One of the stereotypes of gay men that I acquired around the age of fifteen, reading the homosexuality chapter of a terrible book about sex, was that gay relationships were fleeting; that gay men soon tired of each other as men continued their relentless pursuit of sex with other men; and that the idea of a deep loving passionate relationship between men was not possible. As much as I have changed over the years, and particularly over the last five years, I think this stereotype still lived on in the recesses of my mind.
After traveling to New York City on Amtrak I headed for the F subway train, carrying my suitcase and backpack up and down the stairs. I got off the F train at the Lexington avenue stop and followed the signs to the uptown 6 train. The signs took everyone to a narrow broken escalator that looked to connect us the the floor above. Once I started climbing the escalator stairs I realized the climb was much more than I had thought, at least three or four flights of stairs. The escalator was too narrow for me to stop, with a long stream of people behind me, so I kept going and trudged up the stairs with my backpack and suitcase. My left knee tweaked with a bit of pain and I began to breath heavily. Maybe, I thought, I should remember my age, 59 years, before I start climbing stairs like a twenty year old. I swatted away the thought and kept climbing.
I spoke last night to a close friend of mine and something he said took me by surprise. Like me, he came out later in life — me in my mid 50’s and him in his early 60’s. He is about sixty three now, handsome in a rugged way and in great shape. After a lot of soul searching, he chose to stay in his marriage, but agreed with his wife to open up the marriage so that he could date men. He has been dating a young man for the last year. Continue reading →
There was a man I got to know as I began coming out. Gary and I met on Grindr on a Friday evening in the Fall of 2011 as I sat in a restaurant, near Dupont Circle, eating dinner. I had just driven into Washington, D.C. from work and was grabbing a quick bite before heading off to a support group meeting for gay, bisexual and queer men who were, or had been involved with, or married to a women. Gary and I continued texting on Grindr over the next week and soon arranged a meeting. We immediately liked each other and had a good deal in common. My relationship with Gary never became physical but we soon became good friends and spent time together going to art movies and exploring the cultural scene in Washington, D.C.
I have never grown a beard before. Oh, I had some feeble attempts to grow beards in my 20’s and 30’s that were very short lived, but I have never had the courage to wear a beard to work. I remember in my late-twenties growing a beard when I lived in New York City. My mother was visiting me and we were in a cab together. She turned to me as we headed down Broadway, just passing Union Square, and let me know that she did not like the beard. I do not remember exactly what words she used, but her comments confirmed all my self doubt that the beard made me look silly. When I got home I shaved off the beard. I do not remember growing a beard for more than a few vacation days since that cab ride with my mother over thirty years ago.
One of the fun things about watching a three and a half year old for the weekend is that you get to go places with other three and a half year olds and their dads, who are mostly in their twenties and thirties.
Sitting in a coffee shop this morning I was surprised by the number of cute, sexy men who came in. Some alone, some with other guys and some with women. Texting my partner as I sipped my coffee I told him that there were a lot of cute suburban guys in the coffee shop this morning. It was difficult not to stare. It seemed like the men were cuter then the women. Maybe it is my perspective, I texted. His reply, “You are seeing the world through boy colored glasses.” I guess am.