This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

A grim man in a gay world

When I lived in Los Angeles, in the 1980s, I read an article that had been written by a gay man who resented the term "straight". He preferred the term "grim". It never caught on, but, well, I've seen some grim people in my day.

Nothing could prepare me for how gay Hollywood was. I was the typical wide-eyed young person, looking to survive in the big city. I had grown up in Minneapolis, and had gone to Arizona State University, so my world had been pretty sheltered. And I really hadn't intended to live in Hollywood, it was just the cheapest place that I could find near where I wanted to look for work at the advertising agencies on Wilshire Boulevard.

This photo of me was taken by a neighbor of mine in Hollywood who helped me to begin to understand. He was gay, and wondered if I was. I told him that I wasn't, and I ventured to ask what made him think I was. And it was such a wonderful early lesson that I am grateful that he took the time to explain.

He told me that he didn't know, and that he had just asked. It was the first time I learned that there is no such thing as "gay-dar". And he taught me what to say, which was simply, "no thank you, I'm not gay." I've known people who have gotten very upset if someone even implied that they were gay, as if it meant that they looked a certain way. I've known a lot of gay people. For the most part, they look like anyone else. If they're fortunate, they look like Rock Hudson.
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