It’s been a long time since I’ve spent any time with straight men.
My workplace is all women and, as for friendships … Well, I’ve just never been good at cultivating them.
Now, wedged in-between two removalist men as their truck transports my stuff to the flat I’m moving into, I’m feeling highly emotional.
These two men are talking about their girlfriends (of course), family, social lives; I have no one and nothing besides my job – and who knows how long that will last or what will happen if I lose it. In fact, these two men may be the only people to ever set foot inside my new apartment.
I know life doesn’t have to follow the same timeline for everyone, but I am in my late-thirties and this existence – if you can even call it that – just feels so … wrong, a failed experiment no one has bothered to correct.
Hearing the removalists laugh and converse, I remember the comraderie between straight men, the way they put their arm around each other, the joking displays of affection made in the most masculine of ways.
I don’t have heterosexual-envy, but this interaction is so different from that of gay men, who choose their friends based on who they can pose with on Instagram and gain the most likes. This isn’t the first time I’ve realised my friendship to gay men is completely worthless, but now the removalists have finished unpacking and I’m farewelling them, my heart is shattered and I’m close to tears. A single thought goes through my mind: how much more can I take of this life?
You know that scene from Notes on a Scandal where Judi Dench’s character, Barbara, talks about how her only interaction is with the bus driver? That’s what I’ve become.
And, if I’m honest, although I’ve survived three decades of this, I don’t know how I’m going to survive another couple of decades more.
I know I am not alone in this plight: many people – especially gay men – suffer extreme loneliness. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them and I don’t need to provide reasons (except that I will): we were rejected by family, friends, then by other gay men; we’ve spent our lives running away or hiding or pretending.
I’ve never been a group person, even when I’m with people I know, I often become silent; I prefer, more than anything else, the company of just one person, no more. I tell myself that it’s a true sign of strength to have lived as I have done; I am tough, self-reliant. Maybe tomorrow I can believe it.
But right now, in bed alone, all I want is to be back in the truck, sitting beside people.