Saturday, May 09, 2009

POST from an

A long time ago, I had a chat with a friend who was on his way out to his family. It brought up so many issues for me, who was in the middle of my descent into the vortex that is life with the Goat, that I thought I would make it into a post, but I never got around to it. Then, recently, while trolling through old posts, I found a number of other drafts I had never posted, and decided to haul them out and make one big post out of them. Here it is:

If gay man make up three or four percent
Of all men, and about the same proportion
Of gay men are into leather, and
The chance of love returned in kind is small,

The chance as small of an aligning bent,
Our chance was close to one per million. Lord!
It seems you're one of five men in this grand
Bayed state who could have made me burn and crawl.

In other words, you're clearly heaven-sent,
And we both miracle and monsters, and, what's more,
Although we build our house on wind and sand,
The sun shines down on us where we lie sprawled.

All this to say that I aim for an attitude
Of the profoundest, constant, humble gratitude.

You’ve proven tender, patient, sweet and gentle,
But there are other shoals than those we’ve passed.

You know my weakness [physical and mental];

You know my struggles and don’t stand aghast,

But end them with redeeming close embraces,

In which safe haven I may rest at last.

I thought I’d laid bare all my blemished traces,

Been ruthless, spared no vanity or pride;

I thought indeed I’d shown you all my faces.

But now a dread befalls me: though I tried,

There is one sordid truth that’s accidentally

Gone unsaid, so in the end: I’ve lied.

I see so clearly now what love demands:
Again you’ll hold my heart in your two hands.

But now, on to the Far-Flung Voice, and our conversation of some two years ago:

In the middle of what one can only describe as a nasty divorce, he suddenly found himself in bed with a married friend who lived about a quarter of an hour from his house. What sort of blew me away was the fact that my friend had been quite vocal about not @#$%-ing on the first date, should one appear. I accused him of using that disavowal as part of the seduction process; I was beginning to believe that that was how it was perceived by others when I made it, and I was getting a bit queasy over it. He admitted that he had shed his sense of guilt in about 15 seconds after the first embrace and kiss; I suggested that what he had shed was his sense of shame, which was not quite the same thing...

and welcomed him to the state of shamelessness. I softened it for a lapsed Catholic by saying that it might well be the living in freedom beyond the law promised by the Gospels, which always looks like sin to the casual observer...

Though there are probably still limits to what we will do, we seemed to keep moving ours, and I am afraid that we will not find out what they are until we reach them. That is why living in freedom is so terrifying--not because of what may happen, though there is that, but because of what you will discover yourself capable of. That is FAR more disturbing. As, it seems, we had both found out. I am quite sure I have some surprises left in store, whether it is the Goat who takes me there or someone else. I am still sort of hoping it's the Goat at this point, just to keep things simple enough for me to deal with, but... you never know.

Living in freedom is the real "journey of discovery" that all the books and movies are about, though most of them stop short of exploring the ... adult ... nature of stepping beyond rules into freedom. But the journey is always a journey to discover yourself: The Wizard of Oz, The Lord of the Rings, etc, etc. One of the things that infuriated me about the LotR movies was the way they left out the end which is almost the whole POINT of the book [along with the necessity of Gollum, without whose greed even Frodo would have failed]: once you set on that journey, you can't just go back to where you were before. In the movie, the hobbits all come home and it's all just the way it always was; in the book, Saruman has taken his revenge in their absence by destroying the Shire, and it takes them the rest of their lives to restore it. Which is what makes J.R.R. Tolkien a Christian and Peter Jackson a nincompoop.

I reminded the FFV that it had taken all of one embrace and one kiss to send ME over the edge on
my first "date" with the Goat, so I had a pretty good idea of what went on in his apartment after he asked his friend up for coffee [as if they didn't both know what was going to happen--what did he THINK "come up for coffee" means, anyway?]. He simply said that by the time he invited him for coffee he was pretty clear about what he was hoping would happen, but he couldn't think of too many times in life that he had gotten what he wished for and found it to be what he actually needed or wanted. Now he had.

It seems not to have occurred to my friend, who was my first and only electronic relationship, that getting involved in his friend's divorce could be as ugly as the way my on-line friendship with him had featured in the lead-up to mine. Or that it would be one hell of a way to come out to his family.

My friend admitted that while he had initially gone in to the "relationship" for No Strings Attached sex, he had since been blindsided by the need to be there for his new buddy, who had as yet no one to talk to. He suddenly cared what happened to him. Well, I replied, at least he had discovered that he was human after all; the ability to divorce sex and feeling had always puzzled me. [I guess it's just my own shortcoming, but I don't see how you can do it without doing violence to yourself.] I asked him to be careful not to confuse his FRIEND's interest with his own... it would be unlikely for them be the same, and at some point he will need someone to talk to who is a little less... involved.

He wondered if having taken on two short-term relationships, he had become a slut. I replied that I didn't think "slutdom" was a question of numbers, but of a state of mind. And going from "thank God he wont @#$% on the first date" to "come up for coffee" MIGHT be a good sign that it applied in this case. I surmised that we both now knew ourselves better than we had such as short while ago... There is nothing like throwing yourself at a man you think is hot to redefine your idea of what you would ever think of doing. As I had found out myself not too long before...

Our conversation then segued into the matter of the Goat's Regular BoyFriend, who had assured me with a heartiness that I found quite creepy that their relationship was open, and I was part of the scenery as far as he was concerned. That glossed over a number of things, like the RBF's fury that the Goat had not canceled a third meeting with me when told to do so, and an ultimatum about time spent with him, which was never enough, and in fact, a number of responses to a number of things which added up to the apparent truth that the relationship was "open" only as long as his primacy wasn't threatened in any way.

Once again: human after all. I found that reassuring, actually, because I had been so startled by the idea that EVERYTHING was different on this side of the looking glass; now I could just relax in the knowledge that human feelings were pretty much the same no matter what the ideological convictions of their holders may require them to say.
But I had every right to be worried. The rule in the marrying world, after all, is that men never stay with the Piece on the Side, which I most decidedly was, and they never stay in the Rebound Relationship, which mine with the Goat most decidedly was. From the Goat's POV, of course, I was if anything a Prebound Relationship, should it come to that.

Which, gentle readers, you will know that it has.

It seemed a little perverse that my friend and I had landed in the same boat at about the same time; it was beyond perverse that the Goat's RBF was a former seminarian, while my friend's sudden, unexpected lover was a youth minister at his church. If people only knew what the Catholic church had really meant to the rest of the world... I had essentially left my marriage because I couldn't live with cheating on my wife, and now I was being part of cheating on someone else's, so to speak, though we were all so "open" it hurt. I'm not. Apparently it's solid internalized homophobia inside me... and I thought I was just pure marshmallow.

This led me to the famous comment that an "open" relationship means one in which the parties pretend that other relationships don't matter. And the not entirely original thought that hell hath no fury like a faggot scorned. I had gotten a dose of brimstone second-hand, left over from what the Goat had gotten from the RBF, but suddenly the following week he was all sweetness and light and wanted to meet me for supper, as he was suddenly on my turf for a conference.

I got grilled for an hour or so, mostly on subjects like what the Goat's feelings were; as I had no idea myself--though I knew I was hopelessly in love, I really had no idea yet how he felt--I hemmed and hawed, and as a result was later accused of lying. But I didn't really see how I could divulge what little information I had on the Goat's frame of mind when he had obviously chosen not to share it with the RBF himself. Damned if you do, you know, and damned if you don't.

What was weird was that half of me hoped they would work it out, and half of me hoped they wouldn't. I was not at all sure that I was really ready to commit to the Goat myself; there is nothing like the sudden prospect of getting what you want to make you think twice about your dreams. His inability to be "together" for more than 24 hours, which he had freely admitted, was a bit of a problem for me. And I could see in his relationship with the RBF what the maximum I could expect from him would be. I wasn't sure it was enough for me, no matter how good the sex was. Or the food.

You have to decide whether you have crossed a bridge or burned one, and it's not an easy choice. If not for him, for whom else? Is it all comers--which does sometimes seem to be the gay standard,--or not? How do you make sense of life "through the looking glass" when suddenly none of the comforting restrictions are there? How do you stay true to yourself when you don't know who you are? There's the killer. Well, as they say, "coming out is a life-long process." I am getting so tired of that one I could spit, but there's truth in it. You are always finding out who you really are.

Most people never do.

One of the first things I posted here At Sea was a poem which contained the vow:

I will not live an unlived life.

That about covers it for me. I am not happy or proud to have left my family, but I simply HAD to know who I was. And if I couldn't do that inside my marriage, I had to do it on my own.
I had sort of hoped to discover it inside, at first, though it's hard to imagine Isis and the Goat coexisting the way the RBF and I were asked to. The Goat actually told both the RBF and me that he thought we'd really enjoy sleeping together. Jesus!

That's where I began to wonder what kind of taste I have in men...

It is also, true, however, that I had had it up to HERE with the queens who ran the gay social scene in Nowheresville. The bears were OK, but the rest of them were pretty much impossible. I have had little tolerance for queens over the years, I'm afraid to say, drag or otherwise. It turned out the Goat, when he came out out West at 30, had lived with a series of black drag queens, which is just unimaginable to me. And yet here we were in at "one degree of separation." I suspect that my resistance was really to admitting that my famously Inner Girl had ANYTHING to do with their Outer Girls, which of course she does. Clear on the face of it, no? [Well, this is one I've been working on since...]

Now that my friend had bagged one, I wanted to know where MY hunky 32-year old bear was. My boss kept telling me about all these "cute guys" but the ones she thought "cute" were more often than not more feminine than I was, which is basically the opposite of what I wanted. In a moment of clarity a couple of years ago, I admitted to myself that all I wanted was to @#$% Marines. And then I remembered that maybe that wasn't all...

Oh well.
Who knew I would turn out to be so versatile?
Me, that's who, once I could breathe deep and stop denying it...

ut if everybody wants someone butcher than they are, and everybody wants someone younger than they are, as the internet makes perfectly clear, how can ANYBODY find anyone? I said and still say, look for something else, and everything will fall into place. I just didn't know if I could practice what I preached. [I rather think I can't.] Now that I have been struck by lightning twice in my life, once on each side of the street, I just hope I am never in the position of hitting the scene again.

Three strikes seems like more than one could ask, even of God.
"Till death do us part" seems more comforting every day.

It was the Far-Flung Voice who had pointed out to me that my watchword "like a dog to its vomit" is indeed scriptural. [This is why one needs Catholic friends, lapsed or otherwise.] And having now seen where it comes from, I have to say I find my repeated use of a little more of a coincidence than I am entirely comfortable with. Look at this:

From the 2nd Letter of Peter, 2nd chapter:
Many will follow their licentious ways, and because of these teachers the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. Their condemnation, pronounced against them long ago, has not been idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment; and if he did not spare the ancient world, even though he saved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood on a world of the ungodly; and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by their lawless deeds that he saw and heard), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, especially those who indulge their flesh in depraved lust, and who despise authority.

Bold and willful, they are not afraid to slander the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not bring against them a slanderous judgment from the Lord. These people, however, are like irrational animals, mere creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed. They slander what they do not understand, and when those creatures are destroyed, they also will be destroyed, suffering the penalty for doing wrong.
They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation while they feast with you.

They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! They have left the straight road and have gone astray, following the road of Balaam son of Bosor, who loved the wages of doing wrong, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet's madness. These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the deepest darkness has been reserved. For they speak bombastic nonsense, and with licentious desires of the flesh they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for people are slaves to whatever masters them.

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment that was passed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "The dog turns back to its own vomit," and, "The sow is washed only to wallow in the mud."
There are a couple of things going on for me here: without wanting to get into an argument with the Biblical critics, this is for me the voice of my hero Peter, the short-tempered bastard who still turned out to be of use. And he seems to mince no words about people who seem mighty like, well, me. Especially the parts about "bombastic nonsense" and "licentious desire".

I am sure that most "God-fearing" folk out there would not hesitate to apply this passage to me, and my brothers along with me; I am equally sure that most of our orientation[s] would rise up in one body and denounce the authority of this scripture. But let's go slow and take it easy. I am going to think about this one, and come back to it.

The real issue is this:
if they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment that was passed on to them.

Three years ago, I knew I was headed for the wallow again, for all my doubts about the actual eating of the vomit... and I am bold to say that I think it was my Master who called me to the wallow.

It's a mad world, my masters.


  1. Gosh, has it been two years?

  2. Mybad.
    Please see the corrections above: some alignment of tenses, and the correct time period.

    Three years ago I knew I was headed back to the wallow; two years ago I was in the wallow with the Goat.

    Now there's an image for you...

  3. Well that was quite some read, MCT. I will have to re read it a few more times.

    Sometimes it feels like eons ago. Sometimes it feels like yesterday.

    If I said ILY once I still mean it now.