It’s bad when the 80 year old mother of one of my friends says, “Well, I always kind of thought so.” Really? Why is it that many of the people who find out my husband is gay are not surprised. Not only are they not surprised, some people have even said to me that they thought we had an ‘arrangement’ of sorts because they just assumed that I knew.
Our son was 18 months old when we got married, so realistically, I probably would not have married him if I knew. I wanted to marry the father of my child, who for all intents and purposes lived a straight life, and who, I thought, acted straight. He gave me no reason to believe that he was anything other than who he presented himself to be.
GH liked liked sweaty ‘man’ work. He used power tools and climbed trees with chain saws. He did lots of outdoor chores and was a bit rough handed when it came to an insubordinate power tool. He had a strong build, over 6 ft and 220 lbs. He was a muscular and athletic. We road mountain bikes and hiked. GH liked going to bars and drinking beer.
Stereotypes exist for a reason, and when I think of a gay man, pictures of my gay friends come to mind. Most of them fit the stereotype to some degree. There are some full out and out queens and others who are just a bit feme. GH flew under my gay-dar.
Now I wonder, what is it that other people saw in him that I missed? Were there mannerisms or behaviors that were so obviously gay that an 80 year old picked up on. What is it that makes gay G-A-Y. I need to know so that I can identify and avoid this character trait in any future.
Being that I am pretty deft, unless he wore a sign that said, “I am gay,” I don’t think I would have recognized it. But there were physical characteristics that when I think of them, they make me pause and wonder if any of them were clear indicators of gayness. Were the hazard lights blinking and I just missed it? Clearly there was something about him that made other people consider the possibility that he was gay. Was it the way he ran with limp wrists and a tilted head? Was it the fact that he loved to go shopping for antiques and refinish them. With his mom. Could the sign have been that he was impeccably clean and not only knew how all the attachments on the vacuum worked but used them regularly for their intended purpose? Was it the way he was so meticulous with the yard work? He didn’t have a lisp. He didn’t listen to show tunes. He didn’t have a great sense of fashion. All the “gay things” that he exhibited were counterbalanced by the traits he didn’t possess.
Now that I know he’s gay, I can’t help but see gay. Everything he does is gay. His clothes, his voice, his mannerism. Was it there all along or am I seeing what I know to be there. Last time I saw him he was at work talking to a potential vendor. He wearing a aqua blue shirt that was a little too tight around the chest and biceps. He was being overly animated and using a lot of gestures and tipping his head to punctuate each sentence. His facial reactions were overly animated and as he spoke to the vendor, he kept reaching out to touch his arm or shoulder. I shook my head and thought, “you are SO FUCKING GAY.” Then I thought, why did I not see that before? How could I have NOT seen it?
Maybe I am a little late to realize what so many have recognized. I do fancy my self quite progressive and possibly would have entertained the idea of marrying my husband had he been out. Reflecting on the comments that were made about us having an understanding or an arrangement, I am flattered. Really. I was flattered that people thought that I would marry a gay man to keep his secret. That is awfully generous. Perhaps that gave me some extra goodwill in the community – people think I am a good, caring, humane charitable person! Perhaps they saw me like Angelina Jolie and he was my personal charity case. The cat’s out of the closet now and my social charity is limited to organizations that have a tax exemption.