December 4, 2013 35 Comments
The title of this post is what Jack, Carter’s brother-in-law, said when he invited all us guys out to meet some of his friends and relatives in town.
Let me set the scene for you:
Michigan. Small town. We’re talking one whole stoplight small. When you say you’re going to the bar, you don’t need to specify because there’s only the one. There are, however, eight churches within 10 miles. And it’s Michigan which is about 5 times more anti-gay than Ohio.
So when Jack says boys night out, I put on my game face.
That Jack wants to take out his 4 gay brothers-in-law just as much as his 2 straight ones is fantastic. He doesn’t see orientation; we’re just family. He is a little naive in not realizing others won’t see what he sees, but at the same time, I like that about him.
So off we go to the bar where some of the guys are familiar from last year’s holidays — some of Jack’s family joins us every time — and there are some new faces thrown in. And it’s those new guys who zero right in on the gay guy in their midst…
Even on his most butch days, he’s still obviously queer. It takes seeing him as strangers do to remind me this might be a problem. Until we walked in, I was thinking me and Carter and to DL or not to DL. And the really beautiful thing is, Thorny’s not even noticing that he’s got the stage at this particular moment because he’s admiring the moose head on the wall over the bar and just soaking up the rustic atmosphere. The rest of us are the ones going on alert.
Except then I’m watching and I realize Thorny does notice, but he’s working his oblivion in with his innocence and cuteness to make everyone pause. Every guy there was now looking around for cues from someone else on what to do here. And it occurs to me that Jack’s working the room too. His family’s a household name around these parts and nobody wants to get on the bad side of that. So Thorny’s sipping root beer from a straw and complementing the bartender’s tattoos while Jack’s shaking hands and dropping names.
I was amazed by how fearless Thorny was coming into a place he’s never been and just being himself. Plus how he knew without a doubt he was safe with us around him. Amazed too at how willing Jack was to throw his weight around for the sake of his family. I mean, he has to live up here with these people while we can go home.
So here’s to brave femme boys and influential straight allies! My admiration to you both.
The Good Stuff:
It’s Carter’s birthday today. Big things await him at home tonight. Big.