Rob, from Below the Radar, asked a good question about my last post: "OMG, Those people think we're gay!!! Who the fuck cares what they think?" Every time I comment on a comment, I preface it with, "I don't usually comment on comments, but I'm going to on this one." So, here goes. When T and I go out, I give some thought to how we act together and how we are perceived by the people around us. I think about it on a couple levels. Survival is one. We live in the buckle of the Bible Belt and walking around holding hands could get us both killed. Now, this is not something I think about a lot, but if I am being honest, it is a consideration.
Putting that to the side, when I think others have identified us as a gay couple, I am not stressed about it. On the contrary, I think it's a good thing. I have not been out very long, relatively speaking. On some levels, being an out gay man is still something of a novelty for me. It's still new and fresh. When think that someone know who I really am, and I don't sense a negative change in their behavior, it really does give me a lift. It makes me... well ... just a little bit happier. If I get a negative reaction, like I did from the kid clearing the table at the restaurant, I note it, but I don't dwell on it. It does not make me feel badly. Not even a little bit. Probably because I have trained myself, over the years in the closet, to assume everyone will react negatively, so when they do, it is really of no consequence. So, who the fuck cares what other people think? Not me. Unless what they think makes me just a little bit happier.
Last night T and I went out for dinner. I had to work all weekend, so it was nice to have a few minutes to see him. I am not bothered by it, but when we go out I often wonder if the people around us can tell we are a couple. A gay couple. T always says, of course they know. A white guy and an Asian guy together can only be a gay couple. Generally, I am an observer of people. I watch people as they pass me. I look at their eyes, their facial expressions and changes in them as I approach or pass. Last night I was watching at dinner. After the people at the table next to us (behind T, I was facing it) left, a kid came to clear the table. He was an Asian kid about 19-ish, and he glanced over at me as he was clearing the table. I met his eyes and he looked away. A few seconds later, he looked at me again. This time his expression was slightly different, decidedly negative. He only looked of for a second, finished his work and left. "I think that guy thinks were, gay." I said. T chuckled at me, "I think everyone in this place think's we're gay." He was probably right, but that kid didn't approve. After dinner, he asked me if I wanted to go for ice cream. Of course I did. Ice cream is once of my real weaknesses. So we drove to a local ice cream shop. It was empty except for 2 older ladies who were chatting over their ice cream. T and I sampled a few flavors, ordered and took our treats to go. As we walked out, one of the ladies looked up at me. I could tell she thought we were gay too. Her look, however, was not disapproving. Simply a casual acknowledgement as I passed by. Once we got outside, I told T, "I think those ladies think we're gay." He looked at me, but didn't say anything. Then it hit me. Straight guys don't go out together for ice cream!!! We laughed all the way back to the car.
I woke up with a start this morning. I am not sure what it was that jarred me from sleep. The sun was starting to come up and the room was starting to get light. "Good Morning" I said as I laid back down, reaching over to your side of the bed. You were not there. I sat up in bed and looked around. Your clothes were hanging on the rocking chair in the corner of my room. I could see your car keys on the dresser, so I knew you were still here. "T? Where are you?" You didn't answer. I got up out of bed and looked into the bathroom. No T. I Opened the door into the hall way. I could see a light on down stairs and could smell coffee brewing. I make my way down the stairs. I had not bothered to get dressed. As I reached the bottom, I could hear something moving around in the kitchen. Silently I came to the kitchen door and finally I found you. I cough softly. You look over and me and smile. Set down your coffee cup, walk over to me, and wrap me in your embrace. I close my eyes and melt into your arms. I feel warm, safe and loved. I wanted to stay like that forever. You hold me a long time, until you suddenly swear and and push me away. I open my eyes, puzzled at your sudden reaction. My nose tells me what's happening as you rush to rescue the eggs burning on the stove. Hey! A guy can dream, right?
Last night I was at K's house with the kids. Her and AJ were out for dinner. My older boys were playing X-box in the other room and I was watching "WipeOut" with my younger kids. T was with his family. He has finished work and they all go the church together on Saturday evenings. After church he sent me a text. "Hi honey! I'm home!" Oh, if he only knew how much I long to hear him say that for real when "home" for us is the same place. Anyway, as I sat there with the kids, I thought about the previous Wednesday night when T had come to my house to spend the night. We went out for dinner and when we returned to my house, he went up stairs to take a shower. I had washed the sheets on my bed and I had to get them out the dryer.
When I got upstairs he had finished his shower. He was standing naked at the sink brushing his teeth (Yes, he keeps a toothbrush at my house.) T looks a lot like this guy, so I could not help but stop and stare. Taking in the beauty of his body. What made that a meaningful moment for me was not the naked man hanging out in my bathroom. It was the feeling that, at that moment, everything was as it should be. Everyone was where they belonged. My love was with me. We were not doing anything extraordinary, but for me it was magic. I mean, let's face it. Most couples who live together are not having sex all the time. They are doing regular things that make life happen. Even most of the time when they are naked, they are engaged in personal grooming, not sex. Just like here. He was cleaning up from his day at work. I was making the bed. It was all very normal. It was all very ordinary. But for me... ...it was extraordinary. It was wonderful. It was magic.
Last night my daughter spent the night at my house. She was up early, woke me up and asked to go out for donuts. Well, sure. I don't eat donuts but I really like Dunkin Donut's coffee. (I know, I am one of the few gay guys who is not drawn to Starbucks like a moth to a flame.) She was not going to wait for me to take a shower so I put on a baseball cap and we got in the car. When we got there, the place was empty and we could have walked right up to the counter and ordered. Of course, she spent so much time at the drink cooler picking what she wanted, a whole line of people formed. I didn't mind really. I was just happy spending time with my little girl. As she was making her selection, these 2 guys walked in and got in line in front of us. They were older guys, over 65 if I had to guess. While they were not "acting gay" my gaydar went off anyway. I was sure they were together. Even before that, I was wishing that T was there with me and my daughter at the coffee shop. Actually when ever I am anywhere I find myself wishing he was there will me. But seeing these two guys in there together, made me think of him even more. I think it would be nice for us to get up on a Sunday morning and head out for coffee together. Not that we could not make coffee at home, but there is something about going there together. Sitting at the table and chatting while we sip our coffee and prepare for the rest of the day. Don't misunderstand. The time together with my daughter was priceless and I would never trade that. For now, it would be nice to merge that time, like other families do. When she is grown, we (T and I) will have that for ourselves.
I don't think I mentioned that I attended a meeting of a MeetUp group for gay dads. (Not "daddies", gay men with kids.) I can talk more about that later. But one of the guys there told me about a nude men's discussion group he attends on occasion. Me and another guy at the meeting were interested in going. This is not a sex group. These are nudists. They have a topic each week they discuss for the first hour. Then, they have a dinner. Everyone brings something and they hang around, eat, drink and talk... naked. He told me the age range of the group was 40 to 70 and and the men were of varying fitness levels. He also said there was a hard rule (no pun intended) that no sex is allowed at any time. No one touches anyone else. When the occasional erection happens, nude etiquette says to cover it up until it goes away. (I am not exactly sure how they do that. Maybe with the required towel for sitting.) I sounded interesting to me and I have never been to anything that is nudist related. I have always wanted to and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out. I was looking forward to it and I mentioned it to T. "You want to go where?" he said. He was not thrilled about the idea. We talked about it and at the end he told me to do what I want. I could tell he was not happy about it. I am sure he didn't understand why I felt the need to hang out with other naked guys. I was still resolved to go, it was something I have always wanted to do, but now I was having some doubts. K happened to stop over my house to look through some boxes she had left there. I told her about my dilemma. "You want to go where?" she asked. She said a bunch of other stuff too and ended with, "Have you completely lost your mind?" "But I have never done anything like this before, and I..." I said. She cut me off, "Well, you've never shot up heroin before either. Is that next?" I was not exactly sure what to say to that. While I didn't really see the connection between hardcore drug use and nudity, I was thinking about this group in a different way now. At the end of the day, I decided not to go. While I am curious about the whole nudist thing, I am not curious enough. T and I just got back together, and I really don't want to do anything to upset him. I was also taken off guard by K's negative reaction so maybe this was not such a good idea in the first place. So Tuesday night, instead of being at the nude group meeting, I will be with the kids, while K has volleyball tryouts.
I am gay man in his 40's who was married for 18 years to a straight woman, who is still my very best friend. We have 4 children together. She is now remarried and we still want to be supportive of each other and make a stable family for our kids.
Cast of Characters
Jim: That's me
K: The wonderful woman I married in 1993. We divorced in November 2011, and she is still my best friend.
T: My ex-boyfriend. We were together from 2008 to 2013. He is still an important person in my life.
AJ: K's new husband. They got married December 2011.
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