Tuesday, October 31, 2006

and DR. BIGG, TOO...

There is a semi-organized list of queer-friendly doctors in our little not-quite-urban area, and to my surprise [what? so close to Boston?] it is rather short. Well, it occurred to me that much as I was willing to drive back to the Old Home of Folks to see Dr. Feelgood every couple of months, I really should have a primary care doc a little closer to home. If this is in fact "home", which I guess it is...

Anyway, I was given a copy of the current list [computer-printed, which always inspires confidence, as opposed, say, to written in crayon]. And I immediately passed on the majority of the primary care docs because they were women. Nothing personal, but much as women now choose female ObGyn docs, this aging male would rather bring his private bits to someone who has similar equipment. So, the short list got seriously short [few men, apparently, go into unremunerative fields like family medicine]. Skipping over the names I had checked as being primary care and male, I noticed something that I had overlooked on the first pass. One of those names was really familiar.

One of those names, and the name was unusual enough to make a case of mistaken identity extremely unlikely, belonged to a college friend of my black-sheep little brother. [We carved up the roles very neatly in our family: I was the Good Little Boy, he was the Black Sheep, my next oldest and most oldest brothers divided the Most Likely to Offend and Annoy award, my oldest sister, she of the good advice based on extensive research was Most Likely to Do Lots of Drugs and Find the Perfect Husband by Sleeping with All the Rest, and so on...] I remembered the name, and some of the parties and holidays he had attended really well, while his face was eluding me.

Who cares? I called his office, which was part of a clinic that catered to the penniless as well as the homeless, and made an appointment. The weeks went by, and finally the Big Day arrived. I showed up with my soon-to-expire health insurance ID in hand, answered a lot of questions that made the practice's majority clientele only too clear, and took my seat in the waiting area. A very large black woman seemed to be regarding my baseball jacket with high suspicion [and it's true, I'm terrible at baseball as at every other organized sport -- but I love the costumes -- is it so obvious?]. Eventually I was ushered into a cubicle where a terminally cheerful assistant asked all sorts of pertinent and impertinent questions, admitted that she had no idea what to do with many of my answers, and left me alone to wait for the Great Man.

He entered with the peculiar energetic stride of a man who knows that he is a quarter of an hour behind an unforgiving schedule. He shook my hand equally energetically while most of me froze in contemplation of his face. How could I ever forgotten it? His eyes were so close together, and his nose so thin that I could hardly believe that they were separate organs. The face was orders of magnitude more unusual than his last name, but once again they were clearly inseparable. That's humanity for you. Well, I had to tell my Whole Sordid Story; that took some time. Then he wanted hard facts about my meds, which I have of course known so long that I no longer retain the information. Then he started talking about my sex life.

And this is where it gets silly. I mean, what sex life? I think he was as deaf in one ear as I am, because all my careful laying out of my reasons for why I was in high "don't touch me this morning, Arthur" mode went right by him. I explained that I had, on my first visit to the area, gone to the nearly-local queer community center and learned all about all the countless STDs I was destined to meet, and how rubber would only protect you [i.e., me] from some of them. Well, he had highly divergent views, or at least, felt that a stern imprinting on always encasing oneself in latex equivalent was worth a certain overstating of the protection involved. Well, someday I'm sure I will remember this and do the Right Thing. But it's just not very relevant at the moment. In any case, we soon wrapped it up, and he strode out just as energetically as he had entered, and even further behind schedule.

Well, that brings us to Dr. Bigg, whose advice column can be found at ToughGuy@TreeTrunk.com, or something like that. Not that I necessarily disagree with his advice. Or all the other similar advice I have been getting wherever I admit my reluctance to wade into action. I am just led to wonder why, after thirty years, the advice is so constant and so similar. Don't get me wrong; I am quite as fond of getting laid as the next person. I just think that there are other things to think about.

It has something to do with looking at the world with moral-colored glasses, though I think most of you have figured out by now that them there glasses seem to be adjusting to the darkness by losing most of their tint
, as some glasses do. And it's not like I don't look forward to taking his advice -- I will probably be taking a lot more of it than I did thirty years ago, for that matter, once the opportunity arises. But for me that perfectly good advice is to be taken in a [not entirely] convenient time-release capsule...

This is the Great Divide. In trying to figure out what comes next, I have tried to consider, amongst other things, the wisdom of our race [that's human, not Aryan] in expecting mourning to last a significant period. The fact that I am probably not going to last a year is really neither here nor there. I continue to think it would be a good idea not to subject anyone else to the Mess That Is Me until it's had a chance to "sosegar." That by no means rules out the imperative of the moment. It just means that until the moment that imperative arrives, I am erring on the side of caution, and caution probably dictates a few simple rules such as not getting too drunk in a room full of other gay men [i.e., watch out on New Year's Eve]. Call me a prissy old queen, but I think there is a solid argument for not even kissing on the first date.

One of my friend "Joe's" friends is a guy in my situation who carried the same bottle of wine on three dates because each of the guys whose door he knocked at tried to whisk him right off the doormat and into bed. And that was the end of the afternoon/evening as far as he was concerned. Part of me shudders to say this, but I suspect we are fated to meet...

Thirty years ago I told the friend who let me know that my problem was that I needed to get laid that perhaps her problem was that she got laid too often. I do regret that. Get laid as often as you like, gentlemen. It's good for you in many ways. Especially if you know what you are doing. And as you lie there thinking of England, think of me.

In the meantime, I'll try to pray for the scattered Brotherhood.
Especially those whose marriages have ended. I know that road now, and my heart is often with Drew and the Toasted Bear and the others in their struggle for new lives. May He Who Was and Is and Is To Come make his countenance to shine upon them, and grant them his peace.
Hang in there.

1 comment:

  1. I used to place a lot of importance on sex but that was out of insecurity and lack of experience. Now trust and dependability are far more important.