Tuesday, June 10, 2008


The Goat has been good to me. Don't get me wrong.

Alone of all the gay men I know, he has made a point of saying that I am fine the way I am, that in fact he loves me just the way I am. The last bit is kind of mind-bending, because he does not always bring out the best in me: I am not particularly proud of the spectatle I present when wringing my hands about minor tensions, weeping and laughing at less than completely opportune moments, and putting my foot in my mouth [again].

But the first part seems to be more of a slogan: I continually get smoke signals that I am in fact still suffering from a straight-guy hangover and need to get with the program. And that takes us back to the fault-line that runs through our so-called "relationship." I lived more happily than not in a marriage for decades, about the amount of time that he lived as a gay man before our paths crossed. That quarter of a century, to my mind, nearly guarantees that we are going to have different perspectives on life. And probably always will have.

None of us can help looking at the world through the lens of our own experience. But the move from that to predicting what someone else will think, say, or do because it is what we did at that juncture is fraught with peril, and I am not just talking about my hand-wringing and weeping, here. It gets my back up, and that does nobody any good.

How gay am I? I am as gay as I have ever been, which considering where I was in the early '70's, is saying something. I have made my peace with the death of "phase" theory, and that I cannot overcome some things except at the cost of my mind. But I am also no gayer than I have ever been, and that means that everything that led me to walk away from "gay life" the first time is also still there, and I suspect that I can no more overcome that than I can overcome my orientation. You may be able to teach an old dog new tricks--in fact, my life to date with the Goat pretty much conclusively proves you can--but some things just "are."

There are reasons besides "internalized homophobia" to think that some things are not a good idea, and to feel that one [I] is [am] better off not internalizing them. In some ways, it would be so easy if I could just be sure that in five or ten or twenty years I will be just the way the Goat seems to think I ought to be. But, first off, I will be retirement age or dead by then. And even more worrisome, so will he. We need to find some way for us to actually make peace with each other "the way we are" rather than just saying we have.

We need to put an end to the smoke signals.

Now it is true that the Inner Girl has always demanded her pound of flesh. There are habits I had taken on board once that I had to root out with considerable effort and zeal to be able to root them out at all, and they are resurfacing. Which is to say that the only person I ever really "fooled" was myself. If I had money for every woman who has told me since I left home that she had always known, I would be a rich man. Chalk one up for female intuition, I guess; did they just assume for twenty-five years that they had been wrong? or have they been sitting around waiting for the other shoe to drop? Either way, it kind of creeps me out.

The men are no better. Some are threatened by the messages I am sending: that "phases" have a way of turning up again later in life, that no marriage, no matter how "perfect" from the outside, is without its fault lines. [In fact, the whole "perfect marriage" thing seems to be an accolade with its own demise built into it.] Some can't get over the "yuck" factor--a quote from a really good friend of mine which really pissed the Goat off... The best ones, in some ways, are the macho shitheads who had to overcome their disdain for sissies to become my friends in the first place--to them, the line between "sissy" and "faggot" was a fine line to begin with, so now it's no big deal to go on dealing with me.

Oh, well. Enough hand-wringing on this issue. Maybe a few days on the Cape will iron some of this out.

And maybe not...
But time is sure to tell.

I look at the contrast between my life and some others [Bigg's, for instance--click here] and I can see that making mountains out of molehills really has always been my greatest gift.

Hang in there, all.

No comments:

Post a Comment