Confessions of a Straight Man by Rick Marianetti
I have an announcement to make to the world, a secret I haven’t shared with almost anyone. Maybe it’s the influence of the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy TV show. Or the University of Michigan class entitled “How to be Gay: Male Homosexuality and Initiation.” Whatever it is, I got news for ya honey: The closet’s gettin’ too stuffy for this boy, so watch out, cuz I’m bustin’ out!
That’s right, I am declaring to the world here and now than I am gay!
I’m not sure when I first came to this realization about my identity. At first, I tried to fight it. Just because I adored “West Side Story,” there was nothing to be ashamed of, I thought. Heck, the film version won 10 Oscars.
But then there were, well . . . other things.
A girlfriend took me to the ballet to see Maurice Bejart’s production of The Firebird, and I thought it was beautiful. But it wasn’t just dance; there was the opera, too. I loved it! Whether it was a Puccini duet or Balanchine pas de deux, I found myself enraptured. Good Lord, what was happening to me? Why didn’t I enjoy tinkering with cars and going hunting like other men?
My favorite hobby? Cooking.
It got worse. As the years passed, I began to agree with my sister and mother that in many ways, Judy Garland was a better singer than Janis Joplin, although as of this writing, I harbor no urge to dress up like any of them. Especially my sister—I’m allergic to her angora sweaters.
It’s not that I don’t think camp is fun—Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space is one of my favorite guilty pleasures—but diva worship isn’t exactly my thing.
The final epiphany came at my niece’s wedding last weekend. I somehow got recruited to help a gay couple who were friends of the bride’s aunt. They were doing the flower arrangements, an endeavor about which I thought I was totally clueless. Yet there I was, actually contributing design ideas on where to place the gladiolas!
It was time to unburden myself. I told my female partner we had to talk. Oh, that’s another thing. I’m always the one who wants to talk about the relationship. And I cry easily. Movies, a song, even TV commercials. Anyway, I sat her down and just blurted it out: “I think you should know that I’m gay!”
I wasn’t sure how she would take it. I braced myself for the worst. She looked at me and asked, “What’s for dinner?”
“Didn’t you hear me? I’m gay!” I said.
“OK, you’re gay. Me too. Let’s pretend we’re lesbians!”
“You’re not taking this seriously.”
“So you mean, like really gay? But you’ve always been with women, you always talk about women. Now you’re suddenly attracted to men?”
“Attracted to men? Well no, I wouldn’t put it that way; let’s just say I’m gay in every sense except the part that involves sex.”
The look on her face indicated my non-sexual proclamation of gayness did little to clear things up. “Isn’t having sex with men sort of a requirement for membership?” she asked.
“Look, I’m gay in almost every other way. Just because I still like to watch football on Sunday mornings. . .”
“And your clothes; not exactly what I’d call flamboyant, not to mention that you like the Three Stooges. I hate to generalize, but how many gays are big Three Stooges fans?”
“That’s just it. Haven’t you ever noticed how much time those guys spend together?” I countered.
She’s still working out her confusion, but let me tell you, there’s nothing as liberating and spiritually refreshing as coming out in public. I highly recommend it. I’ve come to accept the fact that I’m a sexual mulatto, with one foot in the straight world, the other in the gay world, accepted by neither; a man who can recite the starting lineup of the 1962 San Francisco Giants and whip up a fabulous Grand Marnier soufflé at the drop of a sequins-studded purple beret.
Transgenders, transvestites, gays, lesbians—both butch and lipstick style—they all have support groups. I propose such a group for men like me. And women too; I know you’re out there. Let’s tentatively call ourselves “Stray Gays.” “Metro Sexual” doesn’t do it for me; sounds too much like someone who likes to have sex on the municipal railway system. Anyone who can come up with a more elegant name, something a little jazzier, send me your suggestions to the email address below.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to put on one of my Ute Lemper CDs while I prepare something fabulous for dinner.