Sunday, August 08, 2010

Dave Mows Grass on Being Straight

I've known I was straight since my first inkling that such things as gay or straight existed. Even before that, I suppose I did sense that I was different from most of my playmates in some vague way which I didn't understand. By puberty, there was absolutely no doubt. I liked girls! Since then, my life has been a continuous struggle for acceptance in a world which hates and fears me because of what seems to me to be a minor and inconsequential difference, a difference which poses no material threat to anyone. I've never been ashamed of being straight, but for many years I've kept it to myself, even when it was obvious to the people who were close to me. Well, today I'm coming out!

My parents happened to be male. I was lucky, though, that neither of my dads ever beat me like happens so often to other straights with male parents. Instead, they took the "compassionate" route by sending me to counselors and priests who could help me "discover my true, natural preference for boys." I threw a screaming fit one time when one of my dads staged an intervention with a bunch of people from church who tried to hold me in a room with them while they "prayed the straight away," as if the inclination I have always had towards girls was some kind of demon which could be exorcised. That was the last time I've ever entered a church.

I was still a kid when that happened, not even old enough to date. The fact is, I didn't date at all in high school. Sure, I ran around with some girls and my friendships with girls had a somewhat different context than my friendships with boys, but I never had a girlfriend. I didn't dare! Of course, my dads kept prodding me to find a date for the prom, but I never considered that possibility for an instant. The idea of dating another boy seemed absurd from the outset because I was not, and had never been, even the slightest bit attracted to boys, not in any sexual or intimate sense, at least. My best friend at school, who happened to be male, often suggested that I try dating a boy--not himself; he already had a boyfriend, but some other boy--just to experience it for myself. He said I would only be exploring my sexuality which, particularly for late-teenagers like ourselves, might not be a bad thing. Of course, I countered by asking him why he didn't try dating a girl just to explore his own sexuality. Of course, he said he could never do that! I appreciated my friend's good intentions and the delicacy with which he approached the matter. I also very much appreciated the fact that he was never afraid of me (Nor were my other friends, who were quite numerous). He was kind to me when so many others weren't.

That's been a recurring theme in my life, that I've always had friends. Unfortunately, though, even my friends were not completely immune to the conditioning that comes from a society in which the overwhelming majority of people are gay. So many times, I've sensed that one of my friends actually had quite a strongly entrenched opposition to heterosexuality but regarded me as an exception only because they had, in their first interactions with me, found me to be an admirable person for some reason before they ever figured out that I was straight. I sensed from them: "I think heterosexuality is wrong, but it's hard not to like Dave!" I forgave them, though. I had to forgive them or I would have no friends, which is very sad.

I joined the Army at an interesting time because Don't Ask, Don't Tell had just become law. If anything, DADT made my own situation worse because it highlighted the fact that I could not be openly straight. I was still in the closet then just like I have been till this minute as I write this, so if DADT didn't exist at that time, I would have stayed in the closet without much thought. I would have known that I couldn't come out without that fact being codified in federal law. As it was, we had fun with it. I suppose it was pretty obvious that I was straight so it didn't surprise me that much when my cohorts took to calling me Don't Ask Don't Tell. It was a term of endearment, I suppose, because it was only my friends who called me that. For the most part, I think I endured less discrimination in the military than on the outside. It's as if the topic was off-limits. I was assigned female roommates just like gay males and we showered together. None of my roommates ever requested to be moved and none of them was ever afraid to dress or undress in front of me. I knew they were lesbians and I respected that. My being straight was a complete non-issue to them. That said, I did have a few bad experiences in the Army. The worst, and certainly the scariest, was when I was walking back to the barracks from the head just as a group from my platoon was coming back from a drinking binge. They didn't actually do anything to me other than yell things like, "Why don't you go fuck a woman in the vagina, straight boy!" One of them made obscene gestures like he was squeezing a breast. I wanted to shout, "I'll fuck your mom in her vagina!" but I didn't. Instead I just looked straight ahead and quickened my pace back to my room. It was frightening and very humiliating.

Since I got out of the military, I did what most straights do: I quietly lived my life. I finally met in person the cute and very funny woman from the Philippines I had been penpals with for several years. I went to the Philippines again a few years later and decided for sure--though we had both seen that it would happen long before that--that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. It took her a few years to get a visa, but eventually she got here and we started our lives together. Now we have a five-year-old son who's about to start kindergarten. How time flies!

A few years ago, they passed a law creating an institution called a "Domestic Partnership" for opposite-sex couples which grants them many of the privileges same-sex couples enjoy. We thought about it just because the tax treatment would save us some money, but in the end, we decided to hold out till society gets it's head out of it's ass and finally passes a law allowing opposite-sex couples to marry. The modern world has already done it; it's only these puritanical religious states like America that are holding out. We have hope, though! We see progress in the courts and we see progress in the society-at-large. The young people I talk to today could give a rat's ass that I'm heterosexual. As non-traditional couples become more common, and people see that kids from hetero couples end up becoming homos, and kids from homo couples become hetero, and that none of those kids become rapists or spread the plague just because of the sexual orientation of their parents, the argument that straights are a threat to our society is going to get harder and harder to make. We have hope! I know that someday I will be able to finally marry the only woman I have ever loved. My wife!

So I declare today, to my family, my friends, and anyone else who is interested; to those who suspected it but weren't sure, who wanted to believe otherwise but didn't, or who were simply too thick to notice the preponderance of indicators of it which were obvious to everyone else; that I am completely and unabashedly straight! I always have been and I always will be! As if it fucking matters!

9 comments:

Martijn said...

Good for you! And thanks for all your work in getting this problem out in the open. God knows how long I tortured myself with it before having the guts of admitting I like girls. It's just damned hard pretending you're gay for all these years when the caveman inside wants to scream, and go lootin' & pillagin'. And if you think Europe would be any more liberal in these matters, think again: last weekend, Amsterdam saw a very militant Gay Pride Parade. Thousands and thousands of bearded boldies in assless pants doing their war dance! If that doesn't chases one back into the closet for years I don't know what will.

carl duewall said...

ecd

Martijn said...

What's ecd? I'm SO out-of-touch with this new speak. LOL I know. AC 'flash' DC too of course... etc. and KMKY (aha) [that's worth googling if you don't know what I mean!] but ecd is a new one for me. Google, here I come.

Dave Mows Grass said...

ECD is for E. Carl Duewall, my friend in Texas who, barring an epiphany, is probably examining this whole gay rights issue from a completely different direction. He's a good man!

Say, I was positive I left you a long and entertaining answer to your original comment, but I see now that Blogger has eaten it. I won't try to reconstruct it today, but I think its crescendo went something like, "...because America is a beacon of hope for the wrold, a shining example of how religious fundamentalism and unregulated capitalism can combine to form the perfect society." The rest of the comment just highlighted the depth of this sarcasm. All I really have to offer today is the idea that men in assless pants are scary but not nearly as scary as a populace bent on amending our constitution to ban the wearing of assless pants after we had to amend the constitution to allow assless pants in the first place. It's the Second Amendment actually: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and wear Assless Pants, shall not be infringed. It's in there. Look it up!

Hi, Martijn! Hi, Carl! Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

You sicken me, breeder. We are no longer friends.

UF Mike

Anonymous said...

By the way, that post was hilarious and brilliant. Thank god, though, you were only kidding! I'll see you tonight at the bar (and I'm not talking about some kinky straight bar, either!).

UF Mike

Dave Mows Grass said...

See you there, Mike. I'll buy you a strawberry martini.

Martijn said...

You all crack me up! I mean it, including Carl. Don't come up my crack though! And someone should say the classic: 'Not that there's anything wrong with that'.

soubriquet said...

That makes it easier for me.
All my life, well, as long as i can remember, I've felt a strange attraction to um... well.. the um... opposite sex.
There. I've said it.
Boobies.
I notice them.
You know?

Whereas, though I shared a room at college with another guy, um... I never ever wanted to see him naked. In fact, I really wanted not to see him naked.

And the girls?
Oh. I wanted very much to see them naked. And one or two were queer, and um.. wanted to see me naked. Weird.

So what do we do now?
When we go out, can she dress as a girl, and not wear the tweed suit and the stick-on Tarzan chest-wig?
Can I go to events with her without wearing four-inch heels and the silicone boobies?

Will we get attacked by a screaming mob if we have an intersex hetero kiss in the open?
I'm afraid.