Consent by any other name is not so sweet

One of psychologists’ core ethical principles is maintaining appropriate boundaries with our clients. We all define appropriate boundaries in our own way, but there are certain immutable guidelines. Here are mine.

I do not spend time with clients outside a therapy session, either on line or in person. This means not being Facebook friends, not going for dinner together, not meeting up for the latest exhibit at the art gallery, and not signing up for the same yoga class. If a client ends up in yoga with me, that’s different; as long as I don’t orchestrate our co-attendance, and we don’t have an unplanned therapy session during savasana, I have not violated these rules.

To take this one step further, any ethical psychologist does not engage in a sexual or romantic relationship with a client ever. Some might consider such a relationship permissible after the therapeutic relationship ends, but not me. If you can’t figure out why that shift in boundaries would be inappropriate, I’d suggest you not become a therapist.

Thus, if I am a client’s therapist, I can’t also be his employee or his best friend or his soccer coach. This philosophy is clearly foreign to the entertainment industry. Daily of late another idiot confesses under duress to behaving in a sexually inappropriate manner with one or two or 60 people over whom he has had power. These abusers’ power lies in their potential positive or negative influence on that person’s career. Maybe I can educate this industry to end these long-standing abuses of power.

The Harvey Insights

  1. If you are in a position of power over an individual, whether as a movie producer or a mentor or a coach or a boss or a teacher or a parent or a therapist, do not engage in a sexual relationship with that person.
  2. If the object of your interest is 40+ years your junior, let’s assume there is an inherent power imbalance. In other words, date someone your own age.
  3. If you hold meetings in your hotel room and forget to wear clothes, your behaviour may be construed as sexually improper.
  4. If your ungentlemanly sexual behaviour is the talk of the town, be aware that at some point the police may get involved.

If it is too late for you, and you have already made gross (in all senses of the word) errors in judgement, consider that the following are not valid excuses for your behaviour.

The Life-Is-No-Longer-a-Bed-of-Roses Excuses

  1. I was drunk and I can’t remember abusing you.
  2. I was confused about my sexual identity at the time.
  3. I have a sexual addiction. (Sorry, folks, there is no such thing as a sexual addiction, and thus no treatment for this fictitious ailment. Sexual addicts are people unwilling to admit to their propensity to abuse others sexually.)
  4. I thought she consented. (Have you already forgotten that 40+ year age difference and the inherent power imbalance mentioned earlier? Perhaps you’re suffering from age-related memory loss. You might want to investigate that. Oh, and stop flattering yourself.)

Finally, consider that not saying yes may mean no. If you put on your reading glasses, you might better be able to read between those lines, fellas. Don’t miss the oh-so-subtle signs of your subordinate’s fleeing screaming from your hotel room.

Quote: It's not consent if you are making me afraid to say no


The Hardy Boys: Mystery of the Missing Bride

Two male hands cutting a wedding cake

Following the fairy-tale wedding I shared with you last week, a compelling mystery arose at the restaurant celebration. I’ll provide a few clues along the way so you can solve it yourself.

I’d mentioned last week that after the ceremony, the newlyweds and their children hosted dinner at a lovely restaurant nearby, inviting J. and me, as well as the lovely minister and his wife. When they made the reservation, they made arrangements to bring along the beautiful wedding cake their daughter had baked so it could be served for dessert.

The family arrived at the restaurant first, two dads and their son all decked out in suits with boutonnieres, and their daughter in a stunning dress with a lovely wrist corsage. One of the dads handed the gorgeous cake to our greeter. The rest of the party arrived soon thereafter, filling the remaining four seats at the table. We sat facing the happy family, two glowing dads flanked by their two children.

It was the perfect evening with easy conversation. After Tom’s diatribe on red Smarties, Harry shared his feisty wedding-suit saleswoman’s loud comments on his hard-to-fit high glutes and saggy bottom. I dare say a splendid time was being had by all.

As we awaited our delectable meals–this was a grown-up restaurant after all–one of the serving staff leaned toward Harry and quietly asked him something we couldn’t hear. He tried not to draw attention to the interaction but because we were nosy, he acknowledged he’d been asked, “Shall we serve the cake when the bride arrives?”

Now I understand why Harry looked so confused at this question. There were 8 seats at our reserved table and all of those seats were taken. Even if a bride were due to arrive later, where would she sit? On Tom’s dapper lap? Wouldn’t that be a bit awkward for Harry? How could the server miss the two glowing grooms?

Harry appeared to take the comment in stride. (Did he really? How hurt was he by this innocent question?) He quietly instructed the server to bring the cake out when it was time for dessert, which another server did at that time. She asked no less delicately where to place the cake. (Sure, gay folks can marry in Canada, but they must not celebrate their union in public, it seems.) J. quickly piped in, “Between Tom and Harry [the “obviously” was implied].”

I wonder whether, by the time we left, the serving staff had figured out whose wedding we were celebrating. I had not just married Tom nor J. Harry, since we too are already gaily joined in matrimony. Similarly, the minister and his wife seemed very well heterosexually matched. And the children are a bit young for wedded bliss. That left only Tom and Harry.

People rarely bat an eye when I speak of Jelly’s other mother. But gay husbands and fathers are harder for many to understand. I can only pray such misunderstandings are not a daily occurrence for our dear friends.

In retrospect, I wish I’d clinked my glass loudly, prompting the grooms to demonstrate their love for one another with a mushy kiss. I imagine this simple gesture would have cleared up all of the confusion.

A modern fairy tale

Love conquers hate t-shirt

Once upon a time there were two men. We’ll call them Tom and Harry, because neither one could ever be a Dick. Let’s say they met over a cup of coffee and they fell in love and they settled in to a relationship They both had successful careers and they lived in a sweet home, one that had been in the family for generations, along with their various and sundry four-legged friends. But something was missing.

One day they got a call that two young children, siblings, needed a home. So they jumped into action. They bought bunk beds and Kraft dinner, since they were short on time. They took a crash course (self-taught) in being the best parents they could be. One week later, they welcomed these children into their home and their lives. They bought the kids clothes and toys and books and school supplies, because the young’uns hadn’t arrived with much. The wet bar downstairs was quickly transformed into a children’s play area with a dad-constructed full-sized puppet theatre.

Both parents were already accomplished chefs, so they were ready for the sudden onslaught of family meals and children’s lunches. They enrolled the kids in schools and in after-school activities, and they quickly learned how to queue for coveted special-interest camps.

But there were other skills they needed to learn, and learn them they did. In no time, Tom had mastered the art of French braiding and shopping for sparkly clothing while Harry created the perfect Princess cake and carved a watermelon into an impressive shark for a children’s fruit plate. These dads could be counted on for the best home baking at parent-child gatherings. In no time, they were the envy of all the neighbourhood moms, and maybe even a few of the dads.

After devoting several years to raising their children, Tom and Harry decided to do something for themselves and their family: as their 20th anniversary approached, they set a date for their wedding. They’d long been discussing marriage, but their insta-family had delayed their plans. Seven years into parenthood, they called the minister they have known since their children’s christening and asked if he’d have time for a quick union.

And so it came to pass, in the beautiful garden of their inclusive church, the sun shining brightly upon Harry’s bald head, that these two dear friends were married in a moving ceremony. The couple’s love for one another and for their two children was ever apparent. J. and I had the special honour of being their witnesses.

Some people take issue with a wedding between two loving same-sex partners. Others cannot imagine two men as devoted co-parents. I don’t understand those people.

The icing on the cake–there’s always icing on the cake–was the actual icing on the gorgeous and delicious wedding cake that their eldest baked and decorated for them. She has obviously learned from the best. I envision her as an expert baker, perhaps after she completes her engineering degree. This young lass displayed spatial problem-solving skills superior to her very bright parents during the wedding ceremony.

Now that rings have been formally exchanged, I predict that Tom and Harry and their lovely children will all live happily ever after.

The End Beginning, or maybe The Continuation

An open letter to the Calgary Police Service

Dear Calgary Police Service:

I just heard that you have been excluded from marching in uniform in Calgary’s Pride parade this year. You are allowed to march only in civilian clothing but without police vehicles or floats or sidearms. I have read that you plan to attend despite these restrictions to further relations with the LGTBQ community. God bless you for that. In your shoes (are you allowed to wear shoes?), I’d boycott the event altogether.

The Pride organizers still want you there on the sidelines, in uniform, ensuring that everyone is safe. Good thing, since were I to attend, you might have to restrain me from telling the Pride organizers how I feel about their decision.

This decision of exclusion has been made to spare persons of colour the post-traumatic stress that could be triggered by seeing police in uniform. I feel for these people, and I understand relations between police and these groups have been strained, but I do not understand how eliminating your uniforms will aid relations. These marginalized groups will still see you in uniform on the sidelines that day, and on other days patrolling the streets.

I wish I could talk directly to these groups because, as a psychologist, I know this decision will not help them to resolve their PTSD. In fact, the lack of uniformed police presence at this event may only exacerbate these feelings. PTSD is an anxiety disorder not to be taken lightly. Traumatic things happen to people, and, for some, PTSD can be the result. By excluding you, these groups lose the opportunity to see that police are not to be feared in all situations, that they are marching in support of the whole LGTBQ community, of which these groups are a part.

This decision has been made by Calgary Pride organizers, but I do not believe it reflects general consensus of the LGTBQ community. I, for one, do not support it, nor does my wife, nor do any of the Calgarians, LGTBQ or not, that I have spoken with. I have expressed my discontent to Pride Calgary but received only a form letter in response.

I feel sad that I will not be at the Pride parade this year. For many years, I’ve looked forward to attending with friends and supporters. I am there on the sidelines, hooting and hollering and stealing candy from children. I’m also known to tear up when I see all of the brave marchers, especially those in uniform. Once a very kind female officer noticed my tears and stopped to ask me if I was okay. I had to explain to her how grateful I was for CPS’s attendance.

Perhaps I am most sad because, in the past and continuing to this day, LGTBQ people are mocked and maligned and discriminated against for dressing or acting in a way that is not considered within the norm. We have fought so hard for inclusion and Canada especially has made great strides. Sadly (and ironically), this no-uniforms decision is one of exclusion. You deserve better.

Calgarians of all colours and races and orientations are grateful for your service. If our Pride party, now relocating to the backyard, gets out of hand, I’m glad to know that I can always call you.


When I dare to venture out without an L on my forehead…

It’s been an unusual week as both J. and I have been mistaken for heterosexuals. Maybe this happens more often than we know–“Hey, honey, look at those two gals holding hands. Maybe they’re sisters!”–but we don’t realize it.

You’ll never believe what happened to me. I came out of the gym to find an ad for a Brazilian on my car. No, not that kind of Brazilian. It was for an $80 hair treatment for split ends. Let’s stop right there. Lesbos don’t have split ends. We cut our hair too short. There’s no time between cuts for our ends to split.

Consider this: how many lesbians do you know with long hair? Okay, maybe there are a few. They’re probably friends with the so-called lipstick lesbians; heck, maybe they are the lipstick lesbians! Anyone who uses lipstick has long hair, right? Look at Portia! Sure, maybe Ellen was a cosmetics spokesperson, but I can assure you, her short hair had no split ends. Before you accuse me of stereotyping, I want to remind you that as a member of this group, I retain all stereotyping rights.

So I tossed that notice into the recycling bin, but first I offered it to my long-haired heterosexual neighbour. She declined by saying, “At that price, I’ll stick with my split ends, thanks.”

Then I woke up yesterday morning to a scrap of paper on the counter with a man’s name and number on it. J. had been out late the night before selling lottery tickets for cars at the Stampede. I figured she’d met someone nice in the ticket booth, struck up a conversation, he happened to need someone to marry him (to clarify, I mean “to officiate at his wedding”), so she told him she’d call him. Boy, was I wrong.

J. is quite the little salesgirl. Over two long volunteer shifts, she convinced hundreds of naive people to part with their hard-earned cash. She’ll use any tactic to make a sale. I wonder sometimes whether she fully understands the line between friendly and flirtatious. She told me she had left her wedding band at home that night because of the heat wave. Yeah, right. She must have been batting her mascaraed eyelashes (I said nothing about mascara above) a bit too enchantingly because, some time after she sold a ticket to a very nice fellow, he swung by her ticket booth again. While she was busy trying to entice yet another unsuspecting customer to buy, she noticed this previous buyer leaving her a slip of paper. After finalizing her sale, she read the note and realized that Mr. Starry Eyes had left her his name and telephone number.

(Aren’t you glad I didn’t reveal the name of Mr. Starry Eyes earlier in my story? If I had, I’d have blown the element of surprise. Or had I blown that in the post’s introduction?)

As far as I know, J.’s slip of paper also wound up in the recycling bin. I do feel bad for the poor chap. But what could she do, call to tell him he was barking up the wrong tree? So remember, folks, if someone doesn’t call you, there may be a very good reason.

"Call me" written on a sticky note

‘Tis the season for Pride

Picture of Trudeau at Toronto Pride

Summer is Pride season all over, sprinkled with parades and festivities. Calgary’s Pride is a bit late, not arriving until Labour Day weekend. In the meantime, I get to read about celebrations in other cities.

You know I love the Pride parade. I go every year and cry, especially when the first responders of all shapes and stripes and persuasions show their support for our community. Fire, ambulance, military types, and the beloved police all show up in full uniform.

I know that police weren’t always adored by LGTBQ people. There were the bath raids, and the arrests for what was once considered “indecent behaviour”. This bad blood kickstarted the Pride movement many moons ago.

But relations with police have improved dramatically over the years. Police come to the rescue in incidents of gay bashing or other LGTBQ hate crimes. In Calgary, a police committee meets regularly to discuss and address issues within the LGTBQ community. The committee includes police and everyday LGTBQ citizens, fostering a spirit of cooperation and support.

And so when I heard that uniformed police would be excluded from this year’s Pride parade in Toronto, I was not happy. Black Lives Matter disrupted last year’s parade with a sit in, and then pushed for the exclusion of police in uniform. Police could attend out of uniform only, they were told. Now, remember that some of these police are part of the LGTBQ community themselves. How do you think they felt about being excluded? How about all the police who believe in LGBTQ rights and have worked hard to understand the community and support it in their work?

In case you’re wondering, I think black lives matter, a lot. I understand there’s tension between African-Canadians and, moreso, African-Americans and the police, with reason. There have been deaths, some of which have been considered unprovoked and unjustified. Police have been charged with murder, and rightfully so. Sometimes police have not been charged with murder when many believe they should have been. These issues need to be addressed. But I don’t see these issues as relevant to LGTBQ Pride festivities.

Pride parades are intended for people of all sexual and gender minorities to celebrate with their supporters. Those people may be black or white or brown or green (if they drink too much, as is commonplace), young or middle-aged or old, religious or indigenous. There’s even a small Jewish LGTBQ contingent. The many groups that march, assuming they are LGTBQ-identifying groups, deserve their place in the parade.

And then there are groups that are there to march but have nothing to do with the event. They are not supporting Pride; they are pushing their own agenda unrelated to Pride. I don’t agree with these groups’ inclusion in any Pride parade. For example, I’ve seen pro-Palestinian groups march in the parade, not because they’re LGTBQ, but because they’re protesting the current situation in the Middle East. These folks certainly deserve a forum, but they don’t belong at Pride. A group of LGTBQ Palestinians would be more than welcome because they’re there to celebrate Pride.

So there, I’ve said it. Do I have a right to this opinion because I’m white? Maybe not, but I am gay, and I hope that counts for something.

Turns out being born Baptist precludes being born gay, in Alberta at least.

Girl in overalls and plaid shirt

Don’t judge a book by its coveralls.

Not long ago, our fair province had to introduce legislation mandating gay-straight alliances within all schools. If the students request it, schools will allow a safe LGTBQ space for anyone who seeks it. Sure, students shouldn’t have to ask, but at least something is in place if they do.

The Catholic school boards didn’t like the idea initially, but they have found a way to support the ruling within their schools, albeit with a nod to Catholic doctrine. The Baptists, on the other hand, have openly denied their students such a safe space.

To be fair to the Baptists (and I’m always fair, aren’t I?), none of their mostly-elementary-aged children are self-identified as LGTBQ. In this atmosphere of exclusion, even those children who identified as LGTBQ from a young age would shout it from the rooftops, don’t you think? If everyone around you told you that being gay was sinful, do you think you’d risk coming out if you were? Too many LGTBQ youth are homeless because they are kicked out after coming out.

Let me be the one to break the bad news to you, dear Baptists. Let’s say that 1 in 10 or so children fall on the LGTBQ spectrum. (My quick internet research revealed wide variations of this estimate, due partly to people’s reluctance to come out even when asked on anonymous questionnaires.) With 85 kids in their faith-based schools, let’s estimate 8.5 of them fall within a sexual or gender minority. Maybe the extra half indicates a bisexual child (yes, I’m joking; no offence intended, bisexuals).

There’s more bad news, Baptists. Whether or not children self-identify as LGTBQ (and I’m sure you’ve polled all 85 children in your schools, including those in kindergarten), whatever their sexual- or gender difference, they were born with it. Some of your precious little babies came out gay or transgender or whatever, whether or not they (or you) knew it. You may not have wanted them to be, but they were, and they are, and no amount of counselling or censure or denial will change that.

Some children realize from a very young age that they are different, whether or not they can label that difference. I was not aware I was gay from a very young age, although in my favourite picture as a toddler, I was wearing overalls. That would be a sure sign, especially were I wearing a matching plaid shirt, wouldn’t it?

Here’s another piece of enlightening information for the Baptists: one can be well aware of one’s LGTBQness without acting upon it, just as one can be well aware of one’s heterosexuality without having sexual relations with someone of the opposite gender. What is an unrequited high-school crush if not an awareness of one’s sexual proclivities? Are you genuinely worried your Grade 3 gay student will act on his awareness with another boy?

The Alberta government isn’t very happy with the Baptist school board right now for defying their legislation. Meanwhile, the Baptists insist they’re following the law because, since none of their students are gay, they don’t need gay-straight alliances. Wake up and spot the gay students, Baptists. Those students deserve a safe space to gather, especially in your atmosphere of exclusion.


How do I know thee? Let me count the ways.

Logo for the Not So Newlywed Game

Do you young’uns remember the Newlywed Game? It aired during my formative years, took a few decades off, and reappeared in 2009 for a few seasons. In it, a newly married husband and wife had to answer questions their spouse couldn’t hear. The couple was awarded points if the wife’s questions matched the husband’s, or the husband’s matched the wife’s. You get the idea. In the later version, even a few gay couples were on the show. That’s social progress for you.

This is my sixteenth Valentine’s Day with J. Sixteen whole years, and I know everything about her. I think we’d be masters at the Newlywed Game, even though we’re far from newlyweds. We’re not able to finish all of each other’s sentences (just most of them) but I can often predict what she’s thinking. I know her likes and dislikes, I know how we’re similar and different. Lately I’m batting close to 1000.

For example, when we were out walking yesterday, I pointed out a car colour I liked, and J. agreed but added, “I’d probably get sick of it.” I could have told you that even before she uttered the words. Call me psychic.

I can also predict with certainty that if J. likes a pair of shoes, I will not. “Why don’t you try these on, honey?” she says to me. “It’s alright, sweetie,” I respond, “they’re ugly/institutional/grandmotherly. They’re all yours, i.e., your feet can look ugly/institutional/grandmotherly.” As a skilled therapist, I can assure you that it’s healthy for couples to agree to disagree sometimes, especially on matters of such critical significance.

To prove how well we know one another (since the Newlywed Show is no longer an option), last night we both took a compelling questionnaire currently making its way around the internet, “Which country fits your personality?” J.’s responses classified her as UK (that’s obvious–she loves beer), while I classified myself as Japan. Japan? I didn’t even pick sushi as my favourite meal (immunocompromised diet and all)! J. laughed until she cried envisioning me as Japan.

Black map of Japan overlaying red moon flag of JapanJ. thinks she knows me so well that she responded a second time for me to see if the outcome would be different. She must figure she’s a better judge of my character than I am, which is often true. What country did her responses make me? Japan, yet again. And she didn’t even pick sushi as my favourite meal either!

So of course the challenge was on: I re-rated her to see if, with my responses, she remained UKish. But no, according to me, she too was Japan! I have no idea why everything I touch turns to Japan. I even chose beer over tea for her, although she drinks a lot more tea than beer. Sure, I selected sushi for her but only because she loves sushi.

So I must concede that, although I may indeed know which car colours J. would quickly tire of, I clearly still have many things to learn about my beloved, as she obviously does about me. May we have many more years to improve our batting averages.

Happy Valentine’s Day. May you receive as much chocolate as I hope to. (Another relationship tip: there’s nothing wrong with the odd hint.)

In case you were worried, I’m still here.

If you recall, I wrote about the unanticipated responsibilities of the cancer patient a few weeks back. To summarize for those of you who may not have committed my posts to memory, I learned the hard way that I had to arrive reliably when expected or people would think I had died, or perhaps they’d worry about where I was, but you get my drift.

With this in mind, I am writing to assure you that I am not dead. I missed yoga Thursday, which is highly atypical, and I haven’t been spotted at my usual haunts (the grocery store, the library, the dog park) over the past few days, but I am indeed alive, just far from home.

On Wednesday, J and I had no trouble at all crossing the U.S. border, even as a gay married couple. I guess we don’t look like terrorists to President Idiot. (On that note, did you hear a two-year-old potential terrorist in need of brain surgery was allowed entry into the U.S. even before the courts lifted the travel ban? Turns out not all preschool Muslims are terrorists after all.)

Of course I feel guilty being here when others are fearing they will not be allowed into the country, but our trip was planned before (some call him POTUS, I call him) President Putz started undoing everything his predecessor had worked so hard to accomplish. We would have lost a lot of money had we cancelled. No travel insurance for the cancerous, remember?

So here we are, far south of the 49th parallel, escaping a brutally cold spell back home and taking a break from real life. J. is learning to forego marrying people for a week, which is a challenge given how much harder she’s been working since retiring. (I realize that last sentence is oxymoronic, yet consider who we’re talking about here.) Retirement, my tuchus, I say. Meanwhile, I am learning how to take a break from volunteering since I too have been biting off a bit more than I can chew (and I don’t mean food here) of late.

How perfect is this trip? Friendly customs agent, flight arrived on time, and the rented red VW Beetle practically drove itself to our well-situated and well-appointed apartment. I am thoroughly enjoying the gas stove I’ve always wanted, and, to J.’s amazement, I haven’t yet burned the place down! Sure I forgot toothpaste, but that problem was quickly remedied. Turns out Americans brush their teeth too.

Pug holding Trump toy in its mouthWe can walk to everything we need. We’ll easily score a gift for Jelly while we’re here in one of the fancy pet stores. Who am I kidding? We never bring home gifts for Jelly. She doesn’t realize we should since she’s a dog. If I do see a squeaky President Putz dog toy, though, I may not be able to help myself.

When I get back home, I’ll have real life to contend with, but for now, I’m enjoying my short-lived fantasy of no responsibilities, no obligations, and no cancer.

So if you were worried about my absence, worry no more. I’m busy living every vacation day like it is my last. Time to head out in search of that dog toy.

One of these gays is not like the other

Picture of female mechanic working on carI thought this blog was supposed to be about my travails with illness, but I’ve learned that other topics may drive up my readership. This past week, I have two new unsuspecting readers, which brings me to 250 followers. And I recently realized that people could follow the blog anonymously, so I’ll assume there are some of those, not to mention the occasional visitors. Thankfully, I have no idea how many people actually read my posts, so I’ll assume it’s every single one of you.

I know these past few posts have been so gay, but they’ve garnered a surge of interest, thankfully all supportive. No homophobes have weighed in, perhaps realizing that their comments will go directly into the trash. In the interest of my still being gay, I have one more post on this topic. Then I’ll move on.

Being gay is such a teensy part of my identity that I don’t think about it much anymore. Rather, every morning I wake up and, without fail, I remember that I have leukemia. I wake up and remember that I’m a psychologist, and I feel sad that I’m barely working. Then I trip as I get out of bed and remember that I’m still clumsy. Upon awakening, I rarely think, “I’m still gay!” Who cares?

I can count my close gay friends on one hand. Most of my, and our, friends are of the heterosexual persuasion. Sometimes I get sick of their pushing their straightness on us by, you know, holding hands as they walk down the street or smooching in public. “Get a room,” I say, or “That’s heterosexual privilege for you.” But mostly I’m okay with their straightness. I know they were born that way and even if they wanted to be gay, even if they really really tried, they wouldn’t make the team. We gays are a highly exclusive group.

I’ve also learned that, although I share a sexual orientation with other gays, that’s doesn’t make us buddies. Turns out gay people come in all shapes and sizes and colours. Not all gay gals are mechanics nor all gay men ballet dancers (except for Billy Elliott, of course). We’re everywhere doing everything that you straighties do.

So when friends approach me and say, “Hey, Annie, I have this really nice gay friend and I’d like to introduce you two,” I’m unsure how to respond. I consider asking, “Do we have anything else in common other than our gayitude?” I wonder, “Could I introduce you to my straight friend Breeder, since I’m sure you’d have a lot in common, being straight and all?” But my inside voice says, “I know you mean well, but do I have to?”

Many years ago, friends kindly invited J. and me over to meet a gay couple they knew. Our friends decided the four lesbos would get along famously, but J. and I determined within the first few minutes that we had absolutely nothing in common. I imagine the other lesbos felt similarly. Unsurprisingly, we four did not fall in homosexual friendship.

So if you don’t mind, I’ll keep hanging out with my straight friends. We have more in common; that’s why we’re friends after all. And you can hang around with your friends, gay or straight. I won’t judge.