Oh, the victimization! A person sought advice from Dear Abby for a conundrum that sounds so awful that, if you’re having a bad day, you can at least remind yourself that you don’t have it this hard. What, pray tell, hast befallen this poor letter writer?
Well, what happened was:
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I relocated to Florida a little over a year ago and were quickly welcomed into our new neighbors’ social whirl. Two couples in the neighborhood are gay — one male, one female. While they are nice enough, my husband and I did not include them when it was our turn to host because we do not approve of their lifestyle choices. Since then, we have been excluded from neighborhood gatherings, and someone even suggested that we are bigots!
Abby, we moved here from a conservative community where people were pretty much the same. If people were “different,” they apparently kept it to themselves. While I understand the phrase “when in Rome,” I don’t feel we should have to compromise our values just to win the approval of our neighbors. But really, who is the true bigot here? Would you like to weigh in? — UNHAPPY IN TAMPA
Poor souls! They moved into a neighborhood, were welcomed by said neighborhood, which includes two gay couples, and chose to repay the kindness of their neighbors by being complete asses to said gay couples, and now they’re having to deal with the consequences of their actions?!?!
What has the world come to?
DEAR UNHAPPY: I sure would. The first thing I’d like to say is that regardless of what you were told in your previous community, a person’s sexual orientation isn’t a “lifestyle choice.” Gay people don’t choose to be gay; they are born that way. They can’t change being gay any more than you can change being heterosexual.
I find it interesting that you are unwilling to reciprocate the hospitality of people who welcomed you and opened their homes to you, and yet you complain because you are receiving similar treatment.
From where I sit, you may have chosen the wrong place to live because it appears you would be happier in a less integrated neighborhood surrounded by people who think the way you do. But if you interact only with people like yourselves, you will have missed a chance for growth, which is what you have been offered here. Please don’t blow it.
They’re going to blow it. I guarantee you they’re going to blow it. Enjoy being not invited to neighborhood gatherings!
This reminds me of another story from a few months back published at The Thinking Housewife, an obscure blog that appears to be written by an extremist (they call themselves “traditionalists”) Catholic woman who really hates just about everything in this newfangled modern world where women are equal and gays aren’t stoned to death. A man named Charles wrote in because he was having a problem with gays infiltrating his dear social circle:
I am afraid that I will soon be forced to confront a very awkward and uncomfortable social problem of the type frequently discussed in your blog. I thought that my quandary might be of interest and that it might be helpful to solicit your views and those of your contributors on the underlying issue and my proposed response to it.
Allow me first to furnish the stage: My wife and I are members of an informal social group of about 15 couples in our late 50′s and early 60′s who meet monthly in a member’s home for purposes of enjoying good wine (65 million Frenchmen can’t be all wrong!) and discussing topics of mutual interest. The membership consists of well educated and successful upper middle class white couples who could be characterized (with one exception) as basically apolitical suburbanites who always vote Republican, probably by default and without giving much thought to it. Nice people, nice homes, nice manners, nice clothes, otherwise preoccupied and utterly clueless – you know the type.
The exceptional couple are trendy left-liberal childless professionals who occasionally get in your face about some silly left wing issue of one kind or another. This does not happen very often often, but it occurs often enough that you definitely know that they are hard core lefties who take their politics very seriously. I am not sure why this couple was asked to join our group in the first instance, but the fact of the matter is that they are members and they are about to drop a stink bomb that I will be forced to deal with.
At the last gathering of our group, I happened to overhear the left-wing couple mention to another member that they intend to propose for membership an openly homosexual couple who were recently “married” and with whom they are friends. I know this homosexual couple very casually and they are successful, educated and socially presentable people – we are not talking about grungy, emaciated, tattooed and pierced social freaks here. Nevertheless, the thought of a homosexual couple joining our small and highly congenial group simply turns my stomach.
Most likely because Charles is weird and won’t be able to hang with the gay couple without thinking about them having sex.
I strongly suspect that most of our members would prefer not to have to face this issue and, if they were to give much thought to it, would be mildly opposed. I am also quite certain that almost every one of them will be unwilling to express any opposition toward or to vote against this membership proposal for fear of being thought to be mean spirited, prejudiced, small-minded, backward and/or homophobic. Thus, if the membership proposal is made by the lefty couple, it will be a “done deal,” no matter what I do.
Because honestly, the other couples probably don’t care, much as Charles would like them to.
I know that Western Civilization is already well advanced along the road to Hell and I realize that, as a practical matter, there is probably not much that I can do change things. Still, I could not live with myself if I were to allow this membership proposal to proceed without comment or opposition. There are two problems with this from my standpoint. First, three or four other couples who are members of our group are close friends with whom my wife and I frequently socialize independently of the group. I am very concerned that by opposing the admission of the homosexual couple, I will offend my friends and adversely affect my relationship with them. Second, if this were to occur, I can also be certain that I will severely adversely affect my relationship with my wife – who will condemn my decision to speak against the membership proposal as a pointless, ineffectual, arrogant, selfish, and self-indulgent act that may needlessly injure or sacrifice one or more of our valued friendships. This seems to me to be unfair, but at some level, it is possible that she may be correct in this assessment.
The poor thing. He must endure life with not only friends who aren’t bigots, but with a wife who isn’t a bigot. Won’t somebody think of pitiful Charles?
Anyway, Charles’ letter goes on and on and on, as missives from extremists who fancy themselves intellectuals tend to do, and, being that this is a blog written by a fellow
extremist “traditionalist,” you won’t be surprised to learn that the “Thinking Housewife” herself agrees that, if the gay couple joins the group, Charles must abandon all his friendships, because bigotry is much more important. The Thinking Housewife also agrees that Charles must force his wife to abandon her friendships with these seemingly very nice people, in order to stand by her man. Assuming that this advice was taken, it’s likely that Charles and his wife, for whom I actually feel sorry, have left the group and have found themselves continually bored at home, while the rest of the couples in the group are having a grand time, eating, drinking, being merry and enjoying their lives, just like the neighbors who are no longer inviting the obnoxious Dear Abby letter writer to their barbecues.
Weep for them.