Our lives are increasingly massaged into a social existence. Some argue that we are social beings and thus interacting in group environments and liking it is sign of normal, adjusted behavior. Under this thought, the man that shies away from group behavior is seen as maladjusted, an outsider, loner or freak.
Is there any surprise gay men have a difficult time being out at work? Team is tantamount, even during water cooler talk. No wife, no kids, no grass to mow? Not a team player.
Workplace aside, our lives are gauged by social potential. Measurements of manhood have slowly evolved from penis size to Facebook friend lists and Twitter followers. The popular kids in school have taken over and our family, friends and potential dates are in on the contest. Where before we kept some things private and others public, there is ever increasing pressure to broadcast the full package. Those details are shouted into the depths of the internet, only to await comparison and judgement.
For more social gays, rejection from others is a call to cling tighter to other circles of cyber family and friends. But what of the shy or introverted gay man? Does he take the blows in full resolution or retreat into where he wants to be most: with himself and a limited group of confidants? And, is he a freak for enjoying a party of two more than two hundred?
It's here that most stereotypes and generalizations are born. The gay man that stays clear of the pride parade is assumed many things, his biggest offense being his refusal to join in the fight. The assumption is that he's not fighting at all. His anti-social behavior is seen as a rejection of an entire community, when in fact he just might not like crowds. The "loner" gay man's choices can root in a number of things ranging from social phobia to shyness. The presumption, however, is most often slanted towards his perceived inadequacy or danger to the group.
I feel that the many social environments that sees shy gay men as rejects are looking at persons that are essential to the survival of our species.