My So Called Life - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Embrace life -- both the sweet days and the bitter...embrace the joy and the sadness...the successes and the defeats -- for all of these things, both good and bad, have made you who you are.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Happy Hour - Not So Happy and Longer than an Hour!

So my co-workers go to Happy Hour on a weekly basis. They always ask me to go and I have always said no and come up with an excuse not to join in. I have this idea that I dont want to get too personally involved with people at work. I want to keep my work and my "outside of work" lives separate. Well....I decided to give in and join the group for Happy Hour on Thursday evening after work.

So I show up and everyone is excited to see me and I am excited to see them as well. I order a beer and eat some nachos...start actually having a good time. One of my co-workers named Laurie comes up to talk to me. Laurie is a beautfiul woman. And actually sweet too even though I give her a hard time. She says "Matt, I remember when I told you to move into my neighborhood b/c there were lots of beautiful women with bikinis. Then i felt stupid b/c I knew you didnt like girls." Ha Ha. I almost laughed out loud when she said this. We were over in the corner so it was ok. It was just me and her talking.

Now...just so you know, I am out at work to a lot of people and dont care if people find out so no worries there. So anyway...back to the story...

So Laurie and I keep talking about all of us going out to a bar sometime and having a good ole drunken time. Blah, Blah, Blah...just fun drunk talk...well I was still sober...she was drunk...

Among the people that were there was a guy named Steve. Steve used to work at with me but does not anymore (I will leave it at that!). Steve and I had been talking throughout the evening and then at a point about 3/4 through my evening I am standing basically in the middle of the group and Steve walks up to me. He looks at me and motions between us with his hands moving back in forth from my chest to his he says "Matt, can I ask you a question?" I say, "Sure."....
He asks, "Are you gay?". I was taken back a little bit b/c he asked the question very loudly in the middle of my entire set of co-workers in a bar and it just caught me off guard. So i slowly responded "Yeah...that was a random question." He says somethign in reply but I dont hear it b/c Im still alittle taken back by his question.

Somehow, the way he asked it was different than how Laurie made me feel with her previous statement. Steve's question/comments had more of a sting to it even though outwardly it didnt appear he was attempting to be mean.

Well..being taken aback I walked away for a few moments to compose myself into a small hallway. On the wall of this hallway was a glass picture that showed the reflections of the entire group of people. I sat and watched the reflections and then I saw what is possibly the most disrespectful action someone has ever done to me conerning my sexuality. What made it worse was that these people are supposedly my friends.

Steve looked over his left shoulder and then his right shoulder (obviously making sure I was not watching or in the vacinity). He then began retelling the story of our previous conversation. He made the same hand gesture as he made to me obviously retelling it point by point. And then he hit the BIG punchline. I even saw his mouth say the words. The punchline was my response of "Yeah" to his question about me being gay. The table busted out LAUGHING. I am not to sure what was actually funny about that yet. What I do know is that at that moment I became a joke to them.

My face was red from partial embarrassment and partial anger. I was faced with a decision. I could confront or just walk away and realize that I avoid work functions for a reason. I decided to walk away and have resigned myself never to attend functions outside of work time where there are co-workers present. Normally I would have confronted them for their rudeness, but confrontation would have done nothing. I did not have the energy or the desire to try and correct such stupidity even though I probably should have. I realize that some of my co-workers such as Laurie and others did not take part in laughing. But they also did not stop or correct Steve in his mocking. That hurts too.

Steve's disrespectful actions and my friends inactions to stop him were incredibly painful and disrespectful.

New Rule for Life - No more hanging out with co-workers OUTSIDE of work! That is why they are called co-workers!


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