Becky Says...

January 2002

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January 26

I really hadn't planned to elaborate on serving as cover for deeply closeted gay men today, but I got e-mail this afternoon from someone who wanted to ask about it. Since the person asked nicely, I answered the question, with a warning that my response might be rather long. It was.

Since the answer is now written and has been sent, I thought I'd share part of it, the episode that wasn't funny, with the rest of you. I'll save the other part for another time.

A little background: I was not brought up to believe there was anything wrong with someone being gay. The first time anyone explained it to me the explanation was, "Some men date women, some men date other men, and some women date other women." As a fact, like any other fact. It was only later in my life that I found out anyone really gave a damn about it. And someone's sexual preference has never been why I have or have not liked the person, or sought to make friends.

The second time I wound up providing cover involves someone who was a casual acquaintance during the years he was married and living with his wife and two children. Married men always manage to slip beneath my radar, by the way. Probably some naivete on my part, but there you have it.

Anyway, he and his wife divorced during the time I was at home with my mother after the first of her strokes. He is a businessman in this area of the state, and on one of my trips back this direction, I happened to be at his office. He told me about the divorce, and said that the two of them just had grown apart. It sounded plausible.

We started seeing each other when I was in town. And we're about the same age and grew up in the same state, so the same rules of etiquette were understood: gentlemen only go so far in terms of sex with ladies they're considering marrying. In other words, I wasn't concerned that he only made certain moves, ones that would constitute groping. I pretty much kept my hands to myself, too. Same rules.

Anyway, after I got back here full-time, we continued to see each other, only I kept getting mixed signals. For one thing, there was a young man often around, who was sometimes treated as a son and other times as an equal, whenever I was at my friend's office. No, the young one wasn't a coworker. But flip side, I started spending time with the children of the first marriage. See, mixed signals all over the place.

While I'll admit there may have been things I didn't want to see, I will only take half the blame for any misunderstanding.

As time went on, I came to the conclusion that he and I had too many differences to ever have a marriage, so it was by no means devastating when he finally came out to me, which he did a few years ago. I even sort of understand why it took him so long, though he knew I had other friends who are gay.

And we are still good friends. But there's a tiny little part of me that feels a tiny bit used and a tiny bit hurt.

Text © copyright 2000-2002 Becky