Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why don’t you sleep with lesbians?

Another classic and the last in my series of republished posts.
Being an openly gay man working with conservative heterosexual males has interesting consequences, especially if the working environment is traditionally associated with butch, straight hardcore men. My dress sense, hair style, general demeanour and referring to “my husband” is but a few things that makes them fretful. I sometimes feel that if I change anything about my appearance I should try and ease my colleagues into the transition, because any drastic changes would cause their worlds to collapse into a frenzy of confusion and distress. Having a gay man mixed in with a group of straight guys has a tendency to let their neuroses surface, as their masculinity is threatened and they question themselves on their own effeminate traits they discover.
My first day at the office, one of the older gentleman almost had aneurysm: At that stage I had a mo-hog hairstyle and the poor soul had learned just minutes earlier that I was married to a man, that was just too much for the 63 year old man to fathom! Another colleague thought I was a suspect in the illicit drug trade and believed I was brought in for questioning, as I was sitting right in the middle of two fairly large ex police officers. Then there were those who were in denial and stayed in denial for a long time.

It took months for the men to adjust to this new addition to their group that they found queer, threatening and enigmatic. Months passed and they came to understand that I am not so different from them, apart from the fact that I prefer sleeping with men, have a better fashion sense, pay significantly more for a hair cut and have peculiar grooming habits. They relaxed more around me and even ventured into asking selective questions: "Who’s the man in your relationship?" "Have you ever slept with a woman?" "Doesn’t it hurt having sex?" "Do you guys wear dresses?" "When did you decide that you were gay?" …etc, but the pièce de résistance was “So if you are gay why don’t you sleep with lesbians?”

In a predominantly straight working environment one must also always be on the alert for the closeted homophobes. They are the ignorant ones that discriminate against you behind your back. They are too afraid to air their views or directly confront you. Sometimes I firmly think they believe homosexuality is contagious and can spread like the black plague. The outright homophobes are easier to deal with as one confrontation usually will stifle them. My personal favourite tactic in dealing with all homophobe is to be extra flirtatious, it’s cruel I know. I get a sadistic pleasure from the fear they have of me getting into their pants and their associated mental pictures, this usually is enough to keep them at bay for months at a time.

One morning I received a phone call from a colleague who sounded distressed. I was told he just arrived at work and forgot to put jell in his hair. He knew of nobody else to call without being embarrassed apart from me, and asked if I can bring some to work. That was the first day I realized that my “gayness” was having a positive influence on my co-workers. The change was so subtle that I almost missed it. The rest of that day I had a critical look around me. Most colleagues started using hair products, the colour of their belts matched their shoes and conservative ties were replaced with modern colours and a few even risked wearing pink. I was left wondering, are my colleagues turning into meterosexual men or have they just discovered that the world is not as limiting as they once thought? Have my presence enlighten them to be freer?

Being the only gay man at my office, I do not particularly feel that I have something to prove. I prefer to educate by example, and show through skill and action that gays can do any job as well if not better as straight people. I do fit into some stereotypes straight people have of gays, but I am not ashamed nor am I apologetic of it. I am who and what I am, being gay is apart of me, but it does not define who I am.

Till next time.




"My Turn" by Yehonathan
www.yehonathan.com

14 comments:

Rambler said...

Hey

Stumbled onto your blog and thought I'd say hello..

I totally relate to your post. I work in a predominantly Christian office and am the only gay man. It's never been a problem, but the best form of gay pride is just to show them our humanity - that we're regular guys, with far less body hair (hehe)... when they get over the type and see the person, they're no longer intimidated...

look forward to reading more.

Pierre said...

I am glad you enjoyed my my post!

I agree with your comment. I think once they get to know us it is that much harder to hate us or be intimidated.

If you enjoy my blog, become a follower or subscribe ;-)

Fr. Marty Kurylowicz said...

Hi Pierre,

I was delighted to find your blog. I loved reading about what life is like being the only gay person in the office. You are so right that it makes the men check themselves to see if they are masculine enough. That tells us lot about gender defined roles, as well as the impact of social norms. There is more variability regarding gender than people will want to admit.

I hope you are always safe. It is always a risk to be out, but is likely near death to live one's life forever in a closet. I tried to write you on Facebook today, but things a lot busy and my computer decided to act up.

I am glad I found your blog and I am going to bcome a follower of it. How kind of you to become a follower of mine.

With all best wishes, Marty

Fr. Marty Kurylowicz said...

Hi Pierre,

I had to add just one thing more I from Canton, Michigan USA and you are from South Africa, you help to make the world seem closer and friendlier. That is a good thing, a real good thing. Marty

Thierry said...

I loved it once again. Oh gosh, you're not that nice with your poor colleagues. I know they're not so bad straights. And what I loved was the change they operatd with their clothes. Goddammit, this office is gonna be more fashionable than Dior's one!

Pierre said...

Don't quite think they will ever be on Dior's standards, not by a long shot! But baby steps... Maybe one day they'll come close ;-)

The Current exModians said...

This was hilarious. And so poignantly true!

You just started blogging and we just started loving it!

exModia Staff

Pierre said...

Thank you exModia Staff, very kind of you to say ;-) I still have alot to learn about blogging, but it's nice to know that people enjoy what I have done thus far. Hope you guys keep on reading.

Frank J said...

Hi Pierre

What an interesting blog!! (after having read mroe than one post)

I'm a 'butch'/'bear cubbish'farmer(if we musty use lables).

I've always wondered how different it is working as a gay man in a straight office vs. my environment, which is with a lot of labour.

I may just post about that myself one day and we can compare notes - hehe.

Pierre said...

Frank, it would be interesting to compare notes ;-)

scott said...

I had an intereesting conversation with a fellow Face book friend. It seems that we know some of the same people without knowing each other. ( six degrees of gay separation ). Well anyway this particular person that is in the same field as me and does work occationally at my place of employment is a very well liked worker. As this person talked about the outside of work activities of this coworker he was truely amazed that we didn't know of these situations. We know he's gay we know about his "husband" but we see a professional side of him at work. I wonder some times if the problems in the work place stem from not being you as a professional but you as a gay man.

The Suburbinate Housewife said...

I stumbled upon this posting from your most recent one because of the title. Too funny!!
It is so hilarious the questions people will ask and not think a thing about asking them. LOL!

My husband is straight, but thinks along the same thought process as you do when it comes to homophobes.
If he knows someone is a homophobe, then he just can't help himself, but to do certain things.
Working in an environment that is typically VERY "macho man like", there are many for him to mess with and he has a blast!
Once, even coming up behind a guy while the guy was bent over and grabbing his shoulders! The guy nearly fell over trying to run away!!! LMAO!
I could just imagine how hilarious it is with them knowing you are gay!!!!!!!

MartininBroda said...

I don't want to contribute anything profound with this comment, but this was entertaining to read, again, well not in a superficial way. It wasn't my first visit, but I thought this time I could say just a short "hello". Btw. the above comments show all a long-past date, strange.

Pierre said...

MartininBroda, thanks. I decided to republish some of my old articles, seeing as I'm still recovering from my eye operation. Thanks for popping by and for taking the time to comment - I really do appreciate the feedback.

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