Something that has helped me in the past little bit has been learning to laugh at myself. It’s especially helped make my same-sex attraction less scary. Instead of being a scary dragon that I have to fight on a daily basis, it’s more like a puppy that occasionally misbehaves. Like any puppy, I can get bitten sometimes, but more often I get to play with it. So, here we go:
I mentioned this story once before, but I wanted to bring it up again. Back in July, before I was very public at all with my SSA, I was driving up to a ward FHE activity with three friends: Michael, Michelle, and Shelby. At the time, Michael was the only one who knew about my SSA and we’d already gotten into the habit of joking about it. Shelby was driving, with Michelle in the passenger seat, so Michael and I were in the back seat. I can’t remember what I’d said, but something I’d said to Michael prompted this conversation:
Shelby: “Spencer, stop flirting with Michael.”
Me: (look at Michael with a grin on my face) “Don’t worry. He’s not my type.”
Michael: “Oh my gosh… moving on…”
Me: “I’m sorry, Michael. It’s not you, it’s me.”
So in the end me and Michael had a good laugh about that one (and we enjoyed Michelle’s reaction when we helped her connect the dots after I told her about my SSA).
There was also another situation recently. I was getting ready for a date (just to be clear: the date was with a girl) and I was talking to Garrett. For some strange reason, I was talking to him about the shirt I was going to wear and how it matched the shirt I was wearing underneath… I had a sudden realization:
Me: “Garrett… does talking about this shirt make me look gay?”
Honestly, since my “coming out” post, I’ve been much less concerned about hiding the little things I do that I thought would make me look gay. For example, when I getting ready for church one week, I noticed how cracked my hands were getting, so I considered putting hand lotion in my bag. Before my “coming out”, I would have been worried that a guy carrying around hand lotion in his bag would seem gay. After my “coming out”, my thought process was more like this: “What’s someone going to say? ‘Are you gay?’ I could just reply, ‘Well, I don’t like to call myself gay, but if you need a label for my sexuality, yes.’”
Time for another funny story: This summer, around mid-June, my ward was getting ready for a service/date auction that we were going to have for a ward activity at the beginning of July. As a result, throughout the month, the leaders in the ward had fake money to give us to bid with. After ward prayer one week, I was there with my girlfriend and Michael (both of them knew about my SSA) and this conversation ensued between me and my elders quorum president, Ben (who didn’t know about my SSA).
Me: “Hey Ben, you should give me one of those twenties.”
Ben: “Why? You already have a girlfriend.”
Me: “Well, I could bid on something else.”
Ben: (thinks for a second and hands me a twenty) “Congratulations on not being gay.”
Me, my girlfriend, and Michael: (burst out laughing to the confusion of people around us)
One of my other favorite situations is when I’m talking to my SSA friends. In particular, it happens a lot with one friend (let’s call him John). For years, John has had a crush on this one girl.
TIME OUT: Those of you who are confused about my friend John (a man with SSA) being attracted to a girl, let me clear up one thing: YES, a guy with SSA CAN find himself attracted to the occasional girl… HOWEVER, everyone is different… there are no set “rules” about how fluid sexuality is. Some guys with SSA are attracted to girls as much as they’re attracted to men and some are not attracted to women at all. Also, there are people on the “scale” everywhere in between.
Okay, time in and back to John: A month or so ago, I was chatting with John on Facebook about this girl he has a crush on. He was planning a date with her and he was telling me about it. At the same time, I was telling him about a girl that I have a crush on (So, yes, I am one of the guys with same-sex attraction that, given the right girl and the right day, I can be attracted to her). As we were talking, a sudden thought occurred to me, so I interrupted him:
Me: “John, we have got to be the most horrible gay guys ever!”
As time goes on, it seems to keep coming up. Every time I talk with my SSA friends and talk of girls comes up, I tell them that we’re horrible at being gay, talking about girls we find cute instead of guys.
Whatever your weakness… whatever your “dragon”… I invite you to think of a way to turn it into something less scary. Honestly, humor works really well for me. Maybe something else will turn your dragon into a puppy. In the meantime, remember that, all else fails, it gets better through the Atonement.