Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fruit Fly

I have been teaching at a small private school for over a year now and have successfully kept closeted, especially since I was told when I first started that I was effeminate but that the school's board members decided that I couldn't be gay since they knew I was a good Christian. (See this post.)  What bullshit!  Anyway, I am still the same person, but I keep my sexuality quiet.  Some of the students probably suspect, and I don't allow for them to use derogatory language for gay people or anyone else in my class nor do I allow them to bully anyone, especially for their sexuality.  None of the kids at my school are out, but there are some that will come out one day.  When a community is as small as ours is, everyone knows everyone else's business.  I know that these kids will do much better when they go away for college.  They need that opening and accepting experience so that they can come into their own and make those first steps out of the closet.

The point of this post, however, is that I finally found a good friend at school who is about my age.  She is our new art teacher.  Most of the teachers are much older than us, but we have been hanging out together lately when I don't have night classes.  It's great to have a new friend.  I haven't had many since I moved back to my hometown two years ago.  When I first met her, I knew that if we did become good friends that I could tell her that I was gay.  She, being an art major in college, had already figured it out and was just waiting for me to tell her.  We have a blast together.  I can really be myself around her, and even around her husband.  This weekend, her husband was gone to visit his daughter in college, and we had our big homecoming game at school, so we basically were hanging out together all weekend.  Friday night after the homecoming game seemed like a perfect time to tell her.  Of course, much as I suspected, everything went great.  She was so happy that I finally told her.  Subject that we had been beating around the bush and talking about, we could now really talk about them openly.  It has been a wonderful experience.

I finally have a new fruit fly.  I have always despised the term "fag hag" but I love the term fruit fly.  Besides, a fruit fly, though most often a heterosexual woman, can be a heterosexual man as well, who hangs around with gay people.  It's really nice to have someone that I can be open and honest with and not have to worry about whether or not I will lose my job for being myself.

By the way, remember that National Coming Out Day is October 11.  I just jumped the gun by doing so a little early.


Vilges Suola said...

Good that you found somone sane among all those benighted, bible-bewitched prudes. I'm one of three out gay men in the small department where I work, and among colleagues it is simply a non-issue. My muslim students are literal-minded creationists, though, and thus just... brick walls, really.

Coop said...


I can't imagine living like that as a Gay man. I admire your courage. I'm a native Bostonian (well near enough).
I'm not curled up in a fetal position inside my closet. Nor do I have the word Gay tattooed on my forehead.
I suspect I will always be somewhere in between. "Yeah I'm a homo..." and move on with life.
Some of the stereotypically Gay traits don't come naturally to me.
And I don't feel like putting on a show.

Discussing "effeminate" behavior?? Dear God!! That always makes me cringe...

Anonymous said...

Way cool, Joe! Congrats! I guess I have a fruit fly, too (wonder how M would react to that label). I just call her my best friend, and she really is!

Peace <3

JoeBlow said...

VS, it is very nice to find someone sane among all of these Bible thumping prudes. She and I just seemed to click when we met each other.

Coop, I went from being a very out and open gay man in grad school to moving home, and figuratively, back in the closet. It was very tough, but I have managed and it is good to find someone to share the real me with.

Thanks, Jay. I don't really consider L my fruit fly, but just a very good friend.

Anonymous said...

Great news, Joe. Sounds like a true friendship in the making. I'm happy for you.

becca said...

aw i'm so happy you found someone who you can be yourself with that is amazing but why does everyone have to label people why can't she just be your best friend why does she have to be labeled "fruit fly" or anything else for that matter. she's your friend end of story. I'll never undertand labels and boxes and such. Guess i'm just to old to figure it all out. anyways great post and happy you found someone to call friend. hugs

JoeBlow said...

Dan, I think it is a great friendship in the making too. We were sitting there watching a event at school the other night and one of the girls came out with a very skanky dress. We just looked at each other and knew we were thinking the same thing. I told her later, "You know you have found a true friend when you can just look at each other and know what the other is thinking.

You are absolutely right, becca. I just needed a title for the post, and I think it is just a nice way to label it, but I don't really consider her a fruit fly, but as I said above to Jay, I consider her a friend. Right now, she is really the only one here who knows that I am gay, and I am enjoying have a friend that I can be open and honest with. Truth be told, I am not one for labels and boxes and such. We are who we are, and that is the way it should be.

Anonymous said...

Joe - it is a blessing on so many levels. Thank God.

I've always identified with your returning home experience. I did that for one year when I was 30. While I didn't have to live in the closet and my town wasn't nearly as small as yours, I still had a drastic change in lifestyle, no friends, and only some nebulous plan of a way out.

I did not gain any new friends. However, our town did get an Indian restaurant! Can't say my parents were thrilled about the smells of Indian takeout. But it became my touchstone to life as I had known it (before moving back home) and as I hoped it would become - living somewhere that was diverse.


fan of casey said...

Joe: It's a great sense of relief and freedom for you to have someone you can really be honest and forthright with. We all need to break out of our isolation, altho in your situation, self-preservation was quite understandable.

JoeBlow said...

Dan, I never thought I would really enjoy living near my family again, but as my grandparents get older and their health gets worse, I have realized just how little time I have left with them and thus have learned to relish my time with my family. The hard part is that I have been largely alone, without my friends, back in the closet, and living in an extremely small town. The city is about thirty minutes away, but after long days at school, you just don't want to go into town. It's nice to have someone who lives nearby that I can hang out with and be myself. One of the reasons that I write occasionally about living as a re-closeted gay man in a small town is because I do know that there are others who have had to do the same thing. I am lucky that the city nearby does have a wonderful and wide array of restaurants for basically any taste. It's one of the great things about this city.

FOC, it has been a great relief and the little shaded picnic table that we sit at and drink a few beers, discuss school and whatever else comes to mind, is my little bastion of liberalism in a largely conservative environment. (By the way, she is a Republican, but a socially liberal one.)

silvereagle said...

Joe---Great news there. I know you are happy. I remember the first friend I advised of my inclinations and his reaction was the same as your friend! Happiness for me...

And now, happiness for you!!

JoeBlow said...

Silvereagle, I hate that we basically have to go through this process with all new friends, but a true friend will love you no matter what. It makes for a great experience.

Theaterdog said...

Thank you for a new positive term for my straight friends!
I hope things continue to change so one day people like us can do the wonderful thing you are doing to be near your family, pursue your career openly and influence these young people.
Thank you for your position on bullying and comments in your class, they are listening!
In pride

Mike said...

Yay!!! Glad to hear you now have someone to chat with at school who is becoming a good friend!

JoeBlow said...

Theaterdog, I do love the term "fruit fly" but I can't take credit for it. I had a professor once who referred to herself as a "fruit fly" because as she said it, she was no hag. I hope that one day there will not be such a problem with my sexuality and that others like me can teach and be openly gay throughout America (and the world, for that matter). Other places in America are becoming more open and accepting of homosexuality, but the Bible Belt has not reached that same conclusion yet. Hopefully, someday it will.

Mike, I've have friends at school there are just so few of us that are young. (Considering being in our thirties makes us the young crowd, LOL). There are only four of us, one who is a coach, another that is the same age as I am, but is a minister also, and then there is my friend and I. I'm glad that we clicked so easily and can enjoy each others company. I enjoy the other teachers who are older, but there isn't a lot of socializing going on, so it is nice to have someone to hang out with even when not at school.