Confessions Of A Closet Homosapien
I’ve been mistaken for gay at various points in my illustrious sexual career, once to my distinct advantage.
There I was, minding my own business, in the middle of an AHP convention in Atlantic City, 1977. I was rooming with my friend Michael, Lorrie’s essentially gay boyfriend. Lorrie was also my girlfriend, but that’s another story.
Confused yet? So were the ’70s.
Anyway, AHP was the Association for Humanistic Psychology, and was a hot bed of …hot beds, in the left-of-center, therapy-going NYC boomer scene at the time. I wasn’t a therapist yet but was certainly humanistic, or at least (latently) human, and those conventions were deep ‘70’s experiences. Here you could find Ilana Rubenfeld, Jack Canfield (before he hit it big with his Chicken Soup For The Soul books), John Lilly, Wayne Dyer, Jean Houston (who would later go on to channel Eleanor Roosevelt for Hillary Clinton at the White House. You can’t make this stuff up!) and other stars of the human potential movement. Along with the cutest and hottest women in the NYC area.
So when I approached this cute pixie named Pamie at the end of a group Primal Therapy workshop and invited her to hang out, she smiled, leaned in close, and whispered, “I know about you.” She meant it in a reassuring way. It was because I’d been rooming with Michael.
I just bit my tongue, knowing that she thought I was completely safe.
But this isn’t what I want to talk about here. Recently about the umpteenth reader buttonholed me, admiringly indicating that they read this blog, and that “You’re so open about yourself!” inferring I am much more so than they ever could, would or should be. They are half in awe and half in shock, as if I’m interesting, but also somewhat naughty, exhibitionistic. They read with gratitude as well as a subtle disapproval: One should keep such matters private.
I don’t believe one should. We all have our closets, and we’d all be better off out of them.
Oh yes we certainly live in a society where TV producers get rich parading the self-humiliating “I screwed my wife’s brother with his dog” confessions, by those willing to reveal more about themselves than we should ever really want to know, but sometimes can’t stop ourselves from watching.
But I don’t write on that level. I mean, ok, I screwed my wife’s brother, and yeah, I might have used his dog (can’t remember, it all happened so fast). But I’d never admit it in public.
And yes, we live in a Twittered, OMG I just chipped my nail! environment; a look-at-me (while I hide behind my screen) world.
Yet I still believe (to paraphrase Leonard Cohen) we are often locked into our suffering, and our “privacy” is the seal.
Which brings me back to the whole gay thing, which I once thought I must have been.
Back in junior high I was very attracted to some guys, and wanted to get close to them, but not so much because I wanted to screw them, but because I wanted to be them.
The shame I felt was excruciating, because back then a 14-year-old boy would rather be called anything – dirty motherfucker, commie bastard — anything but the F word.
But shame, I came to realize, thrives in the dark. And that, as they say in 12 Step rooms, “We are as sick as our secrets.”
We’ve all said, done, or at the very least imagined doing all sorts of shameful things. Lying about these things (including, or especially, our daily lies of omission) feeds, affirms, and compounds the shame. Along with the belief that, if you but knew my darkest deeds and thoughts, I’d lose you for sure.
One reason I revel in truth telling (besides the exhibitionist part) is frankly because people read my posts and still choose to relate to me (well, all readers except for one teetotaler and a Tea Party person or two). When I openly reveal my secrets and maintain my friendships in spite of this, I eventually realize the “in spite of this” has mostly been a fearment of my imagination.
I’ve lived so long being so afraid I could never be accepted for who I really am. And I’ve grown to become so afraid of living from that fear any longer.
I’ve had a few homosexual experiences since high school. But I flat out (so to speak) failed to make it in that world. Which was a shame, because back in the day (I’m talking the post-Stonewall, pre-AIDS gay liberation heyday in New York) it was quite the scene. Wild, lascivious sex, drugs, rock and roll — virtually all the things that made life worth living at the time. (Actually, it was not really rock and roll, but an inferior form popular back then known as disco. Except for about four songs and a Bee Gees album, it was rock’s lowest moment).
One such experience was with a married and ostensibly straight man who was remarkably handsome, buff and rich and decided somehow he was interested in me. I invited him up to my apartment a few hours before a date with the woman who was later to become my first wife. (I still wish she would have had the decency at the time to have informed me that she was going to become my wife, especially my first wife.) (And why did I schedule these two encounters one after the other? You could surmise I wanted to reassure myself of my straightness after such experimenting; but perhaps it was because I wanted to surround myself with masculine energy before seeing her). He and I got naked on my floor and proceeded to have what must have surely been the most frustrating sexual experience of his life…as he couldn’t for the life of him turn me on in that way. I however, having grown up in high school looking about as nerdy as they come, was just flattered that a guy who looked like this was willing to hang out with me at all.
Which is not to say I have no gay feelings. Why if I could clone myself…
No really. There are guys I would make it with. Listen: men were born with more pleasure receptors around the anus than women. (Women, do us a favor and take note, ok?) Why this is, and how this makes evolutionary sense I’ll never know, but there it is. And the idea of some hot young androgynous guy… oh you get the point.
It’s like Jerry Seinfeld said, Hey – we share the same equipment; so in a way, gay just makes sense. To which I would add, Yeah, and they also don’t have to struggle with inter-species communication. Hapless hets daily drag their mates into my office, seeking a translator, so that I can help them stay together so they can keep breeding.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Meanwhile, back in 1977, I manage to parlay my oh-sure-I’m-gay act with Pamie at the AHP Conference into a ride back to her house and a terrific six month affair. You could say it was an instance where playing gay really made me happy.