I have been working for this firm for almost two decades now. Somehow, I have managed to remain in the closet for the entire time. No, I don't have any illusions that my colleagues remain clueless about my 'preferences'. They probably, almost surely, have discussed this among themselves but I ain't confirming nuthin'. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has become the tacit rule in the office. Nevertheless, I continue to be vigilant, guarded just to keep appearances consistent. Let me list down some tips for maintaining the illusion (even if you are the only one who believes it!).
1. Cultivate a friendship (strictly) with a full-blooded male outside the office, someone who knows who you are! It would help that this person is not attractive (that will just complicate things). Your purpose is to be in the loop with what males are into - basketball, cars, babes, particularly the 'buzz words'. You don't have to read up on the topics like an exam. Just make sure you know the acronyms, the celebs.
2. Go out with the boys from time to time. You can only make so many excuses. Which is why Tip No. 1 is so important!
3. Have at least one friend in the office who knows who you are. Nothing like a confidant who keeps you sane. But be discerning!!! (See Tip No. 6)
4. Never shit in your own backyard, PLEASE. Been there, done that. I am just lucky I still have my job. Hell hath no fury like a spurned gay officemate! And this works both ways. I tried to 'experiment' with a girlfriend... that was a disaster!
5. Don't try too hard to be butch. Thank God for metrosexuality. You can now get away with 'giving in to your feminine side'. But maybe, the pressed powder is a bit too much. Oil blotting paper acceptable.
6. Eye control. Learn how NOT to automatically lock your eyes on the cutie passing by when you are with your officemates. The eyes are such giveaways. Control the way you react to attractive office acquaintances!
7. Don't be too close to the ladies. Try to balance friendships between the males and females. It was so natural for me to be close to the ladies until I got asked pointblank about my preferences.
8. Be the nice uncle to the kids. The Daddys and the Mommys of the workplace would be so glad if you keep their pesky kids company. And doing the babysitting bit frees you up from having to 'have a drink with the boys'. Very useful for summer family outings!
9. Take care of your parents. Everybody loves a good son. They won't dare question your after-office whereabouts if they hear you tak about 'having dinner with your parents' or 'taking them out'!
10. Don't avoid the 'out' officemate. This is the worse you could do. You know how we are, right? We get NASTY if we are not treated right! Also, try to avoid indulging in office gossip. This always works both ways.
11. Be the best performer, if possible! Give your best always!!! You will earn the respect of your colleagues, your bosses, enough to keep their tongues from wagging too much.
I don't prescribe the 'my-girlfriend-is-in-the-US' ruse, unless you don't intend to stay too long in the company. I am personally uncomfortable with having to make up stories.