In a recent post I wrote about the plight of the gay man, how we often yearn to be macho in ways we aren't. David commented "That is the great unspoken truth of modern homosexuality -- the silent, internal distrust of our masculinity." But I have to wonder, am I past attempting this gender sleight-of-hand? When did I stop trying to pretend or modify my behaviour?
As years go by, I fake it less and less. I don't attempt to play sports a) because I can't, and b) because I don't care to. There was a time when I'd pretend to enjoy a round of basketball or a quick trip to the hardware store. I felt it was my duty, as a boy, to find joy in these things. I do not feel that need anymore. I admit, though, I sometimes find myself altering the way I walk when I'm in small towns or stores that sell auto parts. It's deep-seated, this quelling of flamboyance. I might slump my shoulders a bit, or toss a hitch in my gait implying a football injury from high school. And when I catch myself doing these subconscious things, I often get resentful, instead tossing my hair or cocking a wrist, just to prove I'm not ashamed.
Coming out was as much that thing as television and movies make it out to be. While I try not to over dramatize such events, it certainly did change my life. Suddenly I wasn't a boy trying to pass as straight and I could do the things I'd always been compelled to do but stopped myself just this side of jazz hands. Like wearing fitted clothes. And sitting with one leg draped over the other. And copping to an adoration of Broadway and Nicole Kidman's shoes. It was so freeing to finally be what I so obviously was.
Perhaps when a gay boy inevitably comes out of the closet, the pink elephant in the room takes up residence there.
I grew up in a house where phrases like "toughen up" and "don't be so sensitive" were fairly common. For some reason, we don't like it when our boys have emotions. My sister now has two boys of her own and we talk about these sort of gender issues all the time. How amazing it is that anyone would discourage "sensitivity", though it happens constantly. We are, as a people, obsessed with our centuries-old gender roles. What a shame we can't be well-rounded people with traits of all kinds, masculine and feminine combined.
2008 marks my full acceptance of myself. Not only do I walk how I walk, say the word "fabulous" without hesitation, and cry openly during commercials, but this coming November I will proudly attend our best friends' wedding as the Maid of Honor. I'd like to think I'm doing it like Patrick Dempsey, but know it'll come off more like Rupert Everett. I'm okay with that, I'm gonna do it my way. I might not go as far as having ringlets ironed into my hair, but I'll definitely cry when I help Natasha into her dress. I'll spend the night adjusting her hair so it's just right. And when she throws a bouquet I will join that group of girls and I will slaughter them. I'm next, bitches, so step off.