Transparent Closets and Combovers
Last night I drove to Chapel Hill to meet my friends Laura and Elaine for dinner. We told some of the old stories, including the one about the time in third grade when I gave Laura a bloody nose and then took her to play at my grandparent's house. Then we walked to a very good restaurant called The Lantern on Franklin Street. Recommended: crab pot-stickers.
On the way home we talked about some gay friends who have not come out to their families, trapped even at age 40 by the conservatism of some North Carolina social circles. It is impossible that this pretense is actually fooling anyone, but it's a shared fiction that keeps people from confronting truths that they can not or will not handle.
In this way it is like a balding man who combs his hair carefully to cover his bare pate. Nobody believes that he is not bald, and in his secret heart he must also know that the world knows the truth, but nobody is going to say a word. So that's my new term for closeted adults who aren't really fooling anyone: combovers.