the TMI hangup

A short post about (not) coming out.

Here I am, wading through the internet, and I see a comment mocking the idea of telling your parents that you’re asexual because “why would you need to tell them how much sex you’re having.”  I brush it off.

Here I am, several days later, driving my car through rush hour traffic with my coworker in the passenger seat.  We’ve been carpooling for maybe a week now.  He’s friendly, mild-mannered, and openly gay.  We may not know each other well, but we snicker at each other’s jokes and we have the kind of rapport that sets the groundwork for a friendship — and sometimes, we talk lgbt stuff.  Casual stuff — stories, comments, complaints. Not much, but enough for him to pick up on how I talk about it.

Enough for him to say, “I don’t think I ever asked: are you… gay, or straight, or…?”

Here I am, monitoring the other cars on the road and being directly asked to state my orientation to my cowoker.

I’m thinking, he’s nice, he’s gay, he’s polite, he’s almost a friend, he should be safe.  He’s out to you, why shouldn’t you be out to him?

I’m thinking, he’s your coworker, he’s your carpool buddy, and if something bad happens you can’t easily cut your losses and run.  This is a relationship with a financial incentive to be maintained.  You’re going to be seeing this guy every day.  You can’t ruin it.

I’m thinking, it would take so long to explain, and by the end he’d still have unspoken questions, and you know it never goes well when you come out to men.

I’m thinking, it would be too much information.  It would be Too Much Information.  You don’t tell your coworkers things like that.  He’d think to himself, “why do I need to know how much sex you’re having?”  Or, even worse, he’d take it as a cue to compare notes and start telling you more about himself and his sexuality than you want to know.

I pull a face, hesitate, and tell him it’s complicated.

Even before I say anything, he sees the expression on my face and starts backpedaling so fast I have to reassure him it wasn’t wrong to ask, it’s just… complicated.

He accepts that.  He understands; he draws a parallel to complicated things in his own life.  He’s so nice about it that I wonder how it might have gone if I’d just told him.

To the people who snicker about asexuals coming out to anyone but their romantic partners: congratulations.  You got what you wanted.

4 responses to “the TMI hangup

  • fatdadscotty

    I relate to this so much. I was always under the impression that I didn’t have to “come out” because virtually everyone I knew wouldn’t have viewed it as a legitimate sexuality. I remember speaking to one of my gay friends about telling my family I’m ace, and she responded with such sneering, sarcastic “what, is that your coming out story?” I ended up backing out and not telling them for like another year. I never realized how much those words actually hurt me until I tried telling my family, and it was so much more difficult than it should have been. Sorry for rambling on your post but this really spoke to me and I just wanted to say you’re not alone in feeling this way.

  • Sciatrix

    Me, I tried not telling people. For years! And I just got people getting more and more and more curious and trying to figure out what exactly was up with me. So I get really angry about people who get dismissive and sneering about “well why do people have to know you’re asexual”, because my experience is that they fucking well DO want to know and telling me I should tell/shouldn’t tell puts me in such a social bind.

  • Klaaraa

    This does sound like it could have been okay if you told him more.

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