Monday, January 08, 2007


Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties. Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness.
Psalm 141:3-5

As you can probably tell, the Far-Flung Voice checked in the other night, and in his usual inimitable, Catholic fashion, threw me exactly the bit of scripture I needed at the moment. But let us now turn away from the problem of setting a watch before my mouth, which has been a problem for years, and turn instead to the inclination of my heart to wicked things, to the practice of wicked works with men that work iniquity [well, soon enough, anyway; the thought is as guilty as the deed]. With all due respect for King James, we'll leave eating their dainties aside for the moment. Frankly, I would have migrated over to the RSV to get "delicacies" rather than "dainties," but then I lost the concept of the smiting of the righteous being a kindness. How could I do that? and live -- at least with myself?

Well, the FFV has been one of the constants in my life in the last year. No, perhaps not a constant. Perhaps it would be better to describe him as a variable; neither of us has been particularly constant. But we have rather a lot in common, being gay men of a certain sort caught up in divorce proceedings and coming out of the closet. Part of the tension between us which is also the glue that binds us together is that we have gone at the combo in opposite order: myself coming out and thereby precipitating divorce [and why did I think that wouldn't happen?], the Voice by walking into a potentially messy divorce with guns blazing, and now looking to see how he can come out without bringing his world crashing down around his ears.

He is not so spoiled as I: he is surrounded by people he has every reason to believe would either drop him for good should he come out, or attempt to drive out the Demon of Homosexuality that possesses him [it is one of our little jokes that said Demon is in fact.......... a Troll].

It is a sobering thing to realize just how lucky you are; in my case, it is the simple fact that it never even crossed my mind that anyone I loved would cast me aside or into a pit of sulphur for what I was doing -- but then, I had enough to deal with just dealing with those I loved who were angry with me, or couldn't deal with what I had brought out into the open, against all the dictates of good taste. So I was dealing with a problem many times removed from the reality that most people in my situation must face; you have only to sample a few of the
GMM blogs to realize how true that is. For all my whining, I am not dealing with the real costs of coming out.

The Voice, on the other hand, is. But he never lets it come between us; it is one of his most appealing characteristics. Another is his ridiculous insistence on my deserving various desirable things: happiness, a life, someone to love -- as though life gave a pickled fig for what anyone deserved. Well, we all maintain our links to childhood in some part of our lives, and the FFV's insistence that Justice and Right will prevail is not the worst thing to maintain. I wish I could match his magnanimity. Instead, I just laugh at him. Can this marriage be saved?

The thing that worries me about our "relationship" is the degree to which it mirrors the artificially assumed positions of the leather world, with which, for all its reptile appeal, I am not sure I can whole-heartedly affirm. But there we are; maybe this is a sign, my way out of my leather dilemma: I can just tease people rather than acting out scenarios of degradation that require at least one of us to pretend to be something we are not, and will never be. The repair-man [a scenario I am assured many people find quite fulfilling] is apparently the tip of the iceberg...

We are separated by enough space, and enough monetary stress on both ends, that it is quite likely that we will never meet, or at least, not for a considerable length of time. And the logic of time-zones dictates that we are usually communicating when one of us is too tired to think straight. And yet, those occasional phone calls are part of what is holding this bundle of contradictions that walks around under my name in one piece. So when too much time goes by and I have had no one to chide and tease and laugh at, I begin to list to one side, to need propping up. To start lashing out at people who are not constitutionally inclined to take more shit than they deserve. To get, in short, into trouble again.

Which is where I have been recently. As usual.

I invited a pair of former Catholic religious [who celebrated Vatican II by leaving their respective orders and marrying each other] over for dinner, and served up one of my little
pieces de resistance: hot-and-spicy bean curd. Now, if I had stopped at cooking, all would have been well. But I insisted on talking. And that was where the evening began to fray. I kept them too long by offering dessert and then coffee when, had I had my eyes open, I would have seen that they were already desperate to leave. This was in fact one of the events that led me to the posting of the "watch before my mouth" bit in the first place...

A Change of Topic...

It struck me today that for someone who claims not to truly identify himself as gay, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time with gay men. In fact, I would say that some 99% of my social interaction since hitting this illustrious Would-Be-Metropolis has been with its gay community, or at least the bit of it that organizes around social events and social connection. It's like a halfway house for the non-outlaw closet guy coming to terms with coming out: none of the Larry Kramer issues, no barricades, no bar scene. Just a lot of really nice people putting on really nice events for people who all happen to have put themselves beyond the pale by what slot they put Tab A in.

Don't get me wrong. I am profoundly grateful to these guys. They have left me room to come out on my own terms, and if some of them have been a little forward, and others have mooned about a little too much, or perhaps just too obviously, it is a small price to pay for having a complete social scene delivered to one upon arrival in a strange town.

Of course there are the weird bits: the queen bee around whom it all revolves, in one way or another, the tangled relationships of who has slept with whom and for how long, who has parted from whom and on what terms. But here's the wondrous thing:

Everyone knows, however much they may quarrel with the particular number, that we are 3% of the population, and we will never survive if we don't stick together. So there is a constant cutting of slack, of making room for each other, of accommodation. Yes, there are catty remarks. This is not Mayberry, after all. And we are not Pollyanna the Glad Girl. Even Yours Truly has discovered that the Troll contains an Inner Bitch, who is determined to get out and get even with Some People. So I can understand that after twenty years in a small city, as opposed to twenty weeks, some things can turn sour. The wonder of it all is that so little of it has.

Back to That Other Topic...

I wrote a while ago about one of "Joe's" friends who had been dealing with coming out all alone. His daughter's greeting at their last common social event was: "So, Dad, you had it up the ass yet?" Now, on the one hand, that is exactly what I am not getting hit with. My kids may think it, but they are far too polite to say it.

But it is definitely one of the $64,000 questions, isn't it?

In retrospect, a year ago, when my entire world collapsed around me with the inbreaking awareness that my career and my marriage and my understanding of who I was were all about to go "down the toilet," part of what I was dealing with, although I did not really face it for a while, was the inability to maintain the facade of my masculinity. It just got to be too much work, and once everything else hit the fan, I couldn't, um, keep it up.
If you know what I mean.

The weird thing is that I distinctly remember the moment some thirty years ago, though not of course when that moment took place, when I said to myself: "You can go on having gay fantasies if you have to, but you have to stop fantasizing about surrender, about that great, dark man looming above you." It did not, of course, come in so many words, but the refusal to take onboard the obvious truth of what I was up to when left to my own devices now makes my devices seem pretty transparent.

Of many awful things that Quentin Crisp said, one of the worst is that "there is no great, dark man." Well, he may in fact be right; and you can measure some of the distance I have traveled by the simple fact that I am willing to put Quentin Crisp, the quintessential flaming queen, and my Charming Self, on the same page. In the same sentence. In the same sentiment. Yikes!

Well, aside from myself, who on earth did I think I was kidding?

Now, it remains to be seen whether I can in fact live out what I am wired to dream about; but I suspect that that is a problem that bedevils more people than merely me. But at least I know what I am about. And maybe even finally willing to just face the music and... dance?

So, to make a long story short, the Voice hurries to reassure me that this in no way makes me less of a man, but I have to ask myself whether it doesn't call some pretty basic assumptions about being a man into question.

But then, this is the
Voice, the guy who had never heard the expression, which I had of course just used, "sleep like a top." There was a moment of silence before he asked why a top would sleep better than a bottom. I suggested he think about it for a moment.

That's just the kind of son-of-a-bitch I am.

The new year should be interesting. Time of ancient Chinese curses, you know...

The man I had hoped would become a friend, even if I decided not to take him home to Mother, the one once called Bald Mountain, finally allowed as to how he didn't really want to bother seeing me again. Well, yes, I did e-mail him just in case it was all in my mind. It wasn't.
Do you suppose he read my blog and figured out I wasn't veiling him too well?
I don't have enough friends, here or even elsewhere, that I can afford to piss any of them off.

On the plus side of the ledger, a similarly "innocent" e-mail to the Silver Fox elicited an invitation to get together before he takes off for the Mysterious East next month. So that made me feel a bit less like an old rag. And one of the more complicated local relationships -- was he coming on to me? was he pissed off at me? -- seems to have settled down into some kind of bearable holding pattern. Southern Man has been one of the constants in my life in this burg, so having the relationship get too intense for Little Me to deal with could be a problem. But so would pissing him off. [See "friends," above.]

You know, I do live in hope that one of these days I will just relax and let it all take care of itself. But I'm not holding my breath. And I advise you not to, either...

Hang in there. I do what I can, myself -- not that it gets me anywhere.



  1. MCT, and Demon Of Homosexuality at large,

    I honestly don't think any road taken here is easier, maybe just different. (one man headache is another mans brain tumour)

    Holding ones breath is probably sound advice, but impossible, and usually when I open my mouth to let my breath out it invariably comes out in words saying stuff I should not. I still seek to find the watchman to put before my tongue.

    You know I am going to maintain my standpoint on Just Desserts, and my believe in the goodness of Trolls

  2. Hi Troll,

    You said, "You know, I do live in hope that one of these days I will just relax and let it all take care of itself."

    As you advised, I am not holding my breath, but I do also live in hope that you will be able to relax while it takes care of itself, because it will take care of itself whether you relax or not.

    Hang in there,


  3. I think you are going "somewhere", so if you can't relax, might as well enjoy the ride!