I came out to my dad while we were playing Spider-Man 3 on PlayStation 2. People ask me if it was hard—he’s a political conservative and a Christian, and they wonder if I was afraid he would condemn me. I wasn’t. My father is an artist from a family of New York intellectuals. On social issues, he takes a laissez-faire stance: Live and let live, just don’t hurt anyone. I was pretty sure he’d react all right.
就在我们父子俩在PS2上玩《蜘蛛侠3》的时候，我向父亲坦言了自己的性取向。后来人们问我当时是不是很难开口 —— 因为父亲在政治上是个保守派，又是个基督徒，他们好奇我是否会担心父亲指责我，可我并没有这方面的顾虑。父亲生在纽约的一个知识分子家庭，他是个艺术家。对于社会问题，他一贯秉持不干涉的立场：尊重自己，也尊重他人，只要不伤害别人就好。 我那时还是挺确定的，他不会反应过激。
Live and Let Live is an idiom in which expresses the idea that all should be able to live their lives in the manner they want to, regardless of what other may think of them. (urban dictionary)
But it was still hard, because coming out to your dad is hard. Sons want to be like their fathers—they just do—and fathers want to see their sons become men. Marrying a nice girl and getting her good and pregnant is part of that, just like playing catch in the backyard is. He teaches and shows, you watch and learn, and a vision of your future life emerges, a picture of successful manhood that is in some ways the most cherished thing you and your dad share. At the very least, that vision would have to be radically reconfigured once I told him I’d only ever had romantic feelings for other boys. I was 16. We were playing Spider-Man 3, and somehow, that made it easier.
但这还是很难，因为向老爸坦承自己出柜这事儿本身就难。儿子都想像父亲一样 —— 这是天性使然 —— 父亲也想看着自己的儿子长成男子汉。娶个好姑娘，好好待人家，再要个小孩，这些都是父亲眼中儿子成长的一部分，就像在后院玩传接球游戏那样。他教给你怎么玩，他演示给你看，而你好好观察、认真学，你未来生活的图景开始在眼前涌现，你成了那个成熟稳健的大人，从某些意义上讲，这种父子之间所共有的联结是最值得珍视的。一旦我告诉他，我从始至终都只对男孩子才会心动，那至少我们父子间那份默契将会彻底打乱重组。那时我16岁，我俩正一起玩着《蜘蛛侠3》，不知怎么，游戏让这事变得容易了一点。
Video games were something we always did together—half an hour or so every weeknight. The normalcy of that ritual was comforting to me. The game also gave us something to focus on, so we wouldn’t have to look each other in the eye. I still felt icky using the word gay about myself (“I’m … not straight” is what I said). It would have been intolerable to tell him face-to-face; I almost certainly would have choked up, as I had while telling my mom earlier that day. Coming out felt emasculating enough. Crying would have been utter humiliation.
打电动是我们父子俩常在一起做的事 —— 每个工作日晚上我们都会一起玩半小时左右。这一仍未打破的惯例那时给了我很大安慰。游戏架起了一个令我俩专注他处的支点，解了面面相觑之苦。我仍不喜欢用同性恋这个词形容自己（“我……不是直男”这是我当时的原话）。如果没有游戏，让我就那么面对面地告诉他，我实在是做不到。我几乎肯定我会哽咽，正如那天早些时候，我告诉我妈时那样。出柜已经够没男子气概了，再哭出来就真是十足的耻辱了。
He took it great, as I’d predicted, but I think we were both glad to have something in front of us that we could look at while we talked. The task of swinging on webs through Spider-Man’s pixelated streets absorbed enough of our attention that, looking at him with my peripheral vision, I could tell him this raw truth.
Men are good at relating to each other in this way. We get along well when there’s a project in front of us—when we’re side by side looking at some third thing. All of the classic “male bonding” activities are like this—when you’re hunting, or working on a car, or shooting free throws, you can look together at the deer, or the transmission, or the basket, and talk. The common objective gives you something to talk about, and not having to face each other means you don’t have to lay the full weight of your emotions on each other.
用这样的方式，男人之间便能很好地理解彼此。当我们眼前有个任务要做 —— 当我们肩并肩看着第三方时，我们相处得很好。那些有关“男人情谊”的经典活动都是如此 —— 打猎，修车，罚球，你们边谈边一起看向猎物、变速箱、篮筐。共同的目标让你们言之有物，而且不用直面对方也意味着你们不用承担彼此情绪的负重。
I suspect that’s why so many of my closest male friendships have evolved at least in part around gaming. My three best buddies in high school all played. As grunty teenagers to whom conversation didn’t come easy, we could spend hours on the Nintendo GameCube in my family’s back room. After my parents, they were among the first people I came out to, and boy was that scary: What if they thought I had a crush on one of them?
They didn’t. They were in fact models of maturity. It was my first time really being vulnerable with them, and they showed themselves to be the stand-up guys they have remained ever since.
After what felt to me like an explosive revelation, the routines of our friend group took on new significance. Wandering around town, going to action movies, calling one another gross names—the mere fact that we kept doing that stupid stuff showed me I was still their pal.
在经历了那些对我而言就像爆炸似的自我披露后，我们平日一起做的那些事儿则显得更具意义。绕着小镇闲逛，看动作片，给彼此起恶心的外号 —— 这些我们一直做的蠢事儿其实是他们在向我传达一个事实，我仍是他们的兄弟。
That’s another important feature of male friendship, I think: the unspokenness of it. Your bros show up for you without calling attention to it, and you never have to thank them. In fact, they’d probably prefer if you didn’t, otherwise things might get awkward. My high-school friends demonstrated their care for me in a thousand tiny ways, most of them involving swift and gruesome death at their digital hands.
That they didn’t go easy on me may be what I appreciated most. They schooled me at Halo and shot my head clean off in Gears of War. They continued to give me endless shit, too. Verbal abuse is another way to show affection indirectly, and we were ruthless because (though we would never have said it) we loved each other. Being gay was another thing for them to make fun of me about, the way I made fun of them for having acne or being short.
Our verbal roughhousing was egalitarian: One of us had obsessive-compulsive disorder; we made fun of him for how long he spent going back over every level to pick up all the ammo. One of us was a first-generation immigrant; we used to say that he couldn’t understand English when he got a game’s instructions wrong. And I know how this sounds, but I would have been devastated if I hadn’t gotten called faggot a couple of times. It was how I knew my friends weren’t going to treat me differently, and that meant everything was going to be okay.
That kind of insensitive banter has fallen out of fashion; in some circles it has become anathema. I get it. Kids can be cruel, and bullying can have terrible consequences. I understand the impulse to defuse it at all costs. But in my own case, policing schoolyard taunts would have been counterproductive. Goading one another was part of how my friends and I were able to connect. You couldn’t have stopped us without blocking off one of our main routes to true friendship.
Inthe past 50 years, Americans have moved from stigmatizing homosexuality to tolerating or even celebrating it. When progressives tell that story, they often cast straight, cisgender males as the villains: Change would have come sooner if society weren’t so hidebound with outdated notions of manhood. We should therefore expunge traditional forms of masculinity from our public life so gay people can be liberated, along with women and anyone else who might feel alienated. Video games, according to that narrative, are breeding grounds of the boorishness and exclusivity that can make maleness so harmful.
None of that rings true for me. Like everything else, video games and masculinity can go wrong—if unchecked, they can foster aggression or even violence. But those are corruptions of things that are, to me, inherently good. The playful belligerence, the bravado, and the intense competition with which my friends and I gamed together weren’t obstacles to our acceptance of one another; they were how we formed and expressed that acceptance. I know plenty of other guys who came out as gay, or bi, or trans with a controller in hand. For many of us, gaming is a way of talking and relating to other men that feels normal and relaxed—a way to be one of the guys while still finding space to open up.
对我而言，上述言论似乎都不对。正如其他任何事一样，如果不加以约束，电子游戏和男子气概都能走偏，它们可以慢慢积聚敌对情绪，甚至是暴力。但对我来说，那些让人腐化堕落之物，它们本质上不坏。那玩笑式的挑衅行为、虚张声势的架势，和朋友们一起打游戏时的激烈竞争，这一切并不是阻挡我们接纳彼此的障碍。相反，这是我们友情的凝聚之途，是我们表达对彼此的接受之径。我也认识很多出柜的同性恋、双性恋或变性的朋友，他们都非常喜欢打游戏。对我们来讲，游戏就是一种交流，是一种与他人的沟通之道，这让我觉得自己无异于他人而又十分放松 —— 一种既可以融入其中又仍在寻找空间敞开心扉之法。
My boyfriend, Josh, is a gamer too. He and I have been separated by the Atlantic Ocean for much of our relationship, and playing together online is one of the ways we deal with the distance. We spent a formative few months playing Diablo III, a collaborative game in which you slay undead demons. Most of the time we played with two other guys, who are also a couple. I’d stumble to my laptop in the dark at 5 a.m. in England, while Josh and our friends would settle in at 9 p.m. in Los Angeles. Over a four-way Skype connection, we’d alternate between strategizing and small talk.
我的男友乔希也喜欢玩游戏。虽然在这段关系中的大部分时间里，我们都被大西洋分隔两端，但一起上线玩游戏便是我们缩短物理距离的途径之一。我们用了几个月一起玩 《暗黑破坏神iii 》来磨合, 在这个游戏里你们组团去杀死那些不断复活的恶魔。大部分时间里我们和另外一对情侣一起玩。我在英国，因此每天早上5点，我在黑暗中磕磕绊绊地摸向我的笔记本，而身处洛杉矶的乔希和我们那对朋友则在每晚9点上线。通过Skype软件连接起来的我们四人，在制定打怪战略和闲谈间随意切换。
Sometimes, as the hours wore on, we’d find ourselves tackling tougher subjects: our dissatisfactions at work, or our fears about coming out to folks who might not respond well. We joked that we were taking down CGI demons in the game and personal demons in our conversations, helping one another defeat whatever we were facing, online or in real life. These bizarre and distinctly modern get-togethers were like virtual double dates—part hangout, part support group, part romance. We called ourselves “The Boys Who Fight Hell.”
double dates：a social outing in which two couples participate.
我俩也开始和我爸一起玩在线游戏，这样我生命中最重要的两个男人便可以互相了解彼此。我又不禁回想到了玩 《蜘蛛侠3》的那天，我多怕告诉爸爸那个秘密后，所有的一切都将改变。12年过去了，看起来我和老爸之间几乎什么都没变。仍是我们父子俩，聊着、笑着、打着游戏。唯一的变化是，现在变成了我们仨 —— 老爸、乔希和我。