Thursday, February 02, 2012

Staying in the Work Closet

Perhaps it's me but has there always been such a high preponderance of gay men in medicine?

These days when I walk through the hushed halls of our medical schools to find my erstwhile classmates turned professor wannabes, my rusty gay-dar pings like crazy every which way I turn. Shirt sized just a bit too tight, sleeve upturned just a bit too perfectly, there's always a small tell. Perhaps there is some truth to the urban myth of the obedient, studious gay son? After all without the distractions of emo high school angst, we actually don't have much except our dusty books to sustain us back then. Or maybe it's true that enterprising gay men venture into the medical field in droves to justify themselves.

Or perhaps our work environment makes it that much easier for us to be a little more open about who we are. After all we're supposedly in the presence of a more enlightened assemblage than the common rabble so vulgar prejudices such as homophobia are usually kept concealed.

Though more likely whispered covertly behind closed doors. Still it allows us free rein to be a tad more fabulous - within our preppy dress codes - at work.

I bet they don't know...

Till now I've been pretty out at most of my workplaces. Perpetual bachelors are always an oddity in a hospital, which gives rise to plenty of gossip fodder. Something Brian Kinney once said in the oft-lamented series Queer as Folk; "Unless I'm fucking you, it's none of your business." So though I don't come right out and say it, I've never denied the charge when asked point-blank.

Any wild schemes of dissembling usually falls through when I realize the perceptive nurses are even better at distinguishing the straight boys from the gay boys than I am.

Nurse : Sigh.
Paul : Why the sigh?
Nurse : This handsome doctor from Ipoh texted to say hi and how I'm doing.
Paul : That's good news, right?
Nurse : Yes, he's terribly handsome, wealthy and single. Very eligible.
Paul : So why the sigh? Sounds like he's interested. Grab him quick.
Nurse : He's no more interested in me than you are.
Paul : How so?
Nurse : Well obviously he has no interest in women.
Paul : Oh. Hmm.
Nurse : Yes.
Paul : Can I have his number then?

Yeah, she knows. Looks like I didn't even have to clip my gay pride badge onto my white coat.

So boys at work determined to remain firmly closeted? That door isn't as tightly shut as you think. There's no use denying since trust me, the nurses always know. The rigors of endless ward work with dozens of patients from all walks of life passing through have made them keen observers of the human condition.


Ban said...

Women, thanks to female intuition, tend to know. That includes mothers (who may go into denial).

DeluSion said...

"Or maybe it's true that enterprising gay men venture into the medical field in droves to justify themselves. "

I thought about studying medicine. I think it was because of power. Like, you can just say something about someone's body, and a lot of times the patients will have to take it as it is (of course there's always second opinion.) Being gay, we heard so much opinion and comments imposed on our body, and we seldom hear our own voice.

And doctor is still respectable profession in Malaysia, and being gay is hardly something that can gain you respect. So if these two identities converge on our lives, we can challenge society's presumption about our bodies and lives.

That's just my thought. Do you think being gay has any influence on your decision of becoming a doctor?

john chen hui long said...

come to think of it, i do know several gay doctors - not to mention nurses, med technicians etc. while i can't make the connection, i see your point about obedient, studious sons ending up in a rigorous place like med school.

john chen hui long said...

with general openness and courage on the part of gay men, it's easy to tell that we're indeed everywhere - even in unlikely places.

rotiboy said...

Wow I wish there are that many gay men in my industry..

Tempus said...

pffft come to think of it, its so easily counted even in the blog o sphere.
5-me(high possibility)

or maybe because there's so many of us taking medicine?

though you seldom see them in engineering though, almost all engineering students i know are super duper straight, constantly talking about screwing girls up.

oh well... at least medicine liners can get partners easily?

Kenny Mah said...

On the bright side, you can always ask them for numbers of other hot, single doctors rebuffing their advances - waste not, want not ma. ;P

Anonymous said...

Omg really din knw there were so many gay docs in msia.. Anyway wats the gay doc frm ipoh' s no?? I shud give him a cal on boring night duties. Lol