Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Closet

I thought that by this point in my life I'd be done with the closet. Of course, I also thought that my non-heterosexuality was kind of obvious, but I'm told it's not.*

Every Tuesday night I make my way to a local bar for poker night. It's a free night, and it's amusing and entertaining (except when I bow out ridiculously early), and I'm pretty much a regular there now. I recognize faces; I know some names; and I know who I prefer not to play against and who I enjoy playing against.

To these people, I apparently come across as "one of the guys." Which is great. And none of them come across as hatefully homophobic, which is also great. Over the past few months, I have been treated to such comments as "check out pink sweater," referring to a lithe young woman at another table whose breasts were, frankly, unbelievably perky. On another night, the men at the table shared ogling rights to an attractive, thin Asian woman who is becoming quite the regular.

Table talk has included (thankfully brief) discussions of which female celebrities are hot and which ones wouldn't be kicked out of bed. Remember when Keith in Six Feet Under starts that job in private security, and all the guys stand around and talk about chicks, and Keith is so afraid of revealing his sexuality that he even says "Yeah, I'd tap that" about one woman? Yeah, it's kinda strangely like that.

I generally play along with these discussions. No, I don't go so far as to mention which woman I'd love to tap, but I do comment that some women are attractive. Hey, I'm allowed to notice beauty. (Yes, that's a rationalization.)

But the funniest moment was one night when a gay social group decided to hold its happy hour at the bar on the same night as poker night. This made my table-mates quite nervous, from what I could tell. As we played, it was inescapable that there was an unusually large congregation of men at the bar. Not only was their sheer number noteworthy, but the total disproportion in the male-female ratio was stark.

One player at my table commented that "not one single guy playing poker tonight wants to lose early tonight of all nights." Meaning: Unlike other nights, losing early doesn't mean lounging at the bar and talking to attractive women. (Kind of a shame, actually, because the guy who said this was really very attractive. I definitely would not kick him out of bed.)

The straight boys seemed uneasy about the whole situation, though thankfully none of them spewed any hateful rhetoric. Some seemed in denial about the men at the bar, preferring to believe that it was some post-work professional networking scene. (Perhaps my gaydar is more attuned to it, but just by scanning the faces of the men, I could tell it was most decidedly not that.) One seemed unwilling to even use the word:

Me (joking): You could go get a drink with the gay guys up there.
Him: You really think that's what it is?
Me: What what is?
Him: You know... those guys up there.
Me: Do I really think that's a gay mixer going on up there? Yes, I do.

Inexplicably, I stopped myself just short of saying that I would join them when I was done, or that I was going to a different gay bar after the game.

I suppose it just never comes up in conversation, but a part of me does wish that I could "come clean" with the guys at these poker nights. When I first started going, there was this cute lesbian couple who were also regulars. They stopped showing up several months later. They never, oh, made out or anything, but it was pretty clear they were together. There are usually one or two cute guys playing with us, one of whom I think may be gay, but we never talk about it.

At some point I'm sure it'll work its way into conversation, but until then... I'll keep my queens in the pocket. Which is, again, a shame, because some of these boys are really cute.

* Recently, at a gay bar, I realized why it's somewhat unclear: there are men here who are WAY gayer than I could EVER be. I randomly made a comment to a stranger while waiting for my drink and the 23-year-old just oozed homosexuality in his response. I was actually kinda taken aback. Me, straight-acting? Go fig.


Cincy Diva said...

I always thought I was obvious as well until I met GC's children. They knew I was gay. They just thought I was a lesbian!

katie said...

Being astraight female, I want to say that your sexual orientation should have nothing to do with your card game (or anything else for that matter), but then I don't have to worry about anyone having an adverse reaction to my sexuality.
Interesting post, as I was just thinking of a post I read on a gossip site discussing Alexis Arquette being less than thrilled that Neil Patrick Harris and TR Knight have been quiet (I wouldn't say closeted) about being gay. I keep thinking to myself, who cares if they want to keep their private lives private (especially in hollywood, where you don't have any privacy). But I also see the plus side of being very open and inviting the public into your life. The point is (and I think I have a point) people should get to decide how much they want other people to know about their love life, gay, straight, bi, whatever.
Sorry, I think I just wrote an incoherent novel in your comment section.