When I was a junior in college I made the conscious decision to climb off the fence and declare, for the indeterminable future, that I was going to live my life as a gay man. *(Included with membership was: style, wit, fashion awareness, detail, grooming, manners, art, martini, and the male girdle appreciation, secrecy, caution, abuse, scandal, misunderstandings, stereo-types, profiling, and a great number of acronyms: DINKS, A-GAY, GLB+T+Q+. . ., GUPPIES and, of course, your very own fruit fly selected for her precise complementation of my pointed wit, sarcasm, design style, performance art preference, iPod playlists, and ultimately her unconditional allegiance to all things me!)
But gay by choice not by default.
I have several friends that have absolutely no sexual or romantic interest in women. They do not find the female body (and it’s intimate components) curious or alluring. A few stumbled into confronting and compromising degrees of sexual exploration and determined that (while rounding second base and signaled to slide face-first into third base by Coach Conventionality) instinct was missing supplanted by determination. How fun might determined sex feel as opposed to instinctual sex? When I say “instinct” it includes a deep, gnawing curiosity; hunger that causes selfishness, self-concern, and manipulation; desire under pressure like a shaken can of pop. Most of my gay friends have profound respect for and completely empathize with the daily struggles women face in our culture today. They just lack any degree of sexual interest.
I, on the other hand, was different. The exploration of a woman’s body was like walking through a dense green forest, lush, abundant, enchanting, and yet dangerous, secretive, thick canopies cripple directions, and customary trails challenge the most experienced — twisting and turning and vanishing into a thicket. A man’s body isn’t explored, it’s an ascent, with carefully calculated base camps strategically dotting the vista; a man’s body like a mountain is built of craggy rock, covered by a dense base of snow, hardened like iron, ancient, as though Hannibal crossed it; age, like summit storms, blankets the snow pack with uncertainty; simply put, both man and mountain, there’s but one direction, up, and it’s the peak which they all seek to conquer.
And it was back in college that I failed horribly at coming out of the closet. And not for any of the reasons most gay men site: fear, ridicule, retaliation, physical harm. I failed at coming out because I fell madly in love with a wonderful woman. My sexual attraction was clearly stronger for men, but every time I attempted the summit, I found myself lost in the enchanted forest. While my roommates hopped from bed to bed like Goldilocks, I was stepping deeper and deeper into the gloomy and impervious forest sensing that the clearing would soon disappear and so would I, the real me, into a world which was pleasant and decent and impossible to promise fidelity.
What I determined was that I could easily marry a woman, but I couldn’t promise fidelity. No matter the depth of my love for her, a strong chin, broad shoulders, narrow hips would always catch my eye. And even though I never had the chance to fall madly in love with a man, I was absolutely certain that when I did fall in love with a man, I could promise fidelity because my desire for women was lower than my desire for men.
Above all I refused to live a life of avoidance, determined to be faithful, and desperately trying to deny my fundamental identity. I wanted a life of unrestricted expression and a promise which I would never break.
(POST NOTE: 3 years later I met Nick and fell madly and deliciously in love.
28 years later; promise intact.)