Thursday, December 07, 2006

Let Nothing You Dismay

I work at an ultra-conservative insurance investment management firm - it reeks of Republican. But I can see the good in what we do, which is to invest money for insurance companies so that they have enough money to pay their insurers should disasters like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina occur. At least, that is how I rationalize it to myself.

The people with whom I work in my immediate department are pretty cool, though. They know I am gay and most of them have met The BF at some point during the year I have been there. The issue of my sexuality has never been, well, an issue. I seem to get along with everyone because I think there is a blissful ignorance that hovers over my office.

That ignorance has recently been put to a test, however. The reason: the annual office holiday dinner party. Everyone seems to be taking a spouse or a date. But then, everyone else is straight. I kinda dipped my toe into the situation when I told a co-worker that I wasn't sure if I could bring The BF or not. She quickly came back with, "Yeah, that would not go over well." She's been working there for 8 years, longer than anyone. So I am pretty sure she's right. I then addressed it with my immediate supervisor, and she basically agreed with my co-worker.

The BF takes me everyplace, his work holiday parties among them, and I think it's completely unfair that I cannot take him to mine. Well, in essence I can take him, but I just don't want the hassles of it all. Plus, I will not be the one they are looking at all night long, it will be The BF. Of course, The BF has no problem with that and lights up at the possibility of the attention. "Bring it on!" he giggles. No one told me that I can't bring him, but telling me it "would not go over well" is essentially the same thing.

What bothers me more is that this actually bothers me. I shouldn't have to worry about this kind of thing, but I do. I seriously don't care what most of these people think of me, but yet I don't want to rock the boat. I have accepted the fact that there is a time and a place to take a stand. And I think your office Christmas party is neither of those.

So The BF and I will go to HIS company Christmas party and have a blast. And we don't need the stuffiness of my office's function to justify our relationship to a room full of people I mostly don't care about. But still it makes me sad - sad that there are still those out there who are so close-minded and insecure as to not want to see two people who are happy and committed, and even more sad that said people will never get the opportunity to meet The BF, who is truly one of the most remarkable men I know.


  1. i dont wants the problem if they like someone else..i have friends who are lesbians and i am preety friendly with them..dont worry just go the party of your BF and have a blast..and do come over to my blog to celebrate the christmas the way it is supposed to be..with the loved ones to show that u care..

  2. We had our Work Holiday Party last spouses invited! So we only get to mingle with people that we see everyday. Fortunately you have the option (even if it isn't an option) to take a Spouse/Partner.

    It is pretty sad that you can be out at work but can't take a partner to a work function...I mean geez, what is it, 1980?

  3. I have trouble imagining this ultra conservative environment that you appear to work in, Dop. This possibly has something to do with being involved in the Arts/Entertainment/Music Industry most of my working life.
    I CAN'T WAIT to meet the pair of you!!!!!!! I am SO excited!!!!!!!

  4. Just skip your company's party. Who wants to hang out with a bunch of gay-hating losers, anyway?

    I did the same thing with my senior prom: I knew I couldn't really bring the person I wanted to bring, so I didn't go. I don't feel like I missed anything worthwhile.

  5. I hear you, Dop. There's a big part of me that says "Screw 'em and bring the BF." But then the other part agrees that there's a time and a place and given the mood in your office, the XMas party may not be the place.

    Someday - hopefully soon - you will work in an office (be it the one you're in now or another one) where this won't be an issue. You deserve it.

  6. not to say my work party is going to be more fun than yours, but it does feature 4 hours of open bar, unexpected hook-ups, and a dance-off. besides, everyone who's met you, loves you. actually, now that i think about it, it's going to be way more fun.
    the bf

  7. Hey buddy, your approach was, well gay- lol. Que para mi, you sound like you want to go, and you want to take the bf. However, you went searching for approval from others. Perhaps a better approach would have been to have told them you were coming, but your time would be very limited. Then you could have gauged the reaction after you got there and left accordingly. This would have oped the door for you to bring him next year and to other functions as well. You could still go back and tell them you will both be dropping by for a limited time this year, but if you do say it with authority- like you are telling someone they are under arrest. There can be no compromise. You cannot half step with information people don't want to hear. Just my thoughts. Merry Christmas.

  8. Aint worth it. Just skip it and enjoy the other party.
    You'll probably have more fun there anyway.

  9. I sort of side with Darrell in that I think you should go and take the BF.

    The only way things change, and people's perceptions will change, is by meeting and understanding gay people so they can realize "oh they're just like me."

    How does anyone REALLY know it won't go over well unless you try? That's what a white friend of mine thought when she was going to introduce her conservative family to her black boyfriend. What happened? They LOVED him.

    Just depends if you are willing to be the change you wish to see in the world.

  10. My vote would be to take him - people who express discomfort are begging to be educated. When they see that despite what their pre-conceived notions may be, you don't eat babies or spit in old women's food.... they will begin to understand.

    That's my two cents. It may be uncomfortable for you and for them, but what are we here for if not to educate each other about love and acceptance?

  11. Dop, I think you are doing what's probably best. I agree with many of the comments above, the most notable being that there is a time and a place, and office christmas parties tend to be breeding grounds for gossipy whispers in the workplace depending on what happens/who got drunk/who brought whom, etc. Let's be honest, as much as we have to bite our tongues and swallow our sense of self for the benefit of not making waves, at the end of the day it's the practical, though unfair, thing to have to do. I mean, we all have to work, and we aren't going to jeopardize our careers to make a political statement. Small steps are better.

    So, when people ask later why you weren't at the party, you can always say (but not defiantly) that you really did want to go and have a great time with the people you work with every day, but felt by the reactions of certain un-named people you spoke with that it would be an uncomfortable situation for many, including perhaps you and The BF, and so being what it is, you unfortunately didn't feel very welcomed. Then maybe people will get the picture that their attitudes have a very personal and real impact on other people -- good people -- and maybe, just possibly, they might open their minds a little bit next time.

  12. FOLLOW UP:

    Thanks for the comments. Interestingly enough, they seem to be 50% go and 50% blow it off. It ended up that The BF had to work anyway, and I was out of the office for 4 days with the flu. So basically, it ended up being a non-issue.

    The thing I realized is that there probably is no blanket response to this situation. For some, going to the party is the right thing to do. And for others, boycotting is right. It all depends on your comfortability level, your future plans with the company, and your existing relationship with your co-workers.

    In my situation, I am not sure what I would have done, because of the reasons we couldn't go in the second place (his work, my flu). We didn't have to really make a decision about it.

    Until next year.

  13. I hope you go next year, BF in tow. Should co-workers feel uncomfortable with that, it is their baggage and problem, not yours.

    You are a smart, sensitive man who knows who he is and loves who he is. I think it's totally charming that you worried about this.