BIG MOUTH

Big Mouth

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Big Mouth. No, no, not I…

I don’t have a big mouth. In fact, my mouth verges on the freakishly small. My wisdom teeth were extracted, I wore braces for years, and still my teeth poke out at unnatural angles, competing for space in their tiny home. As I child I secretly cherished my orthodontist’s advice: “Don’t let anyone tell you you have a big mouth” because, truth be told, everyone else was accusing me of having a very big mouth indeed. The metaphor was not lost on me.

I talked constantly, so quickly I was difficult to understand, and about every subject I could think of. Being the youngest in a very smart and knowledgeable family I guess I felt the only way I could compete was to continually spout information. About half of this information was factually inaccurate. Worse was my habit of allowing personal details about others I had no business sharing to pour uncontrollably out of myself. I could look forward to at least one embarrassing moment a day being told I didn’t know what I was talking about or that I should mind my own damn business. Years of these moments may not have helped my self-esteem, but I did learn, painfully slowly, what information was appropriate and accurate enough to be allowed to leave my mouth for the ears of other members of the human race.

Dark-Man-Sitting at Eagle

Of course, this all pertains to recent events at the Eagle. Can’t all life’s lessons be learned at a leather bar?

It was a Sunday evening. The patio was sparsely populated and, though technically outdoors, overheated. My esteemed colleague (with a head cold) was uncharacteristically quiet. So, with my colleague not needing my attention, I echolocated a conversation among three lads on the other side of the patio.

One of the three – seated – was a dark-haired, well-put-together guy in his mid-thirties with a mild voice that nonetheless carried very well.The shorter of the two standing fellows was sharing his concern over information he had just acquired about his best friend. It seems the best friend’s boyfriend had been “kicking other cans” behind the best friend’s back. He was both upset at the nature of his information and concerned about what to do with it. Nonetheless, he didn’t seem to be actively lobbying for advice from the other two.

Nothing could have stopped Dark-Man-Sitting from throwing in his two cents in, though. He seemed to be the type who waited for just such an opportunity to advise the less aware on how to lead a good gay life.

“Don’t say anything. Let the him live his life – all of it – even the bad stuff,” he said, soon followed by “Everyone fools around. He’ll eventually figure it out.”

Much discussion followed on how the friend would become the bad guy in this situation, on how he should butt out and not ruin his friendship with hurtful information. I thought the slaughter of messengers bearing bad news stopped in the Middle Ages.

“Bigmouth Strikes Again”

See, here’s where I feel like a big-mouthed little kid again. I would most definitely tell my best friend about his boyfriend’s philandering. I would be as kind and gentle as possible. I might even confront the sonofabitch boyfriend and try to strong-arm him into telling his significant other himself. Dark-Man-Sitting has it all wrong. We “friends” are there to help our buddies through the bad times, to protect them and their honor against people who mean to hurt them.

Sure, maybe we’d suffer a little wrath from the cuckolded friend. The guy’s gonna be embarrassed and hurt. But imagine how your friend is going to feel six months down the road when he finds out the truth, including the fact that his best friend knew all along and said nothing. I think I could endure one more “you don’t know what you’re talking about” or “mind your own business” in this case.

I’m glad I’m no longer a zit-faced teen with more braces on his teeth than discretion. I’m proud of my ability to keep secrets and consider what I’m about to say before unleashing it on the world. But even as a teen I knew what kind of advice, and advisors to avoid. I thought I had left the cliquey wicked useless wisdom of high-school bitches behind me. But there she was again, dispensing her self serving advice, a Heather dressed darkly, and comfortably seated.

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