Saturday, April 03, 2010

is friended a word?

Another wrinkle has worked its way into my ongoing internal discussion about the two halves of my life, the out here but not there thing. A mother of one of The Boy's team mates has sent me a friend request on that social networking site we all love so well.

It's that damn internet's fault, making me searchable. I'm certain she could do more searching, and I've realized much before this that I am in fact more out than I can now have any control over. This was a deciding factor in my decision to stop coaching those three-ish short years ago. Okay it was one of any number of equally important factors at the time. Sadly, other coaches proved to me that, at least in my opinion, the league would be better served having me there.

I'm not sure exactly how to go about ignoring the friend request. I can't say that I have any real reason not to accept friendship from someone, but it's Facebook for fuck sake. I've gotta be able to be myself there.

Now I have to admit that I still haven't checked my privacy settings in quite a while and don't know what they're set to. I do remember the big to do that Fb was selling our children or something, and I got a message from someone on the inside explaining what they did and that I could go to this page and set it myself if I damn well wanted to. It was actually a nice message, or nice enough at least. And I did go and at least review my settings, but I don't know as of this moment which package I chose to go with.

I do know about my pictures. I may not be able to tell you without looking what all is there, but I've seen them all, and I know. There are a couple that other people might choose not to include. And it certainly makes me seem as though I drink more than I want most people to think. And there's that one from the birthday party and more than a couple in which I might look kinda gay.

And that's the thing, the information that gets out. I can only control it so much, and I only want so much to control it. I don't want to live a lie ever again. I don't want to have to be in the closet, and I don't want to have to have a sign over my head flashing HOMO whenever people see me. It's an essential element, and I can't know for certain how it informs and influences my choices and my approach to people and situations, but that's not really the question. I want to just be me with the homo part just that, a part of the whole.

And I'm left with not really knowing what to do. I'm going to tend toward my original plan of ignoring this person's likely well intended request. I mean, how do you tell someone, "I'm sorry, but I can't be your friend. You've stumbled on a part of my life where I'm able to be out and open, and since I don't really know you, even though I'm your child's very first ever soccer coach, I must respectfully ignore your request because of things I'd rather not discuss with you that, depending on your sociopolitical leanings and/or religious beliefs, may cause you to abruptly and distinctly change your opinion of me. I hope you understand."


JJ Ross said...

My kids are into dance and musical theatre, where they've had any number of "fabulous" coaches and mentors who were (though not flashing-sign) gay. No one ever talked about it because what is there to say? It was just understood. I guess sports as a field isn't typically so tolerant of that characteristic in its hero-leader types but OTOH, I don't think sex of any kind is something parents want to think about as relevant between their child and a trusted teacher, in any field. It just shouldn't, pardon the phrase, come up.

samuel said...

It really isn't whether or not it should come up. It comes up subtly all the time, and heterosexual people can easily take it for granted. If you feel like you have some reason for people to not know however you then make a point of it either not coming up or dodging the question or by outright lying.

One of the times it didn't come up was at soccer practice (oddly enough) when I absentmindedly said something about my children and their mother and was asked if I was divorced.

Thankfully it was during practice, so none of the parents got that nugget from me. I dodged that one easily while also getting to be honest, and I don't remember now what discussion was even happening to cause me to discuss Momma and the boys, but that reference is just one of the ways I've come up with to refer to her to people who don't know her.

The dodge was honest because we don't discuss anything but soccer on the field, though any one of us is likely to meander off on a tangent sometimes, and I often have to call the entire team out of some discussion in order to proceed with actual soccer.

I think my position is that it shouldn't have to not come up.

Anonymous said...

I just googled "politely decline facebook friend request" and there are quite a few suggestions out there, from ignoring the request to customizing your settings to limit their access to content.

These kinds of dilemmas are really difficult. I wish I had some great advice to offer.