Are you Afraid of Small-Town Conservatives? I Am

Queerty contributor Tanner Efinger is blogging about his two-month U.S. road trip before skipping across the pond  to England with his partner, Nick. Follow their adventure from Los Angeles to Vancouver to New Orleans and up the Mississippi River as they traverse the purple mountains’ majesty.


To catch you up: After ten years of living in New York and L.A., I’m moving with my fiancé, Nick, to England.

I’ve recently left my apartment in Los Angeles and moved in with him in the  Republican high desert town of Lancaster, California. Where scenes from Kill Bill and The Devils Rejects were shot.

We’re spending this month selling our belongings, renting his house and preparing for a two-month road trip across the U.S., before we move—for at least four years—to the United Kingdom, where Nick will get his PhD at Oxford.  The information herein documents that journey.

So fairly early on in our say in Lancaster, I realized I’m afraid of small-town conservatives.

It all started because I’m still never sure what to call Nick, anyway. We consider ourselves engaged and we have a domestic partnership. Sometimes he’s my boyfriend, my partner, my fiancé, my husband and now, to the redneck repairman fixing our window, “the other guy who lives in the house.”

He asked about payment and I mentioned that “the other guy who lives in the house” would be here later to write him a check. I couldn’t believe I said it. I’ve never been ashamed of who I am. I was in a naked production of Macbeth, for Christ’s sake—and yet here I was searching for a word to hide the fact that I was gay. In that moment, I was afraid of what he might think of me.

Okay, I was afraid of him.

Turns out this big city fish can be a piddling guppy when he’s out of his element. Filled with shame for about 20 minutes, I conceived a big, blustery way to make up for my poor choice of words. About half way through the bang bang bang of window repairs, I brought him a glass of pink lemonade (with a slice of lemon—so gay!), looked him straight in the eye, and said, “my partner, Nick, will be here any minute to write you a check.”

He smiled and thanked me for the lemonade. Nick came and wrote him a check and then he finished the windows. Then he thanked us both and left with a smile on his face.

What was I so afraid of? That he would laugh or threaten me? I’m just some guy who hired him for a job. Maybe he knew I was gay all along and didn’t care.

Ah well, onward and upward.  Hopefully we’ll make some cold hard cash at the yard sale this weekend, so we can avoid sleeping in the car on the road trip.

Fingers crossed.


Images via Jonathan P. Russell and rekordkustoms