I preface this post with this: It may come across a little "wah, look at me!" toward the end. I don't mean for it to. I'm just being truthful. If that's how it comes across, I guess there's nothing I can do about that except acknowledge it. Call it conceit, call it confidence, call it what you will. But I'd rather write truthfully about myself and come across a little "wah, look at me!" than paint you a less accurate, though perhaps more appealing, picture.
To continue my tradition of over sharing - which I like to call openness/ transparency - let's talk about my outward "gayness."
A few times I've been told something along the lines "I thought you were straight… until you opened your mouth."
I like to think I'm somewhat of a mix of "masculine" and "feminine." Maybe I'm not 50/50, but a mix nonetheless. (I use quotes because I'm sure all the gender studies scholars reading this post would argue those words have various meanings).
If I'm comfortable around a certain group of people and enjoying myself, my voice is often higher than when I talk "normal" to someone I don't know well. Or my mannerisms are more "feminine" because I'm excited.
I met a guy a month or so ago. We hang out and it was fun - we laughed, we opened up to each other - it was a good time. We've texted here and there since then. Last night I asked him when we were going to hangout again. Here's what followed:
Guy: I think u are attractive, funny, successful, ect. but I'm just not sure man. Im a really chill/ relaxed guy. And when we hung out u were very boisterous and flamboyant.
Me: Not "masc" enough then I suppose.
Guy: I hate to be like that cuz I'm not the butchest guy out there. But yeah I'm attracted to a more masc guy.
Me: To each their own.
Me: No, you're not allowed to pull that card.
As much as I want to think "He doesn't deserve me. His loss" - and I do, I do think that - it also really sucks. It hurt me. I suppose he tapped on an insecurity that hasn't been woken up in a while.
When I was in college (and still closeted) a dear friend and roommate mentioned my "consistent need to over compensate" for my masculinity. Whenever I would do or say something in a "feminine" way, I would quickly counter it with a deeped-voiced retraction.
Perhaps there's some deep seeded scar within me. Maybe I never healed from being told to "stop acting squirrelly" or being called the three letter "F" word in my own home before I'd even reached puberty. I don't know, I'm not a psychiatrist. All I know is this guy's comment resonated with me in a way I wish it wouldn't have.
In the gay community there are guys who say they're "straight acting." Often times they only want to meet up with fellow "straight acting" guys. I'm just kinda like, "I'm sorry, but if you want to take a boy into your bed… that's not very straight to me." Why are so many gays homophobic? How can there be homophobia in the gay community? Those are questions with long, complex answers. I'm reluctant to even bring them up and not explore them more. Perhaps another time.
I'm a bit of a hypocrite in all this. Last year I dated a guy I really liked. I'd never met someone with whom I clicked so naturally and quickly. We hangout everyday the first week we met. When I was at his apartment, I noticed a pair of white high heels in his room. He said he liked to wear them around the house. He also said someday he'd like to try drag.
To be honest, if I'd known this before we met - if it was on his OkCupid profile or something - it probably would have been a deal breaker (or at least raised an eyebrow really high). I know, I'm the #TheWorst. But then in reality... they were non issues. I really liked him. I was able to look past small things I didn't quiet understand because I saw there was more to him than a pair of heels he sported from time to time.
I guess my question is: Why can't the guy who turned me down for not being "masc" enough do the same? He found me attractive, funny, and successful, but god forbid my mannerisms don't align with his ideas of what a "man" or "masculinity" are.
I sound really jaded here. I realize that. Making it seem like I was in love and now I'm a hurt ex-lover expressing the anguish that accompanies a broken heart. That's not the case at all. I'm annoyed my potential was slashed because of something so shallow. I'm upset because I feel judged. I've dealt with judgement my entire life - I'm not special in that - we all have. I feel especially judged as I try to be both a gay man and Christian one. Neither community seems to fully embrace me. Many Christians don't understand why I'm gay, and even more gays don't understand how I can be religious. Both communities - in an ideological sense - promote love and self acceptance - even when your past is not pretty. But when I do, they question me for it. Or exclude me in some way.
When it comes to this guy, I understand people have preferences when it comes to dating. I get that. I really do. You can't help who you're attracted to. But if not changing the way I act and staying true to my character doesn't fit into your definition of a "man," then I don't want to be a man in your eyes.
Someday another guy is gonna pick up where he left off. Behind the sometimes high voice, beneath the "gay" mannerisms, aside from a "lack of butchness" - he will see a man. And he will love that man. With no reservations. No hiccups.
Bonus Tangent: In another instance… When I graduated from journalism school last year, I met with a news director to talk about the possibility of being an on-air reporter. He told me, in a lesser way than not, that I sound too gay to be on TV. Especially in the part of the country where he works. He himself is gay, so it came from a place of "I had to work on it, and you will too." I wanted to be offended, but I couldn't fully - as on-air reporters get voice coaches for lots of reasons - accents, rate, annunciation. Gay voice is on that list, too.