Monday, October 30, 2006

Old news, sweet news

I was reminded of this story by an e-mail that one of you sent me.

I have a thing about honor. I will not tell secrets. I’m not saying that i don’t gossip. I’m not a saint. But if you tell me something in confidence, wild horses couldn’t drag it from me. Even if i come to hate you later. It just isn't right.

Here’s a story. Many, many, many years ago, i worked as a teller in a bank that was kind of out in the boonies. I had lived in Seattle much of my life, so some of the things out there seemed kind of hick to me. Like the one woman at the bank who always talked about her concealed weapons permit.

One day an extremely cute young man, Sam, came to work in the branch as the assistant manager. He was from Seattle too. We were conversing in the break room one day soon after his arrival. It turned out that we knew some of the same people. He told me that he was an acquaintance of the brother of a woman i knew. This brother is a flaming fag, the kind who only under duress deigns to associate with straight people because there is no chance that he will get fucked. He is an asshole.

So i knew right away that Sam was gay. (This is almost 25 years ago, and thank god things have changed since then, a bit.) Which was fine with me. I have a reverse prejudice about gay people. I tend to think they are better and nicer than straight people. It’s as logically valid as any prejudice.

There was an uncomfortable silence in the room after Sam told me he was a friend of Mike’s. Had i been older than i was, i would have just said, “Oh, you must be gay.” I knew that to tell the folks who worked with me at the bank would have made Sam’s life difficult. They would not have accepted him.

But i never said anything. I feel badly that Sam sweated bullets, waiting for me to tell. Waiting for us all to snicker at him. But these people all got to know Sam as a person before they figured it out. By then they liked him and so it was okay.

We talked about it a few years later, and he could not believe that i had never said anything, just for the entertainment value of being the center of attention for a few minutes.

Confession: Sam was one of my crushes. And i knew he was gay. But i happen to know that he loved me too. The night before i moved halfway across the country with the Mister he kissed my neck and told me so.

Epilogue: Within the past 6 months, i ran into Sam, and his long time partner Thomas. They were still together, and the Mister and i were still together too after 25 year. Amazing. And he was still cute as hell.


Mignon said...

I didn't comment on your post about crushes because it was a little too personal for me (way back then, what, three days ago or something?). But now I'll say this: I've been there. Crushing on someone more than just your run-of-the-mill unavailable. It was near-painful, but also so bittersweet and innocent.

I don't know if I like the feeling of having a crush. It makes me think something is lacking or unfulfilled in my relationship, but rationally I know it's a normal ebb and flow of emotions and hormones. It's been awhile, and I'm admittedly feeling a little underwhelmed by the men I see day-to-day...

Girlplustwo said...

again with the's always a bit hotter over here....

i love knowing that you will take things to the grave. makes me feel a bit safer, just in the knowing.

Andrea Frazer said...

How can you not love a gay man? I, too, adore anybody who is handsome, emotional, charismatic and can dance me off my feet. All six foot 1 inch of feet. Sadly (joyously I suppose) these men tend to be batting for the other team. Which is fine. And a very safe way to have a crush.

Bobealia... said...

Now that is a confession!! Whew.
I have a friend who wants to marry a gay man. She just can't figure out what he would get out of it. She jokes that she just really wants a husband who can dance, but there is part of her that is very serious about it (not the dancing part - the other part).
For you it's like the "safe" crush that isn't "safe" because he actually crushes you back. Ack! How confusing.

karmic said...

Very nice of you to have held that confidence.
just for the entertainment value of being the center of attention for a few minutes.

That you did not says a lot about you too. Also I never get some of these "be the center of atttention" things. Maybe people are way too deprived about certain things that they feel this way?

Anonymous said...

When Sam told you he was a friend of Mike's, he must have realized what he was telling you. Or, I guess, realized it during that "uncomfortable silence." Perhaps he was a teensly bit incapable of controlling that urge to blurt things out.

Oddly enough, during my stint as a bank manager, I had a sales manager who was gay, only he tried so hard not to be "out" it was painful for the rest of us. He was just exiting a failed marriage, and used the phrase "my ex-wife" whenever he could. I felt like saying, "Keith, I think you'll be a lot happier if you deal with some things...." but then he would've made my life a lot harder.

Bob said...

so very few people really keep the secrets with which they are entrusted. that shows an increasingly rare sense of integrity. I can count on one hand (and have fingers left over) the number of people whose discretion I trust.

I used to have a job that required a security clearance. I was amazed to find how many of my coworkers would brag about it to people who had absolutely no need to know. every so often the government would secretly send out a team to various sites to test the level of security maintained. In every case, they were able to determine the mission of the site within a few weeks time. They would then out themselves to the site and discuss what they were able to find out. it was appalling how much detail they knew.

having someone to confide to that will keep confidences is a rare thing. you must be a very good friend to have.

Lucia said...

You are such an amazing woman. So many people seem to get distracted from what it actually means to be a good person. What more can I say? (Except for maybe that I enjoyed reading your lovely post!)

thailandchani said...

Great post as usual, Meno. It caused me to remember one of my crushes also. He was gay - and very "out". It was the mid-70s. I thought he hung the moon and he wouldn't have noticed me if I'd walked into his livingroom naked (hey, I was young then... naked was an option.. -lol-) We "clicked" very well as friends. Luckily, I had the sense to not tell him that I would have loved just one hot night of complete abandon! There was no way to avoid seeing him, either. He was my boss at the time.

Memories. Funny thing.


Thailand Gal

Lynnea said...

Meno this story made me tingly. When I was younger and by circumstance worked in Seattle in a bank as a teller (deja vu!), I had the biggest crush on a gay man. He was married and the most fun guy to be around. I think for me it was fun to crush on someone who felt 100% safe.

Princess in Galoshes said...

Oh! I love that story....

Anonymous said...

Like Sanjay above, I cut and paste this, "just for the entertainment value of being the center of attention for a few minutes," for it, tragically, is the most common reason we kiss the left cheek of our friends.

meno said...

mignon, crushes can be painful. I have learned over the years to enjoy the feelings of excitement, and to lessen the pain of longing. But it has taken a while.

jen, i am here to keep you warm!

mamap, i do tend to like most gay men. One of my hiking buddies is a gay man much younger than i. He is the sweetest man!

bo, marry a gay man? That would require some serious talking about first. But who knows, there are all kinds of love and families.

sanjay, Thanks. I watched so much gossip at the place where i used to work, and most of it turned my stomach. The gossiper is saying "Look at me, look at me". I'm not saying that i never did it, or that i won't again, but i try to think about why i want to gossip before i do it.

de, he did not realize that i knew as much about Mike as i did, because his sister was a good friend of mine. The silence was when we both realized what he had told me. I worked in banks for years, and there was a higher percentage of gay men there than in the general population, that's for sure! I hate it when gay people aren't out. It's usually so obvious and their efforts to pretend are painful.

bob, that's an amazing, and frightening, story about the security. I am a good friend, except when i am annoying. But i am loyal to the end.

lucia, you know what? I am an amazing woman. And so are you. I do wish more people would have personal integrity. If someone betrays my trust, i will maybe forgive them, but i will ever forget it.

thailand gal, your boss! Oh the torture. I hope the memories are sweet by now though.

hi maggie, married to a man or a woman? I hope to a man, because i always think of the pain of discovering that your husband is gay. Ouch! When were you in Seattle? if you want to tell. I've lived in and around the area on and off since i was 12.

princess, thanks :)

holly, that is so true. And are those few minutes of spotlight worth it in the end? I always ended up feeling liked a soiled napkin when i used information against a friend.

Dick said...

It is important in a really good relationship to be able to count on the fact that you can talk with your partner about anything and it will go no further. I expect it's a bit more risky with just a casual friend which is probably what most of those we work with are. But it is good when you find someone that you can trust that fully.

Anonymous said...

According to the Brookings Institute, the number one predictor of economic health is..........your local gay population. It isn't that gays pave the way to wealth, but smart, creative people tend to cluster, whether they're computer geeks or fashion gays. Corporations care about diversity because it produces profit.

Mother of Invention said...

I have always thought gay guys make such great relationships with straight women. It can be totally opena nd very close while being safe because there is not that sexual tension. I find that my gay guy friends always share many of the same things that my womwn friends do and they just seem very sensitive. (For me anyway)

peevish said...

This is a very sweet story, wonderfully told by you. The epilogue put a smile on my face. Thanks!

Lynnea said...

He was married to a man. They later adopted a boy and they were the cutest family. I'm going to post about me and Seattle - its a fun question for me.

meno said...

hi dick, that trust factor is a major issue with me. If i hear someone talking smack about their spouse, i make the assumption that they are not to be trusted.

holly, really? That's quite interesting. I wouldn't think that gay people are any more, or less, creative or smart than other groups, but maybe i am wrong.

MOI, That can certainly be true. I think in another life i could have happily become a fag hag.

lisa, thank you. I hadn't really thought about this in a long time. It made me smile too.

maggie, oh good! and i look forward to your post.

Anonymous said...

I think that gay people might be, since creativity is often a response to damage and gay people are more likely to be damaged.

urban-urchin said...

That was very sweet. My high school boyfriend came out a while ago. At first I thought "It's my fault!" Then I realized I was giving myself too much credit.