Monday, 9 April 2012

It's Not Easy Being Gay

I've always attempted to immediately shrug-off any evidence of a mid-life crisis, especially now that I'm getting close to that literal median age using the scientific data of our day.

Congratulations Navy Lt. Gary Ross and civilian Dan Swezy
It's a "basic training" gay-guy move to try to hold-on to youth, but there's no special deal for gay dudes.  Everybody has to face Daddy Time (he might be hanging out in the leather bar) and with him comes, gasp... aging.

In case you haven't heard, it's not a perpetual Gay Dance Party for us man-leaning-bi or entirely homo guys.  And as time goes on, it seems things might even get a bit tougher.

Derek Hartley's first book gave me a stark impression of "that guy."  He's a 40-something who may be hanging near the door of the big gay bar, or maybe he's holding up a pillar on the dance floor.  He's still hanging where the young gays go, but he's a decade or two over the average age of the house.

I've been "that guy" and I'll be "that guy" again.  And again and again.  And again and again and again and again.

This April's surprise suicide of an author writing a book about dealing with getting gay old stirred-up feelings of contemplation and self-doubt, muddled with the usual sadness and disappointment surrounding a person's decision to take their own life, particularly in the GLBT community.

Sometimes we can't live with ourselves, but sexual freedom means we need to know ourselves first.  There's no cheating here.  You must know yourself. You must take your life into your own hands.

"Love yourself first" as caller Jimmy reminded us on tonight's Derek and Romaine Show on OutQ.

I might be completely at peace with my own life today but I must pause when I think that parts of the world want my head cut-off because I'm choosing to follow my passions instead of "making a decision" to ignore my true feelings.

I can't tell most of my beer-swilling guy coworkers these thoughts.  Regardless of how adorable fag hags appear in gay cinema, I can't confide in the girls at work either.  It wouldn't kill my career but any negative impact to my business that has nothing to do with my business is, obviously, unwelcomed.

Few are ready to confront their own feelings, let alone mine.

If I had someone special in my life, this would totally change, of course.  I have no interest in hiding a relationship if it seems it would be lasting.  Work sometimes involves "couples events" and I very much look forward to bringing my stud along, when... if I find him, that is.

I've learned to loathe dating websites and I haven't been out and about as much this Spring as last.  It's shockingly easy to allow work to create the bulk of your human interactions, but if there's one work lesson to learn, it's to not shit in your own backyard.  Or your front yard.  Or on your desk.

But the chance to instantly befriend a person after meeting them decreases dramatically over time, in case nobody's told you yet.  Getting old seems to add a multiplier of sorts.

There are probably too many variables here, but believe me when I tell you that gays aren't the only folks pondering the curse of time and the results of aging.  For gays, one added variable is the age when we declare our true feelings to ourselves, to friends, to family and then finally to the rest of the (civilized) world.

I've tried to tell my 80 year old dad as clearly as possible, but he keeps "forgetting" and asking me when I'm bringing a girl to the next Family Dinner.


Can't blame him, though.  I haven't exactly declared my homo preference with Broadway lights, yet.

I even catch myself continuing to sometimes challenge my own sexuality.  Perhaps all the hetero guys are faking it, too.  After all, it's amazingly homo how most hetero guys talk -- they might think it's keeping them straight, but maybe it's all about self-doubt and pack-driven negative reinforcement.

Add this new "gay dead" illusion to being gay and over 40 and pop goes the weasel -- shitty pun, to be sure, but this man's suicide doesn't tell a story about anything except the life of this one man.

The rest of us will get through our 40s.  And 50s.  And 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond.

Together, hopefully.

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