Monday, January 23, 2012

Oil and Water

I've always liked the word "unseemly." It has a charmingly archaic sound to it. How very odd it is that each of us has very personal thoughts, feelings, and opinions of which we never speak; things about ourselves we never discuss or even mention to others because...well, because it just doesn't seem right to speak of them. Perhaps because we are embarrassed by them, or are afraid that others would think less of us were we to make them general knowledge. Or perhaps because it simply is not anyone else's business but our own. The intimate details of our personal sex life is a prime example of the kind of thing we prefer to keep within ourselves. To talk about them would be considered, well, unseemly.

I have a tendency, in these blogs, to talk about things most people don't, but I do it largely as a way of showing that there are areas of unspoken commonality among us all. When I use my own thoughts and feelings as a lab frog to lay out my innards through blogs, it is most often about things in which I hope others might see glimpses of themselves.

My sense of alienation from the rest of the world is a frequent topic because I feel that most people have, though seldom address, at least a small degree of the same feeling of not belonging. But there are areas of my life and personality even I hesitate to confront openly for fear of not being able to express myself properly or for fear of driving off the very people I'm trying to reach out to. It is, frankly, again the case of the little girl's book report on penguins: "This book tells me more about penguins than I care to know." And sometimes I tell you more about me than I'm sure you care to know. This blog is one of those times.

The truth is that I honestly and in all sincerity do not understand heterosexuals. Though as a gay man feel I have a fairly good idea of how other gay men think and act--though I am frequently wrong on specifics--I honestly do not understand the mindset of heterosexual men, and most particularly their relationships to and with heterosexual women. Heterosexual men's utter fascination with things like organized sports and women goes completely over my head. I just don't get it.

I fully understand the physical and sexual attraction of men to men. To me, it's the most natural thing in the world. But while I can accept that the physical and sexual attraction of men to women is some sort of genetic imperative aimed at preservation of the species, I never received or read the manual. I am not the only one in the history of the world to associate the relationship between men and women to that between oil and water, nor am I the first to point out that men and women tend to be complete mysteries to one another. They have very different interests and tend to prefer being with others of their own gender, except....

And it is the "except" that so utterly confuses me. Even in the gay community, where one might expect that the commonality of our sexual orientation might give us a better understanding of and insight into what makes each other tick, the oil and water principle applies. A case could be made that for most practical purposes there are two gay communities: gay men in one, lesbians in the other. There is relatively little social intermingling between the two. In any city large enough to support both gay men's bars and lesbian bars, there will be both, with almost no crossover between them.

Please do not read any degree of misogyny into my oil and water analogy between men and or straight. To me, as a gay man, women simply...well, are. I can't imagine my life without my female friends and relatives. But in my personal world the oil and water of the genders remain forever separated. There's no vigorous heterosexual shaking of the bottle to try to blend them together in the basic imperative to mate. When it comes to gender incompatibility, I really think I have an advantage over heterosexual men. Like them, I really don't understand the female gender, but since I am not sexually attracted to women, I don't feel the need to.

I do hope you didn't find this topic unseemly, but if you did, it's unlikely that you'd have read this far. I thank you for that.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to check out his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs ( ).

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

The whole thing is much simpler than you think, Dorien. Heterosexual men exist to seek things out that annoy heterosexual women. By the same token, heterosexual women respond in kind by finding things that irk heterosexual men, then change the rules at any given opportunity to one-up them.

I can't really comment on lesbians, though.

As for men being attracted to women, it's no different at all than how we feel attracted to men. They can't understand why we are nor can we understand why they are. It creates a balance in the known nine universes. If ever this goes out of balance, one universe will explode.