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To hell with cultural expectations

07/02/2010

And that applies on both sides of the orientation fence.

For those of us who come out later than most, the issue of cultural expectations looms large. Trying to live up to the expectations of the world into which we were born and socialized can cause a whole heap of trouble! So – now that you’re out, or on the path to coming out, one thing you’ll have to do is give up worrying about what the straight world thinks of you.

But there’s another thing – you can’t let gay expectations put you in a corner either.

One of the biggest coming-out barriers I had to face, was my fear of what gay acquaintances – and by extension, the rest of the gay world – would think of me coming out as late as I did. And I worried – a lot about whether I’d fit in socially after living 56 years as a straight person. As it turns out, this wasn’t as big a deal as I had feared.

But still, now and then, something pops up and catches me off guard.

An example: More than once among a group of gay guys, I have openly admired a good-looking woman. This wasn’t always well-received. Once, one of them groaned, “Oh, gross!” Well, get over it, pal! You certainly have the right to comment admiringly about a cute boy with a nice tush. I’ll join-in – with enthusiasm. But I demand the right to comment on a nice rack if I see one. I love women, and I still like looking at them. The fact that I finally figured out I was gay didn’t suddenly make all of them unattractive. If that grosses you out, then don’t hang with me.

And, by the way, go easy on the show tunes, please. Didn’t like ’em before. Still don’t like ’em.

The coolest thing about coming out and being comfortable living out, is that you are still yourself – only better. Coming out is about being authentic, and you can’t be authentic conforming to a set of gay stereotypes any more than you could conforming to straight stereotypes.

You don’t have to like show tunes, or drag shows or Liza Minellli. You don’t have to give up your recliner, or your Bud Lite or the ball game(s). Or be a snappy dresser, a divine dancer, a tasteful decorator or a talented cook. You don’t have to know the lyrics to Cole Porter tunes, or even know who Cole Porter was. You don’t have to be buff, you can have bad hair, and you can wear any totally dorky thing you want when you go outside to mow the grass. It’s all good as long as you are being your best self, and you’re comfortable being the gay man you are.

Love yourself just as you are and get out there my good man! Maybe we’ll run into each other sometime. I can promise you, I’ll be looking pretty average. And I won’t be humming a Cole Porter tune.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. nanci Reese permalink
    07/03/2010 5:54 AM

    What the hell is wrong with Cole Porter songs!!!

  2. 07/03/2010 1:50 PM

    Oh, nothing, in and of themselves. As show tunes go, they are pretty clever and good. He certainly beats the hell out of Rodgers and Hammerstein!

    I’m just not a big fan of that kind of show business, nor do I understand why so many gay men are. To each his/her own.

  3. Brian permalink
    07/06/2010 12:46 AM

    You had me until Cole Porter. Listening to kd lang ‘s cover of “So in Love” was life-changing. You owe it to yourself to try it. I will find that CD (Red Hot + Blue).

    • 07/06/2010 1:17 AM

      Okay. I may have to rethink Cole Porter.

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