Thursday, August 23, 2007

Post-Married Homosexuals

Click here and you'll see my post on "Married Homosexuals," homosexual men who marry women. Today I'm going to discuss homosexual men who come out of the closet, divorce their wives, and become post-Married homosexuals.

In some cases these men (and their lesbian equivalents) become happily and proudly Gay, work out all their problems, shrug off the internalized homophobia and lack of self-esteem that led them to get married in the first place, and live happily ever after as Gay Men.

In other cases, they just can't quite give up those heterosexual privileges. And they can't quite give up the wife (and vice versa).

Some years ago I had a friend we'll call Sid. Sid had been married for many years and had a grown son. He cruised gay bars often -- which is where I met him, although we were never lovers or even a one-night-stand -- and I think he might have wanted a man for a long-term partner. He was having trouble finding a relationship, however, although he seemed to have no trouble getting laid. My problem with him wasn't that he had been married. Sid would call me up to go out bar-hopping, and spend an hour or so talking about all of his problems. When he was finally through and wrung all the advice out of me that I had to give, I would turn to him and start to talk just a little about my life. More likely than not, I would be looking at Sid's back. Now that Sid had gotten everything off his chest, he wanted to cruise and I had become superfluous.

Now there's nothing whatsoever wrong with going out with a friend for a few drinks and later in the evening you both do a bit of cruising. However most friends won't just yak at you but will engage in honest-to-goodness conversation with you for an hour or two before they turn their attention to some serious cruising. Sid would literally turn his back on me, as if dismissing me for the evening. Often I had just ordered a new drink and was in a bar that I didn't feel like cruising in or wasn't even in the mood for cruising. I was out with a friend and wanted to talk. It was as if I had served my purpose -- kept him company and held his hand, figuratively speaking, let him dump his load on me until the two or so beers he'd consumed had given him enough courage to go on some serious man-hunting. I told him I would just as soon go out cruising on my own. I realized that it would have been better if Sid and I had just remained bar friends and never tried to become good friends outside of the bar.

Of course I told Sid how I felt, hoping he would understand and it might either make our friendship stronger or destroy it. It was the latter. Sid merely accused me of being "possessive." Believe me, I did not need him to hang on my every word or sit by my side all evening, but "dismissing" someone because you feel like cruising after they've served their purpose is pretty rude as far as I'm concerned. I liked Sid, thought he had a good sense of humor and was intelligent, but his defensive, negative reaction made it clear that we could not have an intelligent dialogue on the whole issue and that things would never improve. We managed to make our way over to another bar, where he promptly went over to someone he knew, didn't introduce me, and -- damn it -- literally angled his body so that his back was toward me once again. I was being put in my place, I guess. I can cruise with the best of them and have no problem making new friends on my own, but this was not a bar that I especially enjoyed, so I just left, went to a better place, and left a message for Sid that I'd prefer it if he wouldn't bother me anymore.

I don't know if Sid ever found a lover. A few months after this incident I saw him walking down the street with his ex-wife, holding hands, practically skipping, as if they were still the happy couple. (They had a son together and remained friends after the divorce, but I don't think the wife had ever "moved on" in any serious fashion.) I'd be willing to bet that Sid became one of these post-marrieds who got disenchanted with the gay lifestyle when guys didn't flock to his door or a male lover didn't magically appear within a month or two. Was Sid one of these guys who just couldn't make it without the woman at his side and went back to her? (I know gay guys who have, unfortunately, become involved with post-marrieds like this to their ultimate regret.). No, I don't think that was the case. If he went back to his wife it was probably because he was lonely, knew that she loved him, and hadn't found any man who felt the same way. If the two of them re-married I would have to call Sid a post-post-married homosexual, I suppose.

Of course, some married homosexuals never become post-married. Just last month I met a man in his sixties at Ty's bar who told me he had a wife and children. When I asked him if he was bisexual he snapped "No, I'm gay!" and proceeded to give out with all the politically correct verbiage I would expect of someone out and proud like myself. But he was still married and his wife and kids, probably every other relative and straight friend he had, didn't know he was gay. As another patron at Ty's put it, "He's completely and totally gay but he just never divested himself of the wife." This sort of individual can hardly be classified as any kind of gay activist in any real sense, but his pro-gay attitude seemed entirely genuine, although I admit our conversation was hardly in-depth. What was that I was saying about "hetero privileges?"

Bizarre. I'm thankful I knew who and what I was at a relatively early age. There is no greater happiness than that of self-acceptance.

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