Monday, September 17, 2007

A mixed day: moving progress, no defense progress, asking out a gay man

1. One of the truisms of academic life is that it is difficult to move. As illustration, today I learned how to print from my computer (getting drivers for the printer which work with my own unsupported laptop because my computer hasn't come in yet) and how to use email, and the process took more than an hour. But now I can print.

2. The assistant of one of my committee members is fed up with giving me the committee member's schedule, and has largely stopped answering my emails. Which makes it even more difficult to schedule a defense from thousands of miles away.

3. I bought some of my furniture from a very cute guy who seemed smart and like he knew how to think with both halves of his brain. He lived in the middle of the distant suburbs with his brother, and mentioned that they were moving to different apartments --- his brother to the city and he just outside the city. Being new to a place gives me the right to take liberties, so afterwards I emailed him and said I'd love to have coffee with him. He wrote back, saying he'd be thrilled. I found his name online associated with having helped out a much younger gay artist in a place that he travels to on business, so it seemed most likely that he was gay, but I didn't have any other evidence on the subject. After some phone tag, I delayed calling him, partially nervous that he was straight, and partially nervous that he was gay.

In talking about moving, he would sometimes say "we" and sometimes "I", so finally I asked who he was going to live with. I expected an answer like "boyfriend", "girlfriend", or "roommate" and then the conversation would continue as normal.

Instead, he said, "Boyfriend. I hope that's not disappointing for you."

I was taken off-guard by the thought that I might be disappointed. "That's terrific," I managed.

He was silent. "Are you still there?" he asked.

"Yes, I said that's terrific to be at that point in your relationship," I repeated.

He continued this awful conversation, "I mean, I would have thought you would have picked up some signals that my brother is moving in with his boyfriend, and I'm moving in with mine, but if you didn't you would be disappointed."

I'm totally in disbelief that this conversation is happening. I have some gaydar, and admittedly I didn't pick up immediately that either he or his brother were gay, but I am definitely missing the "I'm going to move in with my boyfriend"-dar. Given his level of social skills he's showing right now, I don't think he has it either.

"I don't know why I would be disappointed. I live in a neighborhood with lots of gay men," I say as if it wouldn't even occur to me that anyone would ask this guy out.

The conversation continues for several more exchanges like the above until I finally change the subject back to something not so embarrassing to me.

4. The thing which bothers me the most about this exchange is not that this guy was gay, but that he has a boyfriend. Seemingly everyone here is married or dating --- definitely a larger proportion than where I lived before. And every single person that I have ever dated is dating someone. I try not to think about that, but I keep being reminded of it.

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