My wife

I was out in the lobby at work the other day, talking to Mike the mailman about our recent trip to France. “Did your wife enjoy it too?” he asked.

I saw Chelsea, the student working at the front desk, give a sudden spasmodic jerk of her head as Mike said the word “wife.” She was wondering what I’d say next.

And, after a whirlwind review of my options, I said: “Yes, she enjoyed it very much.”

Okay. You know I’m gay, and that Partner is a man. Here are excerpts from the angel/devil dialogue that whirled through my head in that moment:

–         He’s the mailman. He doesn’t need to know our business.

–         What are you, afraid to come out to the mailman? He’s like three inches shorter than you, and chubby.

–         But it gets tiresome coming out all the time. Sometimes you should just give in and let people assume whatever they like.

–         That’s no way to think. This could be a teachable moment. This could be the tipping point at which Mike the mailman thinks: Hey! Loren’s gay! Gay people are okay!

–         Or not.

–         Are you ashamed of being gay, after all these years? I hope not.

–         But you love being accepted by all these big macho men: all these repairmen and policemen and construction workers and moving men you work with. You need to keep up appearances, don’t you?

–         The parking cops know that you’re gay, and they don’t seem to mind. They bring you Twinkies and Snowballs. And they both used to be prison guards.

–         Well, maybe they’re trying to tell you something with all those Twinkies and Snowballs.

–         Oh, shut up.

Anyway: coming out is a very long complicated process.

I’ll let you know once I’ve gone through it completely.

But I can tell you right now that it’s exhausting.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

3 Responses to My wife

  1. starproms says:

    Actually I really do understand how you feel – not because I’m gay but because I also have an unusual situation. I am married to one person, yet I live with another (most of the time) so in a way I have two husbands. Try explaining that to the people at church…! In fact it gets very annoying and sometimes when my no. 2 h is asked when I’m going back to America or where am I at the moment, he is apt to say ‘absailing in China’ or ‘rock climbing in Peru’ or something like that because it is really nobody else’s business.

    • That’s what it comes down to: explaining it to people. And people, as my friend Sylvia said recently, can be very tiring.

      • starproms says:

        Yes, people like everything to fit into neat little compartments and to be fair, I was like that once too. Then I turned 50 and I started saying ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’ to things and life became a whole lots more interesting for me!

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