Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Glimpses of Gay, part 1

Since June is widely considered Pride month, I was thinking about how I might celebrate on my
blog.  In years past I have posted links to my coming out story.  I really don't want to do that again, as the story is easily accessible using the 'coming out' tag.  I also thought about posting Pride photos found on the web, but this seemed a little lame.  Then I came up with the concept I'm calling Glimpses of Gay.  This is where I will share occasions that occurred before I came out where I had a glimpse of gay life or an interaction with someone I understood to be gay.  Here's part 1:

It was late afternoon in the spring of 1983.  I was 19 years old and working part-time in a men's clothing store.  I was offered a temporary full-time position shuttling specific merchandise between store locations while the usual driver was out with back surgery.

One day as I was driving on a multi-lane highway I looked over to my left and noticed an attractive man driving the car next to me.  He looked over and caught me looking at him.  Embarrassed, I pressed a little harder on the gas pedal to move away from his car.  He excellerated too and caught up with me.  I quickly glanced over at him again and saw him looking at me.  I may have smiled or just waved in that friendly kind of 'I acknowledge you' kind of way; I'm not sure.  But as I could feel my heart beating faster I decided to lift my foot off the gas pedal a little so the guy in the other car would pass me.  Sure enough, he slowed down too and once again we were window to window.

It was now obvious to me that my initial looking at him had started some sort of flirtation.  He was intentionally reacting to my changes in speed and trying to respond.  I started to freak out a little because I didn't know what I was doing!  But since we were both rolling down the highway at 55mpg or so, I was more excited than scared.

Until he began gesturing to me to pull over.

Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygood - what am I going to do?!?!?!  Nothing like this had ever happened to me before.  I literally didn't know what to expect.  Should I stop?  Should I just keep driving?  I felt like my heart was going to beat right out of my chest.

I decided to pull over onto the shoulder and so did he.  We both got out of our vehicles and introduced ourselves.  He then asked if I would join him for a drink somewhere closeby.  Rather than tell him the truth (that I was a Jehovah's Witness who could NOT be gay) I told him I was working and still had several stops to make.  He seemed a little disappointed, and asked when I'd be in the area again.  I didn't really know how to respond since telling him the truth (that I'd be back there in 2 days) would likely lead to some kind of planned meeting, so I just said I didn't know when my deliveries would bring me back to this area.  

Perhaps he understood this was all very new to me, and maybe he decided it would be too much 'work' to try and be with someone like me.  Fortunately he was very gracious and smiled as he shook my hand and we said goodbye.  More than 30 years later I still remember the excitement mixed with fear I felt that day.


anne marie in philly said...

this is kinda creepy too; what if he had pulled a knife/gun and robbed you?

Fearsome Beard said...

I read these backward and thank you for sharing. Back in those days, outside of bars, that's how we met.