ABC (as in the TV network, not the Jackson 5 song) seems to be on a gays-marrying-straights kick the past couple of weeks: Two of their primetime shows, Desperate Housewives and Modern Family, each featured a woman marrying a man that others believed to be gay. And it reminded me of a couple I know.
A guy we’ll call Tony was a friend of mine during high school. He came from a religious Catholic family and even attended Catholic school from preschool through college (obvs we never went to the same school; we met through a mutual friend). Tony had the occasional girlfriend, including another high school friend who, oddly enough, wound up dating a couple of gay guys just before they came out. The whole time we were friends with Tony, Paul and I suspected he preferred guys to girls, and had his family been more open-minded, he would live his life as a gay man. (Sadly, I imagine this happens to a lot of Catholic boys from Staten Island–one classmate of mine was sent to pray-the-gay-away camp.)
My openly gay friend assessed Tony with his finely tuned gaydar and agreed: This guy was most certainly a homosexual. But my pal said Tony wasn’t ready to come out, and it wasn’t my job to out him. So of course I never said a word to anyone but Paul (and now to all of you).
In college, Tony because serious with a girl he described as “amazing” and “beautiful.” She was fairly frumpy in photos. I never met her, so I can’t say whether or not she was amazing–she very well could have been. Paul and I lost touch with Tony shortly after, but we later learned (thanks, Facebook!) he married that girl…and they have kids together.
It’s entirely possible that Paul and I got Tony wrong. It’s feasible that my gay friend did, too. But I imagine that at least one of Tony’s wife’s friends believed he was gay, and I wonder if she tried to warn Tony’s girlfriend.
If I were in their shoes, I’d keep my mouth shut if my buddy was happy. But if I had irrefutable evidence that the marriage would be a sham (like I walked in on him with another guy), I’d tell her, even if it made her unhappy in the immediate future. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if, 20 years and two kids later, she found out he was having an affair with some dude.
But if you just have an inkling that someone likes members of the same sex? Sharing that with the person who’s marrying that guy is a sure way to ruin your relationship.
What would you do: Would you say something if you suspected your friend’s boyfriend was gay? What if everyone you know thought so, too? Or would you stay mum in fear of ending your friendship?
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