“Everything doesn’t have to be a big production”. That’s something my father told me shortly before I came out to him. Taking his advice into account, I came out to him in the most uneventful method possible—I wrote him a note and left it on his desk.
It outlined everything that was weighing hard on my chest. I didn’t want my nephew to grow up without the knowledge of his other uncle (my boyfriend). I didn’t want to avoid the question every holiday, when they asked if I was dating anyone. Quite simply, I didn’t want to live a lie. I spent so much of my youth sneaking around and hiding my true self, and I’m fairly certain it damaged my relationship with my family. I wanted to put an end to that.
My point here? Coming out doesn’t have to be a big production. This point is further demonstrated in the second member-submitted story of the day. Read it after the jump, along with some completely unrelated pics of male model Marcello Coutinho.
Photo credit: MODELS BY DIDIO
Click through to read this member’s story:
Sometimes coming out can be pretty uneventful.
I’ve known I was gay since I was in middle school, when I realized that the reason I liked watching the paperboy deliver in the summer. He was a well built guy a few years older than me who was shirtless whenever it was warm enough to get away with it. But guys like him were the exception; most teenage guys just never really appealed to me, as they looked too much like boys and too little like men. So I saw no point in dealing with the hassle of coming out when it wasn’t like I’d have anything to show for it.
The appeal got stronger in my early twenties — living on a college campus will do that for you — and the costs of coming out seemed to shrink too. I had always thought I’d want to be a father some day, and my own dad’s business success while I was in college made it seem likely that, if I found the right guy, I’d manage to be able to afford the costs of a surrogate. So I decided that when I moved to a new city for a graduate program, I’d do so out of the closet.
I’d also taken a few steps to try and make the whole thing more rewarding. I’d spent my entire life pretty seriously underweight due to a hyperactive metabolism and when, at 24, I still weighed the same as I did at 18 (135 pounds at 6 foot tall, so not a good thing), I realized I was never going to fill out unless I worked at it.
A year of lifting weights finally packed fifteen more pounds of muscle onto my frame, and made it so my ribs were no longer visible from several feet away. I figured I owed it to potential dates that, if I was going to be awkward due to being inexperienced, the least I could do was make it so I’d be fun to grope. And I stopped trying to hide my frame in oversized clothes, eventually realizing that no one would see the size label, but they would be able to tell whether it fit.
A friend talked me into posing for his photography hobby a few years back, and it really shocked me seeing how far my body had come from the mental image of a stick figure I had always carried around with me. I’ll never be an underwear model, but I’ve finally gotten my looks to a spot where they can hold a guy’s interest long enough for my personality to have a fighting chance of catching his attention.
A lot of my LGBT friends have stories about the trauma of coming out. Mine was essentially a non event. I come from a family of secular libertarians in the northeast, went to college in Los Angeles, and did my first grad program in the San Francisco Bay Area.
My brother’s reaction was “You realize you’re still expected to provide the grandkids, right?”.
My father, if anything, was relieved. He finally had a reason he could understand as to why I’d never dated any of the attractive women I was friends with.
A number of high school and college friends were similarly pleased to have a reason why I’d never dated a few specific girls I’d been under social pressure to ask out.
The only person I was at all nervous about telling was one close family friend, given her very devout Catholicism, but she was as warm and accepting as always.
Sometimes coming out isn’t a big production, but letting go of a secret is nearly always at least something of a relief.
The only real annoyance I’ve had with coming out is that I’ve had to do it repeatedly. I apparently set off almost no one’s radar, so sometimes I’ve known people for years before either I do or say something that makes them realize I’m gay, or they say something that makes me realize they don’t know.
I’ve never had a bad reaction, but I didn’t think this would have to be an ongoing conversation while living and working in the same place for years. At least one of my friends actually forgot I was gay and had to be told again, six months later. I once had a hairdresser argue with me that I couldn’t be gay (because she thought she had really good gaydar and would know if I was, so I had to be lying or confused), but that’s a whole different story.
I also wish I’d come out earlier. I made what seemed to be the best decisions I could at the time, and if I were put in the same circumstances, I might well do the same again… But I missed out on some things. There are certain advantages to dating while in college, but I didn’t come out until a few years after that. Shortly after I finished college, my mother died unexpectedly, and thus I never got to share this part of myself with her.
I don’t have it all worked out yet – I’m not sure how many people really do – but what I do have I enjoy immensely.
I’ve had some fun times with a variety of guys, and now I have a much better idea about what actually matters to me in those I date and what isn’t really important. I’ve not had a serious long term relationship, but I do have at least a prospect for it now. And I no longer have to spend any time or effort wondering whether I paused too long before saying something, or looked at a hot guy for longer than I should have, or said “we” instead of “they” and tipped someone off.
There’s a freedom that comes with being open that you might never realize was missing until you finally get to experience it.
Click below for more submissions, or send a last-minute contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org: