For those of you keeping track at home, I did go back to the Coming Out support group this past Friday. I don’t know why I dreaded going so much, except that it’s that way with most things. Going some place new for the first time is always intimidating for me and this was no different.
I was the only person who attended the group this week and it was nice and disappointing all at the same time. I would like to make new friends and this group seems like it ought to be a good place to do that but if no one is going to go to it than that’s not going to happen. It was nice thought because I was able to have a one on one conversation with the facilitator without having to worry about what I had to say being disturbing to anyone else. (Religion plays a part in my experience and while I’m not forbidden from discussing it at this group it’s important to be careful not to get too “preachy” in the conversations.)
The facilitator has a similar but different background and has an understanding of the “religious persecution” that I have to deal with in my process and he admitted that he still has twinges of doubt from time to time. I asked him if he thinks, as is the case with me, that it’s an instinctive reaction. You’re raised to believe a certain thing with all your authority figures telling you that it’s true and when you’re older and learn to have a different perspective; it takes some time for your new perspective, your new opinion to become the default answer. For me, when I bristle at something or start to feel judgmental about something with regard to the gay community, I often realize that I’m just reacting with the programming of my youth and that if I stop and think about the thing, and think about my reaction, I usually realize that I don’t really believe or feel the way I first reacted to the thing.
This lead to a discussion of instinct with regard to sexuality. He told me, “Within the first five seconds of seeing a person, I assess their appearance. I look at their eyes, their hair, and their smile. I look at their body, their ass, their walk. I determine whether I think they’re gay, and whether or not I’d have sex with them. I do all this within the first few seconds and what I realized a long time ago is that the people I’m attracted to are men and that for me, women are just meh! Instinctively, I know I’m gay. How about you?”
My answer might have been surprising. “Instinctively? I don’t do anything.” You see, my mother vilified sex from my earliest memories. If there was a sex scene on TV, she changed the channel. Whether it was her intention or not, she always made me feel like sex was evil and dirty and not to be thought about or talked about or partaken in. As far as I knew the only reason for sex was to make a baby and that should be done via Immaculate Conception. I couldn’t allow myself to consider that I was attracted to anyone and therefore to consider that I was attracted to guys was out of the question. Obviously, this is changing now and I notice attractive guys all the time. And, heh, there are plenty of them.
My instinctive reactions, though, still are not… I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say here…
I was at Rubio’s the other day for lunch with K. For those who aren’t familiar, Rubio’s is a Mexican “fast food” place a step or six above Taco Bell. They’re famous for their Fish Tacos (eww) but they have great nachos as well. Rubio’s practice is to take your order, ask you for your name and hand you a buzzer and your cup. While you fill your drink and get your salsa and find a table, they prepare your food. When your food is ready they call out your name and buzz your buzzer.
The person who was distributing the food was not the same person who took my order and when my food was ready he called my name. I handed him my buzzer, retrieved my food and walked away without thinking much of it. Later when we were finished and about to leave the restaurant, the same guy came by the table and took K’s tray to throw it away. I sat back from the table in the universal “I’m done you may take my plate too” gesture and the guy looked me in the eye’s and said, “May I take your tray too, Kevin?”
My instinctive, but silent, reaction was, “He’s gay and he’s flirting with me. He must be, why else would he have made note of my name? Why else would he just take K’s tray without a word and then ask me if he could take my tray and use my name? That’s interesting and kinda nice. He’s nice looking too. BUT he works at Rubio’s!” (What can I say; I’m a bit of a snob.)
Walking back to the car, I commented to K that I found the exchange interesting and she agreed with me. The exact conversation escapes me now but it was essentially a confirmation that she felt he was flirting with me and that he was a nice looking guy.
It was a nice moment and I was flattered.
I mentioned it in therapy today and all the niceness of the moment disappeared. Suddenly, I felt like I was being childish and immature and something about the retelling of the story made the whole thing seem less…