Friday, March 30, 2007

HTT, my hot female coworkers think I'm gay.

Dear HTT,

I just started a new job that I like very much. Everyone at work thinks I'm gay. I'm not gay--not that there's anything wrong with that--but I'm not sure what if anything to do about it. You see, I have a history of getting in trouble because I tend to... well... "fish in the company pond" if you know what I mean. (Basically, it's really hard to work with someone you didn't enjoy sleeping with the night before.) Anyway, this new job has me working with some absolute hotties! But they think I'm gay.

Why? Well, I think it might be because I have lots of friends and some are flaming. I care about my clothes. I am clean. I don't wear shirts that say things like "What would my penis do?" I like to cook. I know something about wine. I don't drive a pickup truck or a muscle car. And I am exceedingly polite. Friends in the know describe me as "Metro," but they might as well say I'm gay because "Metro" sounds rather "Queer Eye," to me.

So all these incredibly beautiful women think I'm gay and at first I thought I would set them straight, but I quickly realized that as a "gay man," I am not a threat to these women. They WANT to hang out with me. Maybe it's chic to hang out with a gay man? I go out with "the girls" and after they've had two glasses of Pinot Grigio (Yack!) the next thing I know they're asking me for my opinion on orgasms and blow jobs and the size of their breasts and hair styles and clothes and shoes and anal sex and honestly I want to F*** every one of them before the night is over. But I can't because I realize I've got a good thing going here, but what should I do?

Painfully Erect

Dear PE,

Well, this is certainly the steamiest HTT letter yet! No wonder you’re all bunched up. Most guys would have to rent “Sex and the City” even to hear a group of women converse that way. Never mind being asked to participate. In the conversation, I mean.

My first thought upon reading your letter was that the women you work with must know a lot of Neanderthals. A guy has to be gay just because he can distinguish between his Cabs and his Rieslings, says “please” and “thank you,” and eschews mustard-stained muscle tees? Yikes! If those are the kind of straight men in their circles, of COURSE your colleagues would rather hang out with a guy like you, gay or not.

But to get to your question, yes, I think you should clue them in about your orientation. You don’t have to make a proclamation. Such an announcement could come across as homophobic, and it might also trigger a “me thinks he doth protest too much” kind of reaction.

Once, a friend of mine developed an interest in a guy she worked with. She didn’t know if he was single, and to ask, she thought, would be too bold. He described his life in “I” terms: I did such and such over the weekend; I want to paint my house green; I’m going to visit my family over the holiday, etc. Well, after weeks of hopeful flirting, my friend learned from another colleague that Mr. I was actually married. Now, I’m not saying that married people can’t have any autonomy or that they have no right to use a singular pronoun. But my friend and I decided that if this guy were honest, or at least not completely obtuse, he should have dropped a courtesy “we.”

Despite your alleged homosexual traits, you’re bound to be outed sooner or later. In order to avoid appearing dishonest, you, my friend, need to drop a courtesy “she.” From what I know about your dating life, it shouldn’t be difficult to casually slip a few feminine pronouns into a conversation about your weekend.

You sound worried about your new friends’ reaction to your straight status. I wouldn’t sweat it. By now, they’re comfortable around you, so I doubt they’ll suddenly stop inviting you out or clam up about their sex lives. They’ll probably be delighted! Maybe all this sex talk was their way of testing just where, exactly, you fell on the Kinsey scale. Like, if the conversation got hot enough, maybe, just maybe, you’d give women a try?

Now, about your other issue. I’m not totally opposed to fishing in the company pond. Most of us spend at least eight hours a day at work, so the office can be a good place to get to know someone. But, depending on lots of factors---like the size of the company, the proximity of the couple to one another on the org chart, and psycho tendencies or lack thereof among the people involved---an office romance can be fine or fraught with problems. But you say that you’ve gotten in trouble fishing at the office, so maybe you need only to enjoy drinks with your colleagues but cast your pole in different waters.

Have fun!


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with HTT, especially on the point of the fact that people listen for "I" and "we". Both men and women pay attention to "I" and "we" as a signal of relationship status and make assumptions based on the exclusive use of one or the other (sometimes too much use of the word "we" amount to beating people over the head with the fact that one has a SO). I think there is a lot of people who interpret exclusive use of "I" when there is a "we" as a sign of something not too good--intentional vagueness about their relationship status, for whatever reason, or perhaps this "I" doesn't really consider themselves part of a "we."

Anyway, if this guy is bonding and talking sex, etc. with these female coworkers, hasn't a few stories about dates and ex-SO's come up? If/when it does, that would be an opportunity for PE to drop a carefully chosen story about an ex-girlfriend that can clarify his orientation.

Anonymous said...

Steamy is right! What amazing control PE must have to not have already "come out" during their nights out -- maybe he's not drinking?

What I'm confused about is that if they're asking questions about blowjobs, etc, why hasn't he been able to casually say, "I like it when a woman [insert personal preference details]?

Why does PE think they think he's gay -- maybe he's just easy to talk to. . .

Anonymous said...

"Dipping your pen in the company ink" is best avoided in most circumstances. However, there's nothing preventing your co-workers (who already seem comfortable with you) from introducing you to one of their "hot" friends who *doesn't* work at your company, right? And if you can smoothly inquire whether they have any female friends on the prowl for a good man, this is a perfect opportunity to clue them in to the fact that you are not gay.

Coralie said...

Good words.