So today is the big referendum day in Maine regarding marriage-equality Proposition 1.
I was thinking about that yesterday, and about the ways in which the Yes on 1 agitators are attempting to manipulate emotions in Maine, and about the Sincere Bible Study Guys I mentioned in a previous post. They're usually about 30-something, usually dads of smaller children, very down-to-earth and manly-man; the kind of guys who want a "yes" to be "yes" and a "no" to be "no," who mean what they say and say what they mean; who'd pull you out of a burning house or crashed automobile without blinking. But they seem to find teh gay, as a class, pretty intolerable.
What's up with that?
One of my best buddies when I worked up north, Zen Congregationalist Marine -- one of the five males who worked in our overwhelmingly female company -- was a guys' guy who nonetheless had an easy way with the ladies (perhaps because he was the baby in a large family of mostly sisters), and was quite happy to act as the office Dear Jake in explaining to his female coworkers What Guys Think. One day the topic swung around to homophobia, and another friend of mine mused that straight men seemed a lot more uncomfortable dealing with gay men than straight women are discomfitted interacting with lesbians.
ZCM explained that many men are at heart terrified of being solicited for sex by another man -- or, worse yet, being sexually assaulted by another man -- and that this fear tends to short-circuit rational thought about homosexuality in a lot of male circles. When straight women meet gay women, they tend to accept them as members of the larger sisterhood of double-X chromosomes; for straight men, encounters with or even thoughts of their gay brothers seem to conjure up...well, the laundry-room scene in The Shawshank Redemption.
"Well, welcome to our world," responded my female friend, rolling her eyes. "Women have to deal with unwanted sexual advances and sexual predators all the time."
ZCM shrugged. "I'm just sayin'."
Some time later, after a day working out of town, ZCM confided to us that, en route home, he had been propositioned by a stranger at a freeway rest stop; some middle-class guy who looked like he was on his way to a Rotary meeting.
"What did you do?" we asked. ZCM was a burly lumberjack type who'd been in military intelligence during the Vietnam era, who probably possessed a frightening personal-defense skill set; despite his mild-mannered civilian persona, we wondered what exactly had transpired in that men's room.
"I'll tell you," he replied. "I said, 'Look at you. You're sneaking around in a public bathroom, for God's sake, begging for sex. That is just pathetic. And it's dangerous -- for you and for your wife if you have one. If you're gay, then why don't you just get honest with yourself and everyone else and say, "Hey, I'm gay," and find a good man in the gay community, and settle down?'" He said that the stranger, who had stood transfixed as ZCM delivered his little urinal-side homily, slowly backed out of the men's room, fled as fast as he could to his vehicle and sped off.
I wish Zen Congregationalist Marine could talk to every Sincere Bible Study Guy in this country, and share this particular story with them; how a real, straight, manly-man guys' guy deals with his worst gay fear realized.