Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Working "Out"

Sorry woman, I'm just not feelin' it.
I have been a fully realized gay since I was 13. I remember the day like yesterday.   I had looked at a pornography stash that I stole from my older brother I went to pages with nude women. I looked at the female form and looked again, and looked reaction.  Nothing, like looking at a ham sandwich, no I actually like ham sandwiches. There was no reaction.  There was no panic, no was a moment of realization and then I moved on. In fact, I was disappointed I couldn't admit it and have a big drama scene over it.
Fast forward 30 years and I'm still not out to clients. Usually this is not an issue. I rarely spend more than a few hours with them and most of the interactions are on the phone so it doesn't come up. I also like to talk about my son, which totally throws off the whole "gay" vibe that I give off.  However I have been hanging out with different clients at conferences and it's becoming awkward.
What? You can't see me? I'm behind the gay aura
I'd like to think I radiate "gay".  That there's a rainbow aura that emanates from my pores. A Rupaulness that says "sashay away."  However I realize to some people I'm not as gay as I hoped to be.  It's a bit uncomfortable. I mean I really like these people and in some cases I'm spending several days with them at conferences and workshops. When the conversation comes around to the personal I find myself using neutral terms like "spouse" instead of husband.
Red BMW 1 convertible, gay much?
Then I use the whole kid thing as a great "equalizer" with my clients. I mean one way to build common ground with others is the sharing of parenthood tribulations.  But like all things associated with me that I call "gay" I call myself a "gay-dad", I had a "gay-wedding", I drive the "gayest" car. My home is appropriately fabulous, at least I try to make it as gay as possible. I mean I don't have a phallic object 'd art in every corner, but there's a six by ten foot painting of Judy Garland in my living room.
What I don't do is call myself a "gay-salesperson" or "gay-territory manager".  It's not relevant in business. However, many relationships begin in the business world and bleed into others. How often have we spent four days at a conference and by day four have created a new friend.  When is it necessary to shed that professional identity and let the personal one take over. I like a lot of my clients I know many who would not be comfortable with a gay man, but the others who would be happy to see me take off that business suit and show just a little of my rainbow aura.
"Sashay away"