I just had an interaction with a work acquaintance and learned that she has a new boyfriend. She talked about him a little, and it occurred to me that he and my DGF have quite a bit in common. I suggested we go on a double date sometime, and my acquaintance said that that might not be a good idea. I couldn't figure out why, so I looked at her quizzically, and then she stared at the floor and started saying something about how her boyfriend "is coming around," but doesn't think that gay people should be able to adopt kids, and that he would probably be "pretty awkward" about going out with us. (We don't have kids; this was her way of saying, "There's no way he wants to hang out with gay people.")
Personally, I think she should drag the boyfriend--kicking and screaming, if necessary--into 2011 and go out with us anyway. But maybe it would have been unpleasant. In a way, my acquaintance's honesty was refreshing. I think most people would have said, "Oh, sure..." and then kept being conveniently unavailable. I was fairly silent in response, and the quieter I was, the more my acquaintance talked: first about how no one is perfect, about how she's getting older and had to widen the dating pool, and then analogizing between her boyfriend and her mom, who is apparently also "pretty liberal" but "really awkward" about gay stuff. What was I supposed to say? She can date whomever she wants. But I'm not going to give her a bye and say it's no problem. It is.
My friend B and I have often talked about the fact that most of the friends I've made since coming out are gay. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) I've noticed that most of my lesbian friends hang out mostly with other lesbian couples, too, and I've made a concerted effort to hang out with more straight people because I don't want my sexuality to be the only sculptor of my social world. But my experience this afternoon certainly encapsulates one mechanism behind homophily, doesn't it? By hanging out with people who accept and/or relate to our "lifestyle" (don't you hate the word "lifestyle" used in reference to queer sexuality?), we avoid all sorts of potential--sometimes microscopic--hurts, slights, and awkwardness.
Anyhow: in this case, it's their loss.
<--- Apropos of nothing, k.d. lang looks on with dashing skepticism.
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