When T and I were broken up, I answered a Craigslist ad from a 23 year old guy who said he wanted something more. He was looking for a "mature" man and did not want to head directly to the sack. I thought it sounded interesting so I wrote to him.
He wrote back to me and we started talking. Well, talking through text, but that's still talking, right? I found out a lot of things about him including that he works as a Youth Minister for a church about a mile from my house. Let's call him Paul. He actually lives in a house that is provided by the church. He is deeply in the closet and is not out to anyone. Not family. Not friends.
Last week we met for lunch at a local bakery. They have good sandwiches and a a tres-leches cake to die for.
He is a nice guy. He is a little taller than me and on the heavy side. He had a warm smile. You know the kind that immediately make you feel comfortable? Thats probably why he is successful working in the church. Even if I did not know, I would have guessed he was gay. Can't put my finger on exactly what would have tipped me off, but there was something.
At the time of this meeting, T and I had gotten back together. I told Paul that when I first contacted him, T and I had broken up but we're now back together. If he was interested in talking and friendship, I would be happy to do that, but it would go no further. Paul was OK with that.
We ordered food and sat next to the window. We had a wide ranging conversation. We talked about my coming out journey. We talked about his, including the difficulties of being gay and being called to the ministry at the the same time. He was having trouble meeting people. The guys his age all just want to jump into bed and he is hoping for something more. He eventually wanted to get married and have a family of his own. Then he said, "Maybe I'll just stop being gay."
I stopped chewing and looked at him. I felt bad for him. When I was young, all the gay guys were in the closet. I know 5 other guys from my high school who are out now, and were all in the closet in high school. For me it was bad, but since I did not see people coming out, I didn't really know anything else. But for him, he sees people his age coming out all over the place, but because of his career choice, he can't. That must make it even harder.
"You know you can't do that, right?" I asked him.
He looked back at me.
"You can choose to be celibate if you want to, but you cannot stop being gay."
I went on to tell the story of how I tried to do exactly the same thing and how it eventually turned out.
I think he understood my experience and deep down I think he knows that he cannot will himself straight.
In the end, he smiled, gave me a hug and we parted ways. We have not had the chance to meet in person, but he and I still exchange text messages frequently. I think he is glad to have found someone he can talk to, who accepts him for who he is and does not want to get into his pants.