Sunday, September 28, 2008

Things You Read in Gay Profiles

A lot of what I read in profiles on various gay web sites is disturbing. To say we have an image problem is a huge understatement. Things have gotten much better in the 30+ years I've been out, but that's not really saying much. Before I came out, the only images of gay men I had were: 1) an ancient drag queen called Sweet Evening Breeze that everyone in town knew, and 2) the dirty old men that hung out at the Greyhound bus station trolling for runaway teenagers. I didn't know what to think of my scoutmaster and the first couple of bosses I had as a teenager. Now I know they were pedophiles. Ewwww.

I couldn't identify with any of those groups. I was aware of my attraction to men, but figured I was just more honest than the other guys my age. A little later I thought perhaps I was bisexual. Now I think bisexual is synonymous with undecided or unable to commit. I came out when a straight female friend of mine dragged me kicking and screaming to a gay bar so we could dance. Once we arrived and I saw a bunch of very attractive gay guys my age, I knew immediately that I was gay and was in fact, dating one of them by the end of the week.

Much of what I read in gay profiles suggests that these guys don't see images of gay people they can relate to. They probably watch Bravo. Project Runway, Top Design, Top Chef, Shear Genius, Split Ends and a host of other reality shows with gay participants do little to help. Nor does it help that politically, we're now lumped in with lesbians, transgendered, transexuals and a host of others that have absolutely nothing in common with me. Sound like a group you'd want to join?

More likely they go to church. I've observed that the more religious one is, the harder it is to come out. In fact, many fundamental Christians never come out. Instead, they get married and then sneak around with men behind the old lady's back. Married men cruising gay chat rooms and web sites for sex seem to think that all gay men will have sex with any willing man at the drop of a zipper. Does anyone really do that? These married gay men probably vote Republican, too, just to oppose gay marriage.

I think the majority of gay men are far more "normal" than anyone would believe. Over the years I've had straight colleagues from around the country come visit. They stay here at the house--we have plenty of room--and we show them a good time. Without fail, after their first visit they comment on how surprised they are at how "normal" our lives are. These are colleagues I have known and worked with for many years--and yet somehow, they acted like they were coming to visit some exotic, foreign land.

So when I read "not into the gay lifestyle" in a profile, I wonder what kind of notions they have about what our lives are like. Contrary to expectations, we don't have a sling, a 55-gallon drum of lube, and a chest full of sex toys in our living room. We don't have stacks of porn laying around the house, or closets full of wigs, dresses and high heel pumps. We don't have sex parties. We're not in to high fashion, and our house is nice enough but hardly a show place. We eat 3 meals a day (give or take). We work five days a week. We do laundry, clean the house, mow the yard and otherwise take care of routine and sundry tasks--just like straight people do.

Ignorance, misinformation, and misperceptions--more reasons I'm still...

The Crotchety Old Man


J. Clarence said...

"The dirty old men that hung out at the Greyhound bus station trolling for runaway teenagers." That is pretty disturbing.

Anyway, I think you highlight a troubling part of the queer community in general, which is that the mainstream (and the community itself to an extent) has done a such a good job of painting what the community is; which unfortunately makes some gay men not feel welcome and they distance themselves. And in doing so create a reactive community in response to gay community.

I think the cool thing is, and you brought it up, most gay men are "normal" guys. And hopefully more gay men that community see that when they come out, and not have to think that they have to be something else than who they are. That is kind the whole point of coming out.

And thanks so much for becoming a "follower" of my blog. Thankies!


The Crotchety Old Man said...

Dirty old men don't have to hang out at bus stations any longer. Now they have the Internet.

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