Sunday, August 8, 2010

Coming Out: The First Step

Coming Out of the Closet

On the Friday before spring break, in my second semester of grad school, I had gone to a party with some of my friends.  One, in particular, lived next door to me, and we used to always go to all of these grad school functions together.  There was no point in both of us taking a car.  At this point in the year, she had a boyfriend, and he usually went with us as well.  They never once made me feel like a third wheel.  We always had fun and that was just that.

Quite honestly, I no longer remember what the reason for this get together was (I think we were all going to see a band at a bar downtown), but I do remember that we ended up at a professor’s house to continue drinking after the bars had closed.  This doesn’t really matter but it ties into the story later on, the professor’s house we were at was the only gay professor in the department.  Anyway, a great deal of alcohol had been and was continuing to be consumed.  We were all DRUNK and having a great time!

As was usual with us, we were just talking about anything and everything.  Then the topic of the professor whose house we were at at the fact that he was the worst dressed gay man we knew came up.  And from there the conversation turned to about him being gay.  This was a very friendly conversation (I have rarely met two people more liberal than these friends).  Then somewhere out of the drunken ether came me saying, “You know I am not.”  To which they replied, “Of course, we know you are not gay” (now this was just a platitude because they knew that another grad student had pissed me off by asking me point blank about my sexuality).  That’s when the courage came to me to say, “No, that’s not what I mean.  I am not straight.”  They both said that they still loved me and it would never change our friendship.  They also assured me that they would not tell anyone else until I was ready to do it myself.  They were also very flattered that I felt comfortable enough to tell them.  How the conversation from there went is a little fuzzy.  I do remember them telling me that they would have never guessed, etc.  Those sort of things.  (They did tell me several years later, that they had always suspected, but realized that it was my business and I would tell them when and if I was ready.) Eventually, we went home and then we all went our separate ways for spring break.

I would not really see much of them for nearly two weeks.  Those were some of the longest two weeks of my life.  I had finally come out to someone, but we were all drunk and I had no idea if they would even remember the conversation. I remember most everything I do when I am drunk.  It is quite a curse at time, but also sometimes a blessing because it keeps me from doing something really stupid.  I saw my friend for just a brief moment the week we got back to school, but nothing about that night was mentioned.  I was so worried that I had gotten up the nerve to tell her once, and I certainly didn’t want to have to do it again.  It was never a question of whether anything would change between us.  I knew it wouldn’t, but I didn’t want to have to find another way and time to tell her again.

Finally, Friday night came around, and we all went out for out end of the week drinks. Still the night went on, and nothing was mentioned about that night.  Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I found myself alone with my friend, and I asked her if she remembered what I had told her.  To which she replied, “Of course, I do, I just didn’t want to make you uncomfortable.  I wanted you to know that nothing had changed.”  I told her that it would be nice to be able to talk to someone about it and that I had feared she would not remember.

She had always remained a great friend and about six or seven months later, she took me to my first gay bar in New Orleans.  More about that story in the next post.

Sorry that this post is so late today, but I have been working very hard to get ready for my new job that starts tomorrow.  I had pre-work/training days last week, but I have my first full work day tomorrow.  I am nervous as hell and have been busy trying to make sure that everything is ready.  I will write more about this later, in a way that will not reveal too much about myself.  It is for reasons concerning this new job that is part of the reason that I started these posts about coming out.


Mike said...

Good luck with your new job!!!

Joe said...

Thanks, Mike. I just hope that I am able to get a good nights sleep tonight.