Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Carolyn Hax: Consider risks in coming out

The Washington Post

Hi, Carolyn: I’m 50, divorced 10 years, put two kids through college, and have become involved with a woman. I suppose I’m gay now. My office is having an off-site at a very nice vacation spot. I’ve been on “vacations” with my partner in connection with her job and enjoyed them. After much internal turmoil, I decided that fair is fair and I will not hide her or that part of me from my older-generation, super-religious officemates.

Definitely, these people will gossip. Is it better to just tell them during the “reveal some part of yourself” portion of the off-site? Or, just let them whisper? – Almost Out

Your personal life will, ideally, be an honest life, so I understand your confessional impulse.

However, your professional life is not personal. Certainly if you have cause to believe your openness will hurt you professionally, then bringing your friend isn’t “fair.” You’d risk more than she did.

Let’s say it wouldn’t cost you, or it would but you’re ready to leave an intolerant workplace if necessary. Even then, I could make an argument against any “revelation” other than just being who you are. Don’t hold back out of shame, but out of consideration for those who don’t give a rat’s (backside) what colleagues do in bed, regardless of orientation.

I’m not deciding this for you; it’s your call. For all I know you’re in an emotional place where only grand gestures will do.

But I am saying this: Before you do anything, know where you stand on it all. It’s not enough to “suppose.”

Dear Carolyn: My niece married a man who eventually went to prison for excess drinking. Since then he’s turned things around by using his sales talent and has started two successful businesses. However, he spends all that he makes. Recently we were there for their daughter’s graduation, and he told me he now has a few beers “once in a while,” but that “whiskey” was his downfall and he won’t touch it again.

I’d like to see him have more control in his life by saving/investing and laying off the suds, but I’m not sure how to approach it. – Concerned Uncle

I’d like to see him have more control in his life, and I don’t know the man.

If your niece were asking you for help, then that would be your way to approach it. Since you’re asking for an approach, I have to think your niece hasn’t asked, in which case your options are limited either to letting your niece know you’re worried about her, or letting her be.

Fortunately, neither rules out asking, next time the husband mentions “a few beers,” if that’s the best he can do for your niece. It will make clear that you won’t be a party to any denial.

E-mail Carolyn at