Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Plane engine on fireLast week, I went to see the film Flight with boyfriend T. We’d seen a trailer for it a week or two previously, and when we found ourselves at a loose end one evening, we thought it would be work a look. It was a good film, however it turned out that the main plot wasn’t about what we thought it was going to be about.

*** plot spoiler follows! ***

As we’d expected from the trailer, one of the main events in the film is a plane crash that occurs near the start of the film. The pilot Whip Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, makes some extraordinary decisions and saves the lives of most of the passengers and crew. Notionally the film then focuses on what happened in the weeks following the plane crash. However the real subject of the film is alcohol addiction, because it turns out that Whip Whitaker is an alcoholic. Although he did indeed save all those people's lives when the plane failed through no apparent fault of his own, he was in fact drunk at the time! After denying his addiction in so many ways, the climax of the film occurs when Whip Whitaker finally admits to himself and the world that he's an alcoholic during the public hearing into the causes of the plane crash.

"I don't think I ever want to drink again!" I say to boyfriend T on our way home after the film.

"But you're not an alcoholic, are you?" asks boyfriend T.

"No, but sometimes I worry about myself. Sometimes I do like one or two glasses of wine too much."

"Do you ever drink by yourself?"

"Hardly ever," I reply, "but sometimes when you're away, I see a nice bottle of wine in our kitchen cupboard. If I haven't had a drink in a couple of days I can find it hard to resist :-|."

"Hmmm," says boyfriend T thoughtfully, "then perhaps you're at risk, although it doesn't sound too serious at the moment."

I make a mental note to avoid drinking alone at all costs, but then something else occurs to me.

"Actually, that scene at the end where Whip Whitaker finally admits that he's an alcoholic made me think about you."

"How come?" asks boyfriend T.

"You still deny that you're gay to almost everyone that you know, and just like Whip Whitaker, you're determined to keep it a secret forever."

"I've told you before," replies boyfriend T with an irritated tone in his voice, "I'm never going to come out to anyone!"

"Exactly. It's the same kind of attitude as Whip saying to himself that he's not going to admit his alcoholism to anyone. Of course, being gay isn't an addiction, but at some point in your life you're going to have to come to terms with this."

Boyfriend T doesn't reply, which doesn't surprise me because there's nothing more to say on the subject. However, I often worry about his attitude to coming out, because it seems implausible that this secrecy can last forever. It seems to me that at some point he's going to have to choose between living a more openly gay life as my partner, or ending our relationship and going back even further into the closet. If that day does finally come along, I hope that he chooses me.


LuLu said...

His secret becomes yours by proxy. Secrets of this gravity tend to become so. damned. heavy.

I hope he chooses you, too.

Breakfast After 10

毒小弟 said...

Hi GB,

I have been reading your blog, and I love it.
I'm in the same situation as your boyfriend T.
I'm just wondering why you would care so much whether he will come out or remains closeted?
I think he is under stress, and look up to you as the only person he could be less care about his sexual orientation and more comfortable with.
He must love you a lot to give you such privilege.

GB said...

That's an excellent question, 毒小弟 :-).

The problem is that Boyfriend T is living in complete fear of what life would be like on "the other side" of coming out to any of the people he knows. That's a terrible way to live. If you don't believe me, I wonder if you've seen the 1992 film Strictly Ballroom? On the face of it it's quite a light-hearted film, but the underlying story contains a very important message. The lead female character sums it up (initially in Spanish) when she says "Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias". If you haven't seen the film, bear those words in mind while you're watching the final scene, and listen carefully to what the lead character's father says to lead character!

GB xxx

PS: Astute readers will immediately spot that Strictly Ballroom has been the favourite film listed in my blogger profile for many years!

Kenski said...

Coming out is a watershed moment in gay life. It's almost bigger than any other thing you have to go through. My opinion is that if you don't come out then you're only living half a life and equally as importantly, you're lying to people wh love and care for you. Clearly it's more difficult in some cultures, but it's disrespectful to your partner, your family and yourself in the long run. I only came out at 25, but that was 3 months after I started my first same-sex relationship. I couldn't look my mother in the eye and tell her I wasn't seeing anyone. It took longer to come out to my father as she became a gatekeeper, insisting that he wouldn't understand. In the end I gave up waiting for her approval and it turned out he knew (or suspected) all along.

Mind Of Mine said...

I have to agree with Lulu, this secret is now yours to carry. As someone who didn't have the difficult coming out, I struggle sometimes to empathize with people that don't just bite the bullet.

AVY said...

Everyone has secrets but how do you live with something like it? Hard to understand.



Antony said...

It must be difficult for him. On the one hand he's probably seen lots of out gay men living openly out and on the other hand he's probably unsure about the reactions he will get from people he loves.

Boyfriend T always strikes me as a thinker from what you write, someone who will always go away and thinks about something. So perhaps now you've planted the seed, it's about watering it from time to time? And maybe asking some targeted questions around why he doesn't tell anybody he's gay.

You two have been together for quite a while now (from what I gather reading), so he's obviously happy with you. When it comes to love, I think people always try to stay together if they are happy. So hopefully when Boyfriend T reaches that decision stage, he'll choose what brings the most happiness into his life.

Take care and keep us informed,

Antony x

jmorais said...

best blog

Anonymous said...

I really hope that he chooses you. just saying.