Monday, May 09, 2005

Reflections

Why is it so hard to make straight male friends? I thought I was doing a great job of it until everybody just up and jumped out of the closet at the same time like some kind of twisted surprise party. It's been very strange. This leaves me in a weird place. I don't want to pigeonhole myself here. I really do feel like I should be hanging out with straight guys. I don't feel weird or even different around them, and I think it's good for me to have all sorts of friends.

I hate the labels, in a way. Labels are useful when we need a name for something, granted. But they should not become the definitions of things. I am tall. That doesn't mean that tall is me. Tall is not my definition. I have a feeling that when certain people learn that a guy is attracted to members of the same sex, they build up a whole world around him in their minds to explain what he's like. I hate that. I really feel like I'm just like anyone else except for that one small thing. It's nowhere near being the most important thing in my life, but it's also not something I'm afraid of. It's more like something I'm beyond. I'm more of a PoMosexual.

From wordspy: PoMosexual (poh.moh.SEK.shoo.ul) n. A person who shuns labels such as heterosexual and homosexual that define individuals by their sexual preferences. This word combines pomo, shorthand for postmodern, with the suffix -sexual.

Take, for example, when we went 80's clubbing with everyone the other day. There were all these gay guys there, dancing dirty and grinding and stuff. One of them came up to me and tried to get all up ons. I wasn't having it. I just moved right away. Then we have Daniel, my quondam co-worker, who refuses to admit to anybody that he likes boys. It's fine with me if he wants to be like that, but what irks me is that he was gyrating lasciviously with all these skanky guys all night, and then right at closing time he grabbed some girl and sucked on her face ostentatiously right in front of all the co-workers. He had been overheard asking her to make out with him so that his friends wouldn't think him gay. Well, Daniel, your stunt didn't convince anybody that you're not gay. It just showed them that you are a whore.

[Did you know there are certain buildings on campus where you can't pull up my blog because of the content? And now I've added "whore" to the list of naughty words I've used.]

Now here's what bothers me about Daniel and the rest of the guys: I am not like that. My refusal to allow Garet to rub his pelvic region all over my body was due to an actual lack of desire and to an existence of self-respect and restraint, not merely some pretentious desire to win people over or fit in the Mormon crowd. The problem is that the casual observer may have a hard time making that distinction. There are so many gay sluts around that sensible people like me and Pinetree and the Ring Bearer could easily be haphazardly classified as one of "them." Well, I'm not, and I was just as disgusted by their behaviour (if not more so) as anybody else.

I went to Evergreen with Pinetree the other day. This is a place where the "strugglers" go. Evergreen is the church-affiliated support group for men who struggle with "same-sex attraction." Due to the notion that we shouldn't label ourselves according to our sins and temptations, the Evergreenies have abandoned the words "gay" and "homosexual" and, ironically, merely replaced them with the terms "struggler" and "SSA (Same Sex Attraction)."

I used to attend Evergreen regularly. I stopped around Christmas of last year due to an increasing amount of lechery between other "strugglers" outside of meetings and a disturbing tendency the others had to try to get me to feel guilty for not being on the brink of suicide all the time. Here's a typical week at Evergreen, in screenplay form:

"Struggler" #1: Well, I guess I'll go first. This week was really bad. Remember how last week was really bad for me? This week was worse. I "acted out" [a conveniently undefined and ambiguous term that I've learned can mean anything from "logging onto a gay website" to "having anonymous sex in public restrooms"] on Thursday. My life is falling apart. I don't have any friends who I think would accept me if they knew Who I Really Am [Did anyone else catch the logical fallacy in that statement?]. My car broke down, my grades are bad, my wife's Prozac prescription just got more expensive so we're trying to wean her off that, and all I do is sit at my computer for seventeen hours a day chatting with strangers in a gay Nebraska chat room so that I know there's no chance of my meeting them and "hooking up." Other than that I'm good. I know we're supposed to set a goal at the end of this, but I haven't met my goal of the last two months to say my prayers every day, so I'm just not going to set a goal this time. I pass the torch.

"Struggler" #2: Well, I guess it's my turn. I just want to say that this might be my last week coming here to Evergreen [of course, it's not really]. I've noticed that you guys are all a bunch of hypocrites. You come here on Evergreen night and talk about how you want to be all spiritual [very few of them actually remember to get around to the whole spiritual side] and then I see the exact same people at the Club Sound on Gay Night [not me--never been, never will]. Anyway, it's partly that and partly that I don't feel I get the validation I need from you guys anymore. There used to be a time when I could come here and feel loved, and that really helped me to stop from acting out, but lately I feel that I've been abandoned and that nobody is there to stop me from making bad decisions. Anyway, my goal is to maybe forgive you guys and come back next week.

"Struggler" #3: Well, looks like I'm up. It's been a hard week for me. I don't feel attractive. I wish I looked like one of you guys.

"Struggler" #2: Whatever, buddy. You're a very attractive guy, if I may say so.

"Struggler" #1: Yeah, definitely. If I weren't trying so hard to keep the commandments I'd ask you out.

"Struggler" #3: Well, thanks, guys. Anyway, my goal is to start feeling better about myself, even when I do bad things. Over to you, Smurf.

Smurf: Well, my life is great. I've come out to my parents, and there were no problems there. I got accepted as an EFY counselor for this summer, so that's good. I've been reading my scriptures and saying my prayers and I'm all-around very happy. I'm going to cut this short because I have a date with a girl.

"Struggler" whichever: I think you're just bottling up your emotions. You should really let that out. It doesn't seem healthy to me to be in so much denial.

"Struggler" somebody else: I think you're just focusing in on one part of your life and basing your emotions around that. That's not fair to the rest of us who are trying really hard to actually deal with insurmountable struggles.

"Struggler" the last: You are different from the rest of us.

Smurf: Gee, guys. I'm sorry I'm so happy. I didn't realize it could make the rest of you so sad.

"Struggler" #1: That's ok. You'll learn to deal with these things the way the rest of us do soon enough. Anyway, let's have a closing prayer. Oh, and who's coming to the sleepover on Saturday night at my place? I need to know so I can get enough floating coasters for everyone to have a drink in the hot tub.

The End

Okay, so maybe there was a smidgen of hyperbole in the above screenplay, and I also fixed up everybody's grammar, but the general feelings I get at those meetings should come across, I hope. The point is, these are supposed to be the two opposing camps in the gay Mormon underworld. Either I love the sin (and the scene), or I hate myself. Well, they both sound pretty sucky to me. Evergreen saps me (pun intended). I go for one reason: I feel that this is an especial group of people whom I've been specifically primed to help out. They would probably be okay if I stayed away, but there are very few opportunities for me to do such meaningful service.

At any rate, I don't see my sexuality as a major driving force in my life or my personality. I'm not going to cave in, and I'm not going to rewrite my psychological framework to effect some Cathoholic self-castigation, either. I'm just me, and I fancy I have a pretty perspicacious view of the world. I don't really care about keeping up appearances.

Except that I do care. This fall I'll be left bereft of where to live. I don't reckon it would be a good idea for me to move in with someone who's "family" (as we fondly refer to each other in our own microcommunity). Maybe it could work with Pinetree or someone else of such a logical and sagacious nature. But I'm thinking it might be better for me to move in with a "non-struggler," as our Evergreen friends refer to our "straight," or "breeder" friends. The problem is, I really don't know any. I seriously thought I had some lined up, but like I said, they've all come out. Such a bizarre world we inhabit, huh?

I've made friends with co-workers Ben and Chris. I'm hoping that one of them will be right for me to share a place with. We'll have to wait and see, I suppose. Here's where that dilemma comes in, though. Do I inform them of my attractions, thus possibly making things too awkward for the perpetuation of friendship, or do I stay silent at the risk of having the truth later leak out and paint me a liar or coward?

When I first talked to my mom after she read my blog and my original post on my sexuality, she likened it to her deal with being a divorced woman in the church and an adult survivor of childhood incest. For a while after she opened up about her experiences, it became her crusade. She was ensign and bastion for divorced and molested Mormon women wherever she went. After a while, though, she had to just put all that on the altar and mellow out a bit. She predicted during that phone call that I would reach a similar vista some day. Maybe that day is here. I've found tons and tons of friends through my openness here on my blog, and that has been a prodigious blessing. Now it's time, though, to just quietly lean against the wall next to the closet door instead of waving a big banner around and announcing through a megaphone that I'm not in it anymore. There are bigger things in my life, and I'm happy, and I have great friends, and that's what matters right now.

12 comments:

VenerableRyo said...

Dare I be the first to make a comment after such a post? :)

I only wanted to say, thank you for being one of a precious few who have and apply common sense in their lives.

I'm glad that you see and do things the way that you do. And because of it, I think you'll be fine and happy whatever you do.

As far as roomates go, I'm sure that something will work out. And I agree with your ideas about hanging out with straight people. Although I find that I like things best when I spend time with both. If I spend my time around too many straight people, I start feeling like I'm being stifled. And I express full faith and confidence in your abilities to form friendships that will last with guys who are not going to come out later on. ;)

bawb said...

I consider myself your friend, and I am a straight male. And yes, I saw it. Clever indeed, Master ENTP. : )

B'Link Andumizem said...

The trouble with life is that we all want to see it as our way of living through it. It's something we can't help. Afterall we are naturally given our perspective by being us. There are often times when I wonder what in the world we are all thinking in our micro-community, but then I just think to the friendships that I look forward to on rough days and the support I find in frineds I have been lucky enough to keep around me even this long. I still count you as one of them, even if I can be a pain at times.. probly more often than I realize, but inevitably you haven't seen it fit to estrange me from the sociality you call friends.

In any case I'm still going through a lot of this and yet cant see much past it being a part of the lot I have been given in life.

Mustard said...

I love you kid! Your Evergreen screen play could have been an exact script for Wings (the rape and incest survivors group I went to for a while.) While the purposes of being there were met in a very personal and individual way, it was also freeing to leave. I may go back some time if the need arises, but for now I'm good! I can totally relate to your post. Love you!

Toasteroven said...

Wow.

Interesting times. I must say, that my "crusade"/getting worked up about life and sexuality thing has mellowed out, too. I think that's because I'm comfortable with where I'm at and don't feel the need to talk about it and I've got resolution. Funny how we are going through some of the same things at the same time.

Also, the way all of your Evergreen "pals" treat you is extremely believable. That's so.....expected in an LDS context. Just...yeah. Wow.

bawb said...

I'm not up there yet, actually; my blog was referring to my last trip up. Soon.

eleka nahmen said...

Oh Smurfer, you SO don't belong with the Evergreenies!!!

Hey VR, it sounds remarkably similar to a certain group we both are familiar with, eh? Lol. "Virtual Evergreen" it may as well be.

VenerableRyo said...

*ugh* Did I mention to you how one of them wrote today that "I will tolerate your doings, but I will not support you... why do you come here when your presence only makes me feel guilty because you are so happy and I'm stuck here obeying the rules"

I am not going to respond to that except to say, "I can't want it anymore... something has changed within me, something is not the same. I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game..."

I think that I may do the worst thing to them that I possibly could. Leave them to suffer the consequences of their own decisions.

"And if of you want to talk to me, I'll be living in the real world..."

5 points to anyone who can name the sources of all 3 of those thoughts. :)

Betrayed. said...

..mmmm tastes bitter... I love it. Like a sweet bitter grape-fruit. Delicious. Extremely enjoyable.
Oh, and calling yourself Pomosexual is so gay.
"I'm just me, and I fancy.."
You fancy, indeed.

Given said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Given said...

Wow. Where to begin? I'm glad you're not like those other "strugglers." I have noticed that I've had similar thoughts, and I alway hate that I do that, but it happens. Anyway, I was just talking to Shaniqwanah tonight, and I was telling her about how great I think you are. And I really do. Oh, and lastly, yeah. I know it can be annoying having no straight guy friends, but I never really have either, and I'm okay with that. I mean if I don't get along with them, whatever, if I do, great. It's not the end of the world if I don't. I'm happy just so long as I've got great friends.

eleka nahmen said...

VR, you hadn't mentioned. What did the King of Ice call them the other day.. something like the "self-hating suicide club." It amused me.

I caught Defying Gravity and Mambo Italiano.. do I get 3 points? :D What's the third reference from?