Mark St Andrew writes about not being the only gay guy in the office…
I’ve recently started a new job, and it’s all going very well – almost. It’s a great gig, for a great company, but I find myself in a slightly odd situation where I’m not the only gay in this (predominantly female) 40-strong office.
I don’t think we like each other. It’s nothing personal, I’m sure he’s a lovely guy, and I’m fairly confident that I’m not an unhinged sociopath. But there’s a very unusual energy between the two of us. We don’t work together on much, but we do attend some of the same meetings. We never make eye-contact, each of us pretending that other isn’t really there.
This guy, let’s call him Aaron, is pretty good looking – if slightly over-groomed. He’s got sculpted eyebrows, sculpted hair, brilliant white teeth and a perma-tan. There’s also liberal (if slightly wayward) use of a particularly dark bronzer. He wears fitted jeans, smart shirts and handsome shoes.
By contrast, in my scruffy t-shirts and jeans, I always tend to look like I’ve either just got up, or just fallen over. But this difference in appearance isn’t the cause of our mutual uneasiness. I’ve got plenty of homo friends who run the full gamut from G-A-Y disco dollies to outdoors-y types in Hackett tops and Hunter wellies.
No, I’m fairly confident that what Aaron and I are experiencing is a distinctly homo remix of the alpha male. We don’t fancy each other, and there’s no way that sex is on the cards (although London being what it is, I’ve found out we share a mutual acquaintance).
Aaron and I are both coming to terms with no longer being the only gays in the office. It’s almost as though we’re trying to demonstrate to our co-workers that there really is no chance of a romantic liaison. It feels ridiculous to admit it, and at my age things like this shouldn’t matter, but for some reason it does. I’m sure Aaron feels the same.
Until I arrived, he was the go-to man for the girls in the office to get their vicarious kick of stories from Soho: the clubs, the men, the wild parties. Hopefully in time he’ll realise that I’m not going to steal any of that thunder. My weekend mischief is my business, let alone the fact that I think many of my activities would get me the sack!
If this was a Hollywood rom-com (probably featuring Jennifer Aniston in a cameo role as my boss, with a sassy attitude and a soft heart) Aaron and I would work through our love-hate rollercoaster relationship, until we were thrown together in some kind of emergency.
Fortunately, this is the real world, so Aaron and I are content to skirt round each other’s respective office territory, and frankly I’m happy to maintain the status quo. If anyone has any better ideas, I’d love to hear them…