Storytime: today my friendly coworker asked me what I did over the weekend.
1) These kinds of questions always throw me. I have to stop and think for a moment to even remember what things I actually did during that timespan, and then, out of those, figure out what would make for an situationally appropriate and socially acceptable answer. “Spent time on the computer”? No. “Read some ace blogs”? No. “Played video games”? No. “Battled executive dysfunction?” No.
2) I had gotten a haircut on Saturday. That would have worked — a discrete, recognizeable event suited to smalltalk in the workplace. But I forgot about that. In person, there’s always a short window of time where people expect you to come up with an easy answer, and I didn’t think of that one until that window had passed.
3) One of the things that sprang to mind, honestly, that would have fit some of the criteria for a good answer (a unique and nameable event, something you don’t do every day) was a local LGBTQ+ event I’d attended on Saturday.
a) I just got this job a couple weeks ago. I am not out to anyone at work. Not formally, anyway. I’m sure at least one of them suspects something, since I kinda Look Gay, in the stereotypical sense. But there’s been no direct acknowledgement, no explicit naming.
b) Saying that I went to this particular event would practically necessitate coming out.
c) And maybe if I were tricksy enough about it I could get away with not specifying, but then they would think I’m For Sure Gay (specifically), when that’s not how I specifically identify at all and not why I attended (my local ace group was there — it would be hard to talk about having gone without talking about them).
d) Going to this event was, actually, a significant part of my weekend.
e) But I can’t tell her that.
f) Internalized voices in the back of my head saying you shouldn’t have even gone, you shouldn’t have even gone.
g) Certain knowledge: explaining asexuality to a coworker who hasn’t heard of it would be uncomfortable. No getting around that. I wanted to tell her as a casual offhand thing in the spirit of how she had asked but it would just cause too much confusion and put me on the spot.
h) So I don’t tell her. I continue to keep the bulk of my personal life a secret, even as my coworkers go on about their family troubles, private problems, and exact descriptions of their individual social media postings, down to the exact hashtags.