Writing posts for this blog doesn’t usually require a lot of thought. The resulting efforts probably already clued you into that fact. Usually, I come up with a subject, let it stew in the morass of neuroses, prejudices, strong opinions, and the occasional flash of brilliance that is my mind. And then a suitable, somewhat puny title pops out, and I’m good to go. Sometimes the title alone is enough to change where I thought that post was going; sometimes the gist of the article means coming up with a better fitting title. I can’t think of a time in the past where I couldn’t get a handle on at least one of the two. Until today. I’ve started writing this post about a dozen times already. I even took a break, watched some porn to clear my mind, and came back to my keyboard expecting inspiration to have struck. No such luck. But that did help remind me to always wash my hands after watching porn before putting fingers to my keyboard.
The subject of today’s post isn’t the problem. How to present it is. Maybe waiting a week, or a month, or until hell freezes over (which with global warming may not be all that far off in the future) would help me to clarify my thoughts. But, while I’m usually a fairly optimistic kinda guy, in this case I fear life is just going to become even more muddled with the passage of time. In fact I know it is. I also thought doing a two or maybe three part post might be the better way to go. ‘Cuz the subject matter is epic. It also brings up a few questions I thought y’all may enjoy fulminating about, a quandary or two that might give you pause for thought, and a dilemma or three that, at the very least, should make you glad you are not me. That’s a lot to fit into a single post. Even when you are not brevity-challenged as I am.
There’s also a good chance even without intending to make this post a multi-parter, tomorrow’s may still be stuck in the same place. Yeah, I hope not too. But my mind keeps circling back and replaying events, reposing questions, and looking for some safe dark place to hide out in until the sun shines on my normal little world once again. That’d be the world that offers me the great amusement of non-stop opportunities for laughing at the idiosyncrasies, eccentricities, foibles, and trials and tribulations of others. Karma can be such a bitch.
I’m not even sure where to start today’s post. Other than, obviously, with three paragraphs of digressions, degradations, animadversions, and a healthy does of stalling. I still don’t have a title for this post either. ‘Cuz “Fuck Me!” sounded a bit too rude, as appropriate as it may be. But some wise soul – I think it was either Yoda or Christopher Robin – once said the best place to start a story is at the beginning. So I’ll start with the beginning of my problem: After a thirty-year bromance, my BFF, favorite wing-man, bestest running partner, travel buddy, and partner in crime – not to mention the lust of my life – came out to me this weekend. And, as a side note, I’ve completely changed my opinion on the issue of coming out. Don’t. Ever. Stay in the closet where you belong. ‘Cuz coming out only fucks up other people’s lives.
Okay, so I guess that means the real start of this story was some thirty years ago, but let’s fast forward to the beginning of this weekend when I was supposedly headed off for a surprise long weekend away, a romantic getaway, with Phil, who at some undefined point in the recent past graduated to being my boyfriend (leaving Noom with the undisputed title of love of my life, mostly for clarity’s sake for future I Fell In Love With A Bar Boy blog posts). I’m not a big fan of surprise trips, mostly because they make packing a bitch. But last New Year’s Phil surprised me with a trip to The Big Apple to watch the ball drop in Times Square. That’s because at some point I’d mentioned doing NY for the NY was on my bucket list. So I gave him a pass this time around.
The nice thing about living where I do is that it is centrally located. So within an hour’s drive, your destination options are pretty well set depending on which compass point you’re headed. West means the ocean, east the mountains, north a weekend of either getting blitzed on wine – or if you are driving a bit further up the road, weed – and south means surely he’s not stupid enough to think a weekend in Tijuana would be romantic. Regardless of the direction you are headed, if you have not been told to bring your passport it means your weekend will not be as exciting as it could have been. Since Friday’s direction was south, passport-less, and since we’d already passed LA (which to Northern Californians encompasses everything from the Grapevine to San Diego) our surprise destination was obvious.
“We’re going to Comic-Con!”
The sad shake of Phil’s head said I was wrong. About many things in my life. But I thought it was a good guess because attending Comic-Con is on my bucket list too, even if the details of that one is going there solo ‘cuz nerds can be pretty hot. And real easy to lay. But no such luck. And once we turned onto The 10 (Southern Californian’s like to identify their freeways as “The” for some strange reason) our intended destination was obvious: Las Vegas. ‘Cuz there is no good reason to follow that road any farther than that.
Okay, so that wasn’t the nicest comment to make, but we’d just spent a long weekend in Sin City at the beginning of the month for UFC Week; two fight cards, a lot of parties, and a meet and greet expo where I’d got to
perv out over meet Benson Henderson’s flesh in the flesh. And since neither of us is a gambling addict, a return visit so soon didn’t make a lot of sense.
“Wait and you’ll see,” said Phil with a knowing smile. Even though as it turned out he hadn’t a clue as to why either. But my little mind got busy churning over the possibilities and finally decided it was because when I’d met Dana White at the UFC meet & greet I’d chastised him for allowing the NBA and NFL to beat him to the punch of signing the first openly gay athlete when he (Dana) was head of the fastest growing sport in the nation. Used to dealing with rude fans, Dana replied he was open to having a gay fighter in the UFC. And then had a chuckle when I reminded him he was Dana White and with all the UFC wannabes out there could easily demand any one of them go gay in order to land a contract. So I assumed he’d thought that over, culled his list of potential soon-to-be-gay fighters down, and wanted my opinion on which would be the best choice. Turns out that guess was just as wrong as Comic-Con had been. But I think Phil appreciated that one a bit more. That or he is just getting too used to me.
So Vegas it was, and without Phil making any moves towards taking that destination to where it’d be surprise-worthy, after checking into our hotel, I called Dave to let him know we were in town and arranged to get together for dinner. As both of them knew I would. That had been the plan. On Phil’s part, that was as far as it went. Dave had called him wanting his help in getting me to Vegas so he could have a face-to-face chat about some undisclosed subject, and Phil, being the good guy that he is, arranged it without question. Methinks he will never make that kind of mistake again.
Sitting around sipping after dinner drinks with our conversation slipping from one subject into another, Dave asked us what made us gay. We both burst out laughing, both thinking of the sex we’d had waiting for him to show up, and both thinking said sex probably was what did it. But he clarified his question after a scowl or two. What he wanted to know was what it was that, at some point in our respective pasts, decided in our minds that perhaps a life of heterosexuality was not in our future. That’s a good question. I have a friend who came out to his parents at the age of 13 but didn’t have his first sexual experience until he was in his late twenties. So, for him, sex was never a part of identifying as being gay. On the other hand, I had a fuck-buddy who after months of living up to that title decided he must be gay because of all the gay sex he’d been having. In his mind he wasn’t gay until he’d consummated that fact. Numerous times.
There are those who claim that if you have sex with another man, you are gay. Or at least bisexual. Even if it is only once (uh, overall, not per guy you bedded). But then lots of straight guys have gay sex but never consider themselves to be anything other than straight. So is your choice in sexual partners that makes you gay? And if not, if you are gay but never have sex with someone of the same gender, are you still a gay? Even if you are not a happy one?
Wikipedia says homosexuality is defined as “a romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior between members of the same sex.” Which doesn’t help thanks to that operative little word ‘between’. So I guess my
meeting perving out over Benson Henderson didn’t have any gay undertones. Merriam-Webster does a bit better with its definition: “of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex; of, relating to, or involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex.” At least M-W hit on the thought-action part of the corundum. And by using the word tendency seems to provide for the difference between the occasional gay thought and one’s propensity or predisposition towards frequently viewing men as sexual objects.
Maybe having an overly-active interest in sex, I’m placing too much emphasis on the sex part of the equation. But then every anti-gay rights nut case seems to be unable to froth at the mouth over gay marriage, or equality, or any other gay-related issue without immediately delving into the sexual. Which for some odd reason usually ends up in a discussion about bestiality. Even the Mormon church says it’s okay to be gay. As long as you never act on it. In any case, although two of the three of us at that table had no idea of the importance of that question, I think Phil and I did a decent job of accounting for that part of becoming a gay in agreeing it was both a primarily attraction to other men and identifying yourself as gay based on that attraction. The gay sex thingy is just icing on the cake. A reward, if you will, for being a gay man.
Which was all fine and good until Phil caught Dave’s signal, excused himself, and after ordering a double, with a deep sigh, Dave said, “Dude, I’m gay.” And sounded none to gay about that fact.
I’ve written about Dave here before. He’s tall, dark, and handsome; a total hunk and one of those guys who is even more attractive because he doesn’t realize just how attractive he is. I met him when we both lived in Hawaii. We’ve traveled to Thailand (and several other countries) together, including Hong Kong where he snagged us some opium to smoke (‘cuz smoking opium in Hong Kong used to be on my bucket list). He’s met Noom too – which ended up with the three of us naked in bed together although as happy of an ending as they may sound, wasn’t. The two of us have been in a deep-seated bromance for decades with me heavily in lust throughout and he insisting he wasn’t gay even though every friend and acquaintance I know has always managed to mention they were sure he was (even those acquaintances whose gaydar was so on point they never seemed to realize I was). I can’t tell you how many nights we’ve drifted off to sleep snuggled in bed together because there have been so many. And while like almost everyone else in the world I too have always thought he must be gay, at the same time I’ve always discounted that thought as wishful thinking on my part. As screwed-up as that scenario is, it’s always worked for us. I’m gay, he’s not, it doesn’t matter, and we’ve had a serious emotional affair that has lasted longer than any relationship either of us has been in, including his marriage. Which I had to assume would soon be coming to an end now that he’d switched teams.
Part of that has been because for the past almost fifty years of his life Dave has not been gay. Or so the two of us thought. There are two strong reasons for that, both in his upbringing and in his view of himself and how that relates to his view of what a man should be. Much, much, much later in the weekend, he admitted he’d always had thoughts about other men, though infrequently, and when he did denial and repression were the best answer. So, if that makes sense, he really never thought he was gay. Just occasionally confused. (Although I’d bet on more occasions than he’d admit to.) I suffered no such illusions myself, so I never before considered that one of the scariest parts of coming out for some guys is in coming out to yourself. And knowing Dave as well as I do – if you can ignore the sexual orientation thingy – for him that must have been a real bitch.
So what do you say when an old friend, your best buddy, tells you that he is gay? And as a gay man, is your response supposed to be any different than a straight friend’s? “It’s about time, now let’s fuck,” was, of course, my initial reaction but even I doubted the appropriateness of saying so. Yet. “Yeah, I always knew . . .” isn’t really what a newly minted gay guy wants to hear right then either. “Congratulations!” didn’t feel right either, or Hallmark would already have a line of cards to cover that event. I went with, “I love you.” With no buts, no anyway, no regardless, or any of the additional phrases people tack on to codify their feelings in reference to what they’ve just been told. Dave has always been quick to tear up, so he did. And then, because he knows me even better than I do him, he shot right back at me, “And . . .”
Which, after a not only pregnant but six weeks past due pause, I laughed and said, “Fuck me!”
See, I told you that was a good title for this post.
Now before you start rolling your eyes thinking, “Dude, it’s not always about you,” a: it is, and b: with everything running through his mind, with all the changes in his life becoming an openly gay man would bring, at that moment Dave’s biggest concern was how his being gay would impact my life. And while I think Dave is unique, that too is something no one ever mentions about coming out. You hear about the fear of how friends and family will react. But seldom about the fear of how your announcement will effect those closest to you. Those in favor of everyone coming out like to tell you that your fears are probably unjustified and the negative reaction you imagine seldom happens. But just because mom says she loves you anyway and always will doesn’t mean that she doesn’t now get to deal with her son being gay. It’s not like you came home with dyed hair and announced you are now a blonde. And good or bad, that’s a heavy load for someone who just came out to himself.
Dave giggled. And then repeated himself, “And . . .”
And I thought about it for a minute, thought about the Dave I know for a minute longer, and said, “And I’m not the one telling your parents.”
Dave’s giggle turned into a laugh. “No, but you will be there. We’re having dinner at their house tomorrow night.”
Probably because it was the safest course of action, we retreated into the imbecilic and immature manner in which we usually deal with each other, heavy on ridicule, making the other guy look as bad as possible as often as possible, and spent that night avoiding the issue of what Dave being gay meant between us. There was a minor food fight we when got back up to our room too, but then that’s par for the course. Eventually, he texted Phil that it was safe to make a reappearance and then fled the hotel before Phil could do so, leaving me to tell my boyfriend that the guy I’ve always been madly in love with was now officially doable. Phil summed up that bit of news quite succinctly with a well-placed, “Fuck me!” himself.
“Does he have a boyfriend?”
“Um, no. He hasn’t acted on it yet.”
“So you two didn’t have sex?”
“No. Of course not honey!”
“Are you going to?”
“Um, it wasn’t part of the discussion.”
“That’s not what I’m asking you.”
Phil dealt with the ‘by the way, there’s this bar boy in Thailand who I love deeply’ thingy quite well. Having met Dave before and knowing our history and how I feel about him, this one wasn’t going to go quite as smoothly. Being the man that I am, I took full responsibility for the rest of the weekend.
“Um, we’re having dinner tomorrow night with his folks so he can tell them.”
“You mean you are having dinner tomorrow night with his folks so he can tell them.”
“Uh, no we’re both invited.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
Okay, so ‘quite as smoothly’ may have been an understatement. I don’t know if Phil too had thought a romantic weekend away was what had been in the cards, but give him major kudos for playing the hand dealt him well. At least when Dave was around. He was supportive, encouraging, and ready to help. He kept his own concerns to himself. And never resorted to saying, “Bitch, keep your hands off my boyfriend.” He was a champ. Except for when our conversations turned to sex. Then both of them got a bit squirmish. Not that either had anything to worry about. Yet.
Dave and my relationship has always been based on a mutual admiration and love for each other. We are different enough to keep things stirred up, but share many of the same core values. Living up to our commitments and promises is one of those. Monogamy, then, is part of our mutual belief system. I’ve yet to figure out just how Noom fits into that paradigm for me, other than to claim since gay marriage is now a reality and I’m not married I’m not cheating on Phil when I’m in Thailand with Noom. That I have Phil’s approval for those dalliances helps. Not that that means I now expect him to say, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” too. Dave is a different animal than Noom. And Dave is still married and won’t be adding dick to his diet until that little commitment has been handled. Nonetheless, there were three minds pondering that issue. And it was Sunday before Dave or I broached the big question of the weekend.
“So you and Phil seem happy together.”
“Yeah, we are. Or were, you bastard.”
“But he knows you and I aren’t . . .”
“Yeah, but aren’t isn’t his concern. Won’t is.”
“That’s up to you.”
“Oh, now that’s fair!”
“I’m not going to come between the two of you.”
“You already have.”
“No, there’s nothing to be sorry about. What is, is. But seriously, we do need to talk about this.”
“And . . .”
“I’m still married.”
“And when you are not?”
“You’re still with Phil.”
“And . . .”
“I told you years ago that if I ever decided to be with a guy, you’d be my first.”
“Bastard. Nice that you are already thinking about who’ll be your second.”
“That’s not funny.”
“Shit. Look. I am with Phil because I want to be with Phil. That doesn’t have anything to do with how I feel about you. But you can’t not get on with your life either.”
“I don’t want to be with someone else.”
Honesty may be the best policy but it’s not the smartest move when it comes to relationships. Especially those that suddenly became a bit convoluted. And I speak from experience. ‘Cuz I replayed that conversation for Phil later that night. He was less than pleased. Not that he hadn’t seen that coming. He just assumed I was smart enough to lie. But we dealt with it. Or are dealing with it. But Dave’s divorce is like a sword hanging over our relationship’s head. And someone is eventually gonna end up emotionally bloodied. Whichever way it turns out, I suspect that someone is gonna be me.
For now we’ve all agreed that it’s more about Dave and his progress with coming out. That’s easier for all of us to focus on. Phil told Dave to call him, anytime, even if he just needed to talk. The two of us didn’t fare that well at that form of communication on the long ride home, although Phil, who’d spent a lot of his weekend at the tables and managed to walk away just over $3,000 to the good did manage to sneak in the slight dig, “Well, at least one of us got lucky this weekend.”
Phil and I are still together, and plan on staying together. But then that’s easier to say with Dave a good eight hours away and a good year away from being in a position to become a problem that can not be ignored. Part of me hopes he meets some guy before then and falls deeply in love. A bigger part of me hopes he decides he was right the first time around and really isn’t gay after all. Which is a bit strange considering the number of years I’ve been wishing he was gay and the number of years that doing Dave has been on my bucket list. I think, perhaps, it was Yoda too who said, “Be careful of what you wish for.” ‘Cuz I know right now I’m wishing I’d just stayed home for the weekend.
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