I used to be incredibly self conscious about the way the world perceived me. I would go to great lengths to emit an air of ambiguity, to disguise my true identity. I would only let my Fag Flag fly in the company of close friends. To everyone else, I was an enigma.
This is, of course, after I gave up drag and moved to Los Angeles from Tucson. In Arizona, I was fearless due to a nasty crystal meth addiction and the fact that I was young and didn't know any better. I arrived in LA, after a series of traumatic events, a changed man. At first, nothing seemed different. But the longer I was here, I realized that LA is just one big closet. Sure, there is the West Hollywood scene, but I wasn't interested in that. I had already partied enough to last several lifetimes. I wanted to be part of the "Industry", a cog in the wheel of the Hollywood Dream Machine. And that, my friends, is when I became aware of myself.
I suddenly found that my fantastically expressive hands were obscene. I erased words like fabulous and decoupage from my vocabulary. I cannot explain why, but I had unconsciously chosen to camouflage myself. Naturally, this didn't really fool many people. I am far too eccentric to truly blend in with the status quo. Nonetheless, my most frequent employer, a woman who has known me for five years, has not once asked me a single question about my personal life. We sit three feet apart for 12 to 18 hours a day, weeks at a time, and not one indication that she is aware of my sexual orientation. Which is fine, because frankly, it's none of her business. Yet, I know every detail of her homelife, her kids and her husbands business.
What I find ironic is that at some point, I simply stopped trying to hide it. It was exhausting, trying to pretend to be "one of the guys." I could never talk about sports because I regard sports as "something that just hits me in the head." I couldn't talk about girls, not the way straight guys do. A foxy girl walks by and they all comment: "Did you see that shake?" And I would think: "Did you see those shoes!" They would say: "I'd like to get me some of that!" And I would think: "I'd like to do her hair!" Then one day, Geoff started in on the gay jokes. He told one after the other and everyone laughed except for me.
"What's the matter," he said. "You don't think that's funny?"
"Oh sure," I replied. "I love gay jokes. I always have, since the second grade!" This seemed to shut Geoff up. Yet again, I had given a sarcastic and ambiguous answer. He came up later to apologize, said that he didn't mean to offend me.
"I was just trying to find a way to connect with you. I can't figure you out. I was looking for some common ground." And just like that, he found it. Under all my trickery and confusing behavior, I was human and so was he. That was a real turning point. I realized that I wasn't doing myself or anyone else any favors by hiding who I was. Except for the occasional (and rare) homophobic remark, I have found that most people find it charming when I say things like "What a fabulous decoupage!" They know who they are dealing with and I have a lot less stress.
I have been searching for a new apartment, which is exhausting in its own right. This morning, I called about a remodeled split level with a private rooftop patio. The woman on the other end of the phone said: "You sound like a happy guy?"
"Oh, I am!" I answered. I told her the apartment would be for myself and JR. She asked if he was cute and I confirmed.
"Well, then...The place is yours! Of course, it's still be worked on and I can't guarantee pink countertops, but you and your partner are at the top of the list!" Hearing this made me feel great. I guess it's good to be gay after all. No, JR is not really my partner in the way she assumed, but if it will get us into a lease... Yeah, JR is totally my butt boy. I was glad to know that there are people in the world who are partial to a couple of happy guys.