Today I found out just how much I’m “on the gaydar” at work: 0%. At least, that’s how I’m interpreting this conversation.
I like the people in my group. They’ve all been nice to me so far, and a few are exceptionally cheerful/friendly. It’s a good start. But it’s also gossipy as a fucking village – rumor spreads like water on a tabletop.
One of our account managers – we’ll call him Tom – brought a few of us to lunch this afternoon, and he asked about my terrible commuting situation and if I would be moving out soon. We talked about religion, about the company I previously worked for, about people who had previously worked for this company.
“There was a mass exodus,” Tom said. “3 people up and quit within 2 weeks. Of course, I’m glad they’re not with us anymore,” he confided. “They weren’t great to work with. One of the guys was always harassing people. I overheard him saying shit about homosexuals one day and that was the last straw for me. I really went off on him! I also reported him to HR, but they didn’t really do anything about it.”
I must have had a horrified look on my face. That certainly didn’t make me feel safe. I mean, I’m glad the guy quit before I was hired, but if that’s the attitude of HR…
“What’s worse is that he was saying this stuff out loud in our area. There are plenty of homosexuals here!” I wanted to fist-pump the air, but refrained.
Sally, another coworker, was curious. “There are?” she said, with a hint of shock. She lowered her voice. “Who?”
I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t dying to know. If there were fellow homos in our midst, I needed to find out. My heart raced. Was there a cute lesbian sitting just inches from me?
I wasn’t that lucky.
Tom leaned in. “Well, on our team…” He whispered the names of two guys that I most certainly did not suspect of being gay. “And there are plenty more in other departments!”
It’s those other departments I’m banking on.
I had a moment of wishing I had the courage to say, “Well, this makes 3!” But then I realized something. Tom had made it clear he was an ally, and it wasn’t like he had gone into detail about the guys he had named. But he still told us. And I don’t know how I would feel about people talking about my sexual preferences behind my back. I feel like, if you’re out, your sex life is fair game for public scrutiny.
But it simultaneously peeved me that my short hair, tapered pants and thumb ring had done nothing to evoke the smallest bit of suspicion in my coworkers. It was a conflicted sort of feeling.
So tomorrow I’m wearing this and letting my clothes do the talking, and hoping some of said gay people from other departments are pretty girls who notice. (Side note – look what I bought today!!!)