Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gay Late Bloomers... by Erica Pike


Hi guys!

When I was asked to write a guest post on Out-For-You, I already had a brilliant topic thought up…but Kaje Harper not only covered it in her post, the core point I planned to make was actually discussed in comments to her post! That left me trying to think up a new topic. After a whole day of procrastinating and laundry-folding, I decided to talk about an aspect of the Out-For-You theme that is very close to my heart: Gay Late Bloomers.

Before I start, I’d like to share my simplified distinction between Gay-For-You (GFY) and Out-For-You (OFY):

Gay-For-You is where a straight guy “goes gay” for a guy he falls in love with. In romances, there’s very often a big emphasis on the straightness of the guy, and it’s often mentioned that the guy wouldn’t “be gay” for anyone else. Whether or not GFY actually exists in the real world is outside the scope of this post, and has already been discussed by Tom Webb.

Out-For-You can be divided into two categories: A closeted guy who knows he’s attracted to men and comes out when he meets the man of his dreams, and a guy who doesn’t know he’s attracted to men and comes out when he meets the man of his dreams. In the latter example, the guy hasn’t figured out (or maybe even questioned) his real sexuality before. Can this happen in real life? Absolutely.

I call them “Gay Late Bloomers” and they are men (and women) who figure out their sexuality after they’ve reached adulthood. It can be in their sixties; it can be in their twenties. Basically it means that they didn’t figure it out during their adolescent years and always thought they were attracted to girls. They may have had fantasies about guys, or even crushes but didn’t recognize it as such. Some will rationalize their fantasies and the instances where they catch themselves checking out men. They might think they’re just curious, or are comparing themselves to the other guys, or are innocently wondering what it would be like to be with a guy, or that they’re just being very open people who aren’t afraid to “go there” as long as it’s in their heads. It can be blamed on a lot of things too. I mean, porn is practically shoved in your face whenever you turn on the internet, and with the increased openness about sex…well, things are bound to get a little blurry, right? And hey, it’s not gay if you add a woman into the mix – a ménage á trios – even if your hands are all over the other man while he’s doing the woman (in your fantasy, of course).

Would this guy be bisexual? Possibly, but he can also be a gay man who hasn’t figured it out yet. There are many cases like these where the men have dated women and lived a “straight life” until they suddenly discover they like men. But of course it wouldn’t be “suddenly” – at least in most cases – because most will have questioned it first, often to a point of great anxieties and depression while figuring this thing out. It’s not even rainbows and flowers after they’ve figured it out, because they might be married, have kids, live in a homophobic environment, be homophobic themselves, and any number of things they have to consider before deciding if they want to live as openly gay men.

Mind you, Gay Late Bloomers are not the same as Gay-For-You guys, because Gay Late Bloomers were gay all along – they just didn’t realize it before.

My first novel, A Life Without You, focuses on Adam, who’s in love with his supposedly straight roommate, Jesse…only it turns out that Jesse’s not so straight, but still insists he is. In this Out-For-You story, Jesse deals with a lot of the above conflicts and goes through various rationalizations as he tries to decide whether to throw away everything he had planned for his future, in order to pursue his heart (and accept his true sexuality).

Another story of
mine is Grade-A-Sex Deal. It’s not an Out-For-You as such, but it’s told from the perspective of a guy, in his late thirties, who came out to his family a couple of years earlier, and how his family’s ostracism has affected him. (Enter a cute student who pulls him out of his slump!)

I also have another short story coming out this year, Little Stalker, where there’s an OFY theme. The guy in this one knows he’s attracted to men, but he’s still in denial because he doesn’t want to deal with what it means.

I honestly didn’t realize how many stories I’d written on this subject until I started writing this post!

Why do I like writing Out-For-You or Coming-Out stories? I like the conflicts, told in different ways depending on the characters and circumstances. In real life, the level of conflict is different for everyone, but the common factor is the time of uncertainty when you start to wonder about your sexuality after a lifetime of thinking you were straight. 


Erica Pike




3 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me :)

    I changed my blog to my homepage url a couple of days ago, so the url to my website and blog is http://www.ericapike.com

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  2. Thanks for stopping by, Erica!

    I love the idea of gay late-bloomers, and it's certainly something you see in real life, so why not in fiction?

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  3. I love that idea, Erica. Gay Late Bloomers is a great term! :D

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