The Gay, Gay, Gayer Than Gay, Gay Guy Engaged To The Girl In The Next Booth!
I was shocked. Okay, not so much shocked maybe as just stunned that in this day and age people are still unwilling or unknowing about their sexuality and the many options open to them (and aren't open about it for whatever reason). There we sat in a diner in a small college town in Delaware, me and my pal Betsy (whom I'd done theatre with for years and years). Behind Betsy sat this girl and then a couple came in (male and female). Within seconds of them sitting down we knew a few things from their very loud conversation and the proximity of everything in this tiny diner. The one girl was obviously in town just for the holidays visiting as we heard her say, "I can't believe I haven't been back all semester to see you guys." This was not difficult to pick up or hear. Just as audible was the fact that the couple began talking excitedly about the Broadway musicals they had seen recently. To say they were gushing is an understatement and all that we could be sure of was that these kids were indeed musical theatre majors and as the male in the couple had used the words, "fabulous" followed up with "I'm telling you, I was absolutely dying!" and a few other very "s" ridden sentences (putting "S's" in words that don't even have an "S" in them) made it clear we had a gay sitting in this booth behind us.
But then my stomach went into knots as I noticed the girl in the couple wearing an engagement ring. At first I thought that perhaps she wasn't engaged to the gay boy she was sitting next to but then it all came out (even if he wasn't going to) that they wouldn't be able to visit the friend wherever it was that she lived because they were saving for their wedding. He put an uncomfortable arm around her shoulders and there you have it, the gay, gay, gayer than gay guy was engaged to the girl in the next booth! We sat there rolling our eyes as if we were going into some psychic trance. Now let me say that these kids were loud (come on, have you ever been around musical theatre majors?) and the diner was small so there was no way we were not going to hear the whole thing going on. (Not that we both aren't up for some good table eavesdropping on occasion.)
Now what you need to know is that my pal Betsy is what I have lovingly called, "The Gay Magnet" because in the twenty-something years we've known one another she has never ceased to amaze me with her unconscious ability to have the gay or gays in a cast of a show or just your garden variety gays (whether they are in or out of the closet) immediately attach themselves to her. It's some strange power that can only be explained like when you were a kid and you would spend hours being amazed at the iron filings jumping onto a magnet. Thus the term, "gay magnet" was born and believe me when I say she is one.
I found the scene of the gay boy and his bride-to-be sad but Betsy was visibly torn over the whole thing. As her back was to the couple and I could see them plainly it may have made a bit of a difference as she was just hearing this boy squeal at the talk of clothes, the plans for the wedding and the musical Grease like a radio show from the 1940's. We had gone to have breakfast and catch up but all we could do was listen and shake our heads in disbelief. We barely even noticed when our Taye Diggs look-alike waiter came to the table with our eggs that took over forty minutes to make (no doubt they had been delayed because either he had to wait for the chickens to lay the eggs or he was doing a fashion shoot in the kitchen). Finally Betsy says, "I think I have to tell her." Now we had talked a little bit about her family, my family and mutual friends but I knew that this comment had nothing to do with any of those people and everything to do with the girl in the next booth with the tiny engagement ring and the big gay guy she was engaged to marry. Betsy went on to say how much pain and suffering she could save the girl. I mean, come on, there's no way that this is going to have a happy ending. Sure it may take a year or two before the ugliness happens but there's no doubt that at some point this girl is going to be sat down and told by her husband that his friend Steven is more than just a friend. How can you not feel badly for the girl? (And for the boy if he's in complete denial about the situation?) Let alone how badly I feel for the girl's parents who are no doubt going to lay down a chunk of money on a wedding that is clearly going to be the start and finish of their little girl.
And so we sat there, eating our eggs and wondering if we told this girl what was to befall her if she would even listen. We came to the conclusion that she would never listen to complete strangers. Perhaps that was our get out of guilt free card, deciding that no matter what we said, we were going to just be two strangers telling her that her boyfriend was gay and surely she would not believe us. I did think for awhile that perhaps we could go into some sort of social work as between Betsy's magical magnetic gay powers and my own years of field experience (as they say) we can tell a gay from two miles away on a foggy night. Perhaps we needed to start a service for the poor unfortunate girls who should know better but don't for some reason. The one thing was clear to us and that was that we couldn't say anything to this girl even though we were simply dying to, more than you'll ever know. We didn't want to crush her, we wanted to save her but alas, we knew it was not to be.
I think what amazed me more than anything was that in this day and age there are still people out there unable to be true to themselves and live their genuine lives (I read that term in an article based on a self help book once - have no idea what it means but sounds so great, right?) I mean, we're in the day and age where you can't pick up a paper or even look at news online where there isn't at least one story each day in the news about the gays. I don't care if it's about gays in the military, gays trying to get the rights to get married or some loon protesting about gays telling us that we're responsible for everything from the September 11th attacks to the end of the world (which is apparently right around the corner and will be done in a light lilac color - you know how the gays love anything lilac colored!) My point is that I always like to think that us forty-something gays have made it easier on the next generation of gays. (As well as the women who fall in love with them) But I guess as long as there are gays and girls who want to believe they can either "turn" them or just fall so head over heels that they don't see their fiancé is wearing their heels this unfortunate tradition is going to continue.
Look, I've had friends who were married to women and when the whole thing crumbled the ex-wife wanted so much nothing to do with the guy and who could blame her right? But on some level don't you think that these girls/women know somewhere deep down that they are married to a gay? (Yes, I'm including Mrs. McGreevey ex-first lady of New Jersey) Trust me when I say I'm more than aware just how powerful denial can be. I mean some days when I look in the mirror and see that gray haired man staring back at me from the mirror all I can think is that it must be some sort of trick mirror. After all, I'm Peter Pan, dammit!
But as easy as it was for us to come to the conclusion that this kid was gay in the next booth, even if the girl with the stars in her eyes couldn't see it does she not have any friends or family who are telling her she needs to re-think this whole thing? Maybe they have tried, maybe they've suggested a longer engagement in hopes one of them will come clean. But there's a part of me that is saying that come summer there's a gonna be a wedding complete with sponge cake and spiked punch and that the best man and the groom are going to come out of their waiting room a little disheveled looking having just done something in the church rectory to one another in a personal area that begins with the letters, "rec". I hope not for all their sakes but I gotta tell you that every alarm went off even for the short time we were sitting next to these kids. Let's face it, something age does give you is a pair of x-ray glasses (like the ones that used to be advertised in the back of the comic books we read) when it come to certain things. And this is one of them. But here's to shoes and rice and the gay, gay, gayer than gay guy engaged to the girl in the booth sitting next to us!
Read More Scott @ www.somelikeitscott.com