being out and "straight acting"

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being out and "straight acting"

Postby Obarryon » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:43 am

For altogether too long, I stayed in the closet, not too effectively trying to mask who I am. Finally, at 44 years old, I made the decision to be honest and open. To say the least, those who I came out to were not especially surprised. "Oh, I knew that" was the usual response.
I had not ever really been a part of the gay community, and in fact have had such a distorted life in the closet that I've never had a real relationship with another man. Now that I am trying to get into real dating rather than wham-bam hookups, I'm finding that I'm getting more grief from other gay men than I was from straight people for my behavior and deportment. I'm probably not a true flaming queen, though there's a good deal of smoke :lol: , and I am being snubbed for being "too fem" pretty regularly.
My options don't seem appealing. I can attempt to be "straight acting" with likely the same degree of success I had in the closet (no Oscars for my acting), and further the shame that goes with that dishonesty just as if I was in the closet again, or I can be natural and have other gay men treat me like I'm inferior. I absolutely refuse to ever closet myself again; I was literally dying in there, mostly via the method of drinking myself to death. Takes a lot of booze to maintain being a fraud. On the other hand, I'm feeling like "I came out for this?" WTF? For the first time since childhood, I behave in a more or less uncensored, unself-conscious way, and just like childhood, I get sh*t for "being a sissy", except this time from other gay men as well as the other, more usual bigots.
How have others dealt with this? I don't want to be a fake, and I don't want to stay an outsider either.
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Re: being out and "straight acting"

Postby furface » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:00 am

Hey Obarryon, WELCOME!! and congratulations on getting out of that toxic closet. 8)

As a ole dawg here'bouts a simple bit of advice - relax and be yourself. Not to worry 'bout the folks who don't seem to like ya for your deportment. Don't trade that old toxic closet for a newer model gay one that is just as toxic. 'Round here 'straight acting' ain't a verb, just a tongue in cheek descriptor. A bit of shorthand for being yourself, without affectation. Don't try to be someone or something ya ain't. Tain't attractive a'tall; no how, no way.

As y'all done seen the gay community ain't any more homogeneous than the straight world. We got our cliques, subgroups, stereotypes, and prejudices like everyone else. Relax and go with it; y'all find your niche and a group of folks y'all like and what will like ya back.
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Re: being out and "straight acting"

Postby butch » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:25 pm

I wish you luck in finding yourself.

It sounds to me like you've had some self-confidence issues in your past and a failure to really look at the person in the mirror and ask what he really wanted from life. You've come out quite late in life... I've had friends already dead from heart attacks at your age. But life isn't over, it's just starting anew for you. There is a big difference between "hook ups" and relationships and, perhaps, you don't know the difference yet. And sounds like you may have a drinking situation that is more of a problem than "being out". But I've never met you so I'm just guessing here.

You are going to have a hard time
. Get used to it, but be brave and remind yourself that you are leaving your old baggage behind you. I thought I came out late at age 23 but it was in the 60's and a different time. I'm not sure if you're "coming out" or just simply admitting you're gay... finally. I guess it's the same thing in the end. The point I'm thinking of here is that, perhaps you've been having "hook-ups" in a secretive way and you consider "coming out" the act of admitting who you are to people you know. I get the impression you've had sex with other men before from what I read above... so the "coming out" seems more a commitment to a more "open" lifestyle.

You say people seem to say you are effeminate. Well, don't fight who you are, just embrace and enjoy being you and ignore anyone who wants to put you down.

It sounds a bit like your "problem" is that you are having trouble finding the kind of guy you seem interested in because they find you too effeminate. It may be that you just don't have a clear picture of yourself and how others see you. Alcohol use will do that. You may want to ask yourself if you are an alcoholic. I'm really going out on a limb trying to understand who you are because, often, people who come out late have other issues besides being gay to deal with.

Being "straight acting" is not something you can fake. You are, or you aren't and most will definitely see the difference even if you don't. I say it again... you can't fake being straight acting. It will make you look like a total flake. Men will run from you. The really, really straight acting men will, I hate to say it but it's true, NEVER be interested in you if you are overtly effeminate in nature. That's my opinion, of course.

Just be you. Don't expect the gay community to suddenly embrace you and shower you with friendship just because you "came out". I'm guessing you're a bit lonely. Most of us are sometimes. That's life.

Sexually, hopefully you care for those in your age group, otherwise it may be difficult unless you are above average looking and in good shape. There are some older guys who have no problem finding guys interested in them at any age, but they are exceptions not the rule... usually always a combination of good looks a great body and outgoing personality.

You haven't the experience of dating men (so you indicate) so you may find some folks out there a little less than accepting than you might expect. Most gay men your age are either settled into a relationship, or likely will never be, or have just broken up with someone. The point is, you aren't in prime dating age anymore so you will have to accept that, however hard it may be. There is no shortage of flakes and idiots among the gay community, so don't be surprised if you encounter some real jerks. In fact, expect to meet many.

But JUST BE YOU... don't try to pretend to be someone else. That never works or is always doomed to failure and unhappiness. People are a diverse lot and so are gay men. There are no standard rules of conduct for being gay, straight-acting, or otherwise. Just be you and try to find people like yourself whom you relate to.

The bar scene at your age can be not so great, but it's better than nothing so get out there when you can... though I have a feeling you drink to get drunk. You may have an alcohol problem that is more of a problem than being gay and out. Again, I think it's a self confidence issue. If you have any hobbies or interests try to find some gay related group you might relate to.

I think I'm rambling again... I do that a lot, particularly in the fore noon when my brain is not yet completely awake.
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Re: being out and "straight acting"

Postby Obarryon » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:48 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful replies, guys. Yes, I am an alcoholic, and have been sober almost a year now. There has been other work involved in getting into recovery, of course, but the decision to be "out" helped a great deal with my finally getting sober after having struggled with alcoholism for years. And yes, being "out" for me is and has been a process of self-acceptance as much or more as honesty with others. "Out" today means that I am quite open about being gay, and that openness has translated into being less self-conscious and thereby frequently more obviously effeminate. It's a bit of a catch-22; either I lie, ineffectively, and unconvincingly try to butch it up, or I am honest and uncensored and my inner queen takes over, and either way has consequences I don't like too much. However, the latter tact seems the healthier for me from an emotional point of view, as well as from the perspective of maintaining sobriety, even if it means that some gay men exhibit what in any other circumstance would be called homophobia toward me.
Actually, the reaction I get sometimes reminds me of what I have heard black friends talk about when people in their community treat them like they are "too black", either because they actually are darker or they don't "act white" enough or some such. On the other hand, lighter and/or "white acting" blacks get grief for appearing to reject their own race. Very much the same conundrum I face in that being effeminate (or as I tend to think of it, obviously gay) gets discrimination from both hets and many "masculine" gays, and attempting to act otherwise, as butch put it, comes across as a total flake.
Anyway, in re the gay bar thing, no thanks. Even when I was drinking I really didn't like the atmosphere in those places, mostly because of the superficiality of it. To meet anyone there and have anything come of it (no pun intended) means at least that one is pretty hot (no, afraid not, pretty average), a good dancer (not me either), or buying the drinks. My best chances I think would be in situations where some conversation is possible, since my best assets aren't the external ones but rather intelligence and sense of humor, and bars of any type don't really lend themselves to talk. And yes, there's still the ingrained idea that "if I'm not going to get knee-walking drunk why am I in a bar? " Going to a bar sober, and remaining that way, is uncomfortable at best, and damn foolish at worst, since it endangers my recovery at this point.
Thus far, I'm left with the pathetic online "dating" sites, where no dating happens, and lately not even any semi-anonymous trysts. I'm having guys who haven't even met me or talked to me or done anything other than see my posted picture (since apparently virtually none read the damn profile) tell me "no thanks, you seem too fem". When they tell me anything at all, that is, and don't simply ignore me.
So, yeah, I'm lonely. I've lived here in Nashville a little over a year, don't really have many friends even gay or straight, and zero prospects for a date. When I lived in Birmingham, I was at least getting laid with some regularity, though in that sketchy hookup way. Frankly, I'm a bit sick of that hookup business anyway, as I really don't like the kind of empty feeling I have afterwards. My options appear pretty limited otherwise, though, as a middle-aged non-underwear-model who can be picked out as gay from across the room. And about the age bit: I had some obsession about younger guys for a while, until I realized that generally younger meant hot sex, followed by a more or less complete disconnect when we tried to find something in common to talk about or share. Most of the younger (<28 or so) guys I've met are about as interesting as a Wedgwood teacup: pretty, but shallow, and not capable of holding a satisfying draught. Like Madonna said, 'satin sheets are very romantic/what do you do when you're not there?' With those guys, not a hell of a lot.

I'm going to be myself, simply because I have to be. Trying to be anything else would set me up for relapse and misery. Being myself, namely a sorta queeny intellectual computer nerd kinda guy, isn't exactly a formula for popularity, but at least it's genuine, and that much of it is rewarding anyway after decades of trying to be fake.
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Re: being out and "straight acting"

Postby Lesley R. Charles » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:35 am

I too, came out fairly late in life. My situation is a little different though, I had to deal with my feelings of being transgendered and being born the wrong sex. I knew this since my preschool days, but tried to force myself to act more like a boy, but I was not very successful with that since a lot of my former classmates, after learning about me say I always acted very feminine. lol.

You cannot be what you are not. Be who you are, accept and be comfortable with it. Others may or may not accept, but in time you will find others are more comfortable around you. Besides if you try to act at what you are not, you will become resentful of always trying to be who you are not.
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Re: being out and "straight acting"

Postby Earl Butz » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:38 am

Congrats on both coming out and staying sober. I went through both of as well about 15 years ago. How time flies...

I can't really help you advice wise. I never had the sissy mannerisms, although I do love a good show tune. :P Dating wise, I've been a total failure there so I've just accepted my fate as a troubled loner/hermit.

There is a bit of euphoria when you first come out....I waited until I was 30. Feels good to get that sack of lies off your shoulders, but eventually cold, harsh reality sets in again. Life's still a pile of crap. Albeit a more sane and happy pile of crap. Just take things one day at a time, and maybe one day you'll find the pony who dropped all that crap. Or words to that effect. :mrgreen:
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Re: being out and "straight acting"

Postby butch » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:18 pm

Lesley R. Charles wrote:You cannot be what you are not. Be who you are, accept and be comfortable with it. Others may or may not accept, but in time you will find others are more comfortable around you. Besides if you try to act at what you are not, you will become resentful of always trying to be who you are not.


It sounds to me like you have identified your main problem as alcohol and are working on solving that demon. It will never go away but, based upon my sister's experience with drugs and alcohol, I know it can be kept at bay. My sister strongly endorses AA and NA and attends meetings frequently if not daily sometimes. It is also a source of friends for her because she can share her own experiences and problems with others who truly understand the problem.

Coming out will not solve loneliness. The world is overflowing with lonely people surrounded by people they have no interest in being with. I can vouch for that. I have little interest in associating with anyone in spite of my loneliness. Most just don't have the kind of life experiences I've been through and most just don't know enough about everything, in general. But I've always been a bit of a loner. I used to consider the other kids to be too stupid to deal with.

As Lesley says, being who you are will make other people more comfortable around you (assuming you don't behave like a jerk) because they will accept your honesty of personality and know what to expect from you... no phoniness.

Don't expect any sudden miracles because you have "come out" but you should become happier with yourself and that's what is most important.

Don't expect it to be any easier to meet guys, but being yourself will help attract the kinds of guys who accept you for who you are and that will lead to honest friendships... I'm not making any promises here, it's just logical.

Embrace your inner self. The reason I admire drag queens, even though I don't understand them, is their acceptance of themselves as persons and humans. I have a neighbour, Jennifer, who is a sex change. She identifies as a lesbian. Go figure, but she is a strong woman, personality-wise, and knows who she is. She was a biological man who identified as a woman who loves other women. It sounds very very strange, but I have to admire her for being herself.

It will be a happier planet when everyone starts letting others find their own personal sexual identity. If you feel like putting on the pearls, then go for it. Your life is your life and you should be trying, as best you can, to enjoy it.

Best of luck with the booze problem... I think that is the problem you will have the most problem with and keep reminding yourself that there are lots of lonely people out there besides you. Just words, I know, but sometimes it helps to hear it from someone else.

I don't care for alcohol, myself, but I'm a pot addict. Can't get high and need to smoke several grams a day just to feel OK. I just have to accept I can't afford it anymore and try to live without it. I'm fortunate that's it's not debilitating the way alcohol is and I do take pot "holidays" once in a while where I can afford enough for a few days ($50-$80 worth) and pay for it with withdrawal the following few days. But alcohol and cigarettes are very addicting and you have to give them up completely... forever, if you want to be free of their grip on your life. Pot can be an alternative for some, but when you need a joint with your morning coffee then you will have become, like me, a pot addict... and that's not good.

The point in my rambling is to encourage you to recognize that being gay is not a problem, but alcohol is.



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Re: being out and "straight acting"

Postby eyesrsmiling » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:03 am

I hope I am not speaking out of turn but here is my 2 cents for what it's worth:

Congratulations on your coming out and your sobriety. You have accomplished these two things that each require a great deal of courage to achieve. I applaud you.

I'm wondering if a good female friend could help you fill your emotional void while you search for a man that fulfill your emotional and sexual needs. Speaking in general terms, women are pretty emotional creatures and feel the need to talk and bond with friends. This could be a fun thing for you to do. Do you knit? I think you could meet lots of friendly women at a local knitting group that would like to hang out. And no, not all knitters are grandmothers. I am only guessing (and by no means want to offend so correct me if I am wrong) that you would like doing the same things women like to do. A good female companion could do those social things with you with no strings attached.

To meet a man: What about a Butch Board meetup? I have read similar stories here on the Butch Board, guys looking for a serious relationship. Seems like there are enough like-minded men around that a meetup would be just the thing. At best you get a boyfriend. At worst you meet some new friends.

Wishing you the best.
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Re: being out and "straight acting"

Postby nimby » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:26 pm

Yes, congradulations on both accounts!!!

And just hang in there, your prince will come along. I know that sounds cheap, but it happens every day, when you least expect it. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

And welcome!!!
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