Friday, April 30, 2010

Finding the Complete Me

At 30 I had been with a woman for ten years and married for seven. I was the hands-on father of a three year old boy. And I was gay.

Tea Rooms provided a fun, steady outlet for my natural need to have sex with men. This was in early 1997 so the Internet was just starting to mature. Chat services like AOL and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) existed but they were still more about chatting than hooking-up.

As much as I liked the thrill of spontaneous, anonymous sex in Tea Rooms, I still preferred the idea of finding another married man who was interested in a deeper relationship. Peter could have been The One. But with nearly four hundred miles between us, the distance was too great to make frequent meetings possible.

It took nearly a year but eventually I met Vince on IRC and although he was not as good looking as Peter, he was only 20 miles away instead of 388.

Vince was two years younger than me and had been married for less than three years. Unlike most "curious" married men, he did not label himself as bisexual. He was gay and married, just like me.

I'm a sucker (literally) for just about any intelligent guy and Vince definitely had a brain. The adjective that best described him, however, was sweet. Vince was a little quiet and a little shy but he had a nice smile and a gentle warmth about him. Honestly, he wasn't a super hunk, but I found his low-key charm to be magnetic.

Phyically Vince was about 6 foot. He had a thin, lanky build, black hair and brown eyes. His goofy grin and compassionate eyes were his best features.

Vince and I chatted on IRC for about a month before we decided to meet. We hadn't exchanged pictures in advance so I was really nervous about meeting him. What if we didn't click in person? What if I like him and he doesn't like me? What if, what if, what if.

Vince worked for a public entity, so his work situation was not crazed, but he still had to make special arrangements to meet me. My schedule was very flexible; that was one of the perks of being self-employed.

All my fears about the two of us not clicking were unfounded. Vince was extremely approachable and warm but he was also masculine in the "guy next door" kind of way.

Most of the sex I'd been having with men were blow jobs in bathrooms. Other than Peter, there were two guys whose names I actually knew when I had sex with them. One guy was Dan. He was a young married guy I met through a personal ad. We got naked together once. It was one of the strangest encounters I'd ever had because as soon as he came, he grabbed his clothes, stammered something like, "I have to go." and ran out the door. He was gone in seconds. As he left, I got a quick look at his eyes and I could actually see that he was stunned, as if he'd just been hit by a car. YEARS later, he called me again.

I met another guy through IRC. "Spyderman" was his handle. With that name I had hoped for some limber gymnastics from him, but he turned out to built like a potato. There was no sexual chemistry between us. But, what the hell. We got each other off anyway.

Between Dan and Spyderman and the guys in the bathrooms, the sex I had been having was very generic. Hand on dick. Dick in mouth. Switch, repeat.

Vince was different. He liked holding hands. He liked looking deeply into my eyes. He loved to make out. He loved to go slow and savor every touch. Being with Vince was relaxing, a real escape from every day pressures. Spending time with him was way, way better than Tea Room sex.

Getting time with Vince was the one frustration I had with him. It was not easy for him to spare a few hours from work, and when he did, we did not have a good place to go. Several times we had sex in my car. A few other times we did it in a remote spot at a regional park. Not once did the two of us do it in a bed.

As Vince and I became a regular thing, for the first time in a long time---actually for the first time ever---I felt at peace and whole. Life was perfect. I had the wife, the kid AND the boyfriend. After giving up the chance for a gay life I now had it all, and I couldn't have been any happier. Well, I could have seen Vince more often.

In our fourth month together Vince told me some great news: his wife was pregnant, with twins. I felt three years of parenthood gave me the right to laugh at him. Twins! Did he have any idea what he was in for?

I was the one who got the first kid-related surprise.

About a month later, Vince told me that he couldn't meet me again. "I feel like, with the babies coming, I should be a good husband and father. The guilt of having an affair has really been getting to me."

Of course I understood. I knew exactly how he felt.

We had a nice good-bye and we wished each other all the best. We kept each other's contact information and we stayed in touch for a little while, but the contacts faded over time. I did see him one more time, about two years later. More about that meeting in the next post.

What was ironic was that shortly after Vince and I broke-up, Gabbie and I learned that she was knocked-up again. The father, in case you were wondering, was exactly the same eye dropper that had worked his magic to conceive Conrad. Kid number two was due in December.

At nearly 31, I definitely wasn't the most experienced homo on the planet. But I'd had enough relationships with men to learn a few things about myself along the way. Ten weeks with Jim was definitely the biggie. How many guys come out of the closet at 26 and then willingly go back in?? My time with Jim convinced me that I was better off staying away from single guys. In theory such a relationship could work. But, I thought, in the long-run how satisfied could a single guy be if he's left sitting at home alone while I'm happily enjoying family time with the wife and kid? If I wanted a fuck buddy, it wouldn't matter if the guy was single or married or two-headed or purple. All that would matter would be the sex. But I wanted more than sex. A lot more.

From my five months with Vince I learned that there were other married guys out there who wanted more than a regular sex partner. Being with Vince convinced me that I wasn't the only gay man my age to marry a woman. And the Internet was quickly becoming an easy place to find other men like myself and like Vince. I had more hope than ever that I could find another married guy like Vince or like Peter.

Within a few weeks of my last meeting with Vince I was feeling very restless. At first I thought I missed the sex and the male-bonding. Then, as another few weeks passed, I realized that I missed Vince more than I missed the sex and the bonding.

The idea of missing Vince so much was a little surprising. Without question I liked him but I was definitely not in love. I couldn't figure it out...what was so special about Vince that not being with him made be feel so...empty?

A few more weeks passed. Time did not make me feel any better. If anything, I felt worse. I couldn't understand why Vince had such a big effect on me. Then finally, I figured it out. When we were together, for the first time in my life, I felt like I had everything I could ever want. I had a kid, a job, a wife and a boyfriend. I had never "had it all" before and when I lost Vince, I felt incomplete.

Now that I figured out my problem, I embraced the opportunities to find another guy like Vince with new zeal.

Two good things happened shortly thereafter. First, I discovered that Yahoo Personals (which were free at the time) was a better place to find a guy like myself than Tea Rooms, newspaper personal ads or chat. Second, I discovered the Nifty Archives, http://www.nifty.org/

At the time that I found Nifty, it was pretty new; the collection was a few hundred stories. As it grew over the next few years, I think it reached its prime. In more recent years, the quality of the stories has greatly declined, and sadly, doesn't warrant much praise.

It's safe to say that 90% of Nifty stories are either cliche, poorly written or just plain BAD. The remaining 9.5% are passable. .4% are pretty good. .1% are incredible stories that cannot be forgotten.

Although I discovered Nifty in late '97, it wasn't until April of 2001 that I found a story that was genuinely compelling, Fraternity Memoirs.

FM started as juiced-up, three-part autobiographical jack off story. But over the next 18 months and 21 installments it became much more. The story was so popular and the author "John Walsh" was such a legend that he spawned a multitude of imitators and five different Yahoo groups. Eventually he had thousands of fans.

Then he pulled a JD Salinger and went into hiding. He has not published anything again in years, even though FM is unfinished. He has returned a handful of emails over the years, but mostly he wants to be left alone.

Walsh and the best of his imitators are what brought me to Blogger. It is only fitting that I tip my hat to him.

Here's a link to Fraternity Memoirs:
http://nifty.bunkhouse.com/nifty/gay/college/fraternity-memoirs/

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Los Angeles and Sacramento

My kid, a boy, was born in January of 1994. I will call him Conrad, after the main character in Judith Guest's Ordinary People.

Conrad did not want to leave the womb: twenty six hours of labor, half of that hard back labor, then a Cesarean. A few days after coming home Gabbie's incision became infected which meant that I got to take care of her and the baby. Gabbie tried breastfeeding but "it didn't work." She found that it was better to bottle feed because then other people could help. Because of Gabbie's infection, I did all the night feedings which were two or three hours apart.

I had three weeks off from work and by then Gabbie was mostly healed. I expected her to take over the traditional duties of wife and mother while I was the traditional breadwinner.

Within two weeks Gabbie confessed that she felt like a failure as a mother. "All he does is cry."

I could never be home from work fast enough for her; as soon as I got home the baby was promptly handed to me. I continued to do the night feedings.

Basically, I was as much a mother as I was a father. As the years have passed, I've kept that dual role.

A few months after Conrad was born I left the bank and started a new job. Gabbie's mother, the real estate maven, told me that I if I wanted to make a lot of money I had to get a job that paid big commissions. I actually liked doing loans at the bank so I told her that I wanted to be a loan broker. She said that option was out because Gabbie's brother was planning to be a loan broker and there "couldn't be two in the family."

The job I took was a sink-or-swim program in finance. I started with nothing; I was expected to build a business myself. The products I had to sell were not especially interesting to me but I thought I'd try it anyway. Before I was hired, I was given several standardized aptitude tests and I did very well on them, except for one, the "Greed Test." That test was designed to measure how badly I wanted to get rich. Apparently I lacked the insatiable appetite for money that most successful salesmen had. The guy who hired me had me retake the test, but before I did so, he coached me on the appropriate answers. If he had submitted my original score to his boss I would not have been hired.

With the baby and the new job I had plenty on my mind and very little of it was sex. About 15 months later, in the Summer of 1995, that changed. Netscape introduced its Mosaic web browser at the end of 1994 and by June of 1995, that company and hundreds of local dial-up companies provided the first widely used access to the Internet. My dial-up company of choice was Hooked.net. It provided service at a flat monthly rate of $15 while AOL and Compuserv charged hourly rates. I signed up for the web service because I had read somewhere that there were Bulletin Boards where like-minded people could exchange messages electronically. I immediately thought about how cool it would be to talk to other guys in my situation.

When I actually signed on for the first time I didn't find anything about Bulletin Boards. It took me a few days but I discovered that Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was BETTER than a Bulletin Board because you could actually chat in a "room" to a group of people, or, have a private chat one-on-one. Let me say, on-line chat has not changed much in 15 years. IRC required a very basic knowledge of some command keystrokes but other than that, today's chat is very much the same.

IRC had over seven hundred channels one of which was "Married Men for Men" or something like that. Guys from all over the country would join the channel, although a large number at any one time would be about 40 individuals. I had to create a handle every time I logged on but I quickly learned to use the same name so that I could talk to the same people I had met on an earlier session. My preferred handle was "CABoy" --- although at 29, I'm not sure I was much of a boy.

Most of the public chat was G rated. The private chat could definitely be XXX but surprisingly, cyber sex didn't catch on that quickly. More guys preferred phone sex and wanted you to call them, long distance.

I made a number of friends on IRC but one guy I really fell for was Peter. He was 32, married, and lived in Los Angeles. He had two jobs. One job had something to do with totalling weekend box office sales for a movie company. His other job was as a free-lance writer for kids' cartoons. Apparently he had written a few episodes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Peter was a really great guy. Very friendly, warm, and fun to talk to. After a few weeks of regularly chatting we figured out a way to exchange photographs. It turned out he was extremely good looking.

As I was now self-employed, I had a lot of freedom during the day. Peter did too. The two of us spent hours every day chatting back and forth. And the more we chatted, the more obsessed with him I became. He seemed to like me too. After about two months of really getting to know each other, we agreed that we had to figure out a way to meet.

It was an impulsive thing to do, but I bought a one-day plane ticket to LA.

I had no reason to go to LA so the trip had to be secret; I had to keep my regular schedule with Gabbie so that she wouldn't know. This meant that I had to leave on a 10am flight to LA. By the time Peter picked me up at the Burbank airport it was 11:40am.

I don't think either of us had spent much time thinking about what we would actually do while we were together, other than hang out. Although we constantly flirted with each other on IRC, our meeting was not a booty call; we just wanted to see if our virtual friendship was something real.

Peter was waiting for me as I exited the corridor from the plane. As soon as our eyes met, I felt a spark. But I wasn't sure how Peter felt about me. He knew I liked him, I had already told him so, even before I saw his picture. Yet he had never flat out said that he liked me. For that reason, I came to LA with no expectations.

We gave each other a warm hug hello and then began a fun, lively chat as we walked through the airport and eventually arrived at his house in Woodland Hills.

Peter gave me a tour of the house, which was very nice but not luxurious. After the tour we talked in the kitchen for a few minutes.

Before long Peter observed, "Oh look, it's after 1 already. Are you hungry? Should I make us some sandwiches?"

After lunch we went up to his home office, which also served as a spare bedroom. "Here's where I sit and talk to you on IRC," he said, waving at the computer. We each settled into a chair while Peter dialed in and signed on for a minute, just to show me.

Now comfortably seated, we continued our conversation. We talked about ourselves, our wives, men, and trying to find a balance between them all.

Talking to Peter in person was so much better than typing back and forth. I was enjoying every minute with him.

But I also knew our time together was limited. I had a 5:20 flight and Peter had to pick-up his daughter from daycare by 5:30. As the minutes ticked by, I was glad that I hadn't come expecting sex. Yes, I liked Peter. Yes, he was extremely good looking. But making the personal connection was more important to me than both of those things.

With only twenty minutes left before we had to leave for the airport, Peter surprised me: "I hope you didn't come all this way just to talk. Do you wanna, you know, mess around a little?"

Um, fuck ya.

Sadly, twenty minutes of rushed blow jobs was all we had time for.

As soon we were in the car on the way to the airport, I was kicking myself. We could have spent most of the day in bed! I had no idea why Peter waited so long to say anything. I guess he was waiting for me to make the first move and I was waiting for a clue that he was interested. Damn, damn, damn.

The blow jobs weren't the end of the rushing. We left the house later than we should have and the traffic was worse than Peter expected. We were so late, and he got so panicked about picking up his daughter, that I let him drop me on the street outside the entrance to the airport. Because of the long walk to the terminal, I missed my flight.

I got bumped to the next flight, which was an hour later. I really had no choice about the flight but the delay meant that I was going to be later than what I told Gabbie. I always did Conrad's daycare drop-off and pick-up, but I had told Gabbie that I had a client meeting so I couldn't do the pick-up that day. It was a very unusual request; Gabbie did not like having her freedom impinged upon.

Now that I was going to be more delayed than what I had told her, I had visions of a repeat of the night I came home late after being with Jim. I really thought Gabbie was going to freak.

While I waited for the next flight I called her and explained that I was going to be late. I was certain she was going to hear the airport announcements in the background, so I looked for the most out-of-the-way payphone I could find. Thank God she didn't have caller ID at work. Can you imagine? Why are you calling me from an airport in Los Angeles????

By the time I finally opened the front door to greet my family, I was a nervous wreck. I really thought Gabbie was going to be furious and that she was going to grill me with question after question. Then she'd give me that look and know I was lying.

But my fears were unfounded. Instead of berating me for being late, she gave me a kiss and asked, "How did the meeting go?"

I grinned like a fool.

"It went well. Really well. It was worth staying late."

As the words came out of my mouth, I felt my stomach twist into a deep, hard knot.

I had always been sneaky about chatting on IRC. And I lied in order to meet Peter. But it wasn't until I started to gloat that I felt bad about what I had done.

I had re-committed to Gabbie. We had a child together. Yet I had cheated.

I hadn't gone to LA for the purpose of having sex with Peter. So my motives were somewhat pure. But when the opportunity for sex came, I didn't hesitate. Knowing that and looking at Gabbie and Conrad, I felt very guilty.

The guilt was sharp and painful, but it was short-lived. When I thought more about it, I decided that I had actually demonstrated a lot of self-control. After all, I had gone for more than three years without doing anything with a guy. That was the longest period I had ever gone since puberty. So although I was a liar and a cheater, I decided that I deserved some kudos for restraint...

Within a few weeks of my visit with Peter, he took a regular job and his ability to chat on IRC dropped significantly. We slowly disengaged from each other. I think we both knew that a long-distance relationship just wasn't feasible. We never said goodbye to each other, we just drifted apart. It's too bad because he was a really neat guy.

The guilt I felt about cheating also faded in time. But the transgression had happened and whatever moral high ground I thought I had before meeting Peter was gone. Actually, the thought that there were other married guys out there who I could find and connect with was even more exciting. I knew I didn't want to leave Gabbie but I also knew that I couldn't deny myself sexual contact with men.

For more than a year I used a variety of methods to find men. I placed a MWM seeks MWM ad in a county-wide alternative newspaper. I cruised bathrooms at the community college. And I continued to chat on IRC. Through these methods I met, and had sex with, a variety of men. Most of what is memorable about the experiences is how I met them, or just that I met them. The sex was not especially memorable. Nor were the emotional connections---of which there were none. But the hunt and the possibility that I might meet someone really great kept me motivated to continue trying.

During this time, I did have one sexual experience that was especially memorable.

There's a certain building at the California State University of Sacramento that has bathrooms in it that were deliberately built for the purpose of comfortably sucking cock.

Not only are the stalls invisible from the sinks and the door, but, the stall partitions are so high that you can practically limbo under them; the bottom of the partitions end at the top of the toilet rims. This leaves plenty of room to comfortably sit on the floor and swallow your neighbor's dick.

On a weekday afternoon in 1996 I grabbed one of the four stalls on the third floor of this glorious building. I took the end-stall nearest the door and was surprised to see that two of the other three stalls were already filled.

As in any Tea Room, when someone enters, all sexual activity stops until the new arrival makes clear his reason for being in the bathroom. Because I hadn't come to actually use the bathroom, it wasn't long before a young Filipino guy in the stall farthest from me dropped to his knees and showed his hard, thin cock under the partition. A moment later the guy in the stall next to him, a tall kid with short reddish-blond hair and muscular arms, was kneeling on the floor furiously sucking the Filipino's cock.

Most of the sex I had seen in Tea Rooms was quick, quiet and cautious. Not in this place. Both the sucker and the suckee were loud and verbal. It was like watching live porn, only a few feet away.

Before long another guy entered the bathroom and took the last open stall, the one next to mine. From what I could tell, he was young and athletic; he had muscular calves and nice Nike tennis shoes.

After the new guy settled in, the action between the strawberry blond and the Filipino resumed. The Filipino stripped off his shorts and his underwear. Now half-naked, he slid the lower half of his body into the blond's stall. The tall blond responded by deep throating him in a single motion.

It didn't take long for the jock next to me to whip out his cock and stroke it as he watched the action next to him. From what I could tell, the jock was really hot. I had never been aggressive in a Tea Room before but the opportunity was too tempting. I signaled the jock that I wanted to suck him. My attempt was ill-timed, however, because the bathroom door opened and yet another guy entered.

The new guy walked to where the stalls were and stood in front of all four occupied stalls. He paused for a few seconds. Then he got down on his knees and looked under the stalls. The Filipino accepted this action as a sign that he was not a cop. Eager to resume his blow job, the Filipino shoved his bright red cock under the partition, toward the waiting blond.

After two or three minutes of loud face-fucking, the Filipino groaned as he shot his load into the strawberry blond's mouth.

The Filipino quickly fled the bathroom and the guy who had been crouched outside the stalls took his spot. That guy was Hispanic, maybe mid-30s, and looked like a stereotypical Mexican day-laborer. He wasn't especially attractive, but he sure knew what he wanted. He was on his knees presenting his fat, hairy cock to the blond within seconds. The tall blond quickly went down on him; he seemed to be really turned on by the guy's attitude and thick dick. It was only a few minutes before the Mexican moaned and drained his cock down the tall guy's throat.

Before the Mexican was out the door, the jock in the stall next to me dropped to his knees and pushed his long, hard veiny cock toward the muscled blond. He had a load he wanted to deliver too.

My view of the third blow job was unlike the prior two. The first two were dick-forward to me whereas the third was ass-forward. The jock had a nice, firm, muscular ass so I appreciated that. But I was frustrated because I couldn't see more of his dick getting sucked. It was hot to watch his ass muscles flex as he fucked the blond's face. The two guys were pretty sexy so I was expecting a great show but after only a few minutes yet another guy came in and took the one open stall. Holy shit, this place is like Cock Central Station.

Once the newest guy showed his cock, the action resumed. But not according to normal Tea Room protocol (there's rules for this shit!) Instead of waiting for the jock to kneel and present his dick, the blond started blowing the newest guy. And honestly, I don't know why. The guy was older, overweight and not at all attractive. But he had a dick that needed attention and the strawberry blond apparently was not going to turn down any dick that needed sucking. The jock was probably thinking "what the fuck" because he kneeled down too and waved his hard cock at the blond. As he did that I was thinking "what the fuck -- why can't I suck your studly jock cock??"

The tall blond was a greedy bastard. He switched from the fat guy to the jock, then back again. Once he was on the fat guy again he jacked him frantically and then I understood. He wanted Mr. Ugly to cum quickly and leave. And that's what happened.

The blond licked every bit of cum off the fat guy's dick, smacked his lips and turned back to the waiting jock. Damn, I really wanted a good view of those two. Unfortunately I had to settle for the rhythmic undulations of the jock's sculpted ass muscles. The blond was a good moaner, which is something I appreciate in a cocksucker. But the jock was silent. I couldn't see much other than a nice ass but I knew when the jock came because I heard two big wads of cum drip from the tall blond's mouth and softly splatter on the tile floor.

The jock cleaned up and exited. Now it was just me and the perverted serial cocksucker left in the bathroom. I didn't know what to do next. My dick was thoroughly lathered in pre-cum and after watching four blow jobs in a row, I was so horned up that I knew I wouldn't last long in the muscled blond's skilled mouth. I really hoped I could blow him; I was sure he was ready.

I waited a minute to see what the blond did next.

My lack of movement must have made the blond think I was either shy (true) or only interested in receiving. In either case, he decided he wanted to keep the action going so he moved to the stall next to mine and motioned for me to show him my goods.
I really wanted to blow him and then jack-off but the strawberry blond was not interested. He wanted my dick down his throat. How could I refuse?

Oh fuck, the guy was good.

Between his powerful mouth and the thought that he was such a needy dick-whore, my eyes were rolling to the back of my head in no time. I loved the way he moaned as he sucked. I loved the feel of his short curly hair as I cupped both hands around the back of his head. I loved that he was a total slut and I got to be the last of five dudes to ram by dick down his throat in quick succession.

I fucked his face as long as I could but after watching all the previous action I was really primed to cum. After two or three long minutes of exquisite agony I lunged deep into his mouth and shot my seed straight down his throat.

It was such a good cum that I couldn't move for a while.

When I recovered, I wanted to get the guy off. But as I checked the time I realized that I had been there for nearly an hour and I really had to go.

I have the guy a thumbs up under the partition and whispered, "Sorry dude, have to go."

"No problem."

I jogged back to my car and drove an hour and a half back home, feeling very satisfied.

It was at least a half-day commitment to drive to Sacramento and back but with action like that, I knew I would return soon.

It turns out, I was wrong. I never went back.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Why don't you just leave me again?

[Thanks for your patience with this one. The next few will be more focused on sex. For your amusement, I have included two very embarrassing confessions.]


Gabbie never moved back into the condo with me. She had never liked it in the first place, but now she absolutely loathed it. It held almost nothing but bad memories for her and perhaps worst of all, it was contaminated by "THAT BOY." We immediately put it up for sale.

The real estate market was not especially good in California in early 1993. After three months on the market we had no offers. Gabbie was impatient. Her mother had been a realtor for many years and now managed a large real estate office. The two of them found a three bedroom condo north of San Francisco that Gabbie loved. After some negotiation they worked out an uneven trade for the two condos. We bought the three bedroom for $235,000 and they bought the one bedroom for $80,000. This gave us a net profit on the one bedroom condo of $8,000. We had no money saved so we had to borrow money from a friend of Gabbie's mother for the rest of the down payment. In addition, the loan for the new condo was the worst loan you could get, a negative amortization option arm. Even with all these concessions, in order to get the loan approved the top producing loan officer had to fly to Los Angeles to personally beg a Vice President of the bank to approve the loan. Clearly, buying this place was a stretch. At best, I knew that we could barely afford it. I was against the deal. But Gabbie and her mother only cared about one thing: "moving on." Since I was still very much in the dog house my opinion counted for naught. We bought the condo.

My re-commitment to Gabbie sparked a desire in both of us to take our life together more seriously. I didn't feel like I was getting anywhere at the bank so I started thinking about what else I wanted to do with my life. We also felt more ready than ever to become parents.

Before I had met Jim, Gabbie and I had tried to conceive for four or five months. Not long after we were back together, we started trying again. After two more months without success Gabbie had us both arrange for fertility testing. My swimmers were many and had good mobility. Gabbie checked out just fine as well...with one small problem. God, this is humiliating to admit... Gabbie's hymen was intact. The doctor was kind enough to break it for her. With a surgical instrument. Thanks doc, for proving that I'm a complete homo.

Once the shock and horror of Gabbie's virginity wore off slightly, I got excited. Perhaps part of the reason sex with her didn't do much for me was because we weren't doing it right. Oh the new possibilities...

On that first night Gabbie said she was too sore to try to do it "right." The next night we tried. And the night after that. And a few days later. And another time a few more days later. Each time it was the same problem, Gabbie complained that ANY penetration hurt too much. On two different nights I told her to bear the pain as long as she could. I figured if I could breach her cervix then we both would know how it felt, and, her muscles would be stretched enough to make it easier the next time. Both times we gave up.

Back to the doctor's office she went. The doctor said that physically there was nothing wrong with her. She, the doctor, signed Gabbie up for some psychology appointments to discuss her sexual-psychological issues. Gabbie went two or three times but quit because she said therapy wasn't helping; the sessions just made her feel worse about herself as a woman.

Because there seemed to be no easy sexual solution to the pregnancy problem, I suggested an alternative method to deliver my boys: an eye dropper. So, yes, as if I have not already humiliated myself enough in this blog I am now confessing that my kid was conceived by an eye dropper. It worked the first month.

We moved in to the new condo in March and we knew Gabbie was pregnant by early April. Gabbie was thrilled to have a new home close to her parents and to finally be pregnant. She definitely felt that her life had taken a turn for the better.

I was glad that she was happy; if she was happy I was happy. Although I had plenty of sexual thoughts about men I had no desire to actually do anything. I was pretty content.

Not long after we moved, Jim called me at the new house. We hadn't spoken since I had broken up with him four months previously. Before he called, I was at peace with how things ended between us. I had been honest with him and he appeared to accept what I said without much anger. As we parted, we sincerely wished each other all the best in the future.

When Jim called he was very upbeat on the phone, perhaps unnaturally so. He told me that everything was going VERY well, that he had a new boyfriend, that school was going well, etc. I would have loved to talk with him more but he happened to call when Gabbie was there. She gave me a death stare the entire time.

I felt that I had no choice but to get Jim off the phone as quickly as possible without being rude. The whole conversation lasted less than three minutes but Gabbie didn't like it one bit. The second I put the phone down she launched into an avalanche of questions: Why was he calling? What did he want? Had he called before? Had I called him?

Her interrogation was not worth the pleasure of hearing from Jim. At the time, I hoped he wouldn't call again.

In the years that followed, however, the call from Jim greatly troubled me. At first I couldn't figure out why he called. Then, as I thought about what he said, I realized that he wanted to prove to me that he was ok; that after I had dumped him he found a new boyfriend and a happy life. This made me very, very sad. It meant that I had hurt him.

From the moment I met him until the moment I said goodbye forever he was an awesome, completely supportive guy. The very last thing I wanted was for him to be hurt by what I had done. What had happened had nothing to do with him. He was great.

I don't remember exactly when...perhaps five years later, I had Jim on my brain so I decided to look him up. I didn't want to get back with him, all I wanted was to tell him both how sorry I was that I was such an ass, and, how terrific he was throughout the whole ordeal.

I found his number on the Internet and called him. He wasn't rude but he wasn't exactly happy to hear from me. I asked him how he was and what he had been doing. He told me that he was trading stock options, that he sang in the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, and that he didn't have a boyfriend---he was enjoying dating. Because I had expected a warmer reception, I lost the nerve to clearly tell him how sorry I was about everything. When I hung up the phone I felt horribly unsatisfied. I hadn't said anything that I wanted to say.

A few months later I was thinking about him again. I decided that I should send him an email or write him a letter so I could deliver the quality apology he deserved. After some searching, the only address I could find for him was at work; I sent him a three page letter.

He never replied so I wondered if he received my letter. I checked his securities license again, which is how I found his work address, and it showed that he had left the company. I began to doubt whether he ever got the letter.

A few years after that I was bored at work and I was reading gay personal ads. In one of the ads the guy said that he was a member of the SF Gay Men's Chorus. Hmmm. I replied to the ad and said that I was looking for my former boyfriend Jim. A day later I got the following email from Jim. It was dated June 12, 2001.

"One of my friends in the chorus told me that you were looking to get in contact with me. Obviously, a lot has gone on since the time that we were together; I did get your letter a few years back, but I thought it best not to reply. If you want to catch up, let's get together for a drink or something. There is way too much to discuss over email...

Later,
Jim
(415) 441-

PS. What are you doing cruising Planetout ads????? :) "

I emailed him back and said that I was sorry for stalking him but all I wanted to know was that he received my apology. I promised not to bother him again.

It only took nine years, but I finally felt that I had done the best by Jim that I possibly could have.

Jim's call four months after we broke up brought up another issue: being out to Gabbie.

Right after we got back together Gabbie decided that we should go to therapy to work on our marriage. I agreed to go; I thought it would be good for us. The therapist was a middle aged man, straight...not particularly inspiring.

Going to therapy served one, and only one, useful purpose: by the second appointment we both knew that therapy was a waste of time and money. I was gay, I was content with my sexuality, we loved each other. Other than that, we didn't have much more to say. We stopped going.

With or without therapy, now that I was out to Gabbie I wanted to continue being open and honest. I thought that was what she wanted as well, but after two more weeks passed and she had never once made a comment or asked a question about my sexuality, I decided that she must have been waiting for me to say something first. So I did.

I don't remember what actor we were talking about but I made a comment that the guy was very good looking. Gabbie winced.

Over the next six months there were other times when I made a comment or there something on the TV about being gay. Every time Gabbie got visibly agitated. I knew it wasn't because she had a problem with homosexuality, it was because she had a problem with her husband being a homosexual.

Every time she reacted negatively I felt more and more discouraged from being open. What was the point of being honest if she hated what I had to say? I worried that I was being cruel, like maybe she thought I was threatening to leave her again every time I made a comment about something gay.

It didn't take long for my suspicions to be proven correct.

I don't remember the cause of the fight but I do remember Gabbie throwing her insecurities in my face. In the heat of the argument she said, "Why don't you just leave me again!!!"

She was so irritating that I felt like I wanted to leave her again, but not because I was gay. Apparently I hesitated just a little too long. Gabbie immediately attacked me, "Aha! You ARE planning on leaving me again. Now I have to spend my life waiting for the night that you never come home again."

I told her she was being ridiculous. But she saw that my resolve was weak and from that moment onward, I knew that if I wanted her to have faith in my loyalty to her, I had to stop talking about being gay.

So I did.

I don't remember exactly when it happened but I decided that being honest with Gabbie just wasn't worth the aggravation of her insecurity; I decided to quietly step back in the closet.

She never asked me directly if I still thought I was gay---I think she was afraid of the answer, but every time we had a significant fight she indirectly brought up the issue. Often it was in the context of "when you leave me..."

After the first time, when I made the mistake of hesitating too long to refute her statement, I learned to be quick, confident and slightly condescending when I replied. My goal was to shut out her worry as effectively as possible. In time, I simply became dismissive, "That's not going to happen."

It took about 15 years but eventually Gabbie seemed to believe me. Until that time, her fear that I was going to leave at any moment was a quiet yet destructive influence on our marriage. It has had major long-term repercussions.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Liberated and Committed

Accepting myself as gay at age 12 was a seminal moment. The fact that I had ever dated a woman was not my fault. Gabbie tricked me into saying that I liked her.

Actually, she had tricked me through every step of our relationship. When I wanted to break up after we returned from England, she made me come see her every day. When I wanted our long distance relationship in college to fizzle, she kept calling. When I didn't want to get engaged, she gave me an ultimatum.

The lie that my life became and all the wrong things that happened to me were Gabbie's fault. Not mine.

Not only was my fucked-up life her fault, I had every right to be pissed off and resentful. I was TRICKED, MANIPULATED, BADGERED and BLACKMAILED. It wasn't bad luck that had forced me to marry a girl, it was deliberate treachery. And after being so poorly treated it was only natural that I resent the trickster.

And when Gabbie left me alone night after night for weeks in a row and I became desperately lonely, I had every reason to be bitter and to seek companionship.

My loneliness and my years of resentment combined to create a perfect storm where I was ready for almost any man to rescue me. I had so much pent-up frustration that I would have fallen for any guy who said, "You've been wronged! Be with me and I'll stand by you through this horrible mess, you poor victim."

But I didn't find any man. I found Jim. Everything he ever said or did gave me a new reason to fall madly in love with him. Jim was the perfect guy who rescued me from the perfect storm at the perfect moment.

So....when I forced myself to be brutally honest and to choose whether I wanted to be with an absolutely PERFECT guy, or, my treacherous, high maintenance, bossy, pain in the ass, manipulative wife, no one could have been more amazed by my choice than me. Even after acknowledging all her imperfections and the fact that I was GAY and she was a WOMAN, I still honestly wanted to be with her.

And it's not like I made the easy decision---to be with her, just because she was a woman. Although I hadn't done a lot of the hard things, like coming out to friends and family, I was well on my way to establishing an independent gay life for myself. I was out the door! A confessed faggot whose wife had moved out. I was free.

AND YET I chose to dump the best guy I ever met and honestly commit myself to the extremely frustrating woman I married.

What is more unusual, I think, is that I made this unexpected decision without the influence of ANY external pressures. I had no kids to worry about. No threats from family or parents. No fear of Eternal Damnation. Any of those could have been good excuses to use later to explain my decision to get back with Gabbie. But they didn't exist! No one pressured me to do it. I did it all on my own.

So...long story short...I have no one else to blame for my strange marriage except for me. When I chose to recommit to Gabbie I knew EXACTLY what I was doing.

When I realized that I wanted to be married to Gabbie insteading of dating my goodlooking, intelligent, caring and generous 20 year old boyfriend that decision was as much of a watershed as was the decision to accept myself as gay.

The "pure" circumstance of my decision was amazingly cathartic, especially in the long run. Although I knew I was gay, I stopped feeling like my marriage was a lie. And I stopped feeling like I was hiding my true self. Instead, I felt both liberated and committed.

In all my years of reading and talking with bi and gay men who were, or had been married, not one of them ever said they literally walked away from their wife and then returned months later because that was what they most desired to do. It's utterly bizarre. Perhaps even nonsensical. But that's what I did.

Now, just because it worked out that way for me does not mean any other guy on this planet would, or should, make the same decision. I don't think any bi or married guy should stay married just because I did. In fact, my decision was so random that I think it can be discounted; decisions like mine just don't happen very often.

Can I say that I have lived happily ever after? No, I cannot. Coming out to Gabbie has had a deep, long lasting impact on our marriage. And, just because I was 100% committed to being married to her did not mean that I felt fulfilled as a gay man. The next part of my story explains how these problems have played out, and continue to play out, to this day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Coming out is easy if you don't tell anyone

The early morning hours of my 26th birthday were miserable.

I hadn't intended it to do it then, but I came out to my wife of two and a half years.

She didn't take it well; she fell to the ground and sobbed uncontrollably.

When she regained her composure she spent the next two hours attacking me in an brutal tirade that can best be summed up as, "YOU RUINED MY LIFE!"

Eventually she heeded my plea for a temporary truce; we both had to go to work that day and I reasoned that two hours of sleep were better than none.

Later I thought about how dramatically my life had changed in less than a day. When I had left work the previous night I was a young married guy, living a straight life. Now, as I was driving back to work a few hours later, I was a newly out gay man who had just left his wife for a 20 year old college kid he had met only hours before.

At work I called the college kid, my new boyfriend Jim, to tell him what had happened between Gabbie and me. He was very proud that I had come out to her, that I had told her the truth. I felt proud too. But I also felt like a failure---I had just lived through the nightmare scenario I had always wanted to avoid.

My birthday night and the two days that followed were very awkward between Gabbie and me, but one good thing came of it. Gabbie said she had always hated where we lived so she was going to move out immediately. That made it official, we were splitting up.

Another thing she did, which showed that she was headed toward acceptance, was that she told her parents exactly what had happened. Thankfully she didn't want to tell any others yet. I didn't feel ready to come out to anyone else; coming out to her was stressful enough.

Within a few days Gabbie did move out; she rented a room in an apartment 30 minutes away from me from a co-worker. It wasn't the big move, she only took a few essentials when she left. And her departure did not mean that our relationship was over. I still had much to work out with her...and a lot to look forward to with Jim.

Jim was always a delight to be with; I tried to spend as much time with him as I could. He was extremely supportive of my changing life, but he set one condition which was that I could not tell Gabbie about him. He had been forced to testify in court during his parents' divorce and it was one of the worst experiences of his life. When he told me, "I testified for one divorce and I never want to do it again. Keep me completely out it," I understood his concern and did exactly as he asked.

Jim had one other requirement that I complied with, albeit with some anxiety. He said that we couldn't have any kind of sex again until both us had been tested for HIV. I wouldn't have thought to get tested, but he was right, it was the smart thing to do.

He found a local clinic that offered free, anonymous testing and we went together for both the blood draws and the results, which were delivered a week later. It was my first HIV test so I found it embarrassing to be quizzed by the counselor about my sexual activities. When it was time to reveal the results, even though I didn't think I had cause to worry, I still breathed a huge sigh of relief when I heard the news: negative.

As expected, Jim's test was negative too. Sex at last! Well, sex again at least. Jim's request that we get tested caused me a double dose of embarrassment; the testing itself was no pleasure, but even worse, his request implied that he had no intention of exchanging blow jobs on our first date. I hadn't planned to either, it just happened. But his request made me wonder, Did I 'make' him do something he didn't want to do? I felt a twinge of guilt that perhaps I had seduced him against his will.

Speaking of guilt, managing my relationship with Gabbie was not easy. While I was able to easily change my feelings for her, she was not prepared to let me go so easily. I felt that I had to help her along by creating some distance between us.

At first, I didn't answer the phone when she called. But that didn't work because she kept leaving exasperated messages on the answering machine. Then I tried disconnecting the phone for hours at a time but not long after I reconnected it she would call and want to know why the phone just rang and rang.

I then considered using a more direct approach, such as telling her to STOP CALLING, but after thinking about both how pathetic and how vicious she could be, I really didn't have the stomach to do that. Eventually I decided that as much as I wanted to run from Gabbie, I really couldn't.

She called a minimum of once a day, but frequently more often. When she called we talked about her day, just as we had done for the years that we had been together.

It was clear that I was going to have to slowly, not suddenly, ease her off her dependence on me.

Hiding my relationship with Jim from Gabbie was sometimes frustrating. I looked forward to any time that I could spend with him but Gabbie often stood in the way. The weekends with Jim were especially precious. It seemed like Gabbie and I had at least one social or family event to attend together every weekend, which meant Jim got the leftovers.

It was at one of those family events that Gabbie's sister Crissy pulled me aside and said, "I heard that you told Gabbie you were gay. I just want to tell you that I love you no matter what. To me, you will always be my brother-in-law." That was incredible to hear, and I responded that I felt the same way about her. We gave each other a nice hug and at that moment I felt better about myself than I had in a very long time. That brief conversation, more than any other, created a bond between Crissy and I that has endured for the many years since then.

During the parts of the weekends that I was with Jim we always did something fun. We went to the movies or to a comedy club to see his favorite comedian or we went out somewhere. Once we went to a poetry reading his friend gave in the City. By coincidence, after we arrived I noticed that one of my female high school classmates was scheduled to do a reading at the same event. I was really nervous about her seeing me with Jim. My instinct was to leave. But without voicing my fears to Jim, I calmed myself down and decided to just deal with it. Ultimately my worries didn't matter, because for a reason I never knew, she never showed up.

On another night Jim and I decided to go to the Castro, the gay epicenter of San Francisco. It was a tremendously liberating feeling to publicly hold hands with him as we browsed the bars and shops. I remember thinking, I can't believe I'm here with my boyfriend, living life as an out gay man.

My jubilant feelings of liberation did not last long, however. The more time we spent in the neighborhood the more convinced I was that I was going to turn a corner and suddenly be face-to-face with someone I knew, like Gabbie's gay friend from college Dario and/or his boyfriend Matthew. Even though they were gay I felt like the shock would be huge for them.

Clearly I had a lot of work to do before I would feel comfortable being out.

Later that same night Jim and I decided to check out some gay dance clubs on Fulton Street. Neither of us knew where exactly to go, so when we saw a long line for a particular club, we decided to get in it. If it was that popular, it had to be good, right?

The line was very slow moving, but that was ok because I enjoyed talking to Jim and holding his hand. As we talked, both of us were checking out other people in line and those who walked by. I turned to my right to look at one particularly interesting couple and I got quite an unexpected surprise when my eyes locked with a female friend of Gabbie's from college, Francesca. She was not part of our regular college social group but she still was one of Gabbie's better friends. Fearing that she would see me with Jim, I panicked.

I dropped his hand, told him that we had to go "right now!" and took off in a fast walk. When Jim caught up to me I quickly explained that we had been seen together by one of Gabbie's friends and he understood. I have no idea if Francesca tried to follow us or not but after taking an erratic path around several blocks I saw no sign of her.

My freak-out killed our interest in going to any clubs that night so instead we drove back to Jim's apartment and had substituted sex for dancing; it was a good trade off.

Sometime in early September Jim came out to his roommate Wes. Wes confessed that he had had some bisexual fantasies so he took the news well. Once Wes knew, Jim's apartment became our home base. Except I didn't sleep over. I would have liked to but there were two reasons I couldn't: it was too far from work, and, I had to be home to answer the phone when Gabbie called every night.

One of the highlights of coming to Jim's apartment was the reception he gave me when I arrived. He always said something nice like, "Oh! My boyfriend is home from work," then he'd give me a kiss and say, "How was your day, hon?"

Every time he called me "his boyfriend" or "hon" my heart melted a little. As much as I loved it when he was verbally affectionate, I still found it embarrassing when he did it in front of Wes. I was always nervous about displays of affection that were not private. Jim was not afraid. I liked him all the more because he did not have my inhibitions.

Although Wes was likable enough, he seemed to never leave the apartment. Both Jim and I thought it would be rude to ignore him when we were there so we made an effort to stay in the living room or the kitchen whenever Wes was around. This cut down on our time alone.

At one point Jim got so frustrated by Wes' continual presence that he agreed to spend an evening at my place. He did it very reluctantly because he had no sympathy for Gabbie and he wanted no part of her in his life. I, on the other hand, was kind of giddy about having him over because I was starting to hope that someday it would be OUR place. My optimism faded somewhat, however, when one of the first things he said after entering was, "I am NOT going anywhere near the bedroom where you two slept."

"Um, ok...I can make up the sofa bed and we can cuddle on it and watch a movie. Would that work?"

"Yes, let's do that."

I opened up the couch and put a sheet on the bed. Then I pulled out a VHS tape of the made-for-TV movie Doing Time on Maple Drive. It was a new movie at the time and the main story was about a young closeted guy, Matt, who was engaged. In the movie he brings his fiancee' Alison home to meet his parents and while she's there she finds a love note to Matt from his recent boyfriend, Tom. The note causes her to break off the engagement and abruptly leave. Her departure eventually forces Matt to come out to his conservative family. Jim Carrey starred as Matt's alcoholic brother and Lori Laughlin (Full House) was the fiancee'. Matt was played by eye-candy actor William McNamara.

Like Matt in the movie, I had gotten engaged and tried to live a straight life because I thought it was the life I wanted. The movie really resonated with me so I wanted to share it with Jim.

We cuddled up on the pulled-out bed and watched the movie.

About an hour into the movie our peaceful evening came to a very sudden end.

Both of us jumped off the bed when we heard a key turn in the front door. Seconds later Gabbie was staring at us with a very shocked expression. The shocked look quickly turned into a frown.

At a complete loss for what to do, I introduced Gabbie to Jim. She said hello, and he said hello back. Then we all stood looking awkwardly at each other for a few seconds. Gabbie broke the silence and said, "I'm here to get a few things. I'm just going to get them and go." She did, and left.

Gabbie couldn't get out of there fast enough and as soon as she left, neither could Jim. "As long as there is any chance that she might show up here again, I'm not coming back. Sorry."

The next day Gabbie called me at work and we played 40 questions about Jim. Who was he? How did I meet him? How old was he? What were we doing together? Why was the bed pulled out? Had I done anything with him?

Because Jim was so upset by the incident I felt that my answers had to comply with his fervent desire to be left out of my impending divorce. So, I answered that Jim was a friend I had recently met through an ad. He was 20, and, nothing had happened between us. Gabbie was skeptical but she had no choice but to accept my answers.

With my place off-limits and Wes always in Jim's apartment, when the following weekend came, Jim and I spontaneously decided we'd take a romantic overnight trip to Monterey, a popular seaside town about two hours south of San Francisco.

The trip went really well. I found it very strange, however, to spend so much time with Jim in public as we toured the aquarium, the pier and the shops. We were a couple, like so many others, but we couldn't act like a couple. I couldn't hold his hand or lean into him or let him sit on my lap or hug him or kiss him. It was torture to be near him all those hours and not be able to touch him. The public aspect of being with a guy was so very different than that of being with a woman. I found it both very frustrating and very awkward.

Another odd thing was how uncomfortable I was when it came time to rent a hotel room. If I had been with Gabbie, it would have been a very routine matter. But because I was with a guy, I was extremely anxious. It didn't help that the desk clerk glared at us the whole time; we couldn't leave the lobby fast enough.

The trip was a good lesson for me. Because I had always lived a straight life I hadn't realized how differently routine matters, like walking with your partner in an aquarium or renting a hotel room, could be very uncomfortable. The whole experience gave me a new appreciation for those who come out with no support.

Between my weeknight visits with Jim, our weekend outings and our trip to Monterey, I felt like I was beginning to adjust to my new gay life. Closing out my old life was a different matter.

One of the many obligations that hung over me was a vacation that Gabbie and I had planned several weeks before I met Jim; a favorite client of mine from work offered me the chance to stay for a week in her timeshare in Orlando, Florida. All I had to do was pay the $55 weekly fee and buy the airplane tickets. Gabbie and I decided to go during the off season and we chose the week of her birthday at the end of October. Only days before I met Jim I had bought the non-refundable airplane tickets. Gabbie and I had discussed the trip several times in the weeks after she moved out. We both still wanted to go. When I broke the news to Jim that I was going, he was not happy. I was finally able to convince him that the trip was a good idea because it would allow me the time to talk to Gabbie and convince her that we both needed to move on.

The following week Jim warmed up to the idea a little more when I told him that Gabbie informed me that she was going on a date the next night. This was a very welcome sign to both of us that she was ready to move ahead with her life.

Our joint euphoria did not last long; Gabbie's date did not go well. Apparently it didn't take her suitor long to figure out that Gabbie was high maintenance. Obviously the guy was a lot smarter than me.

As the end of October approached I found that I was looking forward to the week alone with Gabbie. What I liked was that the trip would give me the chance to show her that our relationship had changed. If everything went well, Gabbie would accept the fact that I was gay and we could take the next steps toward splitting apart our lives.

During our time together Gabbie and I had often travelled together. From our first field trips in Oxford, to dragging her luggage through the London Underground, to our honeymoon week in England, to New York to see Todd and with her family to Italy, we had always been excellent travel partners. So as we de-planed in a city that was new to us, I realized how easy and comfortable it was to travel with her.

Within the first day I also found that I was enjoying my time with her. I had been worried that the whole trip would be awkward, but it wasn't. I was never a guy who looked for a fight and for whatever reason, Gabbie was on her best behavior.

Because it was just the two of us we spent every minute of every day together. We had fun. And why shouldn't we? All we did was go to amusement parks, had dinners out and lounged by the pool.

We left San Francisco on a Sunday and when I hadn't been able to call Jim by Tuesday I was feeling very bad. When Gabbie was in the shower that morning I made a quick call to him. He tried to be polite but I could tell he was somewhat annoyed, probably because I hadn't called in two days, but also because I wasn't miserable. I explained that Gabbie and I were always together and that it would continue to be difficult to call him. My excuses didn't make him feel any better. Before we hung up he said, "Hurry home!"

As the days in Orlando ticked by, I found that every minute was a pleasure. I hadn't expected it, but spending all that time with Gabbie was so fun that I found it impossible to talk about moving our divorce along. Wednesday night, her birthday, we had sex for the first time in more than two months.

I made a quick call to Jim on Thursday, again while Gabbie was in the shower. I told him I couldn't talk for long, and I was sorry, but I didn't think I'd be able to talk to him again until Sunday night; it was too hard to get away from Gabbie to call for more than a minute. That call put Jim on the back burner for me, allowing me to relax and enjoy the time with Gabbie.

On Saturday night, our last night in Orlando, we had a really nice dinner and did the whole New Year's Eve celebration and clubbing thing at Pleasure Island. We had sex again that night.

When I dropped Gabbie off at her apartment on Sunday, we were both sad that our vacation was over. The whole experience had rekindled a spark between us that I had never believed was there. I didn't know what my next steps with Gabbie should be. On the one hand I didn't like that we were going home to separate houses but on the other hand, I REALLY liked Jim.

I decided that I was confused because I had spent so much time with Gabbie. What I needed to do was spend more time with Jim over the following week and see how I felt about each of them.

For whatever reason, the first night Jim and I were able to get together was Tuesday. We were so glad to see each other and we kissed and hugged and I couldn't wait to be in the bedroom with him. But first he wanted me to tell him everything that happened during the week with Gabbie. I was embarrassed by his request; if I had been honest I would have told him that I spent far less time thinking about him than I ever would have guessed. Still, I gave him the most optimistic overview that I could.

Jim didn't like my yada-yada summary. He wanted all the details so he pressed me to tell him more. I complied as best I could but I'm certain that I sounded evasive.

Jim never asked if Gabbie and I had sex but I think my generally vague answers gave him a clue that the week did not play out the way I told him it would.

Jim and I had sex that night and I found myself comparing how I felt when I was with him to how I felt when I was with Gabbie. Perhaps it was the nine days apart from Jim but I had to admit that I felt closer to Gabbie during sex than I did to Jim.

For the next week I was in a fog. I couldn't reconcile the fact that I was gay, that Gabbie had forced me to marry her, that Jim was AWESOME and yet I found myself missing her. It was all such a puzzle, I didn't know what to do, if anything.

On Thursday of that week, more than a week after the vacation, the fog lifted when I asked myself if I WANTED to be with Gabbie more than I wanted to be with Jim.

Just as I had admitted to myself that I was gay at the age of 12, I admitted that the true, honest answer was: I wanted to be with Gabbie.

I called her up and asked her to dinner the following night. At the dinner, I told her that I wanted to get back together. "Will you take me back?" I asked.

She did.

The next morning I went to see Jim and broke the news to him.

"I, um, I can't really believe it, but I guess I'm in love with Gabbie and so we've decided to get back to together."

Jim was sad, but not angry. I tried to explain that my decision had nothing to do with him, but I don't really know how he felt. The conversation was awkward for both of us so neither of us wanted to drag it out.

All that was left to do was to wish each other the best, hug, and say goodbye. And that's what we did.

It was the last time I ever saw Jim, but it was not the last time we spoke.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Doing the Right Thing

Before I got to Jim's apartment I slipped off my wedding ring and pushed it deep into my pocket.

I hadn't told him that I was married because I didn't want him to reject me before we actually met. Based on our letters and the phone conversation, I really hoped we would be a good match.

Jim answered the door immediately after I knocked. The very first thing I noticed was that he was even better looking in person than in his picture. He looked similar to Elijah Wood in this picture, except his eyes were brown and he had no sideburns.

One of the first things that impressed me about him was his maturity. He was only 20 so he easily could have been geeky or flighty or hyper. Instead he was composed and friendly. I instantly liked him.

He welcomed me into his apartment, which was sparsely furnished. As I entered I saw that we weren't alone. Jim introduced me to his roommate, Wes, who was a friend from school. The three of us stood in the living room for a few minutes, making small talk. Then Jim said, "Let me give you a tour."

The apartment was a standard two bedroom with a kitchen and living room so there wasn't a lot to tour. Once we were out of earshot of Wes Jim whispered, "I'm sorry. I didn't know he was going to be here. Can we go somewhere?"

I had expected to be alone with Jim so it was easy to answer his question, "Sure. Let's go."

Jim lived about 30 minutes from me in a part of the Bay Area that I had never been. When he asked if we could go somewhere, I really had no idea where to go. Although I was very excited about our date, I hadn’t given any thought to what we would actually do. I just wanted to get to know him; I wanted to see if we could be good together.

We said goodbye to Wes and hopped into my car. Then I just drove.

Alone together at last, our conversation began very simply: Did he like living in Benicia? Did he have a job? Did I get many replies to my ad? What kind of work did I do?

Jim was very open and easy to talk to; our conversation flowed effortlessly. The only problem was that as we started to get more personal I realized that it was going to be hard not to talk about Gabbie. The best solution, I decided, was to keep the conversation focused on Jim and his life.

After about twenty minutes of driving aimlessly, I confessed to Jim, “I’ve never been to Benicia before, so I have no idea where we can go to talk. Do you know of a place?”

He thought for a minute and then said, “A few weeks ago I went hiking in a regional park not far from here. I think it’s back the other way, though.”

When we got to the park's entrance, a long metal gate blocked the road. It was late summer and the sun was setting, meaning that it was after 8pm. The park closed at 7.

"Think it would be ok if we parked here and talked?"

"It'll probably be ok. If the police come, we might have to move."

I parked the car as far off the road as I could then turned to Jim and said, "Tell me everything about you."

And that is exactly what he did.

He started by telling me that he had not started at UC Berkeley yet. He was a transfer student and was only a few days away from his first semester there.

He told me that he had been living with his grandparents in Napa while he went to a junior college there. He and Wes had only recently become roommates but they had met at school. Wes did not know he was gay but Jim wanted to tell him soon.

We talked about many other things: about his childhood; about his experiences with men (very few); about what he hoped to find in a relationship; about his hobbies and interests; and about his plans after he graduated from Berkeley.

The most consequential part of himself that he shared had to do with his family. He had grown up in New Jersey but what brought him to California to live with his grandparents was the failure of his parents' marriage. They divorced while he was in high school and the split was vicious.

He explained in vivid detail how both of his parents used him as a pawn to hurt the other, all without any regard to him. It was an awful situation and he couldn't wait to leave as soon as he graduated.

Jim's parents' divorce was obviously very fresh and very painful to him. I was surprised that he was able to talk openly about his suffering; I had spent my entire life internalizing anything bad that had ever happened to me. His naked honesty made him all the more appealing; the more he shared, the more I liked him.

Eventually our conversation reached a natural lull and I debated whether I should take him home. It was already past 10pm on a weeknight---but I didn't want our night to end; I felt we had already developed an intimate bond, a connection.

The way he looked at me, I think he felt it too.

As I thought about how adorable and smart and charming he was, I couldn't help but to gaze into his deep brown eyes and grin like a fool.

When he smiled back at me, my insides went all gooey.

Breaking the silence Jim reached over, took my hand and said, "Now tell me all about you."

Normally I would have given a short but polite answer to such a question. Over the years hiding my sexuality had evolved into hiding myself. The reflex to conceal was so automatic that I almost didn't know how to be open about any part of myself. But Jim's warmth made me feel unusually secure; somehow he had disarmed my natural defensiveness. Once I started to talk, I surprised myself as the words just started to flow.

I told Jim how I had known from age 12 that I was gay; how I had tried to convince myself otherwise; how I had accepted it---and myself---less than a year later; how I was afraid to come out; how I met Brian; how wonderful it was to have a boyfriend; how sad it was to lose one; how much I loved college; how I had studied in Oxford; how I had...

As I came to the next part of my story, the part where Gabbie dominated, I had to make a decision. I had to decide whether I should go with my natural instinct to hide the truth, or, I had break free of my fear of rejection and be honest.

I decided, for a change, to be honest.

"I...I'm sorry Jim. I really like you and I'd like to spend more time with you but I have to apologize for not telling you sooner...I'm married."

Jim looked at me in stunned silence, waiting for me to continue.

I told him about meeting Gabbie; about how I didn't expect us to stay together in England; about how I wanted to break up several times in college but couldn't do it; about how she gave me the ultimatum to marry her.

When I got to that part Jim practically jumped from his seat. "I can't believe she did that! That is so unfair and manipulative!"

As I told him the rest of my story, Jim expressed more and more outrage at her---and more support for me.

In fact, he told me everything I had ever wanted another guy to tell me: He told me how great I was; how lucky Gabbie was to have me; how terrible and manipulative she was; how I should never have gotten married.

At the end of my story he asked, "So what are you going to do now Cameron? I like you. I'd like to get to know you better. But you're living a lie."

"I know I am."

He looked at me for a minute, then said, "If you are willing to come out to her, I will absolutely support you. I will be with you every step of the way. But I can't have a secret relationship with someone who is married."

Jim's promise to stand by me was all I needed to hear.

I was so overwhelmed by years of silent frustration with Gabbie that when Jim offered his firm commitment, my interior struggle to be strong and bear my burden utterly collapsed. I was so overcome with emotion that I broke down into tears.

I was 15 when I last cried; at the time I was seriously thinking about killing myself.

Jim pulled me close and held me tight while I cried freely for a moment.

For years I had held back; I had kept my frustrations and unhappiness deeply contained. His embrace gave me the strength to be weak.

With his patient soothing, I soon regained control. When I did, I found that I was exhausted. But very happy.

"Jim...if you are willing to help me---the guy you just met a few hours ago...if you are willing to help me through this...I will tell her. I will tell her the truth."

"Cam, I'll do it. I'll be there for you."

"Oh God, you're really amazing."

I was delirious, euphoric.

I couldn't stop looking at him.

I loved touching him and holding his hands.

I loved when he hugged me---I had never, ever known how good it could feel to be hugged by a man.

Jim had made it all possible.

"Jim, you are the best. You are a great person, you really are. I have to tell you, I can't take my eyes off you. I can't stop wanting to touch you. I...I really want to kiss you so very badly."

My 20 year old savior smiled from ear to ear.

Then he closed his eyes and leaned in toward me.

The instant our lips touched, I was filled with an intense, burning desire. I couldn't love him---I had only just met him, but my body shook with an animal need to show him how incredibly grateful I felt to have him help me.

Within minutes I had peeled half of Jim's clothes off and was ferociously sucking his dick as if it possessed the most precious liquid that had ever existed. Nothing I could do for Jim was enough. I had to give him the most extreme pleasure of his life.

As I felt his warm cum coat the back of my mouth, I was already shaking with pre-orgasmic intensity. Jim took me into his mouth and within two or three thrusts I unloaded into him.

It took a full five minutes for me to recover from the intensity of our tryst.

Once I recovered, reality took over. I looked at my watch. It was 12:20am.

"Jim. My god, it's so late. I had no idea. I've got to get you home."

I took Jim home and we gave each other a warm, tight hug goodbye. I promised that I would call him the next day.

On the way back to my house I checked the time and realized that the date had changed. It was now my 26th birthday. How fitting to meet Jim on my birthday. He is best present I could ever receive.

By the time I pulled into the parking lot it was a few minutes past 1:30am. The time had completely gotten away from me and now I was going to have to explain to Gabbie where I was.

I didn't know what I was going to say.

When I entered the house, all the lights were on and I heard Gabbie frantically say into the phone, "He's ok! He's here now. I'll call you back."

To me Gabbie shrieked, "WHERE have you BEEN? Are you ok??? WHY are you so late?"

"I'm fine. Just tired. It's pretty late, we should go to bed now."

"Do you even KNOW what time it is? WHERE have you been?"

"Um. Well, it's late. I know that. I...I've just been out driving."

"DRIVING?! Driving WHERE?"

"Just, um, you know...around."

"WHY were you driving around at 2 in the morning?!"

"Well....I, I was thinking."

"THINKING ABOUT WHAT?!!"

"Just, you know, things. It's my birthday and so I was driving and thinking."

"TELL ME WHAT YOU WERE THINKING ABOUT!"

We went in circles for a while longer. I tried to say as little as possible and she tried to get me to say more. Finally, out of sheer frustration she was screaming at me to tell her what was wrong. It was clear that she was not going to relent and I couldn't think of a good lie that she would accept. Besides...I had promised Jim that I would tell her the truth.

"I AM NOT GOING TO STOP ASKING YOU WHAT IS WRONG UNTIL YOU GIVE ME A REAL ANSWER!"

I looked up from the spot on the floor that I had been staring at for twenty minutes.

I looked at her tear-stained, frustrated face, and I said, softly, "I'm gay."

Then, suddenly pissed that I'd cracked under pressure, I said angrily, "THERE! Are you happy now? Finally you know the truth!"

She collapsed on the floor in tears, sobbing uncontrollably.