Friday, September 21, 2012

Aliens and Hypocrites

If I ever needed proof that I am an alien in human form, all I need do is walk past a straight bar, of which there are many in my neighborhood on this side of the border with Boystown. I would never willingly go into one—talk about standing out like a sore thumb. My last time in a straight bar was when I visited my friend Tony in Madison and he took me to his favorite neighborhood bar.

It was Baseball Night!!! (as opposed to Football Night!!! or Basketball Night!!!) And the place was packed with people with whom I might have felt some individual kinship and commonality under some other set of circumstances or in some other place. But massed together, enjoying…nay, reveling in…their unified bond of joyous heterosexuality, cheering wildly when good old Murphy (everyone in the bar knew every detail about every player on the home team—the Brewers…from Milwaukee, I’d judge, taking a wild guess) hit a double fly or whatever it is baseball players do which they considered worthy of cheering, I was totally overwhelmed. Lots of manly arm-punchings, high-fives (a strange bonding ritual—I loathe high-fives) and prolonged applause, whistling, and foot-stomping. Meanwhile I stood there, a guppy in the shark tank, not having a clue as to what all the fuss was about, and having absolutely no interest in finding out.

Oh, and there was also a billiards/pool tournament going on to add to the general merriment. I can at least grasp the concept of pool if not be overly drawn to actually playing it.

So there they were, men, women, husbands with their wives, guys with their buddies, guys with their “chicks” (do they still use that word?): the very essence of the world to which I do not belong and in which, from the moment I realized I was “different” (I love euphemisms), it was made abundantly clear I was not wanted.

And yet, even as I rant and rave against “them” I realized that my parents and all my relatives, whom I love dearly, are, after all, “them”, too, and that this was simply the straight equivalent of a gay bar. I feel (or felt, before the years began pointing their finger at me and whispering “Go away: you’re not wanted here!”) totally at home in a gay bar, and can well imagine an innocent heterosexual stumbling into one unawares feeling pretty much the way I feel in their bars. Being raised in a culture which too long has considered me and those like me less than human, I am far too intolerant and critical of straights, and am, I am ashamed to say, often as bigoted against heterosexuals as they are against me. Yet I fully expect them to accept me and my lifestyle as totally natural and comfortable. And therein we have a perfect definition of the word “hypocrisy.”

But the fact remains that I am and have always been deeply bitter at the general heterosexual attitude of superiority-by-birthright…of total smug assumption of their dominance and their inalienable and indisputable right to be dominant…of the vast majority of heterosexuals, and of how blithely unaware they tend to be of the fact that theirs is not the only sexual orientation within the human species.

I saw a tee-shirt once that I think sums it all up pretty well: “How dare you assume I’m heterosexual?”

But, hey, I’m not really bigoted: some of my best friends are heterosexuals.

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


Vastine Bondurant said...

Maybe there will come a day when BOTH will stop thinking of each other as 'them'.

I admire that you had the honesty to see that it can most certainly work both ways.

Kage Alan said...

Hmm. I don't think of their dominance as a strength. It's like those bags of candy caramels my mother and I used to buy when I was growing up. They were quite delicious, but we were always digging for those rare, few dark caramels that somehow made it into the bag. They were a special treat.

Maybe we're like that, only the rest of the world hasn't caught on yet as to how special we actually are.

On another note, I've never been a huge bar person. I've gone, but I can't say I've totally enjoyed myself. And I really didn't enjoy the Chicago gay bars. When the husband worked in Chicago, he'd meet his friends there and when he'd have his hands full of drinks heading back to the table, inevitably someone would just reach out and fondle him a bit when he walked by. That NEVER set well with me.

Nikolaos said...

We're of the age where we have come to dislike (male) hets. We have endured their silent and sometimes not so silent disdain and dislike all our lives.

I know we shouldn't -- after all, we are being as prejudiced as they are about us, judging us just because of the label. Yet .... it is , as you say, their smug assumption of superiority which so irks and vexes.

Good post!