7 Awkward Experiences Almost Every Gay Man Will Face

September 25, 2013 in inQueery

7 things cover1. “Are you the man or are you the woman?”
You’re having a nice time with a family member or a fellow employee. Everything is going pretty well, that is, until they start grilling you about your personal life. “So, in your relationships…are you the man, or are you the woman?” The question may arise out of an innocent curiosity, but it’s far more intrusive and insulting than what they may have thought. Responses typically fall into actually answering the question by describing bedding habits to kindly remind the interrogator that you’re neither and the question itself completely misses the nature of a same-sex relationship.

2. Coming Out
Weather you choose to do it at a family function or test the waters on a friend or a family member, coming out is arguably one of the most awkward experiences that gay men face. The act itself is a very personal decision that is almost always a nerve-wrecking experience. It’s no wonder that the average age for gay men to come out of the closet is at 21, when most have left the financial dependencies that they had on their families in the first place (Williams 2010). In addition to that, the process never stops from there as decisions are made along the way to come out to newer persons over the course of time including, but not limited to: family members, friends, coworkers, and some acquaintances.

3. The Proposition
You’re happy in your relationship. Although not every moment is a ray of sunshine, things seem to be stable for the most part; that is until your mate proposes the idea of an open relationship. Rules of an open relationship vary from couple to couple, and many arguments have been made in favor of them (i.e. men aren’t meant to be monogamous creatures, it fosters a stronger relationship through honest communication, and it leaves nothing in the dark). Still, the initial conversation of opening up a relationship ranks high on the scale of awkwardness, and some couplings don’t even make it past the opening line. Defining what you want from the start of a romantic partnering may help deter this, but for those who didn’t get quite get there before the question was asked, it’s sometimes seen as an ultimatum.

4. The Friend Who Tries to ‘Set You Up’
You’re single and enjoying the time you’ve got to yourself. One night you’ll be at a party, having dinner, or simply enjoying some one-on-one time with a friend, when out of the blue, they mention this other “gay guy that you should totally get together with.” The thought is nice, but it’s also important to note that just because your friend knows another man who just so happens to be gay, doesn’t mean you’ll get automatically get along with them and ride off in the sunset with matching horses. While some couplings may start this way, it’s seldom the preferred method of meeting a significant other through a friend who wanted to see you together because you just so happened to have that one thing in common.

5. The Label Game
Otter, Bear, Seal, Twink, Twunk, Cub, Silver Fox, the list goes on. It seems like there isn’t a day that goes by without someone trying to pigeonhole your sexuality on some relatively new spectrum that you feel doesn’t define you at all. And that’s where the label game comes into play. Sure, maybe it’s fun to think about every once in a while, but in the same vein, it can also get tiring and incredibly insulting – fast.

6. The Homophobic Acquaintance
This new conversation partner has a lot to say! You two have been hitting it off quite well, and through your conversations about how much you both enjoyed that one T.V. show that got cancelled too soon, or that one bar that was really awesome right up until the day it closed, you feel a nice connection beginning to form. That is, until of course, the subject matter of same-sex relations comes up, and they both surprise and shock you with what they have to say. Enter the homophobic acquaintance. Everything was going so well until they started talking about how disgusted they were by gay men and women, and now you’re debating coming out on the spot or finding a swift excuse to exit this now uncomfortable conversation. If there’s any redemption to this, it’s knowing you have a wonderfully uncomfortable story to share at cocktail parties for years to come with close friends who actually know you.

7. The Call
This experience ranks as not only awkward, but also incredibly painful. Maybe it’s an ex, or a close friend that you had with whom you shared a night with. The relationship to this person, when the news is inescapable, is seemingly irrelevant when you hear them say “I just found out I have (insert STD here), and I think you should get checked”. In some instances, a simple visit to the doctor and a prescription for antibiotics does the trick, but in other instances, life-altering repercussions can follow. While this experience is one that no one ought to have, it’s a conversation that is also had far too less than it should be. The CDC estimated in 2010 that while men who have sex with men comprise approximately 2% of the population, they accounted for 63% of new HIV infections in the U.S. alone (CDC, 2013). Getting tested for STI’s regularly and seeking treatment in the event of a positive result is one way of combating this experience, and with new breakthroughs developing every day, the stigma attached to them is slowly fading away. Regardless, we look forward to the day where this awkward experience is considered a thing of the past.

J.J. Medina is a guest contributor at InQueery.
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