Him: Thanks for meeting up with me. It’s good to see you again.
Me: Yeah. How’s Chicago?
Him: Eh. Chicago is small. It kind of holds you down. It’s stifling sometimes.
Me: I hear you. Hey, sorry about the email. I meant to email you back and I had a busy week.
Him: Yeah, I was wondering. You probably get a lot of email, though.
Me: I do. And sometimes I’m having a busy week, and they pile up, and some of them are really long and detailed questions about relationships.
Him: That must… Does that ever feel heavy?
Me: Ha… Nah… It’s uh… it’s fine….
Yes. It feels extremely heavy, sometimes. There’s a guy I correspond with sometimes who lost his lover last year in a car accident. He’s paralyzed with survivor’s guilt and he’s trying to find a way to mourn his boyfriend. He’s having an awful time and sometimes I don’t know what to say to him.
Him: Yeah. That seems pretty difficult.
Me: How are you feeling?
Him: Yeah, I dunno. I feel strange. I’ve been in my situation for so long, that I don’t know what to do about it.
Me: I take it you’re still in the closet.
Him: My friends and family don’t know that I’m Gay. I don’t want them thinking of me that way.
Me: What do you mean?
Him: Well, I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m Black. So that’s always been a thing with me. I feel like I want to be known for someone who’s me, and not someone who’s Black, and now if I come out of the closet people will look at me and see a Black person and a Gay person, and I just want to be known just for being me.
Me: I understand that. But don’t you think you’re making the world better by coming out?
Him: How so? I don’t get why I have to run around saying I’m Gay all the time. Straight people don’t have to do that.
Me: But they do, in a way, don’t they? Doesn’t every movie or tv show feature Straight love interests and such? Isn’t proclaiming your heterosexuality kind of ubiquitous?
Him: I guess so. I just don’t want people to think different of me.
Me: They won’t. Or, if they do, it will only be for an adjustment period. Sooner or later they’ll realize you’re just the same person you were before. I think if we live our lives openly we give Straight people the opportunity to digest our sex lives as normal.
Him: I dunno…
Me: Well, it’s certainly a load off your shoulders, when you come out. It feels like a heavy weight is lifted off you, and you don’t have to pretend anymore.
Him: I’ve heard people say that. There’s a guy at my office that I have a crush on. I kept asking him to coffee, and I’m pretty sure that he can’t tell if it’s social or work related coffee. I thought about that for weeks, before I asked him to coffee. I planned it out forever.
Me: See? If you were out, you could just ask him out, and not worry about it for weeks. I mean, you’d still worry about it for weeks anyway, but not for the same reasons… Hey. What if he’s Gay, and he likes you back?
Me: If he’s Gay and likes you back, what will you do? Won’t he want to go places with you as your boyfriend, eventually?
Him: But then it would be okay. If I had a super hot boyfriend it would be okay that everyone knew I was Gay. Or if I made a lot of money. Then it wouldn’t matter, either.
Me: Is that how it works?
Him: That’s how it works. Do you want another drink?
Me: No. I have an early day tomorrow. But thanks for getting in touch with me.
Him: Thanks for meeting with me. It makes me feel better to talk to you. I think you’re great.
Me: I think you’re great too. Can I have a hug?
(we hug for a long time)
Me: Take care of yourself?
Him: Of course. Always. But who takes care of you?
Me: I do.
(pause. we hug again for a long time)
Him: Okay, bye.
(I turn to leave. I start walking away.)
(a smile spreads across my face)
8 thoughts on “TuesDATE: The Closet”
great post. and the last photo is amazing.
thank you. eryc is a great photographer, right?
he definitely is. and youre a gorgeous subject.
Im Black and recently coming out too. Being black and gay comes with its own set of politics so I can understand where your friend is coming from. Its good he’s got someone like you to encourage him though.
Are these photos relevant to the post itself? I was always wondering…
Not at all. The dialogue and photographs tell two different stories, most of the time.
and is it inappropriate to say your friend in the photos is GORGEOUS?…=)
Not at all. He’s a beautiful man.