Sunday, 8 February 2015
So. What if you wanted to quit your job….
So, what if you had this really big deal job and you decided to quit it and you were gay but nobody knew it?
Or I guess what I mean is, what if some people kind of knew you were gay, but they couldn’t really say it publicly. And some people had ‘outed’ you — but not major newspapers. And people generally didn’t want to talk about the fact that you were gay because your boss was especially sensitive about it.
This is just a hypothetical situation. I’m not talking about anyone in particular.
So, anyway, what if you had this big deal job and you quit it, and everyone was asking “Why? Why did you do it?” And you had no answer?
I mean, why would that be?
Could it be because if you answered, it would necessarily involve your personal life, which means revealing that you are gay?
Sometimes, when a gay man quits his big deal job at a young age, it has to do with a lot of things that are related to actually, well…okay, well, to being gay.
For instance, gay men, historically, have different relationships to power than straight men. I know when I quit my job as artistic director of Buddies in Bad times Theatre at 45 years old many years ago some were shocked. This is because straight white men don’t routinely surrender their power. Oh no. They hang onto it for dear life. But because I’m gay — I’m very aware of what it means NOT to be the dominant person in a relationship — in bed and out. So I have an ambivalent relationship to power. I recognize that being powerful is not always a good thing.
Also, gay men’s personal lives are complicated. Often, they spend their young lives wrestling over coming out. Then they have to deal with a screwed up gay world. (You’d better get married! You’d better not be promiscuous! Don’t get AIDS! Take a pill! You’d better be beautiful! You’d better prove to straights that you’re just as normal as they are!) Then they see the spectre of age looming — where there are very few positive gay role models they can aspire to.
Sometimes a gay man in his forties might quit his job just in order to GET a personal life.
This is at a period in his life when most straight men are consolidating their assets and continuing boldly, relentlessly (heart attack be damned!) to move ahead.
I don’t want you to think that I have all the answers here. I’m not saying that I definitively know why some gay man approaching middle age would quit his job. In fact I don’t KNOW why.
I’m just musing here.
So, anyway, if you do happen to hear of any man who suddenly quits his high powered job at age 45 and then doesn’t give a reason, it might just be because he’s gay, and in the closet, and reaching a kind of turning point in his life.
Then again, it might not.
I don’t know why I’m bringing this up now.
The thought just occurred to me, really.