Surprising Secret My Boss Revealed One Night

The Surprising Secret My Boss Revealed One Night

So then…our boss Kate packs some files in her bag and says, “Hey, are you free for drinks after work tomorrow? I want to talk to you guys about something.”

Becky and I look at each other and say, “Sure.”

Kate says, “Tito’s?”

“Yeah,” we say.

As soon as Kate leaves, Becky says, “I wonder what she wants to discuss.” (Kate’s only a few years older than us – she’s mid-30’s and we’re in our late 20’s. She’s really smart and funny, so we love joking about our clients with her.)

“I don’t know,” I say. “We usually go to Tito’s after work in a group. Sounds like she has something confidential to tell us.”

Becky murmurs, “Yeah.”

“Maybe the company’s getting sold or we’re merging or something?” I suggest.

“Nah, I think it’s something personal,” she speculates.

“Oh!” I exclaim suddenly. “I know what she wants to tell us!”

“Me too,” says Becky.

Me:                  She’s pregnant!
Becky:             She’s gay!

My jaw hits the floor.

“What? Gay? She’s married to Peter!” I say.

Becky says, “Have you ever actually met Peter?”

“No…” I admit. “But I’ve only worked here a couple months. But she talks about him all the time – he works in finance downtown – he travels; they go running together.”

“Yes, but you’ve never actually MET him,” she asserts. “I’ve been here awhile and he didn’t attend the summer picnic or the holiday party because he was on ‘business trips.’”

“Oh, I don’t know…” I say dubiously.

“Well, I guess we’ll find out tomorrow night,” says Becky.

As I head home, I ponder the secret Kate plans to share. I’ve already started thinking about decorations, gifts, and cake flavors. But am I planning a Baby Shower or a Gay Parade?

That night I tell my boyfriend the mystery – and the two different theories.

He shrugs indifferently and asks, “Well, could she be gay?”

“I don’t know! I don’t know any gay people!” I say.

He laughs. “Of course you do,” he says. “You just don’t KNOW they’re gay.”

“Oh. (pause) Really?” I ask skeptically.

I’m from a small conservative town in Louisiana – and I attended college in Des Moines, which is not exactly a thriving metropolis. I’m not very sophisticated, but I sort of figured if I met someone who was gay, I’d know.

He teases me, “It’s not like they’re gonna wave a rainbow flag at you and wear a nametag saying ‘Hi, I’m gay!’”

I laugh. He’s probably right. I probably know people who are gay but I just don’t know they are – which makes me wholly unqualified to determine if Kate is or not.

And of course, I like and respect Kate regardless of her sexual orientation – but it would surprise me so much since she’s MARRIED.TO.PETER!

And no one’s ever come “out” to me before, so I go to the mirror to practice my casual head toss and shrug like “no big deal, man” so she’ll know I’m a sophisticated live-and-let-live chick.

The next day, I keep glancing at Kate to check for a baby bump.

After work, Becky and I meet Kate at Tito’s and order chips and salsa and margaritas.

Kate says, “I feel like I’m close enough friends with you guys to share something personal – I’m gay.”

I shrug and say, “That’s cool.”

But inside, I’m thinking: “OMIGOD OMIGOD! She IS gay! I can’t believe it! I totally thought the news was pregnancy! And did I just say “that’s cool?” OMIGOD I used a tone of voice like I was letting her know that her gayness is “cool” with me! Who am I to give approval over gayness or not? OMIGOD I’m trying to act all sophisticated and nonchalant but I’m coming across like a total moron! THANK GOD Becky gave me a heads up last night so my jaw didn’t drop open IN FRONT OF KATE – and so I didn’t ARGUE with her that she can’t be gay since she’s married to Peter and OMIGOD what IS the story with Peter? Does HE know? Shouldn’t she be telling PETER instead of us? Maybe we’re the practice run for Peter! OMIGOD am I handling this right? Am I frowning judgmentally? Am I smiling maniacally? Do I look confused? I want her to know I’m her friend no matter what she tells us — and that her gayness is fine with me. No, it’s MORE than fine – it’s terrific! I LOVE her gayness! How can I convince her I’m not anti-gay? I’ll tell her I LOVE gays! I’ll tell her I’M gay!”

As I’m whipping myself into an existential liberal crisis, Becky is smoothly thanking Kate for confiding in us.

Kate shares that she encountered some bigotry at her previous company when she was open about being gay, so at the next company, she just didn’t mention her girlfriend. But then everyone at that company tried to fix her up on blind dates. So at this company, she figured she’d just give her girlfriend a different name (and a different gender) and then she could speak freely about their activities, vacations, etc.

She said that worked for awhile, but as she gets closer to her coworkers, she feels deceptive to leave that detail out – so now she’s telling us.

Oh thank GOD! “Peter” is really Marnie. And Marnie DOES work in finance downtown, travels, and runs on the weekends – and she is absolutely lovely and we like her instantly when we meet her later.

And based on how well we handled the news that night at Tito’s, Kate comes out to the whole office, which all goes smoothly. And Kate and Marnie soon take in foster children, eventually adopting 2 kids.

And I’m convinced that this happy ending is all due to my ability to react to Kate’s secret so casually. (I was practically like The Fonz in a black leather jacket, with a shrug and a thumbs up, like “Aaaaaay, that’s cool.”) Totally awkward and goofy – but hey, that’s me.

This is henceforth known as The Night I Blessed All the Gays – (Even Though They Didn’t Actually Need My Blessing).

— Darcy Perdu

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(Has your boss or coworker ever confided a secret? Are you sophisticated and worldly – or awkward and goofy like me? Have YOU ever confided a secret to a colleague – how did they react?)

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37 replies on “Surprising Secret My Boss Revealed One Night

  1. You are totally cool like the Fonz!

    I’ve got something to confide too… meet me in the town square after work tomorrow. On the bench under the clock tower. I’ll be wearing a red rose and answer to the name “the black fox”.
    Javvad recently posted..We won!!!My Profile

    • Ha! Can’t wait to hear your secret! I’ll be wearing a white rose and a neon green bikini!

    • Exactly! I’m so glad Becky prepped me the day before!

  2. Hahaha!
    When I came out at work, the response was ‘Bollocks, pull the other one.’
    Which I took to mean I’m clearly not gay enough — and immediately went out and bought a pink shirt.

  3. Damn. I thought Kate was going to tell you she was Batman. Why won’t anyone tell the world that they’re actually, totally, Batman? It’s driving me crazy!

    • Julie said:

      Hey Scott! I saw Batman at a grocery store! He was on his Harley! I even talked to him. License plate said “Gotham”, the trunk said “Batman” and the bat signal emblem was on the ferhing. He even gave me his card but all it had on it was the emblem, no way to contact him. I guess I need to rig up some kinda spot light…..

      • I’ve got a 50 million megawatt bulb ( I use it as a beacon for lost ships on the Adriatic, and for pimple spotting) and I’ll be over later. I should call a press conference. This is going to be HUGE!

  4. AinOakPark said:

    How come no one thinks her imaginary husband’s name isn’t funny – “Peter”? Really, yes, I am in first grade.

    • LOL! No, she wasn’t pregnant — but she did adopt kids later!

    • Phil, I agree that it was brave of her to come to us. And what’s so funny is that while she may have been nervous about telling us — I was FAR more nervous about reacting appropriately! :o)

  5. Paul said:

    I’m impressed that Becky caught on – she’d be a handy companion in mixed company – it could save some embarrassing moments. I was living with my Mum (who was divorced from my Dad) while I was attending unversity. One totally non-descript afternoon, I was laying on the couch reading when she entered the room and announced: “I’m gay.” Ummmm, what? In her Mother’s generation, that meant happy. Is she perhaps using outdated meanings? Alas, no. Well now, as I told her, it would have been very hard for her to have surprised me more than she did. She eventually found a life partner – Anne – and they were happy together for over 20 years. They are still good friends. Anne is a wonderful woman who is happy and quick-witted and energetic. Any time my Mum and I have gone out, it turns out that we have similar tastes in women – me from a totally heterosexual perspective and her from a homosexual perspective. I did ask her permission to reveal her orientation and she was agreeable. Although retired now, she is very active in the LGBT (or whatever the current politically correct abbreviation is) community – including marches and fund raising and participation in public events. She is a retired professor and her sexual orientation is likely better accepted in that environment than in most. It certainly has given me a unique perspective on relationships. I have to say that I still haven’t quite (after 35 years) gotten the humor down pat – although that could be an individual problem rather than a sexual problem. For instance, I was visiting her for Christmas one year and one afternoon she was checking her e-mail. She was complaining about the spam as she regularly got penis-enlarger spam messages. I told her that would be a difficult sell and she asked why. So, putting my foot in my mouth, I stated that selling penis-enlargers to lesbians would not be a very profitable venture. Whew, did I get a lecture. Ha! Anyway, she is happy and that is what counts. I’ve met a number of her friends from the community and they are wonderful and thoughtful people – a joy to socialize with.

    Great post Darcy – you make me think, as usual.

    • Wow, Paul, thanks for sharing that comment! That must have been quite a surprise that afternoon! It sounds like she found a wonderful partner in Anne for a very long time, so that’s cool.

      As for finding the right humor balance — I know from all your comments on this blog that you have a hilarious sense of humor, and I’m sure your Mom knows that too! And as for those penis enlargement emails — I was receiving so many, I almost wrote back to say, “OK FINE — YES! Sign me up! If you can find one, you can enlarge it!” Fortunately that spam has stopped — and now I mostly get offers from attorneys of exiled international royalty who’d like to transfer funds out of their countries and into my account, if I would be so kind as to email them my bank account number. I need to figure out how to forward their emails to the penis enlargers.

  6. Julie said:

    HA! I absolutely loved the screaming conversation in your head! So funny cause I relate so well! Weren’t you scaird, just a little bit, that she wanted to tell you cause she was interested in you?

    • I would’ve been flattered! As for the screaming conversation in my head — yep, I’m able to whip myself into a frenzy on a moment’s notice! :o)

  7. I love the irony of her “husband’s” name: Peter. LOL
    You handled it cool as a cucumber. Uh…no phallic pun intended.
    ‘course not!

  8. Darcy, I love how naive you were back then. I was, too, but in other ways. I grew up in NYC, then went to a woman’s college that was teeming with gay students. So I was indoctrinated fairly young. Plus, I was always in the theater. So I pride myself in my pretty spot-on gadar. LOL! My husband and I are going to the gay parade in St. Pete, FL, Saturday, including a pre- and post- party. So glad to be married to a guy who’s not a homophobe!
    Parri Sontag (Her Royal Thighness) recently posted..I Was the Worst Mary Kay Lady Ever!My Profile

  9. Did Kate and Marnie ever end up getting married? In Wisconsin it was legal for about a week, just recently. Couples came out of the woodwork, running for marriage licenses and then the hammer came back down. I don’t know if that means they’re still hitched or not, but I think everybody should have the right to suffer through a marriage or two.

    • It’s so frustrating that some states legalize it, then reverse their stance!

  10. OMG!! I totally thought that at some point, you would write that you woke up from your dream!! :D
    Well, that’s awesome that you were able to make her feel comfortable! Thank goodness you did practise in front of the mirror!! :D
    Roshni recently posted..The first day of karate class!My Profile

    • The practice did help! And the heads up from Becky helped too! If I’d gone into that situation without Becky’s theory, I would have just sat there dumb-founded and confused, asking, “But what about the baby? Aren’t you pregnant? Where’s the baby?” Ha!

  11. That Peter thing would have thrown me off too. I know a few people who I thought were gay, but ended up being married. But what if they weren’t married, but really just had a Peter? (see what I did there?)
    Carrie recently posted..Woman on the WarpathMy Profile

  12. Sounds like it went smoothly. A friend of mine came out to me while I was driving her home. But the thing is, I was driving so I wasn’t really listening to her and I didn’t hear her say she was gay. I ended up finding out from someone else who said I apparently really hurt her because I didn’t say anything to her. Fiasco.

    Moral of the story – don’t spill the beans in the car. The driver’s concentrating on other things, especially when they’re only 17.
    Jane @ The Blue Morpho recently posted..Newly Diagnosed, Confused and AnxiousMy Profile

    • Yikes! Such a shame you missed it — hope you were able to make it up to her later. And yes, I agree with the moral of the story — no bean-spilling in the car!