Sunday, September 20, 2009

“We need to talk”: Meditations on the Reactions of 5 Female Friends

We all know that coming out is generally a huge deal (…even though it shouldn't be). As one contemplates the idea of sitting down with someone and spelling out the fact that he or she is different somehow, a barrage of doubts and fears pass through one's mind. Some might worry that their parents will blame themselves. Others worry that their friends might want to 'fix' them. What it all comes down to is acceptance. When someone has arrived at a point at which they are comfortable sharing perhaps the most intimate part of their life with you, they have already thought long and hard and have likely arrived at a conclusion. The only legitimate responses to something so serious are acceptance and support.

That said, other reactions can be downright hilarious.

Stacia was the first person I ever told. She was a co-worker and my romantic life had never come up at that point in our relationship because, frankly, it was non-existent. It was a couple of days after I'd met Grey and been pondering over what I had felt. We only had an hour a so a week that we were scheduled to work with each other and she happened to come in at the end of the day while I was finishing up a project. The stars aligned as everyone else finished up and went home, leaving us alone. As the last person was getting ready to leave, I said to Stacia very timidly, "We need to talk." I told her all about the night that I'd met Grey and that he was a very nice guy. Apparently, I went on and on about him because she picked up on what was going on immediately.

Her infectious smile was a huge comfort. In retrospect, I know that she knew more than I knew at that point. She could perceive the confusion on my face and the terror in my voice. In the most sensitive and she was probably doing her best to sit me down and help me evaluate my emotions (without laughing or somehow letting me know that she knew more than I did about what I was feeling). She simply asked me a number of pointed questions about that night with Grey. "How did he make you feel?," "Was it any different than you'd felt before?," "Do you think that you might like him not just as a friend?"

My answer at the time was "I don't know" (which in fact meant "Yes, I'm gay"), but I wasn't prepared to say that in the moment. Stacia simply reassured me that I seemed happier and that she would always be available if I needed to talk. That was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment.

End, Part 1.


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