Wednesday, 12 October 2011

One Day We'll Look Back and Laugh...

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I teach an evening  Adult Education Course at a local college.

When my partner and I were first going out, I used to send him emails and Facebook messages during my coffee breaks.  Being the instructor, my desktop was projected on a huge screen behind. So, I would always turn the projector off before sending my little love notes.

At that time, I wasn’t closeted, but I wasn’t standing at the head of the class with a megaphone announcing my sexuality. The only thing my students knew about me personally was that I had become a grandfather ten months previous. The inference was that I had sex with a woman, who bore my daughter, who then (I don't even want to think about it) had sex with a man and bore my granddaughter.
Okay... back to the story...

So, one particular fall evening it was coffee time.  The male students had left the room for coffee, while the females remained. They were chatting and one says to me, “How’s your granddaughter?”  I said, “She’s beautiful”.  At the risk of sounding sexist, the women, being women (and mothers) then started asking if I had any photo’s.
I didn’t have any in my wallet, but I did know how to access them: Facebook.  AND I could project her beautiful little face on the big screen behind my desk.  So, I logged into Facebook and opened the photo album with her pictures.  Just as I did that, my partner’s face popped up in a Facebook chat window in the middle of the screen with the message, “I love you”.  Being relatively new to Facebook, I didn’t know how to immediately close the window, so I kept minimizing it. Well, every time my granddaughter’s photo changed, the little chat window would pop up and display the face and the “I love you” message.  I did my best dumbfounded “what the heck is this?” while madly clicking away…  finally I got the chat window to close.

Not that I cared about my students knowing I was gay, I just wasn't going to give them the "I'm gay, deal with it bitches" speech.  While they never said a word, I sensed they figured it out from their knowing smiles…
When I got home, I phoned him and when he said, “I love you.” I responded, “I know… and so does everyone in my class”  They learned more than they paid for that night!

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Gay Agenda




I'm beginning to worry that I may have come out too late in life.  Why do I say this?  Well, lately, I've heard more and more about "The Gay Agenda".  It reads harmless enough, but when it's spoken as a CNN pronouncement with a James Earl Jones type of commanding voice... I get worried.

Make no mistake.  I am 100 % gay.  I only desire to have sex with men.  I have a partner who is male. I go to Gay Pride.  I call myself a gay man.  I majored in Gaydar at life's school of hard knocks. I know the difference between tastefully chic and tacky. I can even be overly emotional if the occaision demands it such as crying at a supermarket opening.  In other words: I earned my gay card.  And I'm not giving it up for anything or anyone.

I know gay.  I know gay people.  None of them seem to know about his "Gay Agenda".  Now I'm wondering if there is a "Secret Gay Club" having "Secret Gay Club Meetings". This would necessitate an agenda:

1. Meeting Called To Order
2. Roll Call (please respond to your real name, not your online-chatroom-hookup site aliases)
3. Minutes of the last meeting. (No need for this.  We're Gay.  We remember EVERYTHING)
4. New Business:
     - Discussion of the political right wing religious zealots who seem to think we gays want to turn every straight man gay.  We can avoid wasting time discussing this by getting to the bottom line: there are way too many ugly straight men who might as well stay with women because we don't want them.
     - Lesbians.  We love them because they lessen the competition for the hot men.
5. Next Meeting.   Whenever. 
6. Adjournment.   Whatever

If I were King of the World (yes, King!  Not every gay man wants to be a woman), I would set my own Gay Agenda.  It wouldn't be for any Club or Society.  No my agenda would be simple: Gay or Straight. You're all my subjects.  Just get along because I love you equally, except for the few I'm going to have the good taste not to mention...

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Can I Come Out Now?




When I was a little boy and my parents found me guilty of some family transgression, I was made to stand in the corner until I had learned my lesson. The lesson to be learned faded into obscurity as I stared at the intersection of those two walls. I pleaded the standard parole plea with "Can I come out now?" As I got older and the wall effect had no effect, I was banished to my room. The exit requests didn't come for a while because my room was the cache of my worldly belongings... so I could play, I mean 'contemplate', with them until boredom set in. At this point I began my strategy to return from exile. When I discovered my sexuality “Can I come out now?” took on whole new meaning.

As an adult, who came out at the age of 53, I often reflect on the question of why I stayed in the closet for so long. After all, what is a closet? It can be a scary, dark place with dust and spiders - made all the more terrifying if you're arachnophobic. It seems we’re locked in that mental closet and what keeps us in there is fear. Ah, yes. Fear! The motivator of the ages.

On the other hand, that closet can also be a safe haven where no one can harm you.... except for maybe the odd black widow spider. It can be warm and comforting, just like the womb. Unfortunately, when you hit 30, the womb is no longer 'The Place To Be’.

My ex wife died when I was 43. On one hand, it was liberating, but it came with a price – and not something you could bid for on The Price Is Right. Four months prior to her terminal diagnosis, I had made the age old mistake of coming out to her, which she threw back at me. I detailed this experience in my previous blog“A Fault Bigger Than The San Andreas”. Reluctantly, I was back in the closet after only taking one step out.

As a single father, I was somewhat surprised at the amount of women who found me attractive. So there goes the theory that we give off a ‘gay vibe’. Naturally, I panicked in any situation which might lead to intimacy with the opposite sex. Having to come up with an excuse, I always said that I had to “go home to the children. . . now!!! “ I had a party once where one of the female guests declared that I was (and I quote) “the sexiest man she had ever met”. Apparently she didn’t get out much. She also came on to me quite bluntly by telling me she wanted to stay the night. When I responded with, “gee, I’m sorry, I don’t think my children would feel comfortable with that”, my daughter picked up the cue and added, “I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable.” Another woman threw herself at me and when I refused her advances, simply looked at me and said, “My God, what did she do to you?”. Ah, the one time I could shift the focus to the ex wife without saying a word!

I even had my own personal stalker. Stalker was her nickname, but was she really stalking me? Well, you be the judge. One day my daughter and I were parking the car, when I noticed my divorcee neighbor looking out her window. Being a friendly guy, I waved. My daughter then informed me that this woman was always in the window, watching me. If I came home after dark, she’d turn the light out so that I wouldn’t see her standing there. I thought it was just my daughter being overprotective of Dad, but her observations were confirmed by the neighbor across the street. Hmm… I’m flattered, but hey I’m a closeted gay man! I thought nothing of it, until she started showing up “coincidentally” at the café where I usually ate lunch. Hmm… a little more creepy than flattering… This went on until the day I decided to come out. She had “coincidentally” met me in the parking lot of the café. She bounded up to me and asked, “So what’s new?” I looked at her and said, “I’m gay. And I’ve got a boyfriend. That’s about it.” I don’t know if she thought I was joking or not, but I can assure you – that was the Day the Stalking Stopped. It was so joyous it would have made a great country and western song!

It was not a comforting to have these woman throwing themselves at me. My ego’s not big enough to think it was all me. I had a good job. Good money. I knew how to cook, clean and take care of a household. My sister explained it by saying that I was a good catch. Kind of like the big salmon that you’re going to throw on the BBQ.

As you know, I didn’t want any of these women sexually. As a matter of fact, none of them interested me in a companionship way, either. I didn’t mind seeing them at parties and through the kitchen window, but as companions they weren’t what I was looking for. When I started dating men, I almost lost hope in that department.

There was one guy I never really dated, but I was determined to get at least one date out of him. All he wanted to do was chat on MSN. What kind of a relationship was that? On a scale of 1 to 10, it was a zero! We actually met once for coffee and from that point on, it was online only. Being new to the scene, I thought maybe this is the way it should be. Fate intervened about 3 weeks into this routine when we had arranged a chat for 10:00 one night.  Yes, chats were always prearranged.  So, I go online and there he is.  Only problem is, not only does he NOT chat with me, he doesn't even acknowledge that I'm online.  Then I see him go offline.  So I sent him an email and told him that this wasn't working for me.  He replied with some gobbledygook explanation, that I just ignored.  I may have been closeted and new to the scene, but I wasn't going to have any jerk ignore the rules of Common Courtesy.

Then there were the gay guys wanted to cheat on their boyfriends – sorry, guys, not my style. It pissed me off that their relationship status was never mentioned up front. Seems they forgot they had committed to someone else. It was only when you tried to get them to go on a date in a public place on a Saturday night that the truth came out.

I had also gone out with a couple of guys (AKA Losers) who only wanted to see me every three weeks or so. And then it was for nothing more than a quick tumble and a shy goodbye. The idea of just doing something was not a part of the scenario. Yup, the future wasn’t looking optimistic at all. I had heard that there are a lot of great guys out there. I just couldn’t find them….. By the time I met the man who would become my partner; I had pretty much given up finding Mr. Right.

A good friend of mine, who was counseling me through the coming out phase of my life was quite blunt. “You’ll never find the man you’re looking for online.”, he said.” You’re just coming out. You have a son who won’t talk to you because he just found out you’re gay. Maybe you just need to back off for a while and get yourself together.” What he said made a great deal of sense and I agree do nothing. EXCEPT there was this one guy, who was a father like me and was just coming out himself and well, I had already agreed to meet him for coffee……

Of course, that man turned out to be the man who is my partner, my love, my best friend and my companion. My partner’s journey was fairly close to my own. He inspired me when he said he was telling at least one person a day that he was gay. When it came to telling people about our relationship, we refer to it as telling someone about “The Puppy” , suitably named after the Ellen DeGeneres episode. Interestingly enough, since coming out and partnering up, I have met lots and lots of gay couples who are just regular guys – just like me.

Can I come out now? Oh man, I should have come out years ago. So to you guys who are at the beginning phase of coming out and perhaps feel trapped in marriage, I say, “Hang in there”. I truly believe things happen for a reason and I’m thinking the reason is that I had to go and meet other guys, including the losers, so that when I met Mr. Right I’d know without hesitation that it was him. He is the man I love, the man I’m building my future with!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Bigger Fault Than The San Andreas




I've been reading a lot about how ex-wives feel 'betrayed' when a gay husband outs himself, particularly where the outing has happened after the marriage has ended or been irrevocably damaged. What concerns me is some people’s attitude that the woman has somehow been victimized by the news. While this may be true in some cases, I don’t believe the fault needs to always be laid at the door of the closet the husband came through.


Here is my story.

I grew up in a time where gay was 'abnormal', 'wrong', 'curable', and 'a Satan loving choice of the depraved'. Hmmm... I still hear those comments from the homophobically unenlighted but they don't bother me now because I now know I am 'normal', 'right', 'not ill' and 'a God made gay man who is more Christian in nature than those judgmental fools who call themselves Capital C Christians'! I reserve a different Capital C word for those people...

I had one thing in common with most closeted men: I was terrified about coming out. While plotting what life I would have as a closeted gay man, I encountered a particularly attractive woman who was interested in me. A woman interested in me? Was there a closeted hetero waiting inside of me trying to get out? I had had sex with a woman before, so I knew about the ‘husbandly duty’ in advance. I was 30 years old and thought I would live a happier, better life as a straight man. Perhaps there was admiration for musical theatre, Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnellli in the hetero world!

So how did I meet this woman?

I was taking acting classes in my late 20's and one day a very attractive woman showed up. I may have been closeted gay, but I can (and still do) appreciate beauty when I see it. Apparently, she had seen me in a play and decided she wanted to meet me. Instead of being suspicious and calling it for what it was (weird), I was flattered. She started calling me at home. In those days, it was "you lucky dog", today it would be "stalking". Eventually, we started dating and one thing lead to another and within a year we were married. Looking back, it was faster than a speeding bullet, but then, what the hell did I know about how hetero relationships were supposed to develop?

We were married to 10 years or 70 dog years. I felt somewhat content because I had children and I had a wife. You know, the things a man is supposed to have. What could possibly go wrong?

One day my wife and her best girlfriend went to a lecture on Tibet. Apparently, the lecture included the struggles of the Dalai Lama and how many American film stars had come to his aid, including Richard Gere. Now the wife was totally into saving Tibet. I couldn’t argue, it seemed like a good cause.

One day when she was dropping me off at work, she had a video that she was going to return to the Video Store. As we hadn’t watched a video together in the previous week, I was curious which one it was. Now she started acting strange, telling me that it didn’t matter which video it was, just one that she wanted to watch. Totally perplexed, I grabbed the video to see what it was. Maybe she was watching porn instead of daytime TV. I had to know. When I looked at it, I saw that it was “Sommersby” starring Richard Gere and Jodie Foster. Get the connection yet? I didn’t. I said, “Sommersby! We hated that movie”. Which was a true statement, because we did when we had watched it previously. She rather sheepishly said, “I just wanted to see if it was as bad as we first thought.” I walked into my work building thinking “women! Can’t figure ‘em out!” and that was the end of that. Until….

It’s months later. The video incident is forgotten. One day, I’m putting away the laundry. Yes, dear readers, I worked full time, did most of the cooking, cleaned the house AND did the laundry. Her? She was so busy trying to save Tibet that she didn’t have time for mundane things like laundry.

So, I’m trying to fit her panties in her underwear drawer and they won’t fit. This is odd. So I pushed a little harder and felt something hard. You can take a breath, I didn’t find one of those self pleasing battery operated cylinders. What I found was a stack of videos. Again I thought, is she into porn? I pulled them out and looked at them. The one thing they all had in common: they all starred Richard Gere. Now you have to admit: this IS weird. Why would you hide videos? If they were in the living room with the other videos, I would never have noticed. It was so bizarre that I put them back, put the panties in a different drawer and carried on with my household chores.

It was sometime later that she announced she was going to India for 3 months to meet with the Dalai Lama. Yes, she ‘announced’. Didn’t ask. Didn’t discuss. Just announced. I then had my first taste of being a single father. I had to take care of the children (who were then 9 and 6), work full time and take care of the house. I’m not beatifying myself. I did what I had to do.

When she returned, she related how she met Richard Gere in India. Hmm… what a coincidence!!! She was there the same time as him! Poor guy….

Up to her becoming the Dalai Mama, our relationship was fine. Our sex life was good. However, once she got back from her trip, things rapidly declined. It wasn’t long after that, we were driving to town when she made the proclamation: “I’ve looked at my future and I don’t see you as part of it.” One day I came home and she had moved me out of the master bedroom into the laundry room. When she openly watched Richard Gere movies, I knew it was over.

We divorced almost 10 years to the day we were married.

Being a modern woman, she wanted to remain friends. She wanted to know how I was doing, who I was seeing. I felt such a failure because I couldn’t keep my marriage together that I wasn’t interested in meeting or seeing anyone. What kind of a loser was I anyway?

Two years later, I was doing a play and one night I got hit on by a man in the cast. I felt attractive again. I thought, “Maybe I can be the gay ex-husband and all will be well.” In my dreams, that is…

She sensed I was seeing someone, so I finally told her it was a man. Her reaction? C’mon get your surprise masks out! She was BETRAYED and I RUINED the marriage. Whoa, Dalai Mama!!! Hold your Tibetan prayer beads just one cotton pickin’ minute!!! It’s been two years since YOU divorced me. You were chasing Richard Gere, remember? How did this factor into betrayal? She told me that being gay was something I always was. Ok, so she admits I was born this way – it’s a start. But, I shouldn’t have married her if I knew I was gay. Keep holdin’ those beads, sister. My sexuality NEVER came into play during our decade together. I never acted upon it and I was prepared to spend the rest of my life with her. She even asked, “our sex life was good, wasn’t it?”. I said “yes it was. But that was then, this is now”.

She died of cancer a year and a half after that. Before she died, she came to me and said – in the most hateful, spiteful, guilt inducing tone I’d ever heard her speak, “You may be happy in your new found revelations about your life, but you are NOT to tell our son about it. It will destroy him.” I don't know which was worse: the guilt trip or the fact she announced it in a restaurant where every patron could hear it ...

Great… she dies, I’m a single dad… I’m back in the closet before I can even fully come out….. for another 13 years….

So you see, the dissolution of our marriage had nothing to do with me being gay. However, the information allowed the ex-wife to rationalize and justify her ending the marriage. Oh yes, she tried to make the fault mine and a bigger fault than the San Andreas.

But I’m not buying it. And that same goes for other guys who did nothing until after the marriage had dissolved. It goes hand-in-hand with a no fault divorce…

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

But I Don't Want the Boomerang to Come Back...



Boomerang child that is.

I had the unpleasant duty of evicting my son this past weekend.  He had originally left home (which was in another city) at 18. At the age of 22, he moved back in because he was ‘in transition’ from a city 2 hours north of me to a city 1 hour south. There wasn’t a formal drawn up agreement, so I couldn’t point to the particular clause he had violated, which is normally followed by reference to the termination of tenancy clause.
Please be aware the "Final Straw" I'm about to relate was not a one-off. It was the culmination of many months of trying to get him to take responsibility for himself. Trying to get him to get a job. Trying to remind him civilly about our agreement. You know, the non-existent one which was verbal only.
During his vacation stay at Chez Dad's he didn't have a job and worse, didn't contribute to the house by doing his dishes, helping out in the yard or even cleaning up after himself in the bathroom.
He orginally was going to stay for 4 - 6 weeks (in layman's terms - no more than a month and a half.) Sounds fair, right? Well, I thought so, until . . . 1 year and 2 months later, he was still here. At least I think it was him, or one of the Walking Dead who happened to live in my house. I say this because the similarities were frightening:

1. Shuffled around with a strained look on his face.

2. Grunted when spoken to.

3. (metaphorically) feasting on my life blood as he had no job and no ambition of getting one.

The last straw for me was when I tried to get him to talk to his sister on the phone. He was angry with her and said she go f—k herself, which I find odd because women aren’t physically built the same as men. When I chastised him for this, he told me I could do the same. Now it was getting personal. I let it go for the time because I was a little stunned. Probably more so because the zombie actually did more than just grunt. He said a whole sentence.
Sleeping on it, I decided it was time for him to leave. I wrote him a very nice email from work - taking extreme care to ensure it wasn’t inflammatory. I gave him two weeks to find a new place, then another 2 weeks for him to get his belongings.

After all my care choosing the right words, crafting proper sentence structure and trying to make him understand this was for his good, he replied with “You can f—k yourself”. My son desperately needs to find new material as I had already heard that one and quite recently. 
Feeling the need to stand my ground, I replied with “You can always leave sooner”. He must have been at the computer because the next response came almost immediately “And you can always f—k yourself sooner, you piece of sh-t” . Sensing a bit of hostility in this, I gave him the final ultimatum: “I expect you will be gone by the time I got home from work”. And like a good boy, he was. This may have been the first step on his road to redemption and responsibility. If it is, I have completed my duty as a father.  If it isn't.... I've still completed my duty as a father.

Yes, I make fun of what happened – but that’s the nature of my blog. Actually, no fun at all and I really don’t feel good about doing what I had to do.

When I related the story to a coworker who has known my son for 15 years, I added that I wouldn’t be surprised to have come home and found FAG spray painted across my garage door. I added this because I believe that my sexuality may be part of his anger. My coworker asked, “when he was telling you to f—k yourself, did he say ‘go f—k yourself, fag’?. When I said “no”, he said, “if he didn’t call you that at the time he was trying to hurt you most, then most likely it’s not part of his vocabulary. He’s angry at you yes, but at Dad, not at gay Dad.”

Gay Dad! Sounds like a superhero!!! And no one would question why I was wearing tights!

To all you other gay dads out there, you’re still the father regardless of your sexuality. Will my son ever talk to me again? Who knows? Maybe when he matures a little and realizes there was a reason Dad didn’t want the boomerang to come back. Dad was enabling, not helping.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Call I Never Got To Make



My mom died four years ago, before I had the chance to come out to her. I know she would have loved my partner as much as I do. My father, he's still around somewhere.... we don't have a relationship, never had and never will. Some people say that it's a shame - my mother gone and no relationship with the man who sired me. You know, you can't miss what you never had. So I'm really ok about it. Besides I have my partner, my children and my grandchildren. All is good.

This blog is basically how I imaged that conversation would have gone. I talked to my mom a lot on the phone, so here's the call I never got to make:


ME: Hi Mom. It’s me…. Just wanted to share some news with you.. I'm gay.

MOM: ... Gay!.... Like a homosexual?

ME: Yes, I like a homosexual.

MOM: But you were married.

ME: I wanted to be sure.

MOM: You fathered a child.

ME: I wanted to be really sure.

MOM: You actually fathered two children.

ME: I wanted to be really, really sure!!!

MOM: ... Who did this to you?

ME: No one did this to me, Mom. But if you really need to point a finger, try God. He makes people in all sorts of styles and flavours.

MOM: I don't think that's funny.

ME: I don't either. Look  Mom, it's no big deal. It's just the way I am.

MOM: You have three brothers... how come none of them are gay?

ME: Maybe I'm just a bad seed! Interesting concept - maybe I have a little gay devil in me.  Would you like to see if I can turn my head around?

MOM: We're on the phone, dear

ME: Right!….Listen, Mom, if I believed in outing people -

MOM: Outing?  Is that the same as going out to lunch?

ME: No, Mom, outing is when you tell people that someone else is gay without their consent.  It's a good thing, because I'd have to tell you something about one of your other sons...

MOM: Like what?

ME: Like something he wouldn't want you to know (hint hint).... However, while we're on the subject, I can tell you one of the reasons he's a misogynist.

MOM: You know I don’t like crude language!

ME:  A misogynist is a woman hater. It’s got nothing to do with female parts of the body. And speaking of which, ew gross, Mom!!!

MOM: What will I tell your father?

ME: Tell him, he has a gay son and get him to guess which one!

MOM: You know, if you tell him - it will kill him.

ME: Quick, put him on the phone! Then we’ll do lunch…












Monday, 18 July 2011

Frog . . . Frog . . . Prince!!!


If only one could bypass the Frog stage of relationships. Ah, would life be sweet!

Alas, it was not to be. I discovered , much to my chagrin that Frogs come in all shapes, sizes, occupations and levels of integrity.

Being newly out, I didn’t know how to meet people. I found out very quickly THE place to go was online. I tried various places such as “Lots Of Seafood” and “Spray”. I learned very quickly there were lots of Frogs out there with a Mr. Frog waiting for him on the lily pad, not knowing or even wondering if he was out getting a ribbit from someone else. There were also Frogs who wanted a quick highway crossing with no consequences or commitment because there was a Mrs. Frog waiting for him back on the pond.

My two frogs of note, I call 70% Tadpole and Toad of Amphibion Hall. Before I talk about them I want to be very clear on this: I do not believe or condone people being outted without their express permission. Thus, I will keep the identifying signatures of these two secret so that even if they read this blog, they would not be able to self identify.

70% Tadpole declared with uncertainty that he was 70% gay, but probably, maybe, perhaps, most likely he was 100% gay because he leaned in that direction. How very astute of him! We’d go out on a date, to a movie or just a walk, after which he wouldn’t want to see me for two weeks because he ‘needed his space’. . . whatever . . . After a couple of months the relationship came to a head. We were having dinner at my place and I thought things were going well, so I asked him, “What do you think of our relationship?” Without missing a beat or even having to think about it, he replied, “You’re not the man for me, would you pass the salt?”. I wasn’t in love with him, but I thought the remark rather cold.  I saw him again once after that. We had gone to a concert. Realizing that he wasn’t the man for me either, I gave him a hug and said, “You take of yourself” and walked away. I never looked back. I imagine he is still one lonely Tadpole. Perhaps now he’s moved up to 80%, who knows?

Toad of Amphibian Hall was an interesting case. Here was a man who in every day medical terms would be called a ‘slut’ – only I didn’t know it at the time. He wanted to take things s-l-o-w with me because he ‘really liked me – I wasn’t like the other guys – and he wanted to build a relationship slowly’. I thought this was a nice compliment, even though like 70% Tadpole, he only wanted to meet every couple of weeks. One day a friend of mine advised me that the Toad was going to various hookup sites and describing himself as a man who wanted to hookup for sex. It was all very schoolgirlish,but I was glad I had the information and advised him that we didn’t have – nor could we have – a relationship.

So yes, there were some Frogs (and a Tadpole and a Toad) in my life. The sum of the experiences with them actually made me a stronger, more self-confident individual when my Prince finally came along.

I had a joined a dating website. One day I received a message from another guy on that site who, like me, was a gay father and he asked if we could meet. Looking at his profile, I decided that due to the fact he lived an hour and a half’s drive away from me, it wouldn’t work. I was not interested in a long distance relationship. He seemed like a nice guy, so I offered us to be virtual, online friends. Boy, was I lucky that he graciously accepted the offer.

We started chatting and a few weeks later he said, “Look, instead of online chatting, why don’t we talk? Here is my phone number”. A phone call was then arranged. It was a Thursday night. I called him at 7:00 PM sharp. After talking for a while, I looked at the time. It was already passed 10:00 PM!!! We had talked for over 3 hours. We had so much in common that I said, “you know, I’d kind of like to meet you”. So we arranged to meet the following Sunday at 9:30 AM for coffee in a town that was halfway between where he lived and where I lived.

I showed up at the restaurant at 9:30 exactly (I didn't want to see too eager) and when I walked in, I took one look at him and said, “Wow!”. I thought he was cute from his photo, but in person – wow!!! The coffee started at 9:30 AM and we parted that night at 9:30 PM. The longest date I’d ever had! I know this is going to sound corny, but I fell in love with him that day. I actually proved that there is such a thing as "love at first sight". It’s now almost 3 years since that day. We’re together whenever possible and we talk on the phone every night. And since that day, we always talk in terms of future plans… this is him, my man, my partner, my love.

He's very modest and that's another thing I love about him.  He's got great qualities, even if he doesn't recognize them in himself.

To my Prince I say “You have brought such passion and raison-d’etre to my life. We sometimes disagree, but when we do it’s without anger or malice. We laugh and love without hesitation. We bring our families together as a caring unit. To quote two movies 1) Jerry Maguire: “You complete me” and 2) As Good As It Gets: "You make me want to be a better person"  I love you.

To the lost men out there who may read this, I say to you: don't worry, you will find your Prince.  You may just have to kiss a few Frogs along the way.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Coming Out? Let me count the ways....




Coming out to my first friend was easy because it just happened with no malice aforethought. We were talking down the street and he wanted to know why I would not date the divorcee who lived next door to me.  It just came out - kind of like me, "after 10 years of knowing me, haven't you figured it out?  I'm gay!".  His response was, "well... that explains a lot. I'm happy for you".

Coming out to my daughter was even easier.  She asked, "... you're gay, aren't you?..." to which I simply answered "yes".

My son was different.  He wanted to negotiate it.  "How about we keep that part of your life separate from your relationship with me?".  I wasn't stepping one foot out of the closet and then stepping back it at his convenience! I was completely coming out, so I told him, "No... this is me, it's my life and I'm not changing it for you or anyone. You'll just have to accept me for me."

The euphoria of finally coming out and telling people wasn't always met with the surprise that I thought it should.  When I decided to tell a co-worker, I went into his office, closed the door and said,"I'm about to tell you something and before I do, I want you to know I'm the same man I was before I told you. . . so, here goes: I'm gay."  Without missing a beat he said, "No surprise there", which surprised me because I'm not a flamer, I'm just a regular guy.  He then went on to say, "You know, I was talking to my wife the other day and I told her that I hoped you'd wake up one day and realize you're gay. I am really happy for you, buddy."

Another co-worker was relating some outrageous homophobic thing our boss had said to which I responded, "I wonder if he'd say that if he knew I was gay."  She just nodded, smiled and said she was happy for me.

When I told my sister, she just looked at me and said, "We should have had this talk years ago".

I came out to other friends when they asked about my children.  I'd lead with "My son doesn't appreciate having a gay dad."  It always opened up a wonderful dialogue.

The above happened over a 4 year period.  During that time I met, fell in love and have been happy partnered for 3 of those 4 years.  So the last time I came out, it was to one of my subordinates at work. She asked me why I went to Manitoba in May.  I simply responded, "because my partner's father was having an operation and I went to be supportive." Her eyes lit up and she said with a big smile, "Nice!"

The bottom line of this blog is that I have lost no friends or family over coming out.  If nothing else, they have been very supportive.  I will end this with the response I got from my oldest brother.  When I told him I was gay he said, "I'm just sorry you felt you had to hide it all of these years.  I am happy for you and I love you."

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Kids say the gayest things....


In my last blog, I had finally referred to myself as being gay. Before I continue I need to add that for me it was an iconic moment when I decided it was time to come out of the closet.  I'm not talking about tippy-toeing around in nice fluffy slippers, I'm talking about standing tall and proud wearing my favorite clothes – jeans and a t-shirt - because I was normal like anyone else, I just happened to be gay.


It was October 2007. I was in Orlando staying at Disney World with male friend who didn’t know my horrible, deep, dark, spine tingling secret. We stayed in separate rooms and one morning I’m lying in bed thinking, “Here I am in a beautiful place and yet it’s all wrong!!!   I should be here with my man and I don’t even know who he is. Certainly he's not my friend in the next room”. Now I knew it was time and I had to prepare to meet men!  But how?  Maybe I should create a questionnaire and start taking applications . . . I know! I’ll do something when I get home.


From that point on, I began to seek out other gay males on the World Wide Web… I’ll write about some of those experiences in a later blog . . . but for now, I still had to come out to my children.


My daughter, her husband and children live out of town and it’s a three hour drive to get there. My granddaughter was about 6 months old at the time when I decided to drive up and visit for the weekend. Previous to the visit, my daughter had been fishing around about my love life, but hadn’t come right out and asked the "Big Question". I didn’t think it would happen this particular weekend, so I felt somewhat comfortable.


I arrived late morning and my daughter wanted to go to lunch at the nearest discount retailer known as Zellers. Now I’m thinking this Zellers must be pretty darn good because there were lots and lots and lots of other options, but she wanted the Big Z! So I said, “OK, let’s go!”. We arrive at the cafeteria which may have had 15 tables in it. I did a double take because I’m thinking, “We could have gone anywhere . . . I’m sure I made that clear”.


She chose a table that happened to be smack dab in the middle of the eating area. The other tables were so close that not only could I hear the local gossip, but I could clearly see the quality of the food (or lack of it).   Zeller lovers, don’t get me wrong, I collect those valuable Club Z points like anyone else, but this place was more than a little run down.  Since I hadn’t seen my daughter in a couple of months, I would have sprung for lunch anywhere, regardless of price or location.


You have to appreciate that my daughter has a voice that carries. She can be unintentionally LOUD. So, imagine my surprise and discomfort - to the delight of the other patrons when she asked, in her LOUD voice, “SO, DAD, HOW’S YOUR LOVE LIFE”?   To the other customers, this was better than a blue light special. They all stopped talking and focused their eyes and ears in our direction. Very discretely, I replied, “What love life?”


Now, I can honestly say I’ve never lied to my children. I’ve taught them that honesty is the best policy and with them, I’ve always practiced what I've preached. So when her next question was “WOULD YOU GO OUT WITH A WOMAN YOUNGER THAN YOU?” I honestly replied, “. . . no . . .” She wasn’t about to give up: “SO, WOULD YOU GO OUT WITH A WOMAN OLDER THAN YOU?” Again, I simply said, “. . . no . . .” . I knew what was coming next and so did everyone else in the vicinity as they leaned in to hear.

She started to ask, “WELL, WHAT KIND OF A WOMAN WOULD YOU – OH MY GOD, THE BABY HAS POOPED THROUGH HER DIAPER AND I’M OUT OF DIAPERS . . . WE’VE GOT TO FIND SOME . . . ”

She jumped up with the baby and headed towards the diaper section. As we’re hurrying along, she says “DON’T THINK I’M GOING TO LET THIS DROP” to which I finally said, “For God sakes, child, I don’t feel like discussing my love life in the middle of Zellers!”

She got the diapers, paid for them, changed the baby and then we headed back to her place. I think she was uncomfortable with my last response, so she let the subject drop. I didn’t think that was fair so I brought it up again, “My daughter, you have been skirting the issue about my personal life . . . ”.

She giggled and asked, “you’re gay, aren’t you?”, to which I said, “Yes”.

“I KNEW IT. I SAID TO MY HUSBAND, I THINK MY DAD’S GAY AND HE SAID (she lowers her voice to imitate the low masculine overly manly mannerisms that some jocks have) NO. NO. YOUR DAD’S NOT GAY.”

She told me she loved me and gave me a big hug, then proceeded with , “I’M GOING TO TELL ALL OF MY FRIENDS AND EVERYONE I KNOW: ‘MY DAD’S GAY AND I’M PROUD OF HIM!!!’”

“You know sweetheart you don’t have to do that, besides I still have to find the right way to tell your brother”.  This in itself may take a blog or two . . .

We talked some more and I told her about the two things in the world you never want to know about: one was your parents sex life and the other was your children’s sex life. I reminded her of when she was 16 and we we’re having a huge father/daughter fight and she storms out of the room after yelling, ‘AND WHEN I HAVE SEX, I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO TELL YOU’ to which I shouted back, “GOOD BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO KNOW!!!”

I babysat for them that evening and before she left she says, “DAD, I HAVE THE PERFECT VIDEO FOR YOU TO WATCH WHILE WE’RE GONE”.  The name of that Video?       “ I  Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

After the 5 phases of coming out, I finally say the "G" word


It’s interesting how things just happen. I always thought my coming out would be akin to Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Only for me it would be deflection, bargain hunting, fear and depression, exhilaration and finally who cares?

And it would be full of drama because that’s just the way gays are, isn’t it?

Let’s start with Denial, which in my closeted world was Deflection. I was a Zen Master at it. When questioned “Are you gay?”, the deflector (in this case me) doesn’t deny, he deflects: “Am I gay? Am I gay??? ….. Tell me who’s saying I am gay? Is it the hot mailman who would take my breath away if I was gay or the dorky delivery boy who probably is gay and fantasizes about me day and night? Not that I want to change this fascinating subject, but did you hear about Bob…?”

Stage two: Bargain Hunting. I changed bargaining to bargain hunting because let’s face it: I’m gay and I’m not about to bargain that away so that I could spend the rest of my life with some plain jane with no sense of humour. I was thinking it would unfold something like this: “Hmm… I’ll come out if I can have a muscular, handsome, rich man who thinks I’m all a man could ever want and will take me to another country and wait on me hand and foot every waking moment for the rest of my days. Otherwise, I’ll take the Rockports in size 9 1/2. “

I added fear to depression because I see them as almost being in sync. Closeted gays live in the fear of being outed, while depressed gays are just depressed and usually because deep down they want to be outed with all the finesse of Cinderella getting that glass slipper to fit, but life in the fear of discovery. Or else a gay man may use depression as a means of garnering sympathy and use it to maximum effect. It is what it is and those among us who would use it usually fit under the description of Drama Queen, even if they’ve never donned gay apparel. You know the type, they want you to know about their every little letdown and humiliation. Although one wants to be supportive, sometimes a good kick the butt is what is needed. Next time you hear, “I can’t go on… life has no meaning… what did I ever do to deserve such disappointment?”, respond with “Why does it always have to be about you, Mother?”

Acceptance becomes utter exhilaration . You know the feeling of liberttion. You want to shout it from the roof tops, you want to walk up to some stranger and say, “Hey, man, I’m gay!”, although that might not necessarily be a good idea in a red neck back water drinking hole in the middle of nowhere..

Finally, it’s who cares? And this my friends is the step you need to achieve. What happens in the who cares phase is that no one cares if your gay or if you’re straight. You’re just you… and let me tell you outside of a multiple orgasm, there just isn’t a better feeling. Since coming out, I have been told by friends and family just how happy I am. I attribute it to having the best partner in the world (I love you, sweetie), but can understand that getting through those phases has made my life so much simpler – no more gender switching when you’re talking about the weekend to your coworkers.

Looking back, when I was in phase one and asked if I was gay, I should have just yes and gone directly to the last phase. I would have saved a lot of time and grief and perhaps my hair wouldn’t be quite so gray..

My actual coming out just happened. There was no drama, no thunder claps and the earth didn't open up and swallow me whole.  I was walking along the street with a good friend who kept hounding me about dating my personal female stalker (more on that in another blog)... He finally said, "why don't you just go out with her", I looked at him and said, "after 10 years haven't you figure out that I'm gay?"  I finally said the "G" word and not about someone else. I actually admitted it to another human being (which I'm sure is somewhere in a 12 step outing program).  He looked at me and said, "well, that does explain a lot.  I didn't think you were gay because you always laugh at gay jokes!"  I replied, "I laugh when a joke is funny."

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Some things have to be handled delicately... otherwise you break the spell


So realizing at a very early age that I was gay, I opted to go for the 'let's-spend-life-in-the-closet' lifestyle.  This was good up until the fateful day my wife looked at me and said, "I've looked at my future and I don't see you in it"... Normally I would have suggested she change the channel and get a different viewpoint, but I saw this as an opportunity to get rid of the aforementioned heterosexual societal constraints and live the life that was given to me as a normal gay man.

With this opportunity in mind - and knowing the divorce wouldn't happen overnight (instead of fighting over gay marriages, we really should be looking at how divorce for the masses should be something you can purchase at WalMart) - I decided I would ease my children into the subject quite normally and slowly.

Well, the Gay Gods must have heard my somewhat tasteful, yet delicate, wish and granted me an occasion to put my plan into action.  A good friend of mine who was gay had to decided to have a committment ceremony with this partner (this was prelegalizing same sex marriage -when it became everyone's right, they did it). This friend was also known to both of my two children, however, I was not sure if they knew of his sexual orientation, a fact that would come into play.

When I received the invitation to attend Friend and Partner's "Commitment Ceremony", I was also told I should invite my children (thank you Gay Gods for answering my prayers!).  I went to my daughter (a very mature 11 year old at the time) who thought it was great and would be happy to attend.  When I mentioned this to my 9 year old boy child, he asked, "What is a Commitment Ceremony?"  Thinking this was a reasonable question and not one I'd heard on Jeopardy for $500, I began the answer with, "Well, you know Friend is gay..."

Boy child reacted negatively and said he had to go speak with his sister.  Immediately he marched into his sister's room with another question: "Sister!  Did you know Friend was gay????" to which sister replied, "Well, duh!!!"  Then she said something to him, which I had said to her once upon a time, "He may be gay, but he is still the same man he always was.  Nothing has changed, you just know more information about him".

He must have deeply thought this through for all of 30 seconds before he came back to me and stated, "Alright, I'll go to the Committment, but I still have one more question...  which one of them is wearing the dress?"

Why am I blogging?

I'm a man who has come out in middle age.  I"m fascinated, enthralled and truly in awe of those others who have shared their lives here online. So what can I contribute?  My own stories of being gay, coming out, loving and laughing. Hope you enjoy them...