What a strange and unpleasant breakfast. The contents were the same as usual – a slice of toasted batch bread, a boiled egg, a banana and a cup of coffee – I am a creature of habit.
It was my mealtime companions that caused my confusion. Perhaps it is the hot weather but a lot of people seem to be ‘working from home’ this week. The more honest among them are officially on holidays. Regardless of the reason my usual buddies were nowhere to be seen. As I paid for my produce I looked about. To my left were two gentlemen that I know slightly and with whom I have peripheral contact at work.
This was a real Sophie’s choice dilemma? Should I follow what my heart was telling me? Ignore them and sit on my own, pondering my own thoughts? Or should I be sociable and political and join their chortlingly, matey heterosexual style breakfast banter? I decided that I would be strategic. I’m sure my colleagues think I am weird enough as it is. I don’t want to be adding fuel to that fire and developing a reputation as a recluse.
I sat down and buttered my toast. They were chatting in their upwardly mobile, Dublin 4 accent about tailor made Italian shirts. While I knew that both of them had a touch of the metrosexual about them, nevertheless this surprised me. An open discussion of fashion among straight guys?
I sometime feel like I betray my own tribe by having absolutely zero interest in this subject. I am a bad gay when it comes to certain stereotypes. Shopping for clothes is a hellish experience for me. When my sock or shirt situation needs addressing I will go on a kamikaze style mission to some clothing outlet and dart from section to section picking up random supplies; before lunging towards the checkout. I try to keep my shopping expeditions to below fifteen minutes in duration. When I pass to the next world and I am greeted by Dolly Parton at the gates of Heaven (the night club) I will be turned away for blasphemy against Karl Lagerfeld.
They babbled on, now discussing how a shop in Ranelagh gave one of a 50% discount on pale blue shirts.
Then the penny dropped. One of them was getting married that weekend. The other had married six months ago and was giving advice.
I smiled warmly and asked ‘Oh yes, this weekend is the big day isn’t it?’
‘Yes it is’ he replied happily.
‘Is it your first marriage?’
He threw me a look that would curdle milk, and returned to his chat with his fellow heterosexual. I have no idea why I asked that. I was merely trying to express a friendly interest in his life, on one of the allegedly most important days of his life. I simply blurted it out without thinking. I certainly meant no malice by it. I genuinely wasn’t trying to be smart.
He looked so crestfallen. The other guy looked at me like I’d just spit in his muesli.
Having the diplomacy of a sledgehammer is an accusation that was thrown at me on a regular basis by my mother when growing up, but was what I said really so bad? There was certainly no ill intent behind the question?
Straight guys are easier to deal with when they are talking about important stuff like football maybe? Or perhaps I am a very bad person? Who knows? I didn’t mean to cause upset. Sometimes my mouth races faster than my brain can compute.