The Suburbanization of Gay

As a life long supporter of equal rights, I am thrilled that marriage equality is becoming the norm in this country.
A full 81% of Americans between the ages of 18-29 support marriage equality, which is really fantastic.

But while looking at my Facebook newsfeed light up with red equal signs last week, I had to confront my own preconceived notions.
I’m not proud of this but…I am a bit sad that now gay people will be just as boring as straight people.
Now no one will escape the nagging social expectations:
“Oh, you and Chad aren’t married yet? When is he gonna put a ring on it? And I don’t mean a cock ring.”

This is absurd of course. It’s also stupid and embarrassing to admit.

It’s just that in the past, when I’d meet a new gay male friend, I’d immediately assume that I had an ally in my search for fun and excitement.
Obviously, you should never make blanket assumptions about any group of people, but I’m afraid I did.

I’d picture us by the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel, eyeing the same cabana boy.
I’d picture us clubbing in London, gambling in Monte Carlo, smoking hashish in Morocco, walking a sleek dog through the streets of Paris.

Every gay man I met was James Bond.

I never once pictured having coffee at a New Jersey Starbucks with all the other parents and talking about peanut allergies.
I never once pictured a suburban barbeque or a messy garage filled with dusty holiday decorations and kids sports equipment.

I rarely (if ever) pictured reality.

One of my many faults is that I live in a Paper Moon dream world most of the time, with a head full of ridiculous fantasies and elaborate expectations. Each day I wake up fully convinced that something extraordinary is going to happen: that I’ll host a talk show on a submarine or launch a fashion line for ferrets in Hong Kong.

This is probably why my James Bond illusion has been shattered many times over: my ideas about people are impossible. The most memorable shattering was when a friend invited me to his apartment in Atlanta for dinner. I was thrilled. Since he is gay, I just knew I was in for a sumptuous, haute cuisine treat. The table would be set beautifully with flickering candles and expensive linen and it would be the best meal ever…

What I got instead was Shake n’ Bake chicken, mashed potatoes made from boxed potato flakes and paper towels for napkins.
(Side note: it was actually pretty delicious.)

I guess the point is: if I honestly take a look at myself, I realize that I’m just selfish. Because what I’m really going to miss when my gay friends start getting married with the same regularity as my straight friends is Outsider Kinship. No, I am not gay. But I don’t want to get married and I don’t want kids. I’ve known that since I was 14. And while I’m strong enough to push back when straight people treat me like a loose cannon and ask inappropriate questions about my personal life, it’s really relaxing to be around my gay friends, who never ask these questions. Why should they? They just let me lull around in my own bizarre world. Now I wonder if I’ll get pressure from the very people who gave me comfort in the past. But maybe I deserve that.

So it’s time to live in reality instead of the glamorous movie in my head, where the only decisions made are which technicolor cocktail the cabana boy will be serving us. I’m ready for conversations with my gay friends about marital issues and suburban mortgage rates. And before you jump on me–yes, of course I know plenty of cool, fun married couples and parents. I realize that those preconceived notions are wrong too. Being married with kids doesn’t automatically mean you stock up on Lunchables for fun and sing along to Shania Twain in your Subaru.

On the other (ringless) hand…here’s hoping that not all the James Bonds turn into Ward Cleavers.


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