Friday, October 17, 2008


It seems, after the last few posts, if not always, that I should take care to emphasize what I am saying and what I am not saying:

[a]thiI am very different from most gay men I have met, but then, I am different from most men of any kind I have met. I do not suppose that my differences make me a better person, however much it may sound like it.

[b]thiI am not the typical guy who comes out in middle age, but then I am not the typical guy who comes out at any age [who is?]. I was out in my not-so-roaring '20's, then married for a long time, and now I'm out again. My life in no way resembles that of most of the people I know who have left marriages to come out, as I was never "in," or of anyone else who has been married for 25 years. I do not suppose that my differences make me a better person, however much it may sound like it.

[c]thiI did not sleep with anyone besides my wife while I was married, which is normal for some 3/4 of straight married men, apparently, but apparently a little odd for a married gay man. There is no moral high ground here, as I certainly thought about it enough, and came within a hair's breadth of moving on from the thought to the deed at least once. My man the Naz says that "everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart." The same almost certainly applies to looking at guys. What can I say? How about: "I do not suppose that my differences make me a better person, however much it may sound like it"?

[d]thiI owe everything that has made my coming out again easy to drag queens and hustlers, and the good people who followed in their footsteps to make gay liberation happen. They fought the fights that makes my life with the Goat possible. Boy, do I know that. Do I agree with those to whom I owe all this? Not much of the time, but then, I don't see eye-to-eye with Thomas Jefferson, either, and I am very glad to be living in his country. I sidestepped the costs of the fight for liberation, I avoided the madness that liberation brought and the ensuing cost, and as a result, while I have lost friends to AIDS, it is not the defining factor in my life. For lots of people, it is. I have come out in a world marked by the deaths, and those who died and those who cared for and mourn for them have also created the world in which I move. I remained unscathed, but I do not for a minute suppose that my differences make me a better person, however much it may sound like it.

[e]thiI have loved two people in my life, and can comfortably count the men and women I have slept with on my fingers alone; I sometimes have a hard time imagining a world where people sleep with that many people in a year, or over the weekend. But my "record" is defined at least as much by risk-aversion and the inability to live outside my head as by any kind of moral compass--indeed, some of my Brit friends might call me a "wanker," not because of my former endless indulgence in self-abuse, but because I lived most of my life in a fantasy world and did not wade into the trenches and do anything. (Most of the time.) I certainly do not suppose that these differences make me a better person, either, however much it may sound like it.

I have always known I was loved. My parents and grandparents, my wife, my children, and now my lover, have all stood by me through good and bad times, and I am grateful to all of them, no matter how strange it may seem.

I am still crazy about my children. I still love my wife; the more I live with the Goat, and have to take on board the extent to which I exist because of his patience and good humor, the more I appreciate the fact that for many, many years I existed because of the patience and good humor my wife brought to our marriage. She put up with me, more or less without complaint, for a quarter of a century; she saw more of the bad times than anyone else, and saw me through them. I remain profoundly grateful. Do I wish things had not ended? For all my good luck since, I do. Do I wish things had not ended the way they did? You betcha. Do I wish we could be friends? You bet your sorry ass.

All of this just to say:

I am not trying to list all of the blessings I have received in life; be grateful. But I am aware that my life has been infinitely easier than that of most of the men, gay or straight, married or un-, that I have known. That doesn't keep me from whining or complaining about the little things that crop up now and then. Nor does it keep me from adopting a slightly superior tone now and then--and that is one thing the Goat has frequently called me on, in his quiet way.

Oh, Joe, please don't let me be misunderstood...
I may be a cranky kinda guy, but I'm not a complete crank...


  1. I would suspect that, in fact, the similarities are more congruent than the differences, and more apparent than you realize.

  2. Paul:

    By definition, the similarities are more congruent than the differences. And of course you suspect things are more apparent than I realize.

    I'm sure that's true, though I can't help suspecting, for my part, that the similarities may be more apparent than real. I only know what I've seen and heard, aside from reading too much...

    But then, you always were miles ahead of me. I'm still in the sandbox, myself.


  3. Just trying to understand you better, my question is this... why do you not consider yourself bisexual to some degree at least? I consider myself gay, mainly because I am only attracted to men. I could only ever love a man, I could never love a woman in anyway other than a really good friend or relative of mine. If you could fall in love with a woman and maybe even just certain women, would that not make you bisexual in some way? I would even go so far as to say I am open to a relationship with a woman if I was still single, but there is nothing there, the attraction just does not exist for me. I think there are a lot of gay men that just don't fit into the 'box' of what everyone thinks is a gay man and how he is expected to live.

  4. Steve-o:

    Touché. Way back in the beginning, when my marriage was unraveling over the mess I was in about what I was, I made a decision not to hide behind "bi" because the question was: gay to what extent?

    Historically speaking, I am obviously "bi" in some way, but I think a more accurate description would be "gay" socialized as "straight." I have posted that I always desired sex with men more and enjoyed sex with women more. Go figure.

    One of the reasons I keep weighing in [when I really should know better by now] when people question why women marry gay men is that the assumption always seems to be that the men marry in order to acquire a "safe" straight front.

    Certainly some of us do; others marry in hopes that it will straighten them out. But in my experience, some if not many of us, marry because we fall in love and nothing else really matters. In my own case, over time, it did come to matter. The half of myself I had tried to lay aside long before I got married, kept rising up, and finally there was no denying it.

    But I will defend to the death the perfect right of people to marry whoever they want to marry, for whatever reason.

    It's the "box" mentality that makes me crazy. The world was not made with cookie-cutters.

    Thanks for chiming in.