Coming out of the closet changed my life so many ways for the better. I am surprised I stayed in that claustrophobic dark place for so long. I can’t even think of any part of my life that changed for the worse. When I came out of that door I was still the same person, same personality, but I could just stop pretending to be a, “straight guy.” Now with the advent of the metrosexual I don’t think things are as defined as they were 30 and 40 years ago, thank God.
I have always been athletic, running, swimming, biking. If you notice no team sports, (only water,lol ) I had even run a marathon and was training for a triathlon until I trained a little too hard and needed back surgery.
Once I was out of that closet I swore I would never go to another Superbowl party or football game for as long as I lived, I was usually dragged to one of these parties by someone I was dating, (a women,) don’t know what was worse having to pretend I liked the game or trying to remember how it was played. My family always had boxes to the Bears and Bulls games in Chicago and the last thing they ever had to worry about was my wanting to take up a seat. Even today when people are watching sports games I am nowhere to be seen, ( I am in the kitchen with the ladies,) except when Aaron watches football and than I’m usually beside him watching or doing my own thing.
In addition, what a pleasure not to have to pretend to be interested in women. I do like women and many of my good friends are women, but sexually, never again, At one point in my life I entertained the idea that I was straight or bi. Those days are long gone. I do appreciate a beautiful women. However, I don’t think I ever saw a woman or girls genitalia and thought it beautiful like some mens. I have also never seen a pair of breasts I had to have. It is amazing that at one point in my life I considered that I might be straight. To make being gay even better I never have to worry about becoming a father by accident, since in those days we never used rubbers, most of us were just plain stupid. In my younger days when I beat off a lot I used to do it to straight porn to scared someone might see my gay porn if I had any. I would much rather have been watching two men.
I have to laugh at all the things I was embarrassed to do. I love to read and God forbid I let anyone see me reading what was considered a ladies book. I find it strange even today that so many fiction books are labeled for men and women. When I was younger I liked fashion but I would not let the guys know that I read or looked at GQ, a fashion magazine that guys considered gay. It was filled with alot of hot guys though. In those days I would have loved to join a book club but I am sure they never had one for men or even a coed book club.
On the serious side…
Being out of the closet has also allowed me to be more empathetic than I was before. Again being very stupid I thought if I was too empathetic it would give my sexuality away. I am not sure if this is true, but I would wager to say that in general people who have suffered in any number of ways usually tend to be more understanding of one another. Since I came out socially I have been able to surround myself with many more types of people. First and foremost the number of gay friends I have has increased for the simple reason I am gay. Confidence also plays a role in my friendships now. I am not concerned about people’s judgements of me by the company I keep.
All of a sudden the number of people I could date increased dramatically. Before I came out, if I was dating someone it usually meant sneaking around, I always hated this. I never felt it was right to make someone who was already out pretend we were not seeing each other. I can’t count the number of times I would be out and introduce someone as a friend. I am sure I fooled no one. I could now also be affectionate in public. Years ago I would be out walking, doing an errand or something and I would be so envious when I saw two guys holding hands or kissing in public. I would say to myself one day that will be me and now it is.
Being gay I saw my happiness increase dramatically. I was just able to be who I always wanted to be without the constant pressure of thinking someone might find out the truth. The fact that I cared, when I think about it now seems crazy. I no longer had to be two people. Instead of feeling 3 feet tall I felt 6 feet tall. I no longer spent time wishing I was someone else. I no longer had to evade questions or change the subject when people got to personal, My relationships with friends and family became so much better.
All in all, what took me so long? I would never tell someone when they should come out. I would tell them I was sorry it took me so long and my life had become infinitely better after I did. I would also tell them to let no one pressure them into it. Today I cannot believe I ever pretended to be someone I wasn’t. It was a full time job, that only became more exhausting as the years went on. Today I feel free.