Monday, April 06, 2009

Painful Truth

I hate admitting when I'm full of shit. Doesn't everybody? But there's no escaping it. I am.

I went to FARB's book-signing last week (see: "Famous Author Rob Byrne's" blog in my preferred reading list, below to the right). It was in a gay bar in Hell's Kitchen Clinton, here in New York City. Ordinarily I don't go into gay bars because I'm in recovery and, as I often tell myself, I have "no business being someplace full of people who drink." That's one thing I tell myself. Another thing I've been telling myself for the past 11 years is that I'm not dating because I'm "afraid of repeating past mistakes" in terms of picking the wrong people to get involved with.

Lies. All self-deluded lies.

I realized, almost as soon as I arrived at the bar, that I was exceedingly uncomfortable. Not because other people were drinking and I wasn't, but rather because I was in a roomful of gay men, without the benefit of a 12-Step structure (i.e. a "group" or a "meeting") and I had nothing... absolutely nothing... to buffer me from the prospect of having a regular conversation with regular guys.

An "on-line" acquaintance of mine, a gay woman whose name is irrelevant here, walked in and I practically threw myself into her arms, I was so relieved that at last there was someone I could talk to without the added pressure of that person being a male.

Unfortunately, that didn't work out so well because, it turned out, she was there on a mission -- to check me out as possible dating material for another gay male friend of hers. I wanted to scream when she told me that.

As I was trying to find Rob to say my "goodbyes" for the evening he tried to introduce me to a couple of other friends of his, male of course, and by then the pain was so great I practically sprouted wings and flew down the steps and out the door. Talk about being "light in the loafers!"

Humor aside, the next few days have been painful. I am not the person I thought I was (I always thought of myself as Mr. Gregarious). Yet without the benefit of loud music, a dance floor, cigarettes and gallons of booze, I simply don't know how to act around gay men.

I've been sharing about this at all my 12-Step meetings since last Friday (including an LGBT meeting I attend in Pennsylvania on Saturday nights). I've been sharing about this with my sponsor, too. And with other members of my so-called "executive committee" of close recovery friends (all men, all straight, all married -- another friggin' clue that I might have "issues" with gay men).

Sigh. Yet more work to be done. I am a work in progress. And as we're fond of saying, it's Progress.... not Perfection.


Alan said...

I think you kind of have to Just Do It, hon. Most fags don't bite, at least not on first acquaintance and if you don't talk much and always listen, you will come across and smart. You can also bail on anyone who ceases to be entertaining. you go, boy

JoyZeeBoy said...

I can't begin to tell you how awkward I felt, Alan.

But I'll take your advice and just try to "walk through" to discomfort of it. I guess that, in time, it'll get better.