Listening to the Swingset’s episode 150 got me thinking about coming out again. We are not out to anyone with the exception of two close friends of Mrs. Duncan, and I don’t think they know about our kinky side, just our swingy one. Even the circumstances of our being out to them are a bit interesting.
Mrs. Duncan and I have discussed this from time to time, of course. Do we come out to the kids? What about the rest of the family? Certainly our closest friends? But then, we start thinking about if our friends would view us differently. Would our kids get icked out (they even hate it when they see us hugging or kissing). Certainly not the rest of our family or co-workers.
When we first started exploring, we told our teenage kids that we were going out for drinks or dinner or something (with my two left feet, they would never buy dancing). The fact that we came home after they were asleep didn’t come up at all. The problem is, we are fundamentally honest people, expect honesty of others and lying to our children was simply wrong. We also did not raise stupid children and our leaving with a day pack (no matter how clever we think we were in getting it to the car) and coming home after 2:00am must certainly have raised suspicions. How could we expect them to behave honestly if we did not model that behavior ourselves? In discussing how to handle this, we decided that, like most aspects or our sex lives, they did not need to know any details. Some things are simply private, and that’s OK. We told them that we had not been completely honest and that when we went out, we were not always going for dinner or drinks or whathaveyou. We were not doing anything illegal or anything and just wanted to keep the details private. If we said we were going out and they asked for details and we said ‘Just out’, that was when they knew to stop asking. We had a discussion around respecting folk’s privacy and all agreed that it was OK for us to just ‘go out’. This arrangement has worked out well. Once in a while, they will press a bit, but we just remind them of our conversation and that we are allowed a private life too.
But I still have dissonance.
We have discussed this with some friends at the club, and they agree with our solution and can offer no suggestions to improve things. One asked a simple question- ‘Who would it benefit (to come out)?’. Given that it would only benefit me by quieting this nagging dissonance at a cost to ourselves and others, I decided that the cost/benefit ratio was tilted so far to the negative that I would just have to get over it. I haven’t gotten over it, of course, but I have pushed those nagging thoughts and feelings aside.
Occasional things come up, however, that have nothing to do with dissonance, but are just a cost of being closeted. We were sitting at dinner and the subject of how fun it would be to have a fire pole in the house came up, like they had in Ghostbusters. I wanted to say that if we got the right one, it could double as a stripper pole. I caught that one before it came out of my mouth. Mrs. Duncan gave me a knowing look, however, like the ones in the silent conversations on How I Met Your Mother. Another time, we were kidding around about using my son’s girlfriend’s Netflix code. When the subject of her then being able to see our viewing history came up, I had to think fast. ‘But then she would be able to see…’ had already come out of my mouth. It was about to be followed by ‘…that we watched the entire Tristan Taormino catalog.’ Thinking quickly, I instead said ‘…how geeky we are.’ Another knowing glance from Mrs. Duncan. I hate having to swallow clever and funny remarks. I hate not being able to share everything and be guarded.
This is not dissonance, but what is it?
It is really the fact that we are doing these neat things and are having a blast doing them. They are opening up doors for us into areas we have not explored before and it is fun and scary and great and… and we cannot share them with our closest friends and family. With apologies to Steven Moffat and Matt Smith- It’s swinging, we swing now, swinging is cool! We have this thing that is great for us, a bit unusual, we think makes us cooler and we cannot share it. Don’t we all want to share our cool and interesting bits with folks, especially those bits that are not common to the rest of the population? A new restaurant, a new hobby, etc are always great subjects for conversation. We swing now, swinging is cool …and nobody outside our lifestyle/scene friends knows.
I want to come out. I want to quiet the dissonance. I want to be cool.
But the nagging question still remains- who would benefit? It would still just be us and the cost, at least for now, is just too high.
Duncan, I find it fascinating how parallel our lives can move. My love and I had this conversation ourselves within the last few months. We came to identical conclusions, and I am still finding creative ways to account for my away time. I work very hard not to lie outright, but to omit the truth, hoping follow up questions will not inquire further.
A few weeks ago, a party I attend was having a game night, strip cards against humanity and naked twister. I made my excuse to my daughter that I was going for the games (true but not complete). The problem was I had never played cards before, and the couples who really wanted to play that night couldn’t show and the party was changed to a regular play party. I had to memorize several questions and answers to preserve my cover the next morning. “How does the universe end? Not with a bang but with an…..erection that lasts for more than four hours!”
Coming out can serve the benefit of showing “normal” people do these things and that there are many relationship styles to choose from. Your kids could benefit from knowing that their relationships are not required to model the relationships they see in the media.