Life in a small English village can have its surprises. We knock on our neighbour’ door (who runs multiple small businesses, jam, and eggs and hens) to discover he is in “a session.” A what? Turns out he is a medium, and is in a séance. He runs a spiritualist church. Oh!!
And, over the last month, I realized–somewhat to my embarrassment at how long I had taken to realize this–that the two of the people, outside my nuclear family who contribute the most to the smooth and happy (in one case) and wise and happy (in the other) functioning of my life were both gay!!
One of these is a lovely Eastern European who comes over two or three, times a week to help out with cleaning and odd jobs in our house and garden. He is very practical and basically does whatever needs to be done without being asked to, can fix anything, clean everything, make anything work. Builds things like bookshelves or raised beds for the garden, repairs garden equipment, mows grass, prunes hedges and brambles, converting it to mulch.
He drives the girls around when we need an extra pair of hands, runs the laundry when necessary, folding it beautifully, sorts out kitchen drawers and the fridge. He helps out with pet care. He tidies the girls’ rooms. I have come to rely on his visits, when he sweeps through the house, getting everything into the right place, and everything clean and well-functioning. He is the most likely person to know where things are in the house since he tidies it weekly. He housesits when we travel.
I wondered why a pleasant, cheerful and superlatively kind man like him was not snapped up. He’s become a friend of ours, since he’s here so much, and as I said, has become quite indispensable to me. And so when I suddenly noticed a thick gold ring on his wedding finger, I asked, surprised, “You’re married?”
He put his head to one side, and toyed with the ring almost coyly, rotating it lovingly. “It’s a ring,” he said, “A gold ring.”
Okaaayy, I left it at that.
And somewhat reluctantly googled him. Yes, he is married. To a nice young man who had also come over to help him with some carpentry projects for us. Oh dear. How clueless of me!
I am so glad I did not know until we had all got very fond of him, because, to be honest, I might not have hired a gay man to work so intimately with our family in our house and garden, and to drive our girls when necessary and tidy their rooms etc. etc.. Not out of homophobia, but because it would simply have been too exotic for me. Too unfamiliar. But now, of course, it makes no difference to me. He’s a fabulous person, and I know it.
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There is another cool person I know whom I’ve recently discovered is gay: a senior and well-respected Anglican clergyman. Roy and I trust his wisdom, counsel, perspective and sense of humour. He can pick out blind spots in our peripheral vision, and help us see them. He can suggest very practical solutions to the problems we face, so much more that we are amazed we didn’t see them. Can defuse tension with humour.
His insight and wisdom is startling; I wish I had his ability to see people and their problems so clearly, and to suggest practical solutions. We value his blend of erudition, common-sense and humour, and are fond of him. Again, his sexuality, of course, does not matter to me at all now, but, had I known it because I came to respect and value this very clever man for his wisdom, experience, kindness and sense of humour, he would have seemed too exotic for us, his experience too alien to ours.
Sooo…. time for my mind to be broadened.
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Is homosexuality innate, ontological and genetic or a choice? With the 20/20 vision of hindsight, I would say ontological, rather than a choice. I am now amazed I didn’t immediately pick it up in both these superb people. (Neither did Roy, I hasten to add!)