For the longest time I’ve kept my personal life out of my professional life.
I’m not sure if it’s just me not being super comfortable with who I am or if I’m afraid or, what…
All I know is that up until now, I just haven’t felt comfortable letting my sexuality be a part of my professional life.
I think part of me is afraid of the judgement that I would get if I did.
And another part of me just thinks that me being gay is just something that’s not important to my professional life.
But, at the same time, these are the people that I truly spend the vast majority of my time with.
These are the people that tell me about their boyfriends, their girlfriends, their sexcapades…
You get the idea.
As a 25 year old dude that’s at the very least, decent looking, I should be able to pull and talk about chicks.
But I don’t, obviously.
Now, I haven’t really gone out of the way to “hide” my sexuality. I haven’t tried to convince people that I’m straight or anything like that.
There’s no fake girlfriend that I just don’t happen to have a picture of (uh, Manti Te’o anyone). No me trying to bro out and be super straight.
Nothing like that.
I just choose to avoid the situation.
When I get questions like…
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Are you an ass or tits guy?”
“What’s your type?”
I tend to just answer them by being vague.
“Do you have a girlfriend?” gets answered with, “No, I don’t have a girlfriend“.
“Are you an ass or tits guy?” gets answered with, “Most definitely an ass guy” (duh).
“What’s your type?” gets “blondes” (and yes baby, you know it’s true ;)).
Things like that.
So I don’t avoid it per se, I just answer in a way that I guess can be interpreted in whichever way they want.
I’ve always told myself that if someone clearly asked me if I was gay, I would tell them the truth.
I’ve thought that by keeping the stance of I never actively denied it, I could have some pride in saying that I never denied it.
As I write all of this I think about the situation and more and more realize that it’s probably me just not being totally comfortable with myself on the whole situation yet.
I’m not sure…
Anyway, that whole thing came to an end just the other day.
At least for one of my coworkers.
Here’s a little backstory…
My boyfriend has a job that requires him to work more retail type hours.
Instead of the traditional Monday-Friday schedule, he gets Monday and Tuesday off, usually.
So, with this particular coworker (let’s call him Jim), I’ve told him that we can do things after work any night except for Tuesday. Because Tuesday nights are reserved for date night with me and my baby.
At first it just was kind of accepted and nothing really happened. But after a few weeks, he asked me, pretty emphatically, what the hell I was doing all these Tuesday nights.
So, I told him I’d tell him at some point, but just not yet.
It was just something that I wasn’t quite ready to deal with.
And for the most part, he respected my decision on that one.
But, just a week or so ago we went out to breakfast.
And he asked again.
At that point, at a restaurant with other people around, I wasn’t quite ready to come out with it.
So I looked him in the eye and said, “Jim, there’s a certain part of my personal life that I don’t like to be part of my professional life.”
He responded by saying something along the lines of “but I’m a part of your personal life”.
And he was absolutely right.
So I told him that was fair enough, and I would tell him, just not right now and when I tell him, he would understand why I wasn’t so forthright with it.
The conversation kept moving along and we were able to move on, for the most part.
Then a couple days ago, he needed some help on some stuff and I told him I would help him after a work.
So he bought me dinner and some booze and we got to work.
And by some booze, I mean a LOT of booze.
By the time we were done eating, we had nearly finished off a fifth of gin (the best of alcohols btw).
Needless to say, we were a bit intoxicated at that point.
And that’s when he asked me again.
I knew at that point that moment of truth had come.
We were intoxicated, bonding and it was just time.
So this is where I decide to come out to him, but in code…
For some reason, I always find it a little more difficult to just tell someone I’m gay. Not sure why but for whatever reason, I feel like letting them come to that conclusion, and then validating it is easier for me.
Am I crazy?
I don’t know…
Anyway, I told him that Tuesday nights are my date nights, to which he basically said, “that’s it? It’s just your date night?”
Clearly I had opened the door but he hadn’t come through yet.
So I asked him why could that possibly be something personal that I wouldn’t want to be in my professional life?
What could possibly be so important and personal about that that I didn’t want it to be common knowledge?
And then he got it.
Or at least, it clarified what he basically already knew.
At that point he told me that he had a hunch. That my boss would ask him if he thought I was gay so clearly the thought has crossed some people’s mind in the office.
What was cute though, was him wanting to know more about these date nights and who I was seeing.
When I told him that I’ve been with my boyfriend for a over a year now he thought it was cute and wanted to see a picture of him.
Something super tiny but for some reason, I thought it was cute and it brings a smile to my face as I write about it now.
To be completely fair to Jim, it hasn’t affected our relationship in any way, shape or form. He totally accepts me and nothing has changed at all.
He just happens to know, or has confirmed something a little more personal about me.
I’m not sure when or how I’ll come out to the rest of my coworkers, or at least the ones that I care to come out to, but I know that now that the first domino has fallen, it’s just a matter of time before the whole thing falls.
And I’m OK with that.
I think it shows growth and a little more acceptance of me in myself.
It’s time for me to be more OK with who I am and not give a crap what anyone else thinks.
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