Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Escape, Part 4

Puberty, Part II

It’s been said that coming out to yourself is like going through adolescence all over again.  Awkwardness.  Angst.  Enamor.  This time, however, the experience was authentic; rather than feeling dulled or hollow versions of those emotions, the fullness and weight of it all had finally hit me.  In this state of second adolescence, age arguably became less significant, especially for me coming to terms with their sexuality at the age of twenty-four instead of fourteen. 


While I would never have considered going out with eighteen and nineteen year-old girls (due 1st to the complete lack of connection and 2nd to what I considered the “perv factor”), the idea of dating guys that age seemed inconsequential.  They had a better grip on internal religious conflict, the dating scene, and sexuality itself while I had barely come to the conclusion that I wanted a sexual relationship with another man.  In a way, these eighteen and nineteen year-olds such as Billie were my seniors.  I deferred to and appreciated their experience.  That didn’t keep me from doing things that skewed immature. 


Five years my younger, Charlie remarkably seemed the type of person I hoped to be in five years’ time.  At peace psychologically and religiously, out to his family, and engaged in pursuing a husband.  He was in town chasing down bits of his past from over a decade ago when his father was a grad student at the university.  I offered to help him revisit those pieces of his childhood over lunch at his family’s restaurant of choice, A&W’s. 


“I’ve only been here once since my dad graduated,” he explained, pulling his mouth away from the frosty mug of root beer. “We didn’t really have family here, but once in a while I’ll have a memory from the playground up here or my place or the old church and think I’m happy now in part because I was happy here and then.  I guess this is my way of keeping that.  I appreciate you spending the day doing this.”

I looked up from the mess of crumpled hamburger wrappers and used up ketchup packets. “Really, any day out is a step towards sanity, in my opinion.  I’ve been going crazy being unemployed and cooped up for the past couple weeks.”

“If you don’t mind driving, I’d really appreciate it.  I just want to remember where I grew up.  My house, school, the neighborhood.”

“No problem,” I told him. 

We made our way to the now-defunct trailer park.  All that remained of his home was a set of wooden stairs, weathered and cemented to the ground.  We sat down and he put his arm behind me, not quite confident enough to put it around me.  He picked up a pebble and tossed it on the asphalt.  It bounced a few times and the dull tapping sounds took him back. 

wooden stairs

He pointed out the patch sidewalk he’d learned to ride a bike and the trailer of another boy he had a crush on.  His past held for me glimpses of future.  I wanted to be able to teach things to a son or a lover.  I wanted to have crushes without consequence as Charlie did twelve years ago.  Paradoxically, we were meeting in the middle.  As I helped him navigate his past, he helped me navigate my future. 

What loomed in the back of my mind was an inescapable notion that monogamous gay relationships did not exist, though I’d seen them with my own eyes.  Charlie had overcome that obstacle.  Letting go wasn’t something he consciously considered at every moment as I had for well over a year.  Life was life and love was love.  It was as if that childhood simplicity never escaped him.

We ended the day in the park.  It was a place we shared in memory: croquet, ice skating, horse shoes, barbeques, and wading in waist deep water.  Now the stream only approached our knees.  We took a seat at the creek’s edge pulling ripples across the surface as if turning back pages of water with our toes.


I looked around wondering about this collision of past innocence and my present ambition to pursue a full relationship.  I knew things couldn’t remain so simple and care free, but that moment was as close as my innocence and experience could approach each other.  As Charlie put his arm around me and pulled himself a few inches closer, I knew those calm and carefree years were not gone forever. 

Drops of summer sun rained on us through the canopy of maples and spruces as I stared at his face.  Nose and ears endearingly a tad larger than one would expect, and droopy blue eyes.  Without a word, he knew to kiss me in the open in the daylight for all to see.  Joy was joy and innocence innocence for a moment and worry escaped me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Laugh of the Day #33

I suppose this is more of an “OMGosh!” than a chuckle, but take a look at this production even if you don’t care for Mme. Gaga:

Those of you reading at USU should consider topping this little number. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Laugh of the Day #32

Another educational video for your pleasure:

Friday, December 24, 2010

From GMB and Chedner

A Merry Coexistmas card from us:

Gay Christmas Card

(Go ahead and guess who’s who).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Holiday Message from GMB







Let me just shed a little light on my new holiday à la Community (in its stop motion glory)This year the show taught us that the true meaning of Christmas is what you make of it regardless of belief, creed, or culture.  At least at present, Christmas is a time for appreciating peace and difference.  I know I’m coming off a little “hippie” for the tastes of most, but I offer up my love to all of you and say thanks. 

Abed Community Christmas Stop Motion

Monday, December 20, 2010

Food for Thought #31

smiley face crowd

“There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all.”

-- Anonymous

Friday, December 17, 2010

Good News, Bad News #2

Good news: I found these on ebay yesterday. 

chip and dale underwear

Bad news: 24 hours later, they disappeared.  Along with Donald, Mickey, and Goofy versions.  No birthday/Christmas present to me, I guess….

The Escape, Part 3

Just Keep Swimming

So, the time had come to jump back into the big pond of little gay fish.  After a short and thoughtful break, it seemed appropriate to put myself back on the meat market.  Another rainbow slab on a hook waiting to get some attention.  My passive approach to dating left me in a rather dependent position, appreciating what praise I received, but essentially leaving myself to rot.

During that month of inevitable unemployment, I spent many hours lounging around the local internet cafes writing and reading intermittently as I left open a newly-revised Connexion profile and waited for a bite.  Here and there: a conversation, a number, a date.  It felt like progress—like I wasn’t wasting time.

Coffee Shop guy computer

What resulted were a set of experiences that left me excited, unnerved, and puzzled as to what I should expect from myself in my apparent escape from the dissatisfaction with the Church at this point in my life.  Though this was a serious improvement over sitting still and waiting for life to make sense, the lessons learned were perhaps not as welcome or profound as one in my position would hope. 


Glen suggested we meet up sometime when I found myself in Utah Valley.  What followed was a tension of “This can’t get worse, but it certainly will before it gets better” moments.  Upon arrival in Provo, he asked if I minded picking him up after his stepfather had his car repossessed.

As everyone knows, that’s never a good sign. 

For the next forty-five minutes of my life (yes, the date remained notably the shortest of my life), I regretted what the universe had to offer in that particular moment.  Each moment of the date was spent in a suicidal death spiral contemplating the inevitable, painful ending.  I’ve managed to repress everything about that short date with the exception of a marathon lunch he ordered and expected me to pay for, a solid half hour of thank yous for getting him away from World of Warcraft for a bit, and explanations as to the four or so times he’d dropped out of college to pursue a career as some sort of ogre.


Needless to say, the date turned out to be somewhat of a challenge to my patience.  I didn’t really give an excuse for the date ending so early, but let’s just say when the ending is the best part of a story, there’s more reason to rush through the story.


Billie picked up very quickly that I was new to the world of dating without Mormon reservations.  Even though he was nineteen, he had been there before and took pride in being my guide through a foreign land.  We met up for lunch and a walk through Memory Park. 

“You wonder a lot, don’t you?” he asked.

Briefly picturing myself  as Dante and him as Virgil, I responded, “I’d say thought and words are what makes me who I am, I suppose.”

“What do you think about when you see a cute guy?”

“I look at his hand and think what it would feel like in mine and at his lips and imagine their taste.”

Cute Moody Guy in Tank

“I wonder if you’ll stay that way,” he said slanting an eyebrow.

“What do you mean?”

“My guess is you’ve never had sex before.  You would have had a different answer or had a harder time explaining as innocently as you did.”

“You’ve got me pegged,” I said smirking reservedly at the phallic irony.

“Let me just tell you you’re doing this the right way.  Making I’ve got a surprise for you,” he said, “at the end of the date.” We continued winding our way through the park as he shared with me the mistakes he felt I could learn from.


“You’ll thank me for this someday,” he said as we got out of the car.  It was clear he’d shared with me horror stories of coming out, dating, and sex as some sort of cautionary tale.  In some way, I think this instruction became a form of redemption for him. 

He put his arm around my back and pointed me in the direction of a chocolate-colored wooden building. 

“Under other circumstances, you would probably be shitting your pants by now,” he teased as he opened the door. 

I stepped in and noted the surroundings.  Orange-brown carpet, chairs from an 80s high school cafeteria, a pair of end tables in either corner of the room—on one a stack of clipboards and the other a bowl of condoms. 

“Take a few of these,” Billie said, placing one in my palm. 

holding-condom hand

“Um, thanks,” I blurted out.  It was the first time I’d knowingly held one in my hand.  I squeezed it and felt sensations of cool and smooth between my thumb and index finger—a pocket of air and ribbed rings of latex against latex. This is what the future feels like? 

“It’s best to know what it’s like to be tested before you have to worry about it.  Just fill out this form and go to the desk when they call your number.”


“How many times have you had oral sex in the last 3 months?”  “Anal sex?” “Vaginal?” “Number of partners?”  “6 months?” “Year?”







A smile opened up on the counselor’s impassive face as she peered up from his clipboard, put down his pen, and asked one last question off the record.  “Ever?” she asked, raising her tone slightly.

“Zero,” I answered floating through waves of satisfaction and embarrassment.

“You, sir, are at very low risk.  Your results were negative.”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mashup #8

Dr. Whoess

Dr. Whoess

I’d pay good money for a fleshed out version.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday (or Else)

cake lady

Some goals for the month:

  • Finish grad school apps by my birthday, so that it can be a happy one. 
  • Finish the current Escape series by the end of the month.
  • Hit 300 posts for the year even if it’s through miniscule meaningless posts such as this one.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Laugh of the Day #33

lure him away from the pool boy

Based on that swimsuit, I think you’ll need to try harder.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Escape, Part 2

Illusion of Order

A friend once explained to me why he took issue with the casual use of OCD as a term thrown around to describe nervous tendencies regarding order. 

“People like to think they’re special or that they understand simply by putting a name on a behavior.  Well, just because you say something like, ‘I like to have all of my pens aligned and in the right order’, or ‘All of the towels have to be folded my way,’  or ‘I just have to eat things in the order they taste best,’ doesn’t mean you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  In a way, it’s much more beautiful in its complexity and paradox.”

ocd-can-be-torture“I seek order in things.  I think them out with incredible order, but this order leads to chaos.  That’s what the “C” in OCD stands for.  Compulsion is, by definition, unexplainable.  And when there’s no explanation, you just deal.  The only way for me to get past that kind of a wall is to go against my nature.  I do the opposite.  I think the opposite.  I suppose I work to bend then break the rule, bringing order from what I’m sure will bring terror and chaos.”

For me to escape my own anxiety, I needed to go against my impulses and question some of my most fundamental programming.  I, then, had to ask the most selfish question one can ask, “What do I want?,” and face its implications as they floated at the forefront of my mind. If you put your happiness before everything else, you’re going to become a terrible person, I would tell myself. 

My efforts to please those around me and to construct a harmony for others had left my own internal life in a state of disarray.  Change became a more and more necessary aspect of my sanity.  Without the excuse of school or work, the force driving my life no longer held chaos in confinement.  Meandering and moving more slowly, the mass of motivations and meanings no longer held together.  Pieces slipped out of their places as the once coalesced compartments of my life began their inevitable process of disintegration. 

the widening gyre

The Gay Mormon Boy I knew could no longer exist in the form I had constructed so carefully.  One piece had to give under the pressure of another, and it did.

All I really asked for was peace and happiness, and those simple ideas had been out of reach for so long.  A year ago, I’d believed my happiness depended upon finding that perfect woman that at the core of my heart I knew did not exist.  First, I thought the only (and quite naively) necessary shift to that worldview was based in gender, but it became increasingly obvious that I needed to prepare myself to completely uproot myself and begin anew.  Before, I could do that, it was necessary for me to wilt a bit.

After some consideration, I realized that the answer didn’t lay in the introspection I dwelled upon or in myself, but rather in experience.  If I was going to redefine life itself, I would need to do so by living or remain forever undefined in an enduring state of limbo.  As the last weeks had been a process of closing, the process of opening myself up—to taking in a deep breath after suffocating for so long—suddenly made sense.

chile landscape

As other matters such as my vaccinations and teaching materials for my impending trip to Chile began to take precedence and the idea of looking for what I wanted became much more welcoming.  Anti-charitable as it might sound, the fact that I was taking three months of my life making a difference in the life of kids a continent away provided me with the solace allowing me to break through my sense of guilt and selfishness for wanting happiness outside of Mormonism.  You are a good person.  You deserve to be happy. 

With that assertion, I recalled the joys I’d experienced in the arms of Mark before he’d taken up the mantle of missionary, of finding someone so well adjusted, happy, and normal in Evan, and finally the connection to someone striving to be a good guy after returning from a mission and accepting his homosexuality in Anson.  Those were the happiest times of my life.  I found joy in my experiences with these other men and in myself and not in the dictates of the consciences of others. 

You will find your answers—your happiness—in people, I picking up a package of stickers.  Dozens of smiley faces peered up at me, each happy in their own distinct manner.  Do not hide your light. 

Find it. 

Share it.

smiley face stickers

…Leads to Do Shave December

So, lacking the time to shave it off in stages, I ended up with a hipster-stache:


before shaving it all off:


… because somebody needed his sleep at 9 pm….

No Shave November…

For the sake of prostate cancer research awareness (and curiosity), I took the challenge:


Friday, December 3, 2010

Sad but True #1

Geez, the state of politics isn’t the least bit unnerving these days: 


BTW—Ed Stein, you’ve been a hero of mine for a long time.

Blog-Related Dream

Last night, I had a semi-terrifying dream that this blog was used for evil.  After watching an episode of Dexter (a show for which I’m still forming an opinion).  I dreamt that somebody was using the blog and hacking into my phone records to out every guy I’d mentioned one-by-one. 

dexter-do not cross

Towards the end of the dream, he sent an intricate map of Utah noting the exact location of each date.  There was a note attached demanding “repentance” and becoming some sort of ex-gay spokesman.  The psychologically terrifying dream led me to sleep through my alarm.  Oh well. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Laugh of the Day #32

This is how I feel after staying up all night to get my first grad application in:

So tired

You’d better know what this is.  Otherwise, I will be extremely disappointed. 

Real posts soon, I’m sure.  BLB’s showing me up as of late. 

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