March 14, 2012

Playing Along

Recently, some friends and I played a game after an evening out. The game – to sit in a chair in the middle of the room and name the person in the room that we would most like to see naked. Wow. It was awkward to say the least. The company that evening included several close friends, a few ‘good’ friends, and then some general friends. I’m fairly certain that everyone in the room knows that I’m gay, but still when it came my turn I had an extremely awkward moment. I sat there thinking, thinking about how uncomfortable it would be to call out the name of a straight male in the room - uncomfortable for me, uncomfortable for him, uncomfortable for the entire room. So I shrugged and named a female.

The fact that I wasn’t able (or willing) to express my true feelings in front of a group that I consider to hold of my closest friends really made me think about some things. I was really disappointed afterwards, but I’m not sure if I was disappointed in myself or in my friends for playing the game in the first place. The game was a bit vulgar, but maybe it is my fault; maybe I should have been comfortable enough with my identity to say a man’s name. On the other hand, maybe I am underestimating my friends; if so, I feel bad for not trusting them. I guess even though I’m mostly comfortable with people knowing that I’m gay, it is a completely different story when I’m forced to admit things in a public setting like that.

We all know that rejection really sucks, especially by close friends, but don’t do what I did. Don’t sell yourself short, and, more importantly, don’t sell your friendships short by not trusting your friends to be supportive. No, I don’t suggest you tell straight boys you want to see them naked, but maybe, just maybe, trusting yourself to trust others would leave you better off. Shakespeare once said, 'Expectation is the root of all heartache." Whatever you do, don't expect the worst, especially from your friends. I expected my friends to react negatively if I told the truth, but I now know I wish I had said something else that evening, I don’t know what, but something else. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m a bit tired of playing along.

3 comments:

  1. I've done this so many times. I know exactly how you feel. That awkward moment when you want to say the name of the straight guy you've secretly been crushing on for months. It's one of the worst feelings ever. But there was one time during a car ride back from fall break and my friends and I were playing a similar game. I answered with a name of one of the girls and they actually didn't let me get by with that. They kept prodding me to answer truthfully. I finally answered, naming one of the guys in the car. Instead of awkward silence like I expected, the other guy in the car says something like "Oh really? I was sure you were going to pick me. I'm hurt now" and just laughed it off. I was worried for nothing. So, yeah, that situation sucks but your friends are your friends because they're there to make everything ok.

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  2. I think... lol well first of all I think that "game" is childish--like 7th grade summer camp childish (and I'm getting the feeling you agree with me here). But brief maturity absence aside, yes, it's rather sad you were uncomfortable to be honest in that situation (with your friends), but I don't think that your discomfort was only related to your sexuality. I wouldn't have played that game at all because I wouldn't have been comfortable saying anyone's name, regardless of their sex or sexual orientation. If I ever found myself in that situation (which I would never, because my friends don't do things like that and even if they did I'd give them the look of disapproval and not participate) I'd feel such incredible discomfort even if the person "I wanted to see naked" was a heterosexual man, because let's face it, it's just kind of uncomfortable, especially if people will automatically sexualize your intent of seeing them naked--which leads to discourse on society and discomfort with nudity and sexuality and etc. And I'm digressing, but you know what I mean.

    Backtracking to the hypothetical situation, say I were playing that game and the "person I wanted to see naked" was a heterosexual woman and I knew she'd be uncomfortable (because, hey, we KNOW our friends, or we should) then I most definitely would not have said her name even if I were comfortable with the situation. I'm one of those people who REALLY take into account others' comfort levels and things I can and cannot say without saying something to make someone uncomfortable. In this situation I'd argue making someone uncomfortable would be disrespectful, specifically to their privacy and their control of their own bodies... even if nothing had physically/really happened... which other people might say is a stretch, but I don't have time to elaborate right now.

    So, short version:
    1. Don't play that game, specifically if you think you're the kind of person to find it uncomfortable and/or beneath your maturity level.
    2. Don't hide your desires if you're comfortable with that, but
    a. be considerate and don't violate privacy (which requires *knowing* your friends or just taking a leap of faith)
    3. If you're uncomfortable nudity or if anyone else is, let's blame society!! but still respect feelings of discomfort because they're there and they're real and they should be considered (regardless of the source... but if the source is homophobia there are MUCH BETTER WAYS to start a conversation addressing that).

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  3. I'm a straight female and if I was in this situation and if the people in the room made it so I wanted to see my gay male fiend naked I would not say that. So it works both way.

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