Coming-out tips for an older gentleman
January 26, 2012 1:30 PM   Subscribe

I have been asked by an older gentleman to help him come out of the closet in San Francisco, and was wondering what resources might be available.

I am straight. My friend is 60 and says he wants to explore coming out of the closet, in a limited sense. He is a little like Rip Van Winkle, living on the edge of the city for years without daring until recently to visit the Castro or to consider that it is 2012 and there might be a lot of nice, non-threatening people he could hit it off with.

A tad conservative and old-fashioned in his ways, he has expressed some concern about finding himself with people who might be too outrageous or not regular-guy-ish enough for his tastes. On the other hand, he is fascinated by the lights of the Castro scene and he has enjoyed peering into the bars and sneaking into The Sound of Music.

I have tried to assure him that there are probably all kinds of regular, mellow gay people in the community and it doesn't have to be like a scene from Cruising. My friend enjoys architecture, fashion, glamour and Italian culture. He just wants to find some people to connect with and feel supported with, and I was wondering if anyone could suggest what groups or activities would be good for him here.

Any help much appreciated.
posted by steinsaltz to Human Relations (11 answers total)
Best answer: Good for your friend, and good for you for helping! My first thought is, you may want to watch Beginners. Second, tell him that sixty's not so old. I think in SF in particular, there are a lot of friendly supportive guys out there for him to meet. He doesn't have to start at the bars...lots of guys hang out at the Castro Starbucks. How tech savvy is he? Would he be comfortable meeting new friends online?
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:41 PM on January 26, 2012

Best answer: Is he interested in opera? From my experience in Seattle, I bet there would be a lot of cultured older gay gentlemen at the opera.
posted by matildaben at 2:10 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: "he has expressed some concern about finding himself with people who might be too outrageous or not regular-guy-ish enough for his tastes"

I would definitely remind him that the "too outrageous" is just one subset of gay people, but because they happen to be the most visible it's hard to overcome the stereotypes. After all, he's not too outrageous and he's a "regular guy" so there are bound to be many more men like him, with similar personalities and interests.

Also seconding roger ackroyd - low-key places like Starbucks would be good, as well as online communities.
posted by trivia genius at 2:12 PM on January 26, 2012

Best answer: There are a few gay mens' meetup groups that look like they would work. I'm female, but the few mixed male/female gay meetups I've been to (all of which are from groups that are now defunct, sadly) have had some nice older men.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:18 PM on January 26, 2012

Best answer: I would suggest a late afternoon or happy hour at Twin Peaks Tavern. There always seems to be an interesting, if older, crowd willing to socialize.
posted by cior at 2:55 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It might be super-awesome and supportive for you to offer to go to a low-stress, social meetup group with him, if you felt comfortable doing so. Social time + sexy can be a hard thing to navigate and very intimidating!
posted by gregglind at 2:56 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, gee, I wish it were possible to give this nice man a hug.

There are many nice cafes in the Castro. Reading a favorite book while visiting in a few would allow him to observe, see that there truly is a mellow side of the neighborhood, maybe strike up a conversation or two (or wielding a popular new book may well inspire others to initiate a bit of chat), and to see a huge variety of announcements about other social opportunities.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 3:48 PM on January 26, 2012

Best answer: Seconding Twin Peaks just for having an irish coffee and watching folks. You might also drop by the SF Center and see what programs might be helpful / interesting for him.
posted by feckless at 3:50 PM on January 26, 2012

Best answer: Offer to go with him on some field trips/parties/meetups, if you can.
posted by elizeh at 7:38 PM on January 26, 2012

Best answer: Time of day is everything. Happy Hour is for chatting and catching up with friends; after ten is romper room. I know, I know, if it's too loud, you're too old, but it's no use trying to meet people when you have to scream at them to be heard.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 12:31 PM on January 27, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. The mission begins tonight.
posted by steinsaltz at 5:01 PM on January 28, 2012

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