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Stop Being Gross

Stop Being Gross


The closeted man's guide to being outed

One of the consequences of having a book out on store shelves is being contacted by readers. And some of them want advice. Like advice for their life. This makes me think they haven't actually read the book, but whatever. I have opinions for gays all the same. This one 18-year-old kid found me and wanted advice on how to come out. That was easy: You come out to anyone who won't make serious trouble for you. Like if you're threatened with violence, then just sneak away from the potential clobberers quietly unless you're already good at beating up people yourself. Or if you have difficult parents who're footing the bill for your existence, then wait until you're no longer suckling the cash teat. Otherwise, just gay it up everywhere you go. Use condoms all the time. Don't fool around with crystal meth. Avoid idiotic fashions. The list of dos and don'ts is short.

But advice for 60-something, wide-stance-having, toilet-lurking Republican senators or massage-and-drug-enjoying evangelical ministers or male-friend-kissing movie stars (who keep getting outed by the tabloids even though it never seems to stick)? It's more complicated. But if you've been outed, here are some new ideas to think about:

Money. You are most likely a well-off middle- to late-middle-aged conservative white male. You have money. And you owe us. And by us I don't mean me. I mean gay youth centers that deal with homeless queer runaways and free lesbian health care clinics and stuff like that. And not just big fund-raisers where you get photo-opped being generous. You've already spent a lifetime being awful. Don't make things worse by grinning like a fool for some gay newspaper at the Human Rights Campaign dinner.

Risk management. It was your risk-taking behavior that already got the rest of us saddled with your dubious ass. The only well-known gay we let get away with repeated romps in public parks is George Michael. And that's because he's kind of cheeky about it. You, on the other hand, need to get yourself a profile on and start some proper dating. Maybe you can find someone who doesn't know about your past, and when you break it to them gently that you've sponsored antigay legislation over and over they'll forgive you for that.

Sex. Anything you want to do with any other consenting adult outside of an airport restroom is awesome. But I have one real pet peeve: guys who go in for the tongue-stabbing make-out kiss when all you're doing is greeting them. What if I'm not into you that way? What if I'm just running into you at the grocery store? You think I want to fag out with you near the Eggo waffles? The answer is no, I don't. Think people in France kissing both cheeks, not French-kissing.

Cultural considerations. Now that you've been forced into the spotlight, please hire a consultant to help you avoid these pitfalls:

(1) Calling that new special someone your "life partner" on Oprah after you've been dating for six months.

(2) Writing your memoir and hoping that it "can just help one person not have to suffer as [you] have." Using the advance to make a down payment on a new home with your "life partner."

(3) Buying lots of bad nude art photography.

(4) Letting some gay think he's qualified to give you a "makeover." Then you end up at some circuit party wearing giant wings and a sparkly orange jockstrap.

(5) Ruining the f word for me and my friends to toss around when we feel like it. (See "fag out," above. I'm keeping that one and I don't care what you think.)

Politics. Change them. You've got years of power abuses to make reparations for. And while you can't change the past, you can try to stop being horrible in the future. Think of this as Christmas Day and you're Ebenezer Scrooge. Go buy someone a giant goose. But again, keep it on the DL if you can. You're used to that anyway. You're no one's role model just yet. You're a penitent. Behave like one.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Dave White