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
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.