DIFFERENCES WITH GAY MEN: Beyond "Nothing In Common"

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 16, 2008 2:25 PM GMT
    I had to think about whether to write this thread. Want to come across the right way and express this in a way that is insightful and not judgemental.

    A local (non RJ) online friend had been bugging me to come to his house and chat (totally non sexual with other friends there as well). We have been chatting off and on for a year or so and thought I should take the time to meet him. I'll call him "Craig".

    Craig is about 25, a "military brat" as he describes himself, works in the food service industry, not college educated, not into fitness or anything (from what he had shared), but always very nice and that was part of the reason I thought I should take the time.

    When I arrived at Craig's last night, a female friend (who he deems as his "fag hag" was present along with her two children. His front yard wasn't too bad, but the rest of the place was pretty shabby (like he hadn't mowed his backyard all year and there was trash scattered about)
    I won't bore you with the details, but he introduced me to his chained dog who was wondering around amidst some trash. There was another mixed breed dog there and the "fag hag" announced proudly that the dog had been "knocked up" and was expecting puppies any day.
    Craig had made dinner for himself and asked me if I wanted any, but seeing the condition of his kitchen, I declined...

    The next hour was spent talking with Craig, the "hag" (and her husband who had just arrived) and talking about topics such as their "mold ridden home" that they were about to be evicted from.. why the hag has partial custody of her children (with the hag's mother), Craig's roommates (which the hag and her husband were to become as well in the near term). I almost gagged when she talked about the "bugs" they seem to carry around. "We'll do our best to get rid of these bugs before we move over here", she told Craig.
    The hag brought up how the attractive men always turned out to be gay and she informed me that she would have known I was gay..... I was too good looking to be straight.

    Finally I thought the time for a graceful exit had arrived when another couple of Craig's friends showed up and there weren't any more chairs to sit on. It was all very pleasant. As I left, the "hag" said "I hope we'll be seeing you around here"...........

    What I thought initially was that I should try and help Craig if I could. Maybe offer to mow his 4 foot high weeds, or to offer to help him clean up his trash.
    The reality is, Craig sees life very differently than I do and it doesn't have anything to do with age or life experience. It has to do with how he was raised and his socioeconomic status. I told a friend from here on Realjock about the experience last night as well as my bf. I won't repeat what my bf said......

    It was an odd experience for me... I felt odd in his world (and I don't feel odd very often). Its not about lack of interests or personality or behavior. Its about how we see life.

    Have you had experiences like this?

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    Aug 16, 2008 2:43 PM GMT
    Only going off of what you wrote, I don't think you can blame anything just on socioeconomic status. I know PLENTY of people that have jobs like you're talking about that don't live in filth or have trash-laden "yards" of three-feet tall weeds. I'll give you the upbringing thing though. I think it's all about that and what people care about. Obviously, your friend doesn't care about living in a clean house or mowing his lawn. You don't need money or status to care about things.

    There are people in my extended family like this and I am always quite uncomfortable when at their house. That's why most family events would take place at my parents' instead. They're great people and fun to talk with, but only on a limited basis. The things they care about are just totally different than me.

    What kinds of things do you talk about online or on the phone that interest you so much about this person? Is he completely different in person?
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 16, 2008 2:52 PM GMT
    Good point and what you express is what I realized.
    He could take good care of this place if he just did the work. He has a lawnmower, just not the ambition to mow his weeds.

    We have chatted on and off, I knew he had a dog and owned a house and was doing some minor house projects.
    He does have an outgoing personality and was interested in asking me about my life and boyfriend.
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    Aug 16, 2008 3:07 PM GMT


    Ok, this creeps me out entirely, and Poor Bill too.

    These people you describe are very much like the ones that drove us from our beautiful house and property a month ago.

    The police and the government both civic and provincial got involved.

    We got out. We tried to foster good neighbour relations for NINE years, and did all kinds of nice things for them, to encourage understanding, acceptance and peace.

    We lost our shirts on the sale. These people would actup when buyers were not ones they liked the look of. Our price kept dropping. After 7 months they approved of a buyer, so we were allowed to sell.

    Nasty, eh? I'll stop for now. There's more.


    -Doug

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    Aug 16, 2008 3:10 PM GMT
    Yes, not necessarily just with gay men though. My family's summer cottage is in New Brunswick. When I was growing up we had neighbours on one side who were dirt poor (worse conditions then what you described), and on the other side extremely rich (the son in the last few years inherited an estate in the 9 digit range).

    We associated with both, but actually spent more time with the very poor people. They were friendlier and more helpful.

    The fact is just because someone is gay does not mean you will have anything in common with them. I actually don't spend a lot of time socializing with gay people outside of gay sports.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 16, 2008 3:21 PM GMT
    muchmorethanmuscle said

    Sorry but it does sound very judgmental. If he sees your post here I wonder what he'll think. He and his friends probably talked about how nice you seemed once you left. And it just seems petty that something so trivial bothers you so much that you had to write about it and share it on here.



    Well first, his name isn't Craig and he isn't a RJ member, so I think my desire to share and get input without upsetting him is probably pretty safe.
    If it was trivial I wouldn't have shared it.

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    Aug 16, 2008 3:21 PM GMT
    I think there is a belief that if you are gay, you dress well, are super tidy etc...!
    When my ex moved to Montreal I would visit him often, and a great deal of the time was helping him clean! I am an early riser, so would have the place in decent shape when he got up. This went on for some time, but alas all this help never changed his ways! The place would always be in need of a good cleaning. He is a good guy, just not tidy - his focus is on other things in his life, so can't change him! I guess the same is true with the situation you described. Say you cut the grass, did the dishes, put out the trash, got the dogs better quarters; imagine when you returned to see nothing you did was a cataylst for change and everything was the same before if not worse! Craig is who he is - hopefully he will meet a boyfriend up for the challenge! (I hope the chained dogs were ok, that would be my only concern!).
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    Aug 16, 2008 3:35 PM GMT
    I think you're tip-toeing around the real issue here. You felt uncomfortable because he's white-trash, but you're a nice happy liberal-minded thinker and so you feel guilty about judging someone for his socio-economic status.

    My advice? Get over it. Different upbringings -- whether because of cultural differences OR economic differences -- can lead you to not feel comfortable with people... AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

    I've dated guys across the entire spectrum of "class", from a grand-nephew of Strom Thurmand (his trust fund was in the tens of millions) to a guy who grew up in a trailor. And you know what? The differences on BOTH ends lead to some discomfort for me.

    I don't feel comfortable in someone's home if it's a total crap-hill. I don't feel comfortable talking to someone when they are constantly talking about sanitation problems in their home. It's just the way I was raised, and I don't apologize for that.
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    Aug 16, 2008 3:48 PM GMT
    GregStevensTX saidI think you're tip-toeing around the real issue here. You felt uncomfortable because he's white-trash, but you're a nice happy liberal-minded thinker and so you feel guilty about judging someone for his socio-economic status.

    My advice? Get over it. Different upbringings -- whether because of cultural differences OR economic differences -- can lead you to not feel comfortable with people... AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

    I've dated guys across the entire spectrum of "class", from a grand-nephew of Strom Thurmand (his trust fund was in the tens of millions) to a guy who grew up in a trailor. And you know what? The differences on BOTH ends lead to some discomfort for me.

    I don't feel comfortable in someone's home if it's a total crap-hill. I don't feel comfortable talking to someone when they are constantly talking about sanitation problems in their home. It's just the way I was raised, and I don't apologize for that.


    Ain't that the truth!
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    Aug 16, 2008 3:59 PM GMT
    Different upbringings indeed. Honestly, I wouldn't have felt out of place at the house you described since a lot of my friends have been raised in houses in pretty much the same situation because of poverty (which to an American might be called a crap-hill, though they're relatively cleaner).

    I'll honestly feel more at ease in a messy one bedroom apartment than in a black marble tiled mansion with thousands of breakable things.

    I'm from the lower middle class, and I am extremely uncomfortable around extravagant displays of wealth and visions of extreme poverty (both of which I have been to). The people themselves have different mindsets. From the imperceptibly condescending rich kids to the defiant pride of the very poor. And try as I might I can't relate to that. So yeah, I agree with GregStevens, nothing wrong with feeling uncomfortable about that, just don't be rude about it (which is an impossibility of Chris anyway icon_wink.gif ).
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    Aug 16, 2008 5:16 PM GMT
    GregStevensTX saidI think you're tip-toeing around the real issue here. You felt uncomfortable because he's white-trash, but you're a nice happy liberal-minded thinker and so you feel guilty about judging someone for his socio-economic status.

    My advice? Get over it. Different upbringings -- whether because of cultural differences OR economic differences -- can lead you to not feel comfortable with people... AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

    I've dated guys across the entire spectrum of "class", from a grand-nephew of Strom Thurmand (his trust fund was in the tens of millions) to a guy who grew up in a trailor. And you know what? The differences on BOTH ends lead to some discomfort for me.

    I don't feel comfortable in someone's home if it's a total crap-hill. I don't feel comfortable talking to someone when they are constantly talking about sanitation problems in their home. It's just the way I was raised, and I don't apologize for that.


    While GregStevensTX's pic (flipping off the camera) screams the same emotions you must have had 'Kansan, I have to 90% agree with him. It's not just guilt, I think you have some pity for him too and that urge to shake him and say, "clean up your disgusting yard." That's the part I would have issues with. It would bother me not suggesting a cleaner lifestyle just out of decorum on your own part, but that's life. You just have to get over it.
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    Aug 16, 2008 6:21 PM GMT
    I have to agree with muchmorethanmuscle. I think it's fairly petty to be concerned with how high the grass is in someone's yard. Now, it's one thing if the place is a health hazzard, but from your description it doesn't sound like it. It really is hard to make a call since I didn't meet the people myself but you sound like you're judging them too harshly. Now I'm not sure what type of background you have, but having personally worked in the food service industry in the past, I can tell you if you do some of those jobs as full time or longer, the grass height will be the last thing on your mind when you get home. And even if he doesn't get that tired, if a pretty yard doesn't interest him I'm not sure how you can look down on him for that. Some people just don't care about appearances.

    Now again as I said, your complaints would only be valid if you honestly (and I MEAN honestly) thought the place was hazzardous to your health. Otherwise it's petty.

    Actually your thread to me sounds like what I get once in a while. It's not about my apartment, I keep that fairly tidy. But many times times when going out I'll be too lazy to do things like shave, or fix my bed-hair (I tend to take naps in the evenings), and have never paid more than 4 bucks for a shirt. This leads to some people I know actually telling me that they can't go out with me when I'm not all prettied up because I "look like a bum." "Why don't you just take 15 minutes to do your hair and shave, you'll look much better" they tell me. The reason is because I never felt the need or interest to put much effort into my "grooming." I do keep clean (daily shower, brush teeth, etc.) so it's not a hygiene issue. And I suspect, at least from your description or lack thereof, Craig's house doesn't pose health hazzards either.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 16, 2008 6:28 PM GMT
    muchmorethanmuscle said


    What did you say? Something like, "he's not college educated but he's very nice." Is that your way of complimenting someone by pointing out what you feel he lacks first?

    And for those that are ignorant, a mold issue in a person's home is a structural issue. It has nothing to do with how clean of a person you are. Mold and mildew flourishes in homes that have water leakage issues. She probably lives on a first floor home that has contact with the ground with no basement or probably lives in a basement.

    And if I'm not mistaken, he's a military brat meaning he served or is still serving in the military? Not clear if this is what you meant. But this is the case, this is typical how "educated" people view those of lower socio-economic class who are the ones that wind up serving our country. He's not white trash as one poster claimed. Please have some respect for someone that serves in the military.




    And I thought I was an analyst about things....

    I don't think he "lacks" anything here except the will to improve his situation. I was pointing out differences that I know, his lack of education being one of them.

    As far as your comment about the living conditions of his female friend, they mentioned the mold issue as a result of some flooding they had in their home. They are withholding rent because of that. They have had several issues with the rental housing in which they reside.

    Finally on the point of being a "military brat" (which was his terminology), his Dad was in the military, thus he traveled around frequently. He doesn't. Lets not jump to conclusions about one aspect of what may or may not have been implied here.

    And you are "Much More than Muscle", your an analyst, among others. While there isn't anything wrong in that necessarily, in this case I don't think anyone came remotely close to being disrespectful of anyone who serves in the military......
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 16, 2008 6:41 PM GMT
    Rune said Otherwise it's petty.

    Actually your thread to me sounds like what I get once in a while. It's not about my apartment, I keep that fairly tidy. But many times times when going out I'll be too lazy to do things like shave, or fix my bed-hair (I tend to take naps in the evenings), and have never paid more than 4 bucks for a shirt. This leads to some people I know actually telling me that they can't go out with me when I'm not all prettied up because I "look like a bum." "Why don't you just take 15 minutes to do your hair and shave, you'll look much better" they tell me. The reason is because I never felt the need or interest to put much effort into my "grooming." I do keep clean (daily shower, brush teeth, etc.) so it's not a hygiene issue. And I suspect, at least from your description or lack thereof, Craig's house doesn't pose health hazzards either.



    Well I found your comments to be pretty amusing. I never said anything (and wouldn't) about how "Craig" looked. I did, however, comment about the condition of his kitchen and made the prudent decision not to eat there.
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    Aug 16, 2008 6:43 PM GMT
    How he looks, how his yard looks (shaving -> mowing the lawn?) it's all the same icon_biggrin.gif
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 16, 2008 6:46 PM GMT
    Rune saidHow he looks, how his yard looks (shaving -> mowing the lawn?) it's all the same icon_biggrin.gif



    For Pete's sake....
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    Aug 16, 2008 8:05 PM GMT


    its been a long time since i found a topic thread so telling on here...

    but what is even more telling are the replies...both sides of the spectrum.

    and that tells me this: behavior and thought processes are taught and learned - we choose to "take in" what we want and apply it into our lives as adults IF we choose to.

    accordingly, that others will behave towards us based upon those chosen choices for ourselves...

    and acceptance of same is a crap shoot.

    interesting indeed.

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    Aug 17, 2008 3:00 AM GMT
    Sounds gross. I'd avoid it.

    I had a kind of similar creepy experience recently.
    I had a person (not an RJ member) invite me over to their place to get to know each other. I thought it would be a "meet and greet" kind of thing. No biggy, right?
    I got there...oh my god...his yard looked just nasty with "stuff" strewn all over, and not taken care of.
    Trashy looking. I should have turned around then, but I thought, "well now...don't be harsh". When I walked in, his whole place smelled like piss or some alien funk or something. I don't know what it was, but it was not pleasant. He acted like he wanted to kiss me and get the ball rolling. I took a step sideways, and said.."well let's sit down and you tell me about yourself". (I was kind of shocked and didn't know what else to do).
    He proceeded to tell me all about his friends who are drunks and into drugs and what a pain in the ass they are. I kept thinking to myself, "..but these are the kind of people you have chosen to surround yourself with, so you ain't fooling me buddy...".
    After about 15 minutes of that damn stench in the air, very odd and somewhat creepy looking surroundings, and him telling me all about his problems....I just made up a story and said thanks for the chat, I had to go to dinner with my nephews and to "take care sweety" and gracefully (if not nervously) left. Clearly , this was not someone I wanted to be associated with in any manner.

    I suppose everyone is responsible for their choices and you can't change that for them. If they choose to live a certain way, then, well...that's their choice, but you don't have to be part of it.
    I live in the country just outside the city on 100 acres. 5 acres of that is perfectly manicured, always mowed, and landscaped, spotless fescue grass without even one dandylion or weed, plus a pool that needs upkeep. The house is always immaculate and very presentable to anyone and always gets "ooohhs and ahhhs' and great compliments when people see it inside and out...so if I can keep that presentable out in the country, then I figure someone in town could at least put some sort of effort in taking proper care of their home and smaller yard....not to mention themselves.
  • Barricade

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    Aug 17, 2008 3:48 AM GMT
    So we know that his house doesn't live up to your standards. Is he still worth being friends with?
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    Aug 17, 2008 4:29 AM GMT
    Barricade saidSo we know that his house doesn't live up to your standards. Is he still worth being friends with?


    You know, this over-simplification is misleading.

    The fact of the matter is that the way someone structures their personal life -- something as intimate as the environment in which they choose to live -- says a LOT about their psyche, their background, their attitudes, the cultural norms their were brought up with.

    If it's just a matter of "oh, this is a different style of household!" then you're right: it's probably best to be open-minded.

    However, if you truly feel UNCOMFORTABLE with the way that someone lives their day-to-day existence, then it's probably going to be correlated with other MAJOR differences between you. And could very well mean that you are simply not going to be compatible.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 17, 2008 4:36 AM GMT
    muchmorethanmuscle incorrectly referenced:


    I'm the analyst when your original post was all about analyzing your new friend's lack of acceptable living conditions?





    Not so, I was making an observation about the kinds of conditions I observed upon seeing his home for the first time. If I were to analyze the situation.. I would have tried to figure out "why" he did as he does.

    And that wasn't the point of this whole discussion, you apparently missed the whole point.

    ITS ABOUT HOW WE SEE LIFE!

    GregStevensTX has a pretty good grasp on the whole thing and I applaud some of his comments.
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    Aug 17, 2008 4:51 AM GMT
    I think you should come hang out at my place instead. You might feel a little more comfortable here, for there are no bugs that I know of and the backyard was mowed just the other day. Sure there are no beagles, but . . .

    In all seriousness, it does seem like it has been some time since we hung out last. Perhaps we should remedy that sometime soon.
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    Aug 17, 2008 4:56 AM GMT
    To answer your question, yes and no. I have met people like you are describing, but it does not make me uncomfortable. Having grown up in the rural south for a portion of my life, people that live like this are not uncommon even though not everyone by any means lives like this. So I guess I am not surprised by it like you were. I have had friends (in the rural south) across socioeconomic barriers including one with maids that lived in what looked like a governors mansion on 80 acres of land.

    The feeling odd part is just your mind expanding past its current definitions of living. I don't think that it is unusual to feel uncomfortable in that situation. But I think it is good to know different people like that. Sometimes we can learn how alike we are as humans by seeing people that live "differently". I am curious, have you traveled abroad to poorer areas of the world? Being able to look at others in a non-judgmental way can help us in learning to understand people better.
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    Aug 17, 2008 5:04 AM GMT
    We all have our own "addams family" I suppose

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    Aug 17, 2008 5:08 AM GMT
    And don't forget Green Acres. I watched this growing up in rural south and found it weirdly familiar.