Montreal Gazette

Straight women try to flip gay man

- ABIGAIL VAN BUREN Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at

Dear Abby: I'm a 41-year-old gay man. Although I was raised in a conservati­ve, religious family, I'm out of the closet and proud to be living as myself.

For much of my adult life, I have attracted mostly women. I have always tried to handle these situations with as much tact as possible. However, some women won't be let down easily. On the occasions when I have been forced to out myself to them, I have lost female acquaintan­ces I really enjoyed spending time with or the friendship begins to deteriorat­e.

I have tried introducin­g them to straight male friends and deflecting flirtatiou­s banter. Am I confused, or do some women genuinely believe they can change my orientatio­n? I don't want to give up on female friendship­s. Am I doing something wrong by being myself ?

Out & Proud in the West

Dear Out & Proud: The women who are pursuing you for romantic purposes may be interested in you for that reason and be less interested in a platonic friendship. Years ago, a gay friend was kind enough to tell me, “You can't `change' a gay man,” and it was a lesson I never forgot.

“Out” gay men can make great friends. That your female acquaintan­ces are not open to it is their loss. You are doing nothing wrong.

When this happens, express to the person that you are disappoint­ed they seem unable to accept you the way you are, and move on. Not all women are this unenlighte­ned, and many will welcome what you have to offer.

Dear Abby: I live in Chicago, where our spring and summer months are slowly contractin­g into a three-month period.

I know you can't do anything about the weather, but the invitation­s to Saturday graduation­s and birthday parties are using up those long-awaited summer weekends to the point they have almost been monopolize­d.

Working full-time Monday through Friday, I look forward to my weekends, especially in the summer, but I keep being invited to Saturday afternoon celebratio­ns.

I own a lake house. Some neighbours have boats, and I'd love to spend the majority of our weekends there. As much as I want to celebrate these life events, I also want to enjoy my summer. If they would have them on a Sunday, it wouldn't intrude on too much of the weekend. What is your advice?

Warm-weather Lover in Illinois

Dear Warm-weather Lover:

I have good news and bad news. First, the bad news: It is unrealisti­c to expect schools to schedule their graduation ceremonies on a day that suits your schedule. The good news is, if you send a nice gift to the graduate, it will assuage their pain at your absence.

As to those family celebratio­ns, you have some important decisions to make about which invitation­s you must accept in order to avoid causing hurt feelings.

However, my advice is essentiall­y the same: Send a nice gift and a warm message of congratula­tions along with your regrets that you are unable to participat­e in the happy occasion “because of a prior commitment.”

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