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March 18th, 2012

“Nice Ass”

I am grocery shopping and paused between isles with my shopping cart, when a middle aged (I think…I didn’t get a good look at her) woman strides quickly past and says “Nice ass”. Startled I snap out of my hunter-gatherer mindset and look up. She doesn’t look back, just walks quickly away and down another isle. Well I’m gay, so I don’t follow.

It’s nice to be reminded from time to time that a guy physically like me can be desirable…at least to some small segment of the human population. Once some years ago while I was waiting to be seated at a restaurant in Kayenta, a young Navajo (I think…Kayenta is in the Navajo reservation) woman actually put a hand on my butt as she walked quickly by. Had I the kind of love life other people have I’d probably take offense. But starved as I am at this late stage in my life for any kind of romance, burdened by the kinds of doubts about my desirability you would naturally have in the autumn of a life spent single, I take some heart when I get those, like the starving man suddenly presented with a dry loaf of bread. I see how others get complements on their desirability and I know I get them a lot less, and there are just more heterosexual women out there then gay males so it isn’t unusual that I’d hear it more often from that direction then the one I’d really thrill to get it from. But it’s a two edged knife. On the one hand it’s a comfort to know your Use By date isn’t past just yet. On the other, you’re still single and you have no prospects.

I’m gay. As perfect a Kinsey 6 as they come. What seems to confuse a lot of my gay friends is I am not about über masculine guys, which is unfortunate in that the only time I ever seem to get that “nice ass” complement from another guy it’s a bear and I am not about bear. I’ve had gay friends ask me outright if I’m not actually Bi because…well you’ve probably seen the random sketches of beautiful guys I’ve posted here. Here’s one I did recently that I put up on Facebook…

One gay friend cracked about this one…

…that he was one estrogen shot away from a job a Hooters. Thing of it is, I thought I was sketching a fairly butch sort of guy. Gay obviously, in the sense that a straight guy would never call attention to his body in the same way a gay guy does let alone strike that kind of pose.   But as far as I can tell I drew a guy there.   Ah…but his hair…   Yes…it’s a tad long isn’t it.   Must be a girly boy then.   Maybe I relied too much on the basketball shirt with the University of Maryland insignia on it to make the attitude of the subject plain.   On the other hand, there is a strain of human male…I’ve seen them both gay and straight…that seem to feel nothing but contempt for other males who aren’t 200 percent über masculine. Get A Haircut you goddamned fairy…

Here’s the thing: that period of time when we walk out of adolescence into our young adulthood really leaves its mark on your libido.

I came of age in a period of time in America when guys felt free to wear their hair long and their jeans tight to the body and low around the waste and be sexy and show off in a way they just can’t now without being terrified of getting labeled GAY, and I guess I just glommed onto that look as an ideal of male beauty.   But there was more then just eye candy to it because with that look usually came a mindset that I found very agreeable to the soul.   The über masculine guys my age back then were all either dumb jocks or Nixon republicans who I didn’t want anything to do with.   The longhairs more often then not, struck me as beautiful on the inside as outside.   Some of them made my heart skip a beat.   In high school I hung out with the longhaired art geeks for half my day and the longhaired techno geeks the other half and it was bliss.   That was my perfect world.   But it didn’t last.

And I think regrettably my libido is still living in that world that does not exist anymore.   And really, when I think about that time logically and rationally, I would not want to go back.   It wasn’t the best place for a gay kid.   Lots of eye candy yes, but you didn’t dare tell anyone you found them desirable or you’d get packed off to a mental ward.

I find myself thinking often at night now, alone in my house, that if only that world had been as accepting of gay kids, as incomplete and spotty as acceptance nowadays is, as this one, maybe I wouldn’t still be single.   You see, I was always about finding The One and the problem is the longer you go without finding them the more your social group becomes people who are still in the singles scene because that’s where they always wanted to be and they just don’t get you.

A few years ago I found myself at a new bar my gay friends down in D.C. decided to try out as a change of scenery. With us was a guy who was somewhat new to the group…”D”.   D was someone I was always happy to see join us. I wasn’t attracted to him in a romantic sense and I figure neither was he to me or else he’d have probably said something. But at a deep down in the heart place I sensed we were two of a kind.   Well practically the moment I walked into that bar my jaw dropped at the sight of one of the bartenders.   The friends I’d socialized for decades with simply sat and watched my rapture and confusion as they always did, waiting I guess for me to finally get up and do something about it.   D, seeing my eyes never left this guy did something no one else had ever done for me before.   He stood beside me at the bar and ordered something from the beautiful bartender and asked him his name where I could hear it given.   And once given D looked aside at me with a smile and a nod…

There you go…

It was enough. Instantly I struck up a conversation with the guy. Well, nothing came of it, but it was a chance, small as it was and I was touched by the gesture on the part of D. It wasn’t until some time later, heartbroken at how longtime gay friends let an opportunity for me to meet a guy who, it was said, might actually have been a very good match for me, wither on the vine and die like my desperate loneliness mattered not one wit to any of them, that I really saw that moment with D in that bar for what it was.   D and I really were two of a kind.   He eventually found his soulmate and dropped out of the happy hour group and I miss seeing him.   But I’m happy for him too.   And I understand what has happened to me a little better now.   For romantics like myself, the social opportunities at this late stage in life are mostly with other singles who are just fine in the singles scene and that’s why they’re still there, not why you’re still there.   And thus time passes, the universe expands, and you end up older, less desirable, searching for love in a rapidly depleting dating pool situated in a minority of a minority, surrounded by a lot of very very nice people who just get a little confused as to why, if you’re attracted to some guy you see, you would need to know his name.

What…you’re not on GRINDR? And so they won’t get his name for you when they see your jaw dropping or even bother trying to introduce you or get the two of you together because the mindset is you just go over to him and say “My place or yours” and get it on and be done with it and then on to the next guy and if that guy turns out to be The One all well and good but if not no bother here comes the next guy.   They just don’t get how that love thing mixes with that libido thing inside of you and how that keeps you behaving differently from how they would when they see an attractive guy.   They just don’t get how you don’t simply walk up to someone who is making your heart skip a beat and offer them a quick fuck in the backroom because that is simply how it’s done in the singles scene.   And don’t try to tell me it’s any different for heterosexuals either because I’ve watched that singles scene too and the only difference between them I can discern is the gay singles scene is less hypocritical and more to the point. Backrooms instead of cheap motels then.   It saves time and money.

But at least heterosexuals have a bigger potential dating pool, and live for that matter in a culture that for all its hypocrisy at least somewhat supports love and romance among heterosexuals, if not homosexuals.   It’s better now for younger gay guys, but you carry those first years of your dating life with you always it seems.   When I was seventeen and just coming out to myself it would still be a few more years before the APA decided kids like me weren’t mentally ill and decades before I could lie down with a guy I loved and not risk being thrown into jail in many states.   And a problem I run into time and again is a lot of very nice guys roughly my own age are either still in the closet or deep in denial, having spent a lifetime masquerading as heterosexual for that career, for that share of the American dream we were all told we could have when we were kids.   It’s what a lot of us had to do to survive.   And now they have wives and maybe kids and they’re in that life and there is no getting out of it without a lot of pain and damage to everyone around them and they have to ask themselves at this late stage in their lives is if it’s worth it, or do they just go to their grave wearing the mask.   When I was a young man I was determined to avoid that fate for myself.   I came out to friends who were mostly accepting, and in the workplace where I felt I could not be openly gay I simply refused to invent imaginary girlfriends let alone actually date girls and build a faux heterosexual life around me as a wall against my inner self. So now I’m in my late fifties and I can say I have always lived the honest life and I am proud of that, but I’m still single and consigned to a pool of other singles of my age group made smaller then it should be for all the guys my age who Still after all these years cannot bring themselves to live openly as gay for reasons I cannot find it in my heart to judge.   I feel some nights as if I never had a chance.   For gay people of a certain age it seems, it will always be a time before Stonewall.

So at the autumn of your life you are gay and single and your prospects are doubly limited because gay males are simply a minority and in your age group openly gay males are an even smaller minority, and your bar pals solution to your loneliness will always be to just get out and meet people but what they’re really saying is go out and trick because that’s meeting people for them.   And they just don’t understand and never will how meeting people is a slightly different process if what you want to come of it is a relationship and not a random fuck in the night with someone whose name you don’t need to know anyway.

The others, your kind, are mostly settled down now.   If you had a spouse the two of you could probably still socialize with them but as you are single you represent a world they understandably wish to keep at a safe distance.   So you are left to the “scene” and you don’t belong there and you never belonged there but in your youth it was all there was and now it is all that keeps you from going mad from total social isolation and so you keep going back, keep saying to yourself that maybe tonight I’ll find The One.   But you know he isn’t there and even if he was your friends would be oblivious and unsupportive.   And the “nice ass” you occasionally get from random strangers still elicits a vague hope within you that you are still in the game, but that hope is only an echo from a distant world whose ship you missed long, long ago.

[Updated a tad to clarify some things that I felt needed it.]

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