with the crowd and I certainly don't think my sexuality defines me. I find myself in a funny mind set, in that my way of thinking is geared to only believe the guys that are gay, are the ones that fit the old stereotypes of what a gay man should look like. It is a leftover bigoted part of the way I was brought up, remember my real gay parents left me in the woods to be found and raised by straight people.

The title to this post, "you don't look gay" is not about me, it is directed towards you guys mostly. It came to me after a discussion I had the other night with someone. Regarding my frustration with being the only gay person in my network of family and friends. I often read on other blogs that as the writer begins to come out, they discover that a close friend or cousin is also gay and that gives them an Allie. I have waited for that to happen forever, but it just never came about, there were people that I knew of, but there was always a trust issue with the other person and I did not feel comfortable in going to talk to them. This has given me the odd belief in the back of my mind, that everyone is straight, as funny as it sounds it is hard for me to truly believe someone is gay even when they say it. When I read other blogs or when you guys comment and I see the photos of Matt in his cool shades, Scott in his polo or Brad in his ball cap, I just have this funny little voice that says "those guys are not really gay, they are just saying it so you won't feel bad", I know it sounds crazy but it is true. Maybe when I get out and start to meet other gay people that will go away. Maybe the stereotypes are in my mind because the only gay guys that I know of, who are really out, are very much the 'Jack' from Will and Grace type of people. My apologies to Matt, Scott and Brad for using them as examples but you guys have that handsome guy next door quality to you and your partners, you guys certainly don't fit the stereo type that is in my head of what a gay person is suppose to look like. I guess just once I would like a guy I know to come up to me and say "I heard you are gay, well me to". I have been quietly looking, I did go to some of the pride parades here, I have looked into some of the gay clubs in this city as well and frustratingly I never saw someone that I knew, someone that I could say "wow him to", I am hoping after tonight that will start to change.

Sometimes I wonder if I am missing the signals, maybe that guy on the bike path who nods and says hello means more, maybe the guy in the grocery store who is friendly is trying to meet me and I just don't get it, perhaps the guy at the bus stop who only seems to be talking to me is trying to say more than "it is sunny out", I will be really friendly back but if there is a hidden code then I'm clueless about it. I often wonder about this, gay signals I mean, it drives me crazy and actually I did something that shocked even myself lately. Just before I became sick (BTW I'm fully recovered) I was down town waiting on a bus. Two guys around my age were walking towards me, my gaydar started beeping, something told me they were gay but were work colleagues and not together. I had stared a little too long and caught the attention of one of them. As he approached we were doing that thing of looking at each other and then looking away, I wanted to test my flirting skills (my bad, I know) so I kept it up, as he passed me he turned away from the conversation he was having, smiled and said "how are you doing" I smiled back and told him fine, as he walked away I heard him say to his buddy "is he still looking" his friend elbowed him and said "oh yeah" he looked back again to see I was still staring and smiling at him. Then the little voice in my head said "Steve! OK you proved your point now stop before he comes back and asks for your number because you know you will crap your pants if he does!" I then looked away to end the game but now I wonder how many times in the past was someone maybe trying to send me signals and I just let them go over my head.

It is important for me to work on getting myself to a place were I feel comfortable enough with being gay, that should a person say to me "you don't look gay" I would take it as offensive and not a complement. Like the straight world I need to learn that there is no 'gay look', just gay people who fit every form and mold that a person could think of. Gay people just like me and gay people just like you...... even though I don't believe you're gay.


Steven said...

I see where you are coming from and my reaction to people has always been (as I became more comfortable doing it), "What is a gay man supposed to look like?" Which would lead to them being speechless as they knew they would then be dishing out plenty of stereotypes; stereotypes of me.

You will see the day when you are comfortable. And you may not even notice the day when that comes. You're getting there!

Anonymous said...

Wanting to blend into the crowd and wanting people to notice that you don't look gay goes together in my mind. Gay people, no matter how accepted in different areas, still stand out in the most mundane of places...when you can tell they're gay.

I get it a lot too, especially at work. Somehow a marked car, uniform, gun, and chaw don't make you look gay. Hmph.

S said...

If it makes you feel any better, my BIL is the gayest straight man I know.

Sooo... you can't always judge a book by it's buffed, scrubbed, and tweezed cover.

john said...

I was listening to a radio station the other day when a DJ said he could pretend to be gay and get away with it. Many callers told him that they would be able to tell.
I'm wondering what he would do to pretend.
Good post!!

daveincleveland said...

i still think i am the only gay middle age man in the one else could possibly be gay.....

David said...

I wasn't listed. Does that mean I look gay?

Scott in Iowa said...

no need for apologies here, buddy. I'm flattered by your comments.
I soooo understand what you are saying here. I remember thinking some of the same things when I first came out. Wondering who might be gay and how could I tell? Truthfully, after a while, those feelings become less and less important. Just go with who you are. Don't try and change yourself. The "right" one will come along and will love you for who YOU are, not for what you look like.

Oh, and honey...I really AM gay. :-)

Bill said...

I admire the way you examine your feelings. I've been cursed with the "blessing" of not seeming gay to many people, even other gay people. It makes it hard to meet guys sometimes, but I am who I am. I don't act like Jack on WAG. I don't swoon over Barbra-Judy-Liza. But, good grief, I'm in my 40's, never date women & never been married...hey, there's a clue.

Darth Gateau said...

my gaydar is so bad it's unbelievable - it's amazing I've ever even met other gay men! Don't worry about it - yours seems to be functioning fine. Just switch it on whenever you need it.

As for who looks gay. Hmmmm... you're right in your post about all those lovely blokey looking gents. I may consider some facial hair or a tattoo.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

Steven, Some days I feel like I'm getting there but then some days I feel like I am taking three steps back.

Jake, was looking at your photos, no I would not have guessed you were gay, very handsome but you lost me with the "chaw" and tongue picture! XD

Steven from ON, true, one of my straight friends is always mistaken as gay but is a total skirt chaser.

John, hope he does not pretend to be gay around me, there is no way I could tell.

Dave, actually you were just featured on the news as being the only gay guy in your area, so it is not in your head! ; )

David, the question really is would it bother you if I said yes you look gay? To me you don't, more like the kind of guy that goes to a Trek convention, sorry just bugging you!

Scott, thanks for the support, in a lot of ways it would have been harder for you. Still don't believe you are gay. Need to see a pic of you kissing your bf. Hahaha!

Bill, I know all about it being hard to meet guys. Me never dating was the one thing that started to make my friends think I was gay.

Darth, sometimes I want to take my gaydar in for repair. No tattoo, you already look mighty fine!

David said...

"...more like the kind of guy that goes to a Trek convention..."



don said...

I would suggest that you just try to define being "gay" for yourself. It is after all, your life experience. Don't try to fit into anyone else's mold, that would just be false and you should remain true to yourself.