I have been blogging now for over ten years, so regular readers are aware that I do not fit stereotypes (gay or straight.) That is, I am my own man and I do not embrace or exhibit the typical behaviors of either a gay or straight man. This blog conveys that I am my own man, comfortable in my own skin, and not comfortable when…
…my roles in activities in support of organizations to which I belong and serve in a leadership capacity require that I promote things that I do not like to do and will not participate.
Cases in point:
* I am an officer in my local volunteer fire department. They are planning their annual Spring fundraiser, which is a auction followed by a dinner-dance. Funny, it is viewed (and actually enjoyed) like a retro version of a high school dance. As an officer, I have to promote sign-ups and sell tickets. I’ve sold more tickets than anyone else, but only because I know how to “make an offer that people can’t refuse.” (LOL.) Most members bring a guest (wife, husband, significant other). However, my ever-reclusive spouse will not go with me because he hates these types of things. Once again, I will be booted, suited, and serve as the auctioneer — I have been the most successful fundraiser for them in the last several years. However, I’ve made it clear that when the band strikes up for the dancing, I’m outta there. (I really dislike dancing and always have!)
* I am now a primary officer in my motorcycle rider’s group. The group gets together with 10 other groups in our state to spend a weekend at our local ocean resort. They have social gatherings — more like drinking fests — around the hotel pool in the evenings, and pay for a shuttle (i.e., “the drunk bus”) to take them to and from the beach town’s downtown for night activities. When I have been around large groups of straight people who have had their tongues loosened by alcohol, my discomfort level peaks. I hate it. They say things that are on their mind, including negative comments about gay men and same-sex marriage. To avoid having to witness that behavior (and get into a fight), I won’t go to that event — even though as an officer of my group, I have to support it and promote it.
* This same motorcycle rider’s organization is having an annual training that I will be attending in a city in another state. I have attended this training twice before. The training is good, though somewhat contrived. They arrange for good hospitality, including great meals. But what they also do is throw a party on Friday night after dinner. Again with the drinking, alcohol-loosened tongues, and loud music with a dance floor — uggghhh, not for me. Being the ultra-morning person anyway, I’ll be in my hotel room by 2030 to go to sleep.
* A civic group for whom I am a life member and once served in successive roles up to a four-year term as President (now I am “aged sage” or “seasoned citizen”) met last night, and they too were brainstorming on social activities. An idea they came up with was a wine tasting, and everyone (except me) seemed to like it. So that’s what they will do — and will not see me there. (Not because of the alcohol, but because I cannot drink wine. Never have been able to tolerate the stuff.)
I know that my reactions to these types of events that straight people seem to enjoy are atypical, but as I said at the top of this piece — I am my own man. If I don’t like to be around people whose tongues are loosened by alcohol and they say things that they would not say when they are more socially aware and diplomatic, and if I hate to be around loud music and dancing, then I don’t have to.
I am not one of those gay men who likes to drink wine, dress up and dance — stereotypes always drive me nuts anyway. I’ll pull on my boots with jeans (leather or denim), flannel shirt (or t-shirt in the summer)… grab a Coke, and socialize pleasantly to a point. It’s when the alcohol flows and dancing music blares that I leave. Always have.
Life is short: to thine own self be true.