In this paper last week, Stacy Farrar wondered why there weren’t more -“ or indeed any -“ out gay footballers.
It’s a good question, but I’m starting to wonder why there aren’t more out gay people, full stop.
During the week I had dinner with a straight female friend, and the conversation turned to another mutual friend of ours -“ a very handsome 33-year-old straight guy who seems permanently single. He’s a bit too full of churchy wholesomeness for my liking, but he has no lack of fans.
But he’s not a rooter, my straight female friend complained. Her theory to explain this: he’s deeply fucked up, repressed beyond probable redemption, and fully gay.
She may be right -“ and if he ever does come out I wanna be there to see it.
But our chat got me thinking about all the other people I’ve known over the years who just don’t seem to realise that they’re gay, even though it seems bleedingly obvious to everyone else. There’s actually been quite a lot of ’em.
Back in the 90s I knew a heterosexual guy whose academic interest in men’s issues extended to him buying copies of Campaign. And then there was the straight housemate of a friend with the secret stash of gay porn.
And closer to home, there’s the example of my brother. He’s 40, nominally straight, but he’s never been married, and never had a girlfriend.
Many times I’ve caught him looking at men in a way that I’ve never seen him look at women. And many’s the time he’s remarked upon the handsomeness of some Hollywood actor or other -“ but always in a casual, downplayed fashion: Gee, that Colin Farrell is a pretty good-looking guy, isn’t he?
For my boyfriend and me, it’s kind of funny to hear my brother say things like that. (We do a lot of eye-rolling at family functions.)
But we also feel embarrassed on his behalf. It’s a bit like listening to a public speaker who doesn’t know that their fly has come undone: they don’t realise what they’re exposing.
I could always just ask my brother if he’s gay, I suppose, but the weirdness factor in that is astronomical. So I’ll just have to wait and let him figure it out for himself.
I hope it’s soon though, because if he ends up having one of those crazy late-in-life coming-outs at the age of 50, it’s really not gonna be pretty.