I am a man. Maybe not a man’s man, but a man nonetheless; a man who shares far too much about himself.
I am a friend. I have friends of all shapes and sizes, beliefs and colors; including the gay color which is a rainbow.
I am a husband. I am married to a woman. I enjoy having sexual relations with her, and despite my uncanny ability to arrange flowers, pick out the cutest postcards and critique the hell out of Project Runway—I am not gay.
I am a father to a couple kids, one of whom is in preschool. That means she has teachers. As fate would have it, I am also the father that went to the gay bar and ran into his daughter’s teacher.
My buddy was in town, and we wanted to go out with our mutual friends. They’re all gay, and I’m just a free bird, so we went to the White Horse—Oakland’s gayest. It was gay, and I mean that in a yabba-dabba kinda way. We were having a blast.
A few drinks in, I approached the bar and locked eyes with a young lady. We were deep in one of those, “I know you, don’t I?” kind of stares, when suddenly I realized I was in a stare-down with my daughter’s preschool teacher. I should have gone to the bathroom, or gone home, but instead, I went and said—”Hey Lucy’s teacher, what brings you here?”
The obvious answer was, “I’m here to be gay and drink alcohol.” What I didn’t realize when I opened my mouth (I might have been drunk, but you can’t prove it) is that when you ask someone, “what brings you here?”—well, the other person could ask you the very same thing.
It got weird.
Teacher: Hey Lucy’s dad. Funny seeing you here.
Me: Yeah—funny. I was just laughing, ’cause this situation is funny.
Teacher: Boundaries are kind of weird. I didn’t expect to run into you—not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Suddenly I was in a bind. She assumed I was gay. And because I assumed she was gay, it wasn’t like I could set the record straight by saying, “Just so you know, I’m not gay.” At least, not without coming across as homophobic. So I just went with it.
Me: I’m having a fabulous time.
Teacher: Oh yeah?
Me: Yeah, I’m here with these four guys, having a good time. Just drinking, you know—doing adult stuff.
I don’t think that cleared anything up.
She went into a talk about boundaries and frequently used words like “normal” and “surprised” and made comments like, “I had no idea”—to which I made no clarifying remarks. I was in the thick of a sexually confusing situation. Part of me felt like explaining myself, and the other part of me felt no need. I wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed. To the contrary—I’m quite comfortable in the gay bar setting (with the lone exception of the bathroom at Moby Dicks’ where a penis-high mirror hangs above the urinal).
So I just told her to pretend like I wasn’t there, and to go have fun, and maybe I would see her on the dance floor. And that if I broke out the worm or the white-guy robot, I hoped she would cheer for me. She cracked a smile, which eased the tension. But that didn’t last long.
I returned to me buddies and explained the situation, which they obviously thought was awesome. Moments later, the teacher returned with ANOTHER teacher from her school, as if I was an exhibit at the zoo. I tried to steer the conversation toward my daughter:
Me: So, how’s Lucy doing at school? Still peeing her pants?
Teacher 2: No. She’s great. But I don’t really like to talk about students at the bar. Are you having (pause and scanning look to the 4 gay men at my table) a good time?
Me: Best time of my life.
Teacher 2: Well, good to see you.
At this point, I had a decision to make—overtly display my heterosexuality and make comments like:
I sure love having sex with women; I mean my wife—who’s a woman. ’Cause that’s what straight guys do. Love, absolutely love BJs from women.
Can I get you anything? I’m gonna get a chardonnay.
Or, even more fun:
Me: So, teachers—don’t tell my wife about this—let’s just keep this between us.
Instead I came with the ambiguous—”See you on the dance floor. And if Prince comes on, forgive my shirtless ‘Hammer dance.’ It’s just how I do.”
The next time my wife was at the school, she made a point of approaching the teacher to say, “Heard you saw my husband at the bar?” I’m most comfortable in uncomfortable situations, so I encouraged her to say something like, “I love him no matter what he masturbates to.” But instead she simply said, “He told me he had fun. Then we had straight-people sex.”
She didn’t say that, but it would have been great if she did. Oh well, I love her anyway. You know. Because I’m not gay.