Soon after reading “The Westchester Closet,” which takes a look at married men (and women) who are still closeted, one editor rushed into my office to say how much she liked it. “I bet this happens a lot,” she said—and then went on to tell me that, indeed, it had happened to her. Years ago, her college sweetheart, the man she followed to New York, turned out to be gay. “In hindsight, there were clues,” she said. “I did wonder why all his friends were gay.” She and he were fortunate; they never married. “The Westchester Closet” starts on page 106.
Oddly, the evening before I had this conversation, I dined with a dear friend who, as dessert was being served, told me that she had just learned that her brother, 62, was gay. Her brother has been married for 30 years—and, seemingly, happily so. He asked for a separation. His wife, of course, is in shock.
I find these stories awfully sad. How sad not to be able to be yourself; how sad to have to hide and to lie, not only to yourself but to those who love you most. But…times, they are a-changing. Thanks to the gay rights movement, closets are emptying out. My good friend Mary’s youngest son didn’t tell his parents he was gay, though they’d suspected it for years. One day, Mary decided to ask, “Jim, are you gay?” His response: “Duh.”
I love this story. I love the fact that Jim was so casual about it; that Jim didn’t think it was a big deal: I’m gay… move on. And you know what else I love about it? That his parents don’t think it’s a big deal, either. They just hope society treats Jim no differently than it treats their elder son, Dave. To help ensure that, Mary signed up with a gay rights group to talk to other parents who may not be as sanguine about having a gay child as she and her husband are. And I love one more thing: the fact that we could profile eight homosexuals in our pages and it not be a big deal.
Regarding our cover story: for a few days last month, our office was visited by the men and women who we selected as the county’s most stunning residents (turn to page 78). What fun! And what pandemonium. Chris Ware, our photographer, hijacked our conference room and turned it into a photo studio. One empty office morphed into a dressing room. And our foyer was turned into a mini-salon where hair was teased and lashes curled by two pros, Joann Tufaro and Valerie Guglielmo. We loved the commotion. But what we loved most was meeting the men and women who not only are fortunate to have been born with great looks but, it turns out, great hearts and spirits.