I was having dinner with a fairly well-known conservative blogger (whom I'll call "K"). By the time the subject rolled around to Andrew Sullivan and his infinite wickedness, we were both on our third beer, and I mused aloud, "the guy makes me ashamed to be gay and Catholic."
My face went red, though I will go to my grave uncertain whether K immediately caught it and registered it. Perhaps if I had not drawn attention by my reaction, it would have passed in one ear and out the other, like the lyrics to a pop song you've heard a thousand times.
All I said was "oh, man."
But K's reaction is what I want to share with others -- partly because it gives the lie to the "homophobe" narrative, both in the Christian religion and political conservatism. The fact is that very few conservatives, even those of a religious sort, really care what someone does in the bedroom as long as, as they say, we don't do anything to frighten the horses. (The public issues that surround homosexuality are ... well, public issues.) And I have never personally been treated badly by a religious or conservative person who knew about my homosexual attractions or behaviors (though I have seen the anti-gay hate in online or otherwise impersonal situations).
K was raised Southern Baptist and still hews to that ol' time religion (he's always been suspicious of my ties to the Beast of Rome). But his dominant reaction was to feel sorry for my embarrassment at that moment. He immediately referred to the lesbianism of one of his favorite link-buddies, whom I knew about, and said "we went back and forth on this and it never affected anything." He assured me it didn't matter and he didn't care, though he professed some surprise. When I asked K whether I tripped his gaydar, he said "no, but my wife did ask me" after one of the several occasions we met. "And I said, 'no, he's Catholic and just a celibate'," K told me.
However, in an unrelated context a long time ago, K had once told me that women had better gaydars than men. I asked him how he knew that, and he said that his 16-year-old daughter had surmised upon a single meeting that an adult friend of K's was gay (and not because the subject came up). K said his wife backed the daughter up, saying that the friend tipped them both off via his eyes. He was not scoping them out, not checking them out as eye candy. The wife said K's friend also apparently gave no detectable hint of interest in his interactions with other women to which she was witness. Women are so used to being visually assessed by men that they can spot it right away when it's not happening, K told me back then. It's much easier to fool a man, I guess, with overt behavior. I'm pretty masculine acting and have no difficulty "picking up" (if that's the right term) drinking buddies and single-serving friends.
So if we wanna stay closeted, guys, we gotta have to practice at scoping out the chicks. Otherwise we're only fooling half the human race. Here's a photo of Kim Kardashian for practice.