Under the optimistic belief that “people are people” I have been brainstorming about the way that straight and LGBT people share many of the same histories, worries, troubles and experiences. This is my “let’s our share our common experiences under one rainbow” post.
1) Families: you have to love them, they seem to have to mess with your head.
I think everyone can agree that family is the greatest blessing but also a source of endless therapy. For instance, how old were you when you finally got to eat at the “adult’s table” at large dinner parties. Were you like me at 19 and stuck with the 11, 8 and 3 year old at the folding card table. Really hard to convince everyone how mature you are with that? Not to mention the coming home from college and other life changing experiences and having siblings/relations still treat you like you are 16. You know, that never changes; my grandmother and great aunt still act like they are 16 and 18. Hearing a 88 year old woman chewing out a 86 year old with “you’re not going out dressed like that are you?” is a little surreal. And what about the relative who “has religion”; which in my case is my aunt, who has slight (read overpowering) control issues. She has two sons; one went on a student exchange to Japan and then refused to come back for almost 2 years, the other packed up stuff in the dead of night into his car and disappeared. All the signs of a healthy family dynamic. Not that I can talk since my way of dealing with boundary issues with my family has to maintain a minimum of 1500 miles between me and them.
2) Getting hot and heavy somewhere embarrassing
I have to believe this is a universal human condition. I believe that adolescent hormones is God’s way of making soap operas with situation comedy. Where have you made out? Where have you been caught? Let see: I’ve been caught by park rangers in a tent on what I “thought” was a deserted stretch of beach (Of course the first question he asks, looking at the clothes and hair askew is “What where you doing in there?”), Or I’ve made out like squirrels in springtime on the minister’s couch (while they were in another room), also, in our search for a place to make out in our secret relationship (meaning we couldn’t go to her house or mine) we made out in a children’s playground, inside the miniature fort…until we got caught. Okay, maybe they community watch did have some point about “lowering moral values”
3) Finally getting that “dream” thing you want, only to find out it isn’t that great after all.
I think this can apply to that great pair of shoes to a trek across Siberia. Lots of times the things you want are great, and are even better than imagined…but sometimes not. I grew up on National Geographic and so to me climbing a mountain was just “cool and amazing” – I mean, there were so many pictures of people doing it, it had to be great, right? When I finally reached my first summit, I had a “I’m sure this isn’t it…the really amazing feeling must be coming soon……any time now…….sigh” moment. You can also chalk up this amazing black overcoat I got on sale (discounted from $1000). I mean, it is so svelte and classy. It is also cashmere. It also can’t get wet and needs special cleaning. So I now I am too scared to wear it, I just look at it in my closet and wait for the invitation to the white house or the opera.
4) Someone at work is really annoying
For some reason, there is always someone who is annoying where I work (and I’ve worked about 30 places) – even worse, it’s usually a manager. I guess for some people out there, the person was me. But regardless of orientation, I think there will always be someone who is annoying at or around where you work (in the same way there will always be an aspect of a dream job that is tedious or annoying). For me, the kleptomaniac and the practical joker are high up there – you can tell the klepto because they will be the one eating your chocolate bar when you come into the lunch room. While the practical joker will be the one who puts your “porn name” into your name plate during the presentation at the director’s meeting.
5) Having your heart broken sucks
Regardless of orientation, this holds true – along with other truths about “ex’s”: the fact that you will willing to meet them half way but they weren’t, that they know how to bring out the worst in you and that they stole something when they left just because they know how much it means to you. Also, while you may have understood them while in love, they are a baffling mystery of motivation once you break up.
6) Joy sometimes comes in the strangest guises
Don’t worry, I’m not going all mushy on you. This is my lone attempt at “the good things of life” which is that they are different for everyone and that sometimes it is the smallest or the strangest things that can bring the greatest moments of joy or contentment. While I could list the many “intellectual moments” of joy (like finding a really witty writer) I think things like pillow fights, sexual tickling and running around a room yelling “Oh, I am SO going to get you” somehow come pretty on that list. So too when someone you love says, “When I hear this song, I think of you” (unless that song is “Runaround Sue” in which case beware!). I like chasing Linda while singing, “Hey, little red riding hood, you sure are looking good, you’re everything a big bad wolf could want, Arrrroooooooohhhh!”
I suppose I could go on for a while but wanted to get the ball rolling and let all those straights know that while I often talk about the frustrations of being gay or lesbian in a straight world, I do think there is a lot that connects us too – though I will warn you that getting caught making out on the minister's couch with someone of the same sex (like his daughter) does tend to get a more severe reaction than someone of the opposite sex.
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