Thursday, August 25, 2005

One of the odd things about being born into the world's great tribe of homosexuals is that unlike other tribes, the rest of your family aren't likely to be members.

A second thing is that, technically, there's nothing like skin color or physical characteristics that make one instantly visible as a homosexual. Which is not to say that some people aren't rather easy to peg, given one has any kind of reasonably good gaydar, which any self-respecting homosexualist has.

But, these two facts do mean that those of us who belong to the tribe are, in a way, always searching for the rest of the tribe. As I sat, having dinner on Tuesday with a collection of business people (my clients) at a manor house in the middle of nowhere in the forests of Sweden, I wasn't surprised when the Dutch guy sitting next to me at dinner, during a conversation about racism, divulged matter-of-factly that he was gay. It was said, no doubt, as part of the whole tribe-searching bit that we all go through.

However, in a fit of perversion and, no doubt, cowardice, I did not respond in kind. I felt too exposed in front of people I know only very superficially.

It was a cowardly thing to do. The only way this old world will change is if people are forthcoming about such things, and in full view of whoever happens to be near. And I felt like I was leaving him in the lurch, as I have no doubt he expected me to say "I am gay as well."

I am shamed. I am a schlub and, I suppose, a hypocrite in one way or another.

The Swedish word for the day is mantalsskrivningsförrättningarna, at the request of a certain Christian Bolgen, who thinks it is time that I focus on some of the many peculiar portmanteau words of the Swedish language. It means something like the residential registration (for census purposes) official duties, as far as I can tell.

- by Francis S.

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