Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What Would It Take For Me To Come Out?

It would take your dating me, if you're a woman. No, make that your being the one for me, or at least kind of tricking me into thinking as much.

I've thought about it, and, for me, the politics of being gay just don't matter. The "You'd be happier" or substitute ___ with any other word gays use, i.e. authentic, honest, etc, arguments just don't seem to apply to me. Basically, I'm interested in coming out for more selfish reasons, not because others think I should based on their experiences or what it would do for other gays.

In the past, it definitely hasn't been so that dating someone would make me think about coming out. Then again, two of those women weren't out, either, and I was never pressured by any of them to come out. But I'm older now, and I'm aware that if I get approached it will be more by women who are out than women who aren't.

I had a piece written up on my lap top about this topic, and normally I just take directly from that piece when I post exclusively on a topic related to my not being out. But I'm doing something different this time. I still want to make sure I get the ideas I expressed in this post, because they are still true. So, here is that portion of the piece, plus more thoughts:

I see people as the reason for coming out, for me—particularly someone you fall in love with. I’m not sure this will ever happen to me. But I find myself thinking that the one thing that could make me come out, without somehow being forced, is finding someone whom I feel is worth coming out for. I also somehow feel like finding someone would kind of clear up some of my other problems, such as not knowing exactly what my sexual orientation is…but I can’t be sure about that. Either way, I don’t think it’s fair to ask someone who is out to run around hiding with you. And if the person is great, you tend to want to get on everyone’s nerves sharing that bit of information. That person deserves that. If it’s a serious relationship, then you can’t be anything other than out. Of course, I’d feel kind of bad if the relationship ends…I’d be alone in gayland again.

Incidentally, I tend to feel the same way about gay acquaintances who know I’m also gay, too. If we are together and someone I know who doesn’t know I’m not straight pops up, I don’t want the person I’m with to lie. The few times I’ve been in that situation, I’ve sort of stood there like, "Well, this is probably it." For that reason, I’m sure there are many people who either assume I’m gay or question it among themselves. I laugh every time I think about it, so I think that kind of speaks to the "You’re ashamed" or "You’re insecure" arguments, at least for me.

My biggest concern is my family finding out. As for most other people, they don’t tend to have enough guts to come right out and ask, "Are you a lesbian?" So I don’t really worry about how I can explain myself to someone who asks me that, other than my family. If others think I am and tell other people I am, I am pretty fine with that. If they ask me to my face, I will probably just say "I don’t know, and I don’t care" because that’s basically true. And I’m a straightforward person.

I wrote this quite a while ago, so a few things:

I don't know that I'm "hiding." I do and say things all the time that should make people wonder about me, and I think it's hilarious. I'm definitely hiding it from my family, though. But with other people, I don't care as much if they know or suspect. I guess I encourage people to be suspicious, or I just do/say what I want to and let them wonder since they are not going to come right out and ask. I am not one of those people who is going to volunteer the information, and I don't think I ever will be. There are people who have to drop "my girlfriend" or "being a gay person..." into conversations or even classroom discussions...someday I might do the former if it's really pertinent, but not so much the latter.

That brings me to my next big point. If a relationship or a special someone is going to be my reason for coming out, then, quite frankly, I don't ever see it happening. I don't really even know how to talk about this, so I tend to avoid it. But basically, I just think that I'm supposed to be alone, and I don't see why anyone would be interested in me. I don't see a mutual interest ever happening, either. I'm one of those people who, in life, tends to get everything she wants. But when it comes to relationships, it's the total opposite, and I think I've accepted that. If I am interested in someone, I don't even think about the possibilities. Automatically in my mind, she would never give me the time of day. If someone's interested in me, I honestly kind of think he or she is nuts. ;)

I don't know what people look for in others. I mean, I know the kinds of things people say. Often, the things they say and the person they end up with aren't the same. Plus, someone can have everything you theoretically want and the chemistry is just not there. That's why I think it's a funny question to ask someone what they look for or what their "requirements" are and such. I think there's quite a bit of "falling in love" that is beyond your control, beyond your checklists.

I'm mentioning this because, in a lot of ways, I'd meet someone's checklist. I'm allegedly intelligent, pretty honest, talented, funny, loyal, ambitious. I'm in law school and, theoretically, going to be a lawyer (I'd prefer to be a writer, so that's probably going to happen). So I'm going towards a good career. I have no idea what I look like to most people, but, in my opinion, worse-looking people attract mates, so...I probably could, too. I have a lot of strengths and, in general, I have good high self-esteem...just not when it comes to relationships, which is one reason I tend to avoid that. As mentioned, I don't think I'm good-looking--though I'm not ugly, I guess--and I don't know why anyone would take a particular interest in me. So these are things I try not to think about. I prefer feeling great about myself and to focus on what's great about me, and I usually do. I hate when people bring up relationships and dating and anything related to that.

The bottom line is I don't take the idea of me and a relationship or "the one" seriously, and, most of the time, I never even think about it. It's very interesting how that tends to play out, particularly with women since they are always looking for signs that you're into them and giving these subtle-as-hell signs that they're into you. If I feel comfortable enough with a pretty woman, I might flirt with her. The thing is that "knowing" that she's not interested in me makes me feel free to do that without fearing rejection. So I only initiate flirting when it doesn't mean anything.

But if a woman's flirting with me, sending signals or looking for signals, I'm clueless because that's the farthest thing from my mind. I'm not thinking about dating her, and I've already presumed she's not interested in me. The few times I pick up on what she's doing, I kind of dismiss it as, say, a joke or playing games or something like that. She's in an impossible position, and women eventually get annoyed and give up in these kinds of situations. I don't really tend to give signals that I'm interested in someone, and I think just about every woman I've dated has pointed that out to me in some form. I remember one woman whom I was dating just came out and asked if I was interested, because I didn't act like I was.

The direct approach works best with me, but most women aren't going to do that. But, at this point, that probably wouldn't even work anymore. I just don't trust women anymore in a relationship context, and I can't really imagine being in a real relationship. I'm so selfish and set in my ways, and I feel like even gay relationships are lopsided, i.e. one person sacrifices and does more than the other. That person has traditionally been me, and I don't really want to go back to that. It's really weird to say, but...I like women, I just don't feel like I can have a good romantic relationship with them. Discovering that I can be friends with (some of) them has been miracle enough. When I think about stuff like this, it makes me want to like men romantically...

Oh, and final point--I would hesitate to come out over a woman, especially since there's no guarantee we'd stay together. I would go through everything with my family, and then she'd be gone. My only real link or place in the "gay community" would be gone, and I'd be back where I am now. This is why it'd take some serious thought and why she'd need to make me think she's it for me.