Thursday, March 28, 2013

Boystown



I went out with a friend the other night. It was a last minute invite which was fine as it was the first day of Spring Break. A guy he is seeing was visiting from out of town and my friend wanted to show Potential Boyfriend some of his favorite hangouts. And it would give Potential Boyfriend and me the chance to get to know one another.

We headed into Boystown, the ├╝bergay section of West Hollywood, with a couple of other stops along the way. Potential Boyfriend, aka PB, wanted to see UCLA, so we had a very quick drive onto the campus and then out. We then drove along Santa Monica Boulevard through Beverly Hills, and then tried to see Lucille Ball’s house but a street blockage prevented us crossing Sunset Blvd, so a detour to Greystone Mansion and Park was naturally in order. I mean, we were literally down the street from it, and it's one of my favorite places in Los Angeles.

Eventually we made it into Boystown, parked and began our walking tour. My friend was looking for rainbow tchotchkies, so we started looking in the shops but came out empty-handed. It seemed every other store sold a large selection of erotic underwear and other, um, paraphernalia. I mean, how many stores of that nature can one community support? And West Hollywood is notorious for jacking up prices! (A recent study compared three different Target stores in very diverse neighborhoods, one being West Hollywood and the West Hollywood one was at least 20% higher than the next highest store in the study!)
 
We had dinner at a WeHo staple known for drag shows and drag bingo! The food was acceptable and the waiter was hunky, practically a prerequisite in WeHo, but more lukewarm than hot in my opinion.

But, what was pressing on me was the fact that all this was wrong for me. I mean, I had a great time with my friend and PB, but the whole West Hollywood thing was just wrong. I can’t explain why. I wasn’t cruising anyone, and didn’t notice anyone cruising me; which was fine, as I’m not in the mental/emotional/physical space for a boyfriend right now. Now, I did notice some handsome men, but it all still felt wrong. It’s almost as if, were I to meet someone interesting, it wouldn’t be in WeHo. 

And yet, the attraction to men was there. 
 
And still is.

A couple days later, I took my dog to a pet store so we, and he mostly, could have an excursion out of the house. 

The manager at this store is very hot. He has always been very friendly and helpful. I have always found him to be very sexy in a normal, non-underwear model way. And that day, he was even sexier when he tried to make friends with my dog, who is very neurotic and very nervous. Manager-man is attractive, has a great personality-at least in his business, an average build-from what I can see, and a wife. But, the fact that I can find him so appealing, tells me I’m not dead. 

It also clues me into more of what I do eventually want in someone. 

And that I’ll know him when I see him.

It may be in a pet store. It may not. It probably won’t be in West Hollywood, on an app, or in a bar.

But, who knows?

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Do

The United States Supreme Court will hear two cases on same-sex marriage this week. One tackles the fundamental question of who has the right to marry, and the other case involves Federal recognition of a marriage when recognized by an individual State where same-sex marriage is legal.

Getting my corsage before my wedding
Having been married to a man, I do believe in the fundamental right of anyone to marry the person they love. Now, being legally divorced, I look back at the question and ask, do I believe in marriage at all?

And the resounding answer is.......

meh.

I don't know if I would make it legal again. I don't know where this is coming from, either. Is it coming from
a) the pain of the divorce? b) the pain of being hurt? c) the struggles of dealing with the ex in separating assets? or d) the difficulties, both emotional and financial, in starting over?

I think it's e) all of the above. And something more.

First to make it legal again, there has to be someone to make it legal with.

And that's where I am in trouble.

In the past two months, I have been asked by four friends I hadn't seen for a while if I was seeing someone new. My immediate reaction was "No, and I don't want to." And it felt right, it felt good, it felt like me.

They attributed it to my not being ready, I attributed it to fear. Which also means I'm not ready.

So, what am I afraid of?

The past...
and
the future...

They say if you live with depression, you live in the past and if you live with anxiety, you live in the future. So, if you are looking both backwards and forwards, are you anxiously depressed or depressedly anxious?

I think it depends.

I think it is normal to keep an eye on the past to make sure you have learned your lessons, and to have an eye on the future so you have an idea of where you are headed.

But, the trick is not to dwell on either.

That's the difficult part.

The road to gay civil rights has been a difficult one, but we've come a long way from being ostracized, jailed or killed for merely having sex to having sodomy laws upheld, Bowers v. Hardwick et al, 1986, then overturned, Lawrence v. Texas, 2003, to the various reactions to same-sex marriage. So, with an eye on the past we can appreciate the present. While we have made great progress, (I never ever thought I would ever have the opportunity to marry a man, when I came out in 1983!), we still have a ways to go. Conversion therapy is still being touted as a cure, as damaging as it is, and anti-gay bullying is to blame for far too many suicides.

Like history, I need to keep an eye on my past so I can accept my present as a gift of who I am and then unwrap my gift as I move into my future one day at a time, which is not easy for me. I like to look head and be prepared. As much as possible.

I keep telling myself and others, I'm not looking for a relationship, nor do I want to date or just hookup. Nor do I have any desire to go down that road. I want to be alone; a new, albeit male, Greta Garbo. At least for a while. Yet, I think I'm kidding myself.

My aunt and I after the ceremony

I like to people watch. On my way home from work one day last week, I stopped at my favorite Starbucks, and while I waited for my usual drink, I scanned the crowd and fell in love three separate times in about two minutes. Two were customers and one was a young barista. All were very good looking, and while I have suspicions about the barista, I have no clue as to the customers and what their orientation is. While my gaydar was not necessarily pinging off the charts, my attraction to one of the customers in particular, was.

And this tells me, I'm only human. And when someone intriguing does indeed cross my path, I'll take a look at him and at me, and let the future unfold like a lotus blossom.

Maybe.

If I don't get ahead of myself and think too much about our future.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Third Date

I rarely go see a movie. I don't follow them like some friends of mine. They seem to know when every movie is coming out, who is in it, who is directing it, who is writing the score. They may even know who is doing who, if you know what I mean. I don't follow that stuff. I have no idea about upcoming movies unless I see a current one, which I already admitted is rare, and catch the trailer for it. Occasionally, I'll check out the entertainment section of the LA Times app on my iPad and sometimes there I'll find one that sounds interesting, or a friend will mention one and I'll put it on my "I-want-to-see-this" list. And then forget about it.

Or maybe it's the exorbitant price tag that keeps me out. The matinee shows are running around $10, and then there's the snacks. But, those I can forgo. Maybe the last few years just scraping by caused me to become a bit frugal. No, I was this way before the ex left. We both had to tighten the belt before he left.  We just couldn't afford it, being landed gentry and all. Or, condominiumed gentry, at least. I don't own the land my house is on, but 1/35 of the space of the community.

Rarely, does a book touch me so as "Bless Me, Ultima" by Rodolfo Anaya. I had to read it in the summer of 1976 prior to my freshman year at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. I have read it over and over and each time I do, something new takes me to a new place. So, it was a very pleasant surprise I discovered via a friend's Facebook post, it had been made into a movie.

So, I decided to take myself out for dinner and to see "Bless Me, Ultima."

Me-date number 3.

I set my plans for the following weekend, decided where to go for dinner and looked forward to it. I knew very little about the movie, but did check out some reviews, and it was gathering some good ones. So, I anticipated a nice evening.

And then I got sick; an upper respiratory infection, complete with conjunctivitis.

I certainly didn't want to sit through a movie hacking, coughing and sneezing.

So, I postponed my date with myself.

Then two weeks later I felt well enough to go.

And I discovered the movie had left the theaters nearest my house, and was no longer playing in a theater I had a pass for. The closest theater to me which was showing it, was deep in enemy territory. My ex's new neighborhood.  Was he likely to see that particular movie? No. Was it likely I would run into him at dinner? Who knows?

And who cares?

 I just don't like him in my business.
So, I went, and had a nice time at a quick dinner, and felt the movie captured the essence of the book. All in all, it was wonderful to be out of the house.

And, seeing the movie took me to an even different place than the book had each time I'd read it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Team Switchers

One of my previous posts, "Heroes and Villains," talked about honoring those people who stood by you, stood with you, and may have even stood up for you when you might not have been able to stand for yourself.

What about those who switch teams? By that, I mean a hero who may become a villain, or rarer yet, that villain who becomes a hero.

What do we do then?

I think it depends on the situation.

Often, our heroes may have a differing viewpoint on an issue that is significant to us. And when they express that viewpoint, do they become an out-and-out villain? I remember many years ago, in 1988, a then-friend and I were approached by a person collecting signatures for California Proposition 69 which stated (emphasis mine):
  • "Declares that AIDS is an infectious, contagious and communicable disease and that the condition of being a carrier of the HTLV-III* virus or other AIDS-causing viral agent is an infectious, contagious and communicable condition. Requires each be placed on the list of reportable diseases and conditions maintained by the Department of Health Services. Provides each is subject to quarantine and isolation statutes and regulations. Provides that Health Services Department personnel and all health officers shall fulfill the duties and obligations set forth in specified statutory provisions to preserve the public health from AIDS." 
My "friend" had no problem signing it. This was talking quarantine! Separating families; parents from children, perhaps regardless of age. Plus, this was all coming out of mass hysteria, no one was sure exactly how the virus was transmitted; yet everyone seemed convinced gay men were at fault since we were the first victims. I fumed at her. My partner at the time tried very hard to console me, stating she had the right to her opinion. He was right, of course, but what hurt most, was that she was indirectly responsible for my coming out, and she stood by me during that time. And then to turn and sign something as dark and evil and misguided as this? I should have realized this attitude was the beginning of her more conservative nature emerging. She later found religion, and we slowly drifted away from each other. There were other issues as well that began wedging their way between us.

While she never actually set out to hurt me, she and I eventually grew in different directions. Does this actually make her a villain? Not really. And in all honesty, I can't really think of any hero who has actually turned on me, specifically to hurt me.

Nor can I think of any villain who has come running to my side expressing a sense of remorse for past misdeeds. Except one.

My brother.

When I came out to the family in 1985, they were scattered over the country, and I felt the best way was to come out to all of them at the same time. So, I did it through a letter. My mother called me, crying it was all her fault, while my youngest brother said he while he didn't agree with homosexuality, he was still proud of me for taking a stand. My middle brother, a born-again Christian, said I would burn in hell, but always welcome at his house. (Really? Why would I want to visit?) We stopped speaking. Ironically, both my brothers have traded places. The youngest and I no longer communicate, and the middle one made the trip to California for my wedding, and even wanted to talk some sense into my ex just after our separation. It seems people evolve. (Right, President Obama?)

While our villains may indeed be villains, I think we have many more heroes than we realize.

I think it's time we begin to honor them, for as we honor them we honor ourselves.


*HTLV-III (human T lymphotropic virus type III) was an early name for the virus which was later renamed HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) in 1986.

Friday, March 1, 2013

What If

What if I were to go out tonight?
What if I met a handsome guy?
What if I didn't?
What if I really did?
What if he turned out to be really nice?
What if he didn't?
What if he really did?
What if he truly liked me?
What if he didn't?
What if he really did?
What if I truly liked him?
What if I didn't?
What if I really did?
What if he asked me out?
What if he didn't?
What if he really did?
What if I agreed to go out with him?
What if I didn't?
What if I really did?
What if I had a good time?
What if I didn't?
What if I really did?
What if I asked to see him again?
What if he said yes?
What if he didn't?
What if he really did?
What if he went and had a good time?
What if he didn't?
What if he really did?
What if he wanted to sleep with me?
What if he didn't?
What if I decided to?
What if I enjoyed it?
What if he didn't?
What if we both did?
What if he asked me to go away for a weekend?
What if he didn't?
What if he really did?
What if I went and had a great time?
What I didn't?
What if I really did?
What if we had an argument?
What if we didn't?
What if we really did?
What if we resolved our differences by talking them out?
What if we didn't?
What if we really did?
What if we fell in love?
What if we didn't?
What if we really did?
What if we moved in together?
What if we didn't?
What if we really did?
What if we lived happily ever after?
What if we got married?
 What if we really did?

Inspired by "Whatif..." by Shel Silverstein.