Saturday, November 11, 2006

BREAKFAST ON BALD MOUNTAIN...

The other day I had breakfast with one of the teachers from my old high school: a second date, no less. And no, he wasn't a teacher there when I was there [Jeesh!]. Breakfast on Bald Mountain. [Brokebald Mountain?] And despite being a lesbian at heart, I did not bring a U-Haul with me.

OK. This was my second "date," with a second guy -- and I'm not ready for some of the information headed at me: he drives up in an SUV, though not quite as super-charged an SUV as the Professor drove. [He is after all, only a high-school teacher.]
What is it about people I like [or even scarier, people who seem to like me] and gasoline consumption? Where is their Inner Al Gore? Like the Professor, NBM also has two dogs, but at least neither of NBM's Labrador Retrievers is dying and losing control of his bowels. So that's progress. Of a sort. Still, part of me fears that a pattern is beginning to emerge...

We were slated to meet at a tony little breakfast joint at 7:30, which is my usual time to get out of bed. But I was there on time. He was a teeny bit late arriving -- he has kids at home as well as the dogs, after all -- but the kicker was: the TLBJ didn't open until 8. HA!

I was Mr. Good Sport, and we drove almost all the way back to his house, to a place where he could let the dogs run off the leash. It turned out to be a nature preserve covered with big signs to keep your dogs on a leash, but what the hey? At least none of his students were watching...

And while the dogs racked up several miles running in circles, we promenaded at a somewhat more leisurely pace. It was a nice walk, and I
think I got him to talk as much as listen. Those dogs certainly did run. It made me feel [a] glad to be alive, and [b] aware of how much more alive they were than I am. When we had finished our loop, we climbed back into our cars and returned to the TLBJ, which was now jammed. Here is where my strategy not to talk too much went right out the window.

But it all went pretty well [aside from the running report from the Inner Censor, all the way home, pointing out all the stupid things I had said -- and they were, as usual, not few] and we are supposedly trying to have dinner some time this month. Escalation of engagement... But what will I do when we share a meal that involves alcohol? Doom, doom, doom, doom.

What further complicates this charming picture is the wrinkle signaled by the arrival of my first piece of leather gear in the mail today. Nothing too dangerous. Just a pair of pants. But their arrival does follow on my having gotten in touch with the Silver Fox of Leather Night, so far away. I sent an e-mail, not expecting any response, but he called me up. My first thought was: Oh my God, he called me up! the second was: How on earth did he get this number? Then I realized that it was [a] listed, and [b] on the bottom of all my e-mails. [Duh.] Another evening he called me back on my cell phone, my cell phone cut out on him, so I had to call him back several times -- it all adds up to... what sort of message are we sending here?

I mean, here I am saying that I am not ready for action, but I am doing things like attending Leather Nights and putting my profile out on the internet, and getting all upset when people turn me down because I 'm not available for for a quick f#$k, and then sending e-mails to older guys who make my heart stop beating. Why am I so set on confusing everyone else? I think the reason is that I am in fact completely confused myself. [Aren't you glad I have half a clue?] I am actually all-too-ready to take Dr. Bigg's excellent advice, but there is some grandmotherly thing holding me back, which I call wisdom, and others would call... well, you know what you think.

Anyway, the Silver Fox seemed interested, apparently, in spite of my inexperience [because of my inexperience? oh, God] but not, apparently, interested enough to let me get to the end of my six months' holding pattern and still be interested... What's an Inner Girl to do? [No need to offer sage advice -- I have enough conflicting opinions onboard as it is.]

And where exactly do the SF and NBM fit into the mix? The SF is definitely the guy who speaks directly to the wiring, but taking him home to Mother might be a bit of a stretch; he does talk a bit too much like a surfer dude for me [talk is not the attraction, in case anyone was wondering]. NBM on the other hand, is definitely more Mom-friendly. He's also attractive, in his way, and has great hands. And I manage to completely forget he's bald -- until I start blogging. And I like him a lot. But do I like him that way? Just to complicate the issue, the SF is older than I am, and NBM is younger. Not that it matters, really, it just complicates things, like my emotional reactions. They have both been further around the block than I have even contemplated traveling, so far...

Well, we haven't even started trying to figure out who does what to whom... There are days when I think that this is all too f#$%ing complicated for me. When did I, and why on earth did I have to, wind up half fifty-four and half fifteen? It hardly seems fair.

I wasn't any good at dating the first time around, and now I'm thirty years past my "best if used by" date. Thirty years, which my good friend the SF, who came out in San Francisco in the '70's, after all, has spent nailing one damn thing after another -- his social life is still, ahem, pretty full. So it all boils down to the question: am I really trying to avoid the Slut Phase? or am I just trying to avoid the complications it necessarily brings with it? [To be honest, even I know the answer to that one.] No, the single question is more along the lines of: is the Slut Phase worth it? And that depends on many things, most of which I can't know at this point.

I suppose this is how people get the reputation of being, or even "redefining", obtuse.

And just when I think I have a half a chance of figuring it out, along come the guys who get me utterly confused about what I really want in the first place: young Adonis, the charity red-head, the goatee guy with the shaved head and the body from Michelangelo [it was pretty clear who Michelangelo liked] who made me go weak in the knees -- attractive in a special way perhaps because he was partnered and unavailable, even if he did have a thing for elderly frights, which I'm sure he does not. And then I met his lover, who looks practically identical but stands about 9" taller and is 9" or more broader across the chest. That's where I just gave up. Not my league at all. Of course they're young and I'm not [The Jolly Great Giant and his lover are somewhere around 30-35, so technically speaking young enough to be my children]. Even NBM, it turns out, was in high school when I graduated from college; that should be good news, I guess, but it just one more thing to make me feel old. And alone. And likely to remain that way. Pretty much everything [and everyone not actually using a walker] does these days.

Remember this?

Scott's loneliness after divorce is common among middle-aged men, according to Dr. Richard A. Isay, 69, the first openly gay member of the American Psychoanalytic Association who himself left a heterosexual marriage about 20 years ago, when he was already in a gay relationship that he remains in today. Dr. Isay said he came slowly to understand his patients' sense of isolation during three decades of practice, and therefore has modified his advice to gay married men.

"I beg them to take it slow because it's difficult to find the substitute for the love and companionship of a longtime spouse,'' said Dr. Isay, author of "Commitment and Healing: Gay Men and the Need for Romantic Love" (Wiley, 2006). "They must take that loss into consideration.''

You son of a bitch, Isay. He had nothing to do with my leaving, it's true, but I am sure he had everything to do with my therapist's eagerness for me to lead an "authentic life." What on earth did she think I was doing at the time? Oh, to hell with it.

sigh.

Hang in there. I do my best.
It's just harder some days than others...

2 comments:

  1. All right, I feel forced to weigh in on my experience in the slut phase following my separation and becoming an out gay man (still in progress, btw, after 5 years). But first a little preface:

    I was married for 25 years, and was separated from the ex at about the 20 year mark (it took that long to divorce, don't ask). I had also played around during the marriage, so my need to be a slut was tempered by experience.

    I believe that the slut phase was valuable in that it led me to a better understanding of the gay community as well as how gay men relate on a sexual level. By and large, it's a very different arrangement from the straight world; sex is much less of a big deal (which makes sense if you eliminate the pregnancy part of the equation). Sex is much less of an act of commitment than it is a celebration of your own manhood.

    The slut phase is one that can teach you the difference between sex and love, and that both are valid actions to pursue. Coming from the marriage paradigm, you and I share the construct that sex = love, and that it should be forever. We also know that that didn't work for us because we are gay men.

    The slut phase also taught me a lot about sex. It was good to get an understanding of what I enjoy, where my limits are, and see some of the variety of preferences and peccadilos within the gay world. Doing this later in life has the effect of accelerating the process and needless to say, this can become its own little minefield, which is possibly why you're hesitant to plunge in.

    In response to that, I'd say don't worry for two reasons. First, you have your own level of integrity, and I doubt you'd compromise your own standards of conduct. Second, most gay men are pretty understanding of the concept of sex being sex, and love being love. And second, most of them our age (I'm 51) are not the gossipy types who preview and review every little romance in the community. They, by and large, have been thru this and seen it played out in a variety of ways. In other words, they've done it all before, and really don't care what happens in your bedroom.

    I encourage you to continue to meet the guys you are. And be yourself. You have that opportunity now (as opposed to all those years of hiding who you are in front of all the friends you shared with the ex). It's a liberating feeling, and, along the way, I'm sure you'll find someone with whom to connect, where the sex is a complement to your relationship, rather than the focus of it.

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  2. "And while the dogs racked up several miles running in circles, we promenaded at a somewhat more leisurely pace...[t]hose dogs certainly did run. It made me feel [a] glad to be alive, and [b] aware of how much more alive they were than I am."

    I think it may be a lab thing. Lady (3 y/o yellow lab) loves to run! Left to her own devices, she'll run in broad circles for 15,20 minutes at a time, take a short break then do the same thing in the opposite direction. Occasionally, she'll run in a big figure eight (just to mix things up).

    I personally find it exhilarating to watch, the sheer strength, speed and energy that's on display. This may be one of those things that seperates "dog people" from everyone else.

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