"Straightening Up" the Apartment? A Gay Guy's Guide to Parental Controls

Straight Guy,

Hope you are well.

Readers: Gay Guy is on a multi-day road trip with his parents. Will it be nifty, neutral, or nightmare? Anything is possible.

Day One went smoothly. Amen. But, from getting on the road to getting into our (separate!) hotel rooms was exactly 12 hours. No one needs to be in constant contact with anyone for 12 solid hours. Luckily, my parents are quite low-key, low on the demands, and easy to be with.

My parents are really pretty cool. I know they had some misgivings, disappointments, and judgment about me being gay when I came out to them. Whatever those feelings were, and however deeply held they were, my parents seem to have worked it out. Or, if they have not worked out their internal conflict, they have the politeness and/or good sense to keep their internal conflict internal.

They arrived yesterday and spent the night with me in my teeny apartment. This leads to the question of what I call "straightening up" the apartment. I don't mean picking up. That's a given. Lordy, it's my mom staying over -- I had to buy a gallon of bleach and sanitize every surface with it. She likes a clean house. No, I mean, goes a gay man "straighten" the house, as in to degayify it. Not to lie, but to keep everyone comfortable.

For this gay guy, the answer is a resounding "no." But, before I came out to my parents, the gay clues around my apartment made me anxious. Glad those days are over. Being in the closet can affect . . well, even one's closet.

So, what makes an apartment gay? How gay is mine? Aside from being pleasant to look at and possessing a certain design sensibility, my place is pretty neutral. That is to say no poster-size prints of naked or semi-clothed men. Nothing with fringe or beads. No slipper chair. I do have a healthy collection of books by gay men, say Edmund White, and books with well-drawn gay characters, the author Michael Chabon as a good example.

On the other hand, posted on my refrigerator is a page I pulled from a magazine. It has four windowpane photos of men with nothing on -- at least from the waist up. It's tasteful. I think it was an article about the classic Greek ideals. They are wearing laurel wreaths on their heads. Anyway, I keep it on the frig for gym inspiration. Ugh. I could work out 40 hours a week for months and not look like those models. Who has the time? And, who has the time to shave every hair from his navel to his neck?

Also in the kitchen is my calendar, which has a photo a month of a hot guy wearing very little clothing. It's a fitness calendar; that is to say it has a monthly fitness tip. This month's tip: "Boxing is a good way to get cardiovascular exercise." Thank you; that was revelatory advice. The gaze on the model's face inspires lots of thoughts in me, but none of them are about boxing. And, I think that generally speaking real boxers wear their trunks around their waists, not slung under their hip bones. Just a suspicion.

Both expressions of my fitness ambitions stayed up.

Time to go to bed. More driving tomorrow.

--Gay Guy

P.S. We had dinner at a Ruby Tuesday's. Does that give me any Straight Guy cred?


Straight Guy said...

Great Post.

FYI You're right. Real boxers wear their trunks almost up to their ribcage, nothing fashionable about protecting your kidneys and everything else you can put "below the belt."

Safe travels. Your folks are easy company, but keep your iPod in your pocket, just in case.

Kathryn said...

Oh, GG. Do you honestly believe the Quad-Laurel-Wreath guys and the Buff-Tip-of-the-Month calendar are simply exercise enticement strategies? Seriously? Okay...if you say so. The last time I took a road trip w/my dad, he wouldn't let us make any left turns...said they were too dangerous, with crossing traffic and all. We went around the block a LOT. Enjoy bonding with your folks!

Straight in Upstate said...

I'll light a candle for you. My dad still remembers your quote when you rode to the movies one night with us, 30 minutes away: "Good God, I've heard more talking in half an hour in this car than I do all day when we drive to see my mom's family!

Mom remarked tonight that she was very concerned about your parents - they hadn't been sighted in their usual spots at the usual times for some time. The EMTs are kicking in the door as I write -sorry, but that's small town life. (I'll alert Mom to their whereabouts.)

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