Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond
Send your nonfictional open letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Open Letter
to Straight Men.
I get it. You’ve got a reputation to protect.
You need to make sure we all know just how heterosexual you are.
But please—please!–-for the love of God, when I ask you out for coffee, don’t feel the need to give me that talk.
You know the one. The “Dude, I’m flattered, but…” one.
I need you to know I’ve heard every. possible. version of this talk.
I’ve heard it in several different languages, including ASL, and the one from Avatar. I haven’t yet heard it in Kryptonian, but that’s only because I haven’t worked up enough courage to ask out Henry Cavill for coffee. But if and when I finally do, he’d be totally justified in giving me the talk. #thatbuttpicfromtudors
I know, I know. You just want to be up front with me from the start. To give it to me, um, straight. You’re just trying to clarify. And I might potentially respect that clarification—if and when it becomes necessary.
But is it always necessary? Do you really think I want you? All of you?
Each and every last one of you?
Do you really think that every time I ask you out to coffee/drinks/gym, I’m really hoping for snuggles/butterflykisses/softcore S&M?
“Dude, I’m flattered, but…”
Flattered? Um… Why? It’s just coffee.
Yeah, you say, but it isn’t just coffee…
Why would you assume I’m planning on molesting you at Starbucks? Is it the gay way I sounded? Because that’s just my regular speaking voice. I can’t fix it. I’ve tried. (Believe me, I am totally over the Verizon people calling me “Ma’am” on the phone.)
And anyway, how else am I supposed to ask you out for coffee? Like, what other way is there for me to say that combination of words to you? Do I have to preface all of my invitations to coffee with, “Listen, bro, I’m totally gay, and have no romantic interest in you, and promise not to let you experiment with me even should the situation arise, but… ”?
Or, what if you’re the one to initiate coffee? How am I supposed to respond? “Dude, I’m flattered you’d invite me out to coffee, but I just need to remind you how fabulously gay I am. So gay, in fact, that I would love nothing more than to publicly trick you into making love to me atop an espresso machine. That being said, I could use a latte right now. Let’s go!”
Do you know how frustrating it is to be turned down romantically when I’m not even asking for it? Come on! I get enough no’s from the gay men I actually ask out. I don’t need to add your unwarranted rejection to that list.
Not to mention, when you say “No” to a question I’m not even intending to ask, I wonder if you think I’m a stupid whore. Like, maybe you think I don’t know or don’t care that you’re heterosexual. Or, maybe you think my only goal in life is to have indiscriminate sex whenever I can.
NB: This is not my goal.
Once more: This is not my goal.
Look, I get it. It’s only 2013. The gay stuff is still so… so gay. It’s only recently that I’ve earned the right to get married or to not be hate-crimed.
I should cut you some slack. You just didn’t know any better.
But in an effort to help us both out, here are a couple things to keep in mind next time I ask to join me for a macchiato.
1. Give me the benefit of the doubt. Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean that I want to date and/or bed you. Don’t assume that coffee really means pancakes.
2. Ask yourself if clarification is really necessary. Like, if you were married, and I was a woman, and I just asked you to grab some coffee, would you feel the need to remind me of your marital status? If so, then fine, give me the talk. But if you don’t perceive actual romantic interest, then let’s forego that awkwardness.
3. Speaking of perception, why exactly do you think I am or would ever be interested in you? Am I being particularly flirty? Handsy? Am I letting my eyes wander listlessly down your body? Or is it the whimsical sundress I’m wearing? If the only romantic thing I’m doing is “being gay,” then hold off on the assumptions. Even if the sundress I’m wearing just so happens to be whimsical. I have several.
3a. Just kidding. Sundresses are over.
4. Look at me as a person, not as a gay. If the gay thing weren’t an issue, would you want to grab coffee with me? Then let’s grab coffee. If the gay thing is an issue, then skip the “Dude, I’m flattered, but…” and go straight to “Dude, I’m a bigot!”
5. Not everything is about sex, bro.
6. Not everything is about sex, bro.
7. Respect yourself, and me. Have a little decency. A little courtesy. Being gay isn’t always easy. My intentions are often misunderstood. Please get to know my mind before you try and read it. You’ll probably be surprised to learn that I don’t think about your penis as often as you think I do. (Or, for that matter, as often as you yourself think about it.)
There are a few more rules, but most of them can be summed up in the following shorthand: Act like a human being.
All right. That’s it. Now you know what to do the next time I ask you out for sexless coffee. (Unless you’re Henry Cavill, in which case, again, you should probably give me the talk.)
Just a friend,
P.S. OK, sometimes coffee might mean pancakes.
P.P.S. Seriously, #thatbuttpicfromtudors
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