Monday, 6 February 2012

I’m coming out – scores 54 on a triple word score!

Warning this blog contains some grim imagery, you have been warned!

I’m having a baby. I’m dumping my girlfriend. A pet died in my care. I’m ginger. I have an unnatural love for royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell. What do all those sentences have in common? That’s right they can be quite difficult to tell your nearest and dearest.

I think everyone in their life at one point or other has had difficulty telling people a particular statement, with the possible exception of Katie Price – who could perhaps do with developing the ability to not routinely tell us all about her private life. Get a super injunction woman, we’re not interested.

The statement I’ve struggled with telling some people over the years is that I am gay. There I’ve said it. Though in fairness at this point I am only telling my computer, and given it’s been the sole observer of my pornography collection, it has probably already guessed. Apologies by the way if you didn’t already know this news, as you will discover I probably wasn’t keeping from you for any bad reason, extra apologies if you were a woman and was hoping that one day I’d be your husband – I realise that this post may be a bitter pill to swallow.

For some of you, mainly those who have met me, you may be wondering how I ever managed to keep it a secret from anyone. Well you’re quite rude. Certainly in recent years I’ve never really had a problem in people finding out my sexuality, although if they come towards me waving a placard marked “Burn in Hell Faggots” I’ve found it best not to choose that moment to begin a sentence “By the way…”. As it turns out whilst I’m reasonably adept in defending myself with some cuttingly witty remarks, these count for little against pitchforks and flaming torches in the Top Trumps situation that is an angry mob.

One of the main problems of sharing this secret is how you go about working it into the conversation? I don’t consider my sexuality to be an issue, but it can be tricky to tell people without making it an issue. For example last time I started in a new job, where I didn’t know anyone in the office, I had no problem on the face of it of telling my colleagues I was gay, but how do you go about it? I mean if I burst into the room, bounding between the desks shouting “I am a homosexual” that might seem a little inappropriate. And you wouldn’t expect any of your heterosexual colleagues to confess their sexuality in a similar way. I could of course wolf-whistle at a passing male colleague and shout “Phwoar” but again that feels indelicate and may mean that the Human Resources department find out I am gay quicker than I’d anticipated.

I always figured it would be easier to tell people if I had a boyfriend, then you could at least answer the natural office question “What are you doing at the weekend?” with “I’m spending it with my boyfriend” which feels like a subtle way of announcing the news. Sadly, as anyone who has read even one addition of this blog will be able to tell you, I am not with boyfriend. My Facebook status has been displaying “Single” for longer than a branch of discount store Madhouse’s window has been displaying “Closing Down Sale”. It becomes less discreet and office friendly if you answer the question “What are you doing at the weekend?” with “I am out in pubs desperately trying to get a boyfriend. I am looking for a man by the way, that’s right looking for a MAN! Get the hint”. Not so subtle. So typically I’ve had to wait for colleagues to ask me the question, and this inbuilt waiting time only suggests to them, that I may have an issue with said subject prompting them not to feel it’s appropriate to ask. A vicious circle of secrecy ensues.

Now if telling people you’ve only just met seems difficult, telling people you’ve known a long time always feels much harder. I probably realised I was homosexual at the age of about 16, after spending the last four years of my puberty wondering when the oft-mentioned childhood phrase, recited by elderly relatives, of “one day you won’t mind it when girls kiss you” would come true (it still hasn’t), whilst in the meantime vigorously pleasuring myself to the thought of male boyband members. Seemingly unaware of the actual implications of what I was doing. It then took until I started university at the age of 20 to be comfortable telling selected other people about it, (I am referring to the sexuality aspect, not the “vigorous pleasuring” aspect which you’re probably wishing I’d been more coy about). The main reason it seemed fine was because, these were new people to my life if they didn’t like it then we would simply not be friends – no real loss. As it turned out, no one I’ve told has ever had an issue with my confession, in fact I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve only ever bumped into a very small number of homophobic people. And usually this has been in the company of a much larger number of right minded thinking individuals, which meant that the homophobic idiot has ended up being the one shunned by the group – which I actually find quite fun. In fact I often like to vigorously pleasure myself thinking about homophobic people I’ve met, simply because you know it would really annoy them. Sorry too much information I know!

Whilst it might seem good that I came out at the age of 20, and now am happy telling people going forward, this does present a back log of two decades worth of acquaintances and family members that you need to update with the news. And this to me is the hardest part. It’s not really that I expected any of these people to react badly to the news, it’s more that the longer I’ve known them, the longer it feels like I’ve been keeping a secret from them, which makes telling them all the harder in another vicious cycle of secrecy. There comes a point when you wonder if it would just be easier to publish a pamphlet to all your loved ones, with a series of questions answering what they’re likely to ask, with a small tick box at the bottom asking whether you wish to receive any more direct mail from the author.

Anyway I’ve finally broken the secret pact, over the last few months, I’ve managed to tell some key school friends, and my immediate family. Apologies if this blog is how I got round to telling you. It wasn’t that I thought you’d object, it was just I didn’t really know how to bring it up.

The biggest trauma was of course telling the parents, I sort of had an attempt at this a few years ago, I built myself up to telling them and my sister all in one go at the end of a birthday. Sadly at the point I was about to speak, my dad decided to go to bed, ruining the plan and I ended up half-heartedly muttering it under my breath to my mum and sister. Obviously they heard, but I can only describe the situation for me as feeling wrong, so utterly wrong, like I’d told them an untellable secret such as the fact I’d been vigorously pleasuring myself on their bed – for the avoidance of doubt I haven’t, but it felt like I’d revealed something THAT wrong. Apologies that is the third time I’ve used the phrase “vigorously pleasuring myself”, I promise not to do it again. Anyway the upshot was that in my mind I hadn’t really told them and I certainly didn’t go on to tell my dad.

As 2012 dawned I finally resolved I really need to tell the family, it would be awful if I never got round to doing it, and if my mum and sister knew it might break their heart that I didn’t talk about it more or tell my father. So it was when I was at home over New Year that I decided that the 2nd of January would be the day I’d tell them.

As with all such things, the more time you spend worrying about the potential permutations of outcomes that might occur when you tell someone some big news, the less likely it is that there will be any discernable reaction. I finally managed to blurt out the phrase “by the way there’s something I should tell you, I’m gay” over an evening game of Scrabble. The result of this was odd. My mum said “Why are you telling us this now?” as if the news had ruined her placement of a key word, my sister said “Is this relevant to the move you’re about to make?” as if somehow I was desperate to place the word “Butmuncher” on a triple word score – just in case you were planning on using that word it’s not in Chambers Dictionary, I checked. In response to the general reaction of this being inappropriate time I replied, “I thought it was about time I told you”. To which my mother and sister replied “We already knew!” and my dad said “I didn’t!”

So there we go I managed to tell all my family I’m gay, and create family tension as my dad now knows he didn’t get told first, all over a single game of Scrabble Oops! Despite all my worries about what they might say, they said nothing. On the face of it this is the best reaction “I’m gay”, “Yeah and…” but still whilst I’m sure it’s for good reasons I find it odd they had nothing to say no questions, nothing. As if there’s still an elephant in the room and one day we’re going to have the awkward questions. Or maybe they just realise how terminally single I am, and figure it doesn’t matter whether he fancies women or men, he’s not getting any.

Oh well there you go even the biggest drama of my life - coming out, turned out to be dull beyond belief. Still it filled some virtual pages of this blog. On that note I’m off to check the family will… just in case.

1 Comment:

Charlee Brown said...

My coming out was very organic for the most part. At school I simply made it obvious when I fancied other girls (I went to an all girls school). When I finally announced it in the dining room one day it was a case of "I'm Bi, if you've got a problem with it, move to another table". No-one moved.

A day or so later some girls came up and asked "Do you fancy me?" nominally the answer was no, at which point they were disappointed, worrying that there was something wrong with them. If I said yes they seemed to be worried that I was going to automatically molest them. Why do straight people think that us queers have no self-control, or for that matter taste?

Anyway the one person I was worried about was my Dad. He's shown some pretty homophobic tendencies in the past (turns out he was abused by two gay paedos so I can kinda understand it) and I desperately tried to hide my girlfriends from him. But one of them was churning me up so bad he knew something was wrong and he was getting more and more suspicious and angry thinking what I could be hiding from him. One night he summoned me into his room and sat me down with the words "If you don't tell me what the hell is going on I will disown you and you will be out of here on your 18th birthday" .... "Dad I'm bisexual, I have a girlfriend"....

.... "Is that is?!?!?! I thought you were pregnant, or on drugs or dealing or something... Is she blonde?" "She's a brunette" "Oh well you can't win them all".

I guess it's easier telling you're Dad you have a girlfriend as he can at least sympathise, and I know I'm lucky for how well he took it. Well done on telling them, I'm sure it's a huge weight off of your shoulders.