Q: Is it too forward of me to ask my two older brothers to march with me and my group in our Pride parade this summer? They’re both straight, one’s married, and I think they’d say yes, but I’m afraid of that same rejection I feared when I came out to them two years ago. They support me—they say they support me—but is this asking them to take one step too many?
Michael W. in Orlando, FL
A: Not to ask would be you making the decision for them. At least allow them the opportunity to make the decision for themselves. You have the right to ask them, too, because after all, you celebrate elements of their straight lives. Start by telling them how proud and grateful you are for their support and how much you want to show them off to your group (and the world) as straight allies. Should they demur because they’re concerned they’d be seen as gay (which is a whole other Oprah I won’t even go into here), offer to get them those T-shirts that say “Straight—But Not Narrow” or signs they can carry that read “Straight Ally.” If they decline, well, now you know where you stand. But let’s all keep in mind they just might leap at the chance, eager to support their baby bro.
IS ANYBODY THERE?
Q: Where have all the good men gone?
Christian in San Diego, CA
A: Chris, your question is so sad short that it’s impossible for me to tell what’s going on in your search. Therefore I’m going to touch on a few issues that commonly arise for people in your sitch. First off, there are plenty of good men out there. But there are no perfect men. A young friend of mine has a list of 25 things his boyfriend has to have. (Interestingly, one of them was not “He must be STD free.”) “Perfect teeth, Hispanic, furry chest, plays piano, 6 feet tall, 8 inches long…” If you have that many must-haves, that’s not a shopping list, it’s a guarantee you’ll stay single. Knock your list down to five important but realistic items. Another problem could be where you’re doing your shopping. Look in places where you’ll find the kind of guy you’re looking for. Try the gym, book clubs, hiking groups or even the “C” word—church. And lastly, work on that attitude. If you walk into a room thinking, “Nobody here’s gonna be good enough,” you’ll be right because you’ll only see faults and not possibilities. And if none of these work for you, some mighty fine men can be had for about $100 an hour. Or so I’m told.
THIS IS MY, UH…
Q: My boyfriend of 11 years will be attending the grand opening of a new building with me, where I will be recognized for creating the software that runs the building. There will be mingle time where I expect many people who could direct upcoming business my way will want to talk with me. My question is, how do I introduce my boyfriend? Being in our 50s “boyfriend” sounds too young, “partner” could be misunderstood as business partner, “husband” doesn’t work as we’re not married, and “lover” seems inappropriate for the setting. I’ve asked him how he wants to be introduced, but he’s as stumped as I. How do I state his relationship with me?
David C. in Keaau, HI
A: Congratulations on being recognized. Naturally you want to introduce your sweet baboo. But language hasn’t caught up to today’s needs when it comes to introducing our same-sex partner. Sadly, our community’s efforts at this seem to fall as flat as a Michael Bay movie. “Life partner” seems so assumptive and arrogant. “Soul mate” sounds like you’ve bought too many romance novels at the grocery checkout. And as an American-of-Fur, don’t get me started on “hus-bear.” My significant other and I have experimented with terms like “my bedmonkey,” “my freak-meister “ and “my little stain-maker.” (Don’t use that last one; it attracts all the wrong kind of people.) We’ve ended up going either of two ways, depending on how we felt at the moment. I may introduce him as my “spouse,” which gets the idea across in a single syllable. Or I might say “my partner” but with a loving caress that one would not use on one’s business associate. But whatever you decide to use, make sure you say it with all the pride you have for your honeybun. Enjoy your evening and the looks you get as you introduce him. Hey, we’re all making this up as we go along.