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20 March 2008, 3:25 pm No Comments

Commentary: Out At Work


Or, Dear New Straight Female Colleague: Please Stop Flirting With Me. Love, Michael

I’m out at work. I included some of my queer community building projects and queer-related volunteering gigs to my resume, so I obviously put it out there from the get go. But office dynamics change. New people come all the time, replacing previous colleagues. The workplace is hardly static. So, aside from wearing a pink triangle on my coat lapel or hanging a rainbow flag in my office, how can I prevent the constant need to “come out” to new colleagues as they flux into my life.

Particularly annoying is when new colleagues decide that you are going to be their workplace crush. They stop by your office and strike up senseless conversations when you’re in the middle of some important work or Scrabulous game. They perk up when they see you in the hallways. They try to sit near you in the lunch room.

I’m currently experiencing a very mild version of the above. I feel bad about the attention I’m getting. Partially because it’s not going to go anywhere, and partially because it makes me feel really uncomfortable.

At the same time, perhaps the straight-to-gay crush (not to be confused with the gay-to-straight crush discussed earlier) can easily segue into a friendship. My friendship with a woman in grad school started off as her crushing on me. Once we got over that awkwardness, we ended up having a lot of fun together. She was probably the closest thing I’ve ever had to a “fag hag”. I even fake-proposed to her to be my fake-wife once, getting down on bended knee and slipping a vending-machine ring on her pinky. So maybe I should be so stand-offish towards her?

But I digress.

I’m considering getting a picture of me and my boyfriend framed and putting it on my desk. Or perhaps I can start dropping hints. I don’t know. I’m at a loss. Any ideas?


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  • Rebecca said:

    People always assume I am straight when they meet me. So in order to avoid that akward moment when they verbalize thier assumption by asking me about my boyfriend or whatever, I come out right away by mentioning my girlfriend in conversation. Generally I see their eyes make a series of rapid movements while they try to remember if they’ve ever said anything in front of me that would indicate that they thought I was straight and then they say something to show that it’s cool with them that I date ladies. Then it’s all good except for the glances I get when straight women at work are talking about marraige or kids cause they don’t know if I will be offended or if I have anything to add to the conversation. But that’s a whole other story.

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • adam isn't here said:

    well i almost never get mistaken for straight, but that doesn’t seem to prevent girls from following me around and giggling at my stupid jokes. it doesn’t generally bother me though, so i don’t have any advice but to say it’ll all get resolved in it’s own time. no need to go blurting out awkward declarations. if you let it go it will be fine when the time does come. and if it isn’t, it will be more embarrassing for her than you at least.

    and you SHOULD get a picture of you and your man on your desk because it would be sweet, not because of her. CUTE!

  • Zack said:

    I frequently go out of my way to mention my boyfriend in mixed situations. It saves people from saying something really stupid in front of me, and also lets them know off the bat that I’m not embarrassed of my sexuality.

    If that doesn’t work, I take the densest person aside (say, the girl that won’t stop hitting on you), show her my junk and point at it repeatedly while shouting “this goes in butts! this goes in butts!”

    That usually gets the point across.

  • AC said:

    Wow, Rebecca, people actually “get it” when you talk about your girlfriend? People assume I’m straight too, and more often than not, when I mention my gf, straightfolk assume I mean my “girl_friend” rather than anything romantic. I guess guys don’t have that issue since straight men never talk about their “boyfriends.”

    This is just another reason the fact that we call women ‘girls’ annoys me… although sometimes it’s probably worked to my advantage (ie, might have faced more homophobia if certain folks knew what I really meant by “girlfriend”)

  • Anonymous said:

    Really, I just don’t care anymore. The last thing I want to discuss with my co-workers is my personal life (or theirs). But if someone is being an annoying crush, I’ll just mention my gay volunteer work, or guys I think are hot, or, if necessary, respond to a leading statement with, “Well, I’m gay, so…”. Usually does the trick.