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.