Sunday, October 31, 2010

My First Asian Boyfriend (and other men I have loved)

I was going to write an entry about the regret I sometimes feel.  Regretting that my life is not going the way I planned years ago. But then I got to thinking, how did I not see this coming?  How did I not know I was gay?  I mean really, all the signs were there.  All anyone would have to do is analyze my TV watching habits.

Remember these guys?  Back when Johnny Depp was cute.  This is the cast of "21 Jump Street"  Back then I watched this show all the time, but I didn't give a shit about Johnny whats-his-face, I was watching Dustin Nguyen (the Asian guy).  I don't remember his character's name, but I remember watching all the scenes he was in with great interest.

I used to watch Baywatch too, but by then I was already married.  I knew some guys who watched it for the hot chicks on there but not me.  In later seasons I had another excuse to watch.  See the guy on the right in the picture.  He's Mike Bergin.  Before working on Baywatch, he was the Calvin Klein underwear model that replaced Marky Mark (Marc Walberg).  Here is another picture of him.

I watched because he is crazy hot, right?  But there is another reason.  I've seen him naked.  In fact, I have seen him naked lots of times.  No.  Not pictures on the Internet.  I know Mike personally, or at least I used to.  In fairness I have not seen him in 20 years, but I am sure he would remember me.   You see in my first 2 years of college, he lived in my dorm, in the room directly across the hall.  We (and 50 other guys) shared a bathroom with an open shower.   Many times our schedule would match in the morning before class we would happen to be there at the same time.

Mike is not gay and the only sex I ever had with him was in my head.  He did look this good in school, maybe not quite as ripped. I would sometimes hang out with him, almost always in a group with other friends, but it's not like we were best buddies or anything.

There were other clues for me too.

Looking back I don't think I watched the "Dukes of Hazard" for the car chases.

I was a Star Trek fan (I still am) and I may have started watching "TJ Hooker" because it had William Shatner in it, but I kept watching for the other guy.  

This black underwear scene was in the very first episode and in the opening credits, there was about 2 seconds of this guy with his shirt off.  I never wanted to miss that.

Don't get me started on the crush I had on Eddie Van Halen.  Have you seen him recently.  YIKES!!  I'm glad that love affair didn't work out.  He has not aged well.

What do I need to say about Marc Singer back in the 1980's?  Yes, I saw this movie many, many times.

It's all so clear to me now, all these years later.  I was clearly gay back then and so far in denial, even in my own head.  If this is not proof that people are born gay, that it is hard wired into our heads, then I don't know what is.

I guess if there is anything to be regretful for, it's that I did not see the signs for myself.  That I allowed myself to ignore my true self and pretend enough to marry a women and start a family.  If I had been less afraid, I could have come out when I was younger.  My life would have been so much different.

Different for the better?  I can't say.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Scared to Network

I have been following Brent's blog A Journey by myself for a long time now. 

Our situations are similar on some levels. He has a hard time meeting men. He meets them online but when it comes time to meet them in person he doesn't follow through. 

When I was looking for men to hook up with, I never had any problem making the jump from online to in person.  I think that's because, at 

the time, the goals of me and the other guy were the same:  Anonymous, no strings sex.  I knew what he wanted and he knew what I wanted. It was simple. I did not have to expend energy getting to know him and I did not have to open myself (emotionally) to him.  I didn't even really care if he liked me or not.

That was my mind set when I arranged my last hook up (over 2 1/2 years ago), but something unexpected happened that day. I fell in love. Needless to say, I don't meet men (or anyone) for hook ups anymore.

But now I have another problem.  I need to find some gay friends. Any friends would do really, but gay friends would be better.  Right now I have 2 friends. T and K. That is not a wide enough circle. 

I'm also looking ahead. I like to be around people.  I like to be included in things.  There will come a day when K and I won't live together and I will lose that daily contact. T is a busy guy and we won't live together anytime soon.  At best, I will see him 2 or 3 times a week.  My kids are aging rapidly and will soon look at me as more of a wallet and car key holder than anything else.  All that means a lot of time by myself. 

I need to be part of a network. Most people build those when they are young. I'm way behind.

I could go to one of the several gay bars in the nearby city, but I have never been to any of them. Well, not by myself anyway.  This is where I am more lined up with Brent's situation.
Before I met T, I was seeing another man. Let's call him Jake. Jake and I would get together about once a month or so. And one of the places we would go was this gay bar. It was a low key place with pool tables and even an outdoor bar out back. It was a little run down but had a comfortable feel. Most all the guys there were well over 30 (really old in gay years).  One thing that was cool about going with Jake was he seemed to know lots of people there. It turns out he used to hang out there a lot.  He would usually go by himself, hanging out for hours and talking to the people that were there. 

I don't have the courage to go alone to places like large groups or bars by myself with the intention of meeting people.  It's especially intimidating if I think the people there will immediately recognize me as an outsider.  I know I need to get over it and just do it. I know that is how I will meet people. But it's scary for me. 

I can see myself sitting in the parking lot of a gay bar by myself for a while before eventually driving away.  Just like Brent did the other night.  Part of it is, I am just not the bar type.  I mean it is fun to go with others as a destination, but to meet random people...?  That's just not me.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dinner and More

Last night I went to T's house again.  That's 2 days in a row!!!  I will talk about the significance of that in a minute. 

A month or so ago I wrote about a dinner I had at his house and they had a soup that I really liked.  I used this picture which is Pho, but the soup I had was something else.

Last night I did have Pho.  And it was yummy.  T's mom made everything and there was even fresh Vietnamese basil that she grew in her garden.  They served me a huge bowl and I when it was gone I was stuffed.

This is where is gets good.

T's parents are not entirely comfortable with me dating T.  It's not me personally, it's really that they are not comfortable with their son having a boyfriend.  Everyone at his house has always been polite and nice to me, but I could tell there was discomfort.  T would sometimes get push back if he saw me too much, more than once a week.

Gradually over the two and a half years we have been seeing each other, his parents have become more comfortable with me.  This week was a significant milestone, at least in my mind.

Thursday, I drove down to his house and stayed a couple house.  I could not stay too late since both of us had to work in the morning and I have a hour drive.  We snuggled on the couch in his family room where he forced me to watch Project Runway (I am not gay enough to enjoy that yet.).  In truth I did not care what we watched I just liked being with him.

As I was leaving for the night I noticed a gigantic squash on the kitchen counter.  I asked about and made a comment.  T's mom talked to me about it.  T had to translate most of it, but the point is she was talking to me.  She invited me back the next day for dinner.

Yesterday, (Friday) I went back.  When I arrived dinner was ready and it looked like everyone was waiting for me.  Again I was made to feel welcome with his dad offering me a glass of wine.  His mom made a point of telling me, in English, that it was a spice from her country that she grew in her garden.  It was the most she had said to me at one time ever. Progress!!

After dinner we hung out in his bedroom.  He had worked on he brought home to finish but it was nice being there with him.  Sometimes I closed my eyes and pretended that it was our house and our room.

Sadly I had to go home, but it was a good night.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Who Would Have Thought?

I took the day off from work. (Mental health day)  I had gone to see T last night and when I get back,  K and I talked for a long time before I went to bed.

We talked about my visit with T and her last conversation with AJ. We talked like twin siblings (the really close kids) who each got back from their respective dates. Pinch me I am must be dreaming!!!  

I always hoped but I was never sure it would actually happen. I was telling K about my date with a man I love and not worried about it. Not wondering if I need to be careful about what I say. I can tell her everything now and it's ok. (Note to T: When I say "everything" I'm only talking about the PG rated stuff.)

A year ago, K was convinced she was going to become the crazy cat lady from the "Simpson's". Now, as she talks about AJ, it is clear she is not really worried about that anymore.  Its not like they are ready to move in together, but it is clear they each see the other in the future.  It's really nice for all of us.

She told me not long ago, "You can't be happier, faster than me!".  The truth is I was but I hid it so as not to make her feel bad.  Now I am in a place where I can talk to her about my feelings. My real feelings. 

I told her last night that I was happier than I have been in a long time.  She hit me.  She punched me in the arm ... hard and said "If you had only listened to me two FREAKING years ago...".   She went on to say how the 2 years of limbo could have been avoided if I had only trusted her and come to terms with myself sooner.  We did not rehash that any further.

Another thing I did not ask, but I thought quietly to myself was:  Is she happier than than she was before I came out as gay, but while I was "exploring"?  I suspect she is.  At that time she told me on more than one occasion that she felt like furniture.  She was miserable.  I did not have the passion for her that I should and frankly sex was not that good.  Now, AJ is curling her toes and when I am with T, things feel natural, comfortable and passionate.  AJ looks at her with type of love in his eyes that she wants to see.  She knows I love her, but now she understands the nature of my love.

So the bottom line question for today is, was it worth it?  Was all the pain, confusion, distress, anger and hurt worth it?  

From where I am sitting today and looking back, it absolutely was.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It Does Get Better

It is not something I talk about very often but all the news lately about kids getting bullied to the point to suicide has me thinking about my own past.

When I was in school, I was the kids that everyone picked on.  I don't really know why, it's just the way it was.  I was not really like most of the other boys, but I don't think it was a gay thing.  I am not now, nor was I then, feminine, in any way.  I liked to play with MatchBox cars and other boy toys. I was not good at sports and was always a little uncoordinated.  I was the last kid picked in gym class for every team.  I was the first kid to get hit when playing dodge ball.  

I remember being picked on all the way through school.  I remember being called fagot and many other names.  I don't think anyone actually thought I was gay, I just think that was a hurtful name and they used it.  In 5th grade I started playing the clarinet.  I remember that some of my "friends' from school used to think it was funny sneak up behind me and pull the latch on the case to watch the clarinet fall out in pieces onto the road.  I never thought it was funny.  

It was times like that, I preferred just being ignored.  That's what happened most of the time.  Almost no one talked to me.  

I remember walking through the always in middle school and high school and getting hit.  Occasionally I would get punched.  Not like a fight and I never resulted in injury beyond a bruise, but is was enough to make me scared a lot of the time.  

I knew the teachers knew what was going on.  I think the truth is, most of them just didn't care.  For them, it was just a question of statistics.  Within any large group of kids a certain percentage will be popular.  A certain percentage will be dorks.  A certain percentage will be jocks and a certain percentage won't.  A large percentage will just be average.  A certain percentage will be brains and a certain percentage will be stoners.  A certain percentage will be bullies and a certain percentage will be targets.  From their perspective it, someone had to be the target, it might as well have been me.  They did nothing to stop it.  Not one offered to help me.  Not one offered me reassurance that everything would be OK.  No bully ever got punished.

High school was a little better.  I had a small circle of friends I was able to hang out with.  That helped me some in school, and I was also able to hang out with them outside of school. When I was 16 I started working.  I got a job at a local grocery store and then later at McDonald's.  Most of the people I worked with did not know me from school, or they were from other towns.  They did not know I was the kid that got beat up every day.  I was able to make some friends.  

All in all school was hell for me.  I remember K saying many times that high school was the best time of her life.  I have heard that from others too.

Not for me.

There were several points when I did contemplate killing myself.  I determined the best way would be to run the car my dad's old pickup with the garage door closed.  I did not know how long that would take, but I knew that I did not have the courage to cut myself or hang myself.  I did not have access to a gun, and there weren't a lot of pills in the house.  The truck was the way to go.

My father's garage was large and I thought it might take too long to get the job done.  So I thought up ways speed things up.  I could take the vent hose from dryer and run it from the exhaust pipe to the cab of the truck.

In the end I did not have the courage to go through with it.  But I do know the feelings that can drive a teenager to that very dark place.  A place where is seems there is only one way out.

After high school, I went to college.  Only one or two people from my high school went to my college and since it was a huge school, I never saw them.  This was where my life turned around.  I was able to discover myself (mostly).  I was able to be myself (mostly).  I had friends.  People invited me to hang out with them.  It was like a whole other world.  

I made lots of friends in my dorm.  I joined a Fraternity.  I went to parties and did all the things that "normal" kids to in college.  I learned how to really interact with people and I developed real confidence in myself.  Going to college really did save my life.

I don't know if there are any teenagers reading my blog or blogs like mine.  I'm not sure I would have at that age, (There was no such thing as blogs then, or the internet for that matter.) but if there is even one, there is a message here.

It DOES get better.  Even as fucked up as my life has been over the last 2 years, it's is still a pretty good life.  If I had the courage to do myself in in high school when things were bad, I would have missed out on so much.  Hang in there.  It will pass and when you are out of school, things that seem important now, really aren't.

Of course I would prefer it if we could stop the bullying.  I really do.  But the reality is that some people will take advantage of someone weaker then themselves.  Today it may be easier to get a teacher or school administrator to listen to you.  With the internet, there are places you can go and connect with people who can help. There are places like this blog where you can read about an average schlub like me, who managed to make it out OK.

You are not as alone as you feel.  Keep your head up, even if you are trying to maintain a low profile.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Update, More Progress, and Role Models

Here is the update.

On Thursday I was able to obtain tickets for the NASCAR race that K wanted to go to.  The company I work for gets comp tickets for lots of events and I was able to get a pair.  She is happy I got the tickets and I am happy I did not have to compromise and pay for them.  Win / win all around.

K was pretty excited when I told her, but that excitement evaporated when she talked to AJ and he could not go with her.  She checked with several of her friends and struck out each time.  She did not ask me if I could go because she knew I had plans with T that evening.

In the end, she went to the race with the our oldest son.  He had a really good time, and she was OK.  I think she would have liked it better if an adult with with her.

In the mean time, T and I went out.  The past few times we have been together, it has either been at his house or my house.  Last night we went out for a little alone time.

We ate at a Malaysian place.  We had been there before, but not in a long time.  I am not going to post the menu every time we eat, but dinner was so good, I wanted to share.

The place was busy but the bar was mostly empty so we sat there.  I thought it was especially nice because, I could sit next to him rather than across.  To make it better, there was a mirror behind the bar and I could see him in it.  :-)

I could also see the front door right behind me.  While were were eating I saw these two guys walk in.  One was white and the other looked middle eastern.  My gaydar immediately started to ping.  There were still no tables and I guess they did not want to wait either so they took seats at the other end of the L-shaped bar. I whispered to T that I thought they might be together.

He told me "of course" they are together.  They were a white guy and a non-white guy together so they must be gay.  (I think he may be joking about that, but my gaydar usually confirms the theory)

I did not mean to but I found myself looking over at them a lot.  T mentioned that he noticed after we left.  I have written about it before that I am fascinated by gay couples.  I know I kept looking over there, but I was not looking at either of them individually, I was looking at them as a couple.  I was looking, first, for signs they were in fact a couple. (I did not find any overt signs).  Then I was looking at how they interacted with each other.  I could tell they were friendly, not too friendly, but I could tell they were leaning in to each other more than straight guys usually to.

Even though I am in a gay relationship, I am still fascinated with them in others.  I guess it's because all my role models for relationships have been heterosexual.  While I am very comfortable being with T and comfortable with our relationship and where it is heading (for the most part), I really am just making this up as I go along.  I guess in a way, our relationship is more pure this way.  We don't have a lot of baggage about what it should be.  We are finding our own way.  That said, I still wish we hand another gay couple or 2 to hang out with.  Someday maybe.

Well, anyway, we had a nice time just being together.

I got home just before midnight and all the kid were asleep.  K and oldest son got home about 12:30. He when straight to bed.  K and I talked for a little while, and then we went to bed.  I was up to late, but I went to sleep happy.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Big Step For Me

There is a big NASCAR coming to the nearby city this weekend.  I could really give a crap less, but K really likes it.  They have two big races a year here, and for the past several years I have had tickets.  My company is a large NASCAR sponsor and for several years I got tickets for free.  The past couple of races I have had to buy them and usually I have gone with her to the races.  As I said, I really don't care about the race, but I go because she likes it.

This year she is short on cash, mostly because she and AJ (and his daughter) are taking a cruise during the week of Thanksgiving.  The final payment was due at the end of September.  Because she did not get tickets sooner and there was no opportunity for me to get free ones at work, she finds herself with no tickets and no money to buy them.  She even prefers the cheap seats and she cannot scrap up the money.  AJ has recently changed jobs and he is short on cash too, and unable to buy them for her.

I have a little money.  Not a lot, but I could come up with the $140 for two tickets for her and AJ.  Why would I do that?  Because it would make her happy.  

It's almost like a habit.  When she needs something, or wants something, I usually find a way to get it.  Now, don't get the wrong idea.  I am not running out buying everything she sees and she is not asking for everything, but something like this race is special and would really give her a lot of joy.  And not only that, next week is her birthday.  (A big one too.)

This afternoon I went online at work.  I checked to see if I got any discounts because of my employer (I didn't).  I then went to the track's website and looked up tickets that are similar to ones we have had in the past.  I click the "add to cart" button and pulled out my wallet.

Then I thought a minute.  I am not responsible for making her happy.  She can make herself happy.  She has plenty of her own money and if she wanted the tickets she can buy them herself.  She is a big girl and she does not need me doing that for her.  Besides, I really do have other things I need to do with that money.  There are other bills that would be delayed because of money diverted to these tickets.

Once upon a time, it would not have mattered.  I would have bought the tickets and I would have figured out the rest later. I have to stop doing that.  I need to take care of me and my responsibilities.  My responsibility to her is to support her while she finishes school.  Anything after that, is something she can take care of herself.  

I guess this is another step in letting go.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Do Ask, Do Tell

I have been thinking about last Saturday night.  We had AJ and K sitting together by the fire.  There were sitting very close.  Much of the time AJ had his hand on K's knee and a couple time I caught K rubbing his arm.

With all these little displays of affection, sooner or later the kids are going to notice.  They are going to wonder what is going on with K and AJ.  I am starting to think that we should get out in front of this and tell them that AJ is special to K and that the two of them are dating.  My kids will understand that.  Maybe not my daughter, who is 6, but the others will.  

K and I talked about that last week and I think we are generally  in agreement about it.  When we talked about it though, she asked the next question.

"If they know about me and AJ, won't they ask about you next?"

They might, but I am not sure.

Lately I see T about 1.5 times a week on average.  When I leave the house I always tell them I am leaving and if they ask where I am going, I always tell them the truth.  I tell them I am going to see T.  Now I do not tell them what we are doing, sexual or otherwise, and they do not ask.  I think from their perspective I am visiting a friend just like they would.  In fact, my older boys have a friend that lives down the street they visit sometimes every day.  They play video games and do other teenage boy stuff.  By far, they play with this one kid more than any other kid in the neighborhood.  So from that perspective, they probably don't see anything strange about my activities.

Last Saturday, T and I did sit next to each other by the fire, but not a close as K and AJ.  We did not hold hands or otherwise show affections (aside from knowing looks from time to time.)

I am getting ready to tell the kids that I am gay.  I think I am ready for it.  What I do not know is if THEY are ready for it.  Really they are the last people that matter in my life I need to come out to before I can really come out.  I have a lot of old friends who do not know about me and I have been holding off because my kids don't yet.  I really don't want them finding out from anyone other than me and K.  I also would like for K and us to do it together so they can see that we still support each other and that we (me, K and the kids) will remain a family even if things are different from before.

On the one hand I am ready to do this, but on the other I have a lot of angst about it.  My relationship with my kids means the world to me and I really don't want to screw it up.

I would appreciate comments on how and when others have come out to their kids and the result.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Last Night.... Moving Along

Last night was a first for me.  Both AJ and T were at the house ... at the same time.  I was eager to see how it would go to have my boyfriend and K's boyfriend at the house at the same time.

I have said before my dream of how all this mess ends is a vision of Thanksgiving dinner with K and her husband, me and my partner (T) along with my kids, their respective families.  I was a step closer to that last night.

I spent most of the day preparing.  We (K, the kids and me) spend the morning cleaning the house.  I then got supplies at the store and then spent the rest of the afternoon cooking.  I made the same corn chowder that T refers to as "Onion Soup", only this time I made it with about the half the onions.   I also made a chicken chili and corn bread.

I bought bread to go with the soup, sourdough and crusty French.  I know that T really likes bread that is crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.  I also made some chicken chili.  That was a new recipe and while it was OK, I doubt I would make it again.  T showed up with an ice cream cake that generated smiles from the kids (and me).

We did not all eat together, K was not hungry and AJ ate while T and I ran to store for a forgotten item.  T and I ate when we get back.  K and AJ sat with us and we chatted some.  After dinner I lit a fire in the backyard and we all sat around it talking.  AJ, it turns out was a talker.  T did not have a lot to say and I thought he was bored.  He later assured me he was not. 

It was not the vision of the future, but it was really good.  There was no awkwardness and I don't think anyone felt uncomfortable.  I was really happy about it.

T works on Saturdays so I knew he was tired, so I was not surprised when he told be he had to leave early.  I would have preferred he stay longer, but I understood.  

It was a really good night.  

Another part of my dream came true.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

You Don't Know...

K has been a flurry of activity since the middle of August when both her sports season and her classes started at the same time. Add that to her full time job at the church and her responsibilities with the kids, she has a lot she has to do.  Then are the things she wants to do.  She has not ridden her horse in some time and she is falling in love with AJ and would love to see him more.

With all this going on, she is pretty stressed out.

Tonight we are planning to have AJ & T over for dinner. She looked around the house and it was not up to her cleanliness standards so we started working early.  As he worked she got more and more stressed and I asked her to relax a little. 

"No!  I don't think you understand how stressed I am!" she said.

"Of course I do.  You always say that and I always understand."

"No! You don't."  She always says that too, but this time she also said, "You don't know because we don't talk."

Whoa!!  That took me by surprise.  I mean, I knew we had not had a lot of deep talks lately but with all her stuff going on and my my work, I thought it was just that.  Last week I made a point to take her out to lunch.  It was nice and we talked some, but not about anything that was bothering her.

I was unable to get her to tell me what was on her mind.  All she would say was something like she needed to figure out some things out on her own.  What the hell does THAT mean?  Of course I start thinking the worst, but nothing else in her actions, tone, or attitude suggest anything is going on that is serious.  

I am probably reading too much into it.  I probably just need to relax.  I should just be there for her if she needs me and leave her alone if she doesn't.  Sounds simple, but for so many years I was the one she came to when she had any kind of problem.  I guess that was bound to change as that role changes from me to AJ.

Once more thing to get used to.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Flashback and Reset

I have been a bad blogger, but I will try to get better.

There is a part of me that sometimes wishes I was straight.  That still wishes for a normal life.  That is proud to be married to the same woman for a long time.  And every once in a while, I think maybe I could just go back in the closet for a while.

Friday night K had gone out with AJ to a concert.  I stayed home with the kids and made a camp fire in the back yard.  I hung out with the kids some, but spent most of the time alone.

The next morning the after everyone had been up for a while I went up to K's room.  She was up but had not gotten out of bed yet.  I laid down on the bed next to her (in my old spot) and we talked about her evening.

As we talked, she came over and snuggled next to me.  Her head was on my chest and we talked like that for about 20 min.  It was nice and for a few min I even forgot she was telling about about her date with her boyfriend.  

Then we got up and started about our day, running errands with the kids and normal Saturday stuff.  Things were back to "normal" and I did not think much else about it.

Later in the day I was meeting T.  I met him at his office, we went out for dinner and then to his house for the rest of the evening.  I hooked up his Blue-Ray player and set up his Wii.  These has been in boxes since he moved to his new house.

In his basement there is a really nice entertainment room with a big TV and a super comfy couch with a shitload of pillows.  We put in a comedy DVD and we snuggled on the couch.  I felt safe, comfortable and loved in his arms.  As we were there together, I thought about what a dream come true it is.  This was something that I fantasized about so many times for so many years.  I was alone with a man who really loved me and I really loved.  I really felt that "in love" feeling people talk about.  There was a warmth between us.  A warmth that was more than just our bodies being together (No, we were not naked).  It was a warmth in my soul that is difficult to describe in words.

Then I thought about being with K earlier in the day.  It was nice to be there with her.  It felt comfortable and relaxed as we talked.  It felt much like it had for the past 17 years.  Comfortable and relaxed.  When I was with T, however, there was electricity between us.  There was not just a spark, but current flowing.  There was a desire in my heart to be closer to him.  When he got up, even for a moment, there was a real empty feeling and a yearning for him to return.  

As I drove home at the end of the evening, I knew I was making the right choices for my life.  I knew that I am gay.  I knew that I liked the feelings I was feeling and I wanted more of them.  As much as I have always loved (and continue to love) K, I am in love with a man.  I am in love with T.  The feeling in my heart are not the same.

These days there is more of me that is happy to be gay than not.  After this weekend, the happy part grew a little bit bigger.