Thursday, October 20, 2011

Let the dating begin

In my last post I said I would attempt to untangle the complex mix of desire, emotion and sexual orientation as it pertains to married bisexual men and their straight wives. Well, the untangling has turned out to be a lot more time-consuming than I expected. That post is still under construction.

In the meantime, here are some updates on my (oh so) exciting life:

Chet
Chet is my new homo friend. (That would be friend, not "friend.") I like Chet. Among other things, he has a lot of interesting stories to tell. AND he takes me places - gay places. Last weekend he took me to Badlands in San Francisco. He describes the 'Badlands Scene' as being mostly 30s, with some younger and older guys. He likes the place because it's Asian friendly. He's Korean.

I was a little leery of it because I've heard of it referred to as "Sadlands" - not exactly a sexy nickname. Whatever its reputation, I kind of liked the place. What I appreciated was that it wasn't jammed so tightly you couldn't breathe, that the music was recognizable, that the dance floor was big and full but not ridiculously crowded, and that you could actually (sort of) have an intelligible conversation over the music. But more than anything else I liked the diversity of ages. Yes, guys in their 30s did dominate, but there were guys from 21 - 60+ there too. This meant that I didn't feel out of place. Of course I liked it.

Chet and I had fun dancing, drinking a little, and guy watching. No one talked to us and we didn't talk to anyone, which was fine by me. I'm happy to be an observer right now. We've already got plans to go out the next two weekends. We won't be doing anything crazy. I'm enjoying getting my feet wet for now.

Charlie
Charlie is my former wife's (that's what I've decided to call her for now; I can't think of a better term) non-sexual boyfriend. I've probably mentioned that I hate his guts a few dozen times here. I continue to hate him, although fortunately, I seldom have to see him. Charlie has thrown a temporary wrench into my plan to get him deported. He's starting a new construction job next week and both Gabbie I assumed that he'd buy a cheap work truck so that he could actually show up for work every day. Instead (get this) the idiot gave up his apartment with the HOPE that he can live IN the house being renovated. Who knows if the owner will let him - Charlie sure doesn't. So, it's anyone's guess as to what he's going to do.

I really don't care if he sleeps under the freeway or not, I'm just seriously bummed that he has no plans to get a vehicle anytime soon. Now I have think of another way to get him arrested...

My Bossy Mother-in-Law

My widowed mother-in-law has been my "other" wife ever since my father-in-law died 13 years ago. She knows the best solution to every problem Gabbie, the kids or I might ever have. Even imaginary ones!

She has a lot of good qualities (I mean that sincerely), including an endless willingness to offer unsolicited help. What irks me is that her "help" is often nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to control our lives. Her intentions are good but her controlling nature is really hard to take, especially over the long haul.

I'm not exactly sure when it happened but sometime within the past four or five years, my mother-in-law started souring on me. She knows I'm gay, or she should at least since Gabbie told her years ago, but I don't think that's her problem with me. I think it's because I stopped doing exactly what she wanted. I could detail that whole history, but it's not important to this story. What is important is that, as Gabbie has made it clear to her mother that we are no longer a couple, her mother has gotten more and more critical of me. I think she blames Gabbie's wayward ways on me, among other things. Whatever. In recent months dear M-I-L has taken to frequently bitching about me to Gabbie and complaining about me to the kids. Sometimes what she says really irritates me, but mostly it's noise. Well. Two weeks ago the whole family was out together with M-I-L and M-I-L made a pointed comment about me in front of us all. It wasn't anything particularly nasty, it was just unnecessary, somewhat rude, and definitely snotty. She must have hit a very raw nerve with me because, in an instant, I went from content and relaxed to furious beyond control. I got right in her face and told her I was sick of her behavior. I don't get pissed very often but when I do, I go full throttle.

The short summary is that I'm the bad guy. And it's true, I did overreact. I wish I had kept my cool. But it's also true that she's a controlling pain-in-the-ass and I shouldn't be expected to bow to her every command in my own house.

Anyway, what's done is done and I will never be forgiven, nor do I want to be. Our relationship will never recover. It saddens me to see our 24 year relationship crash and burn but the truth is, it just wasn't working for me. I was willing to compromise a lot of the time but she never would.

Our rift is certain to have consequences in the long-term and because of that I regret that the whole episode happened, but it is what it is.

Home Life
I've continued to steadily work on my transition from 'doormat' to 'homo with a social life.' It's going well. Step one was to accept that my 25 year relationship with my former wife has permanently changed. Step two was to stop wearing my wedding band. I have recently completed steps three and four: I now sleep in my own bedroom, and, I just acquired my first cell phone in about 15 years.

I was a little surprised that the kids basically shrugged when I moved into my new room. The boys still haven't said anything about it. My daughter, who is twelve, repeatedly grilled me about it for two days. The funny thing was, she seemed almost cheery about it. She even cleaned the room and set-up my bed for me, all on her own initiative. Now she's taken to advising me about different things I should do, "in case you and mom get divorced." I've taken the kids' reactions as positives, although I'd feel better if the boys actually reacted one way or another.

I haven't really needed a cell phone all these years and I've enjoyed being a "principled" cynic as I've watched the world's cellphone/texting/smartphone addiction accelerate with ever greater fervor. But now I've relented for two reasons. First, I was told I had to have one in order to date. And second, now I can be out late and be reachable if one of the kids accidentally burns the house down. I've had quite a few people in the past comment on how "liberating" it must be to NOT be tied to a cellphone. What's funny is that I actually feel very liberated now that I have one - only because it (theoretically) will give me access to a much more active social life.

For now at least, I can report that my relationship with Gabbie is transitioning well. She seems willing to give me more independence, both from her and the kids, and (so far) she doesn't seem worried about how my new social life might affect her. Part of the reason for that could be that she is distracted. Her job is a daily nightmare and pretty much all she thinks about is how to survive the next fifteen minutes.

Dating
If all the parts of my plan had worked perfectly, Charlie would be in jail and Gabbie would have a new job by now. The idea was that if I could get those two huge sources of stress out of her life, then I could hand her back some of the significant responsibilities I've had as Mr. Mom. That would give me more latitude to actually date.

It remains to be seen whether Gabbie will ever opt to stay home with the kids so that I can go out, or whether she'll take them on their errands, or whether she'll feed them dinner more than once a week. I just hope that if she's more relaxed she'll be willing to take on more responsibility.

Anyway, now that all of my ducks are (sort of) in a neat little row, the time has come. Today, tomorrow, this weekend...sometime very soon I will be posting a serious on-line profile on a serious on-line dating site.

Right now I am so NOT into gay hook-up culture that I think it would be fair to label me as a prude. Because of that I think I need to focus on other long-term oriented guys. My logic is that this will be a win-win for me. Either I'll meet someone and our values and priorities will be similar, or, I'll get so sick of pain-in-the-ass picky-types that I'll realize it's better to expect less and be more relaxed. I'm too high strung right now to use a site like Adam4Adam. Perhaps I'll get to that later, when I'm in the appropriate state of mind.

My approach to 'serious' dating, I hope, is a healthy one. I'm disclosing all my baggage upfront and I'm going to try to not take any of the resulting rejection personally. I've also resolved not to be a passive wallflower; I won't be posting a profile and simply hoping for the best. Instead I'll make an effort to be confident, engaging and proactive. I still have all my insecurities - about my living situation, especially - but I feel like I've made the right choice by agreeing to co-parent in the same household. The flip side of that decision is that I will have to accept any negative consequences that come my way, even if I don't think I deserve them.

Being Too Gay
Give me too much to drink and make me feel very relaxed about my gay identity and, well, I won't act like the most macho of men. That said, the last time I remember someone calling me a faggot to my face was a girl in 7th grade. Maybe I'm deceiving myself but I think I'm pretty forgettable on the masculine-feminine scale. "Cameron who?"

This is relevant because now that I've put all my life's frustrations into improving my body, I have become noticeably more vain. Shopping for clothes was never my thing but I'm much more interested now. And when I shop, I'm much more focused on how I look rather then whether I actually like what I'm wearing.

Case in point: the swim trunks in this picture. My oldest kid, Mr. Gay Rights himself, said to me the first time he saw me wearing these, "Um, dad. Don't you think those are kind of gay?"

Well, probably they are. But you know what? You can't find traditional men's swimsuits that don't hang below your knees, especially if you're vertically impaired. I wanted something mid-thigh and this was pretty much the only thing I could find. Compared to a lot of the skimpy on-line choices I had, I thought these were relatively tasteful. So now I'm looking for some honest opinions: are these swim trunks too gay?

As always, thanks for reading and thanks for your comments.

12 comments:

  1. Nice body Cam. Nice trunks. Not too gay, not gay at all. What the hell are you talking about?

    Jack.

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  2. Hey, Cam, I think your oldest was using the word in the newer sense where anything unusual, odd, different can be negatively described as 'so gay', 'sorta gay', etc. I *hate* board shorts personally, and wish the style would disappear. Oh well. If your 12 year old is already prepared to be your coach through your yet-to-be-decided divorce, then your kids all know what's going on. Boys don't generally volunteer their feelings; you may have to initiate the conversations you feel important to have.

    Jack's right - you're looking good. I don't know what you feel needs improvement; I think you're fine ;-)

    Occasionally doing something crazy when you're out with a buddy is a good thing. I know you keep your kids uppermost in your mind, and I hope you do get to a space where spending serious chunks of time on yourself is possible.

    I've been using a profile, either online or in print, to meet guys since the late '80s. I tested positive for HIV in '87-'88, and the experience trying to meet people in bars/clubs was - to say the very least - disheartening. I decided that the only possible course was complete honesty about everything - age, weight, serostatus, etc. That way, all my 'baggage' was declared in the labeling and if a guy couldn't deal with any part of it, he either didn't contact me, or respond if I contacted him first. Men who did reach out to me had self-selected for acceptance - or at least tolerance - of the particulars. I'm sure there are men for whom your home life and children are red lines just as much as being poz is a red line for some guys with me. When it comes time to finish and publish your profile, if you are as real and honest in it as you are here, it will attract attention.

    Sites that are geared to dating and developing serious relationships exist. I've used several over the years. I wouldn't write off posting on A4A or ManHunt for all that they are primarily hook up sites. Lots of men post profiles on sites like these because they are the most heavily used in their area, and thus the greatest chance of meeting someone compatible on some level. Next time you're out with Charlie, try to find out what sites are best on your patch. If you think the perspective of a slutty old coot like me may be useful, I'm happy to share my experiences with the various sites.

    You are really doing amazing things, Cameron. Thank you for sharing the journey.

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  3. First - congrats on being at a gay club and not feeling like an outsider. That's huge.

    Sorry to hear that things are tough with you and your mother in law. That doesn't easy the transition at all.

    Cameron bought a cell phone?!?!? Wow.

    And finally - those trunks are not gay at all. Nice body. Damn. I don't think dating will be as hard as you think.

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  4. That's good progress, especially with the purchase of your first cellphone. Make sure you have unlimited texting on it, because as you know that is how most guys operate now. I agree with NewLeaf and that you shouldn't have any problems finding someone to date. Before you know it, you'll be in a relationship that will make you happy.

    You need to post more often.

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  5. Great to hear about your progress. I wish I could be so bold.

    Because your shorts are not currently in style (like those ridiculously long board shorts), they will get you noticed. For obnoxious, opinionated people that can't appreciate diversity, the shorts will probably be seen as "gay" or negative, like your son said.

    However, since you now actually want to attract a gay guy, wearing something different will be more appreciated. Your body will do the rest... The colors and accents make those shorts do stand out a bit, thus attract potential critiques (positive and negative). On some occasions you may want something less colorful, yet still catches the right eye. So, you may want to consider also having a simple black (or other dark color) square cut shorts. To me, these are equivalent to a woman's "little black dress" - always in fashion.

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  6. I like the mid thigh swimsuit. It works for you.

    I went through the same process as you, moving into a separate room, thinking about dating, etc. It wasn't until I was in my own place that I actually started dating.

    Be prepared for guys to disappear when you mention that you are living with your former wife and children. I have a friend who is in the same type of arrangement, and there are not many guys that will pursue that. But you never know.

    I hope that it all works out for you.

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  7. Cameron,
    This entire post shows so much progress and even an undercurrent of a positive and more self-confident you. Bravo for standing up to Gabbie's mother, and the reactions you are getting from the kid's is just what many of us predicted - benign neglect or in your daughter's case, a real show of affection and concern for Dad! You look great, you are sounding better, and the Badlands experience was pretty good. Having been there once with an out of town gay/married friend to dance and have fun guy watching, I can attest to the way you found it welcoming in a funny way - hardly the "Sadlands" label it got stuck with. If one looks back at the origins of your blog and where you were just a year ago, this is rapid movement for you.

    I am so happy for you - and as others have noted, with that great smile of yours showing and your nice looking bod, on top of your intelligence, wit, and discerning ways, you may find some real interested and interesting guys once you get further into dating. You need to get into that realm of the more mature, sophisticated, and smart guys where you belong, but dancing your ass off in the Castro and letting go is also essential for a guy who was so tightly wrapped up so long.

    How great things are starting to look!!!

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  8. Finally! Steps in the right direction. It took awhile to make but there's no looking back now.

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  9. Suit looks fine. It isn't that uncommon on older guys. THEY don't like the long below knee styles. Straight or gay. I seriously doubt they would receive much notice. Not on the length anyway. The distance below the belly button was more eye catching to me. I don't have the belly for it anymore, but it works for you.

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  10. Cameron,
    Great progress and news! The suit length is fine (and you do want to catch the right eyes anyway)but keep the colors simple and solid. And keep them low!

    Dancing at a gay bar sounds great too! I had a chance to go to Toronto and go through the gay district there.

    I understand about not wanting just hookups, but that can lead to other contact too. Friend of a friend ect. Since I am still married, all I can really hope for IS hookups.

    Roger

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  11. I guess it's unanimous that the suit looks fine. That's good news because I was considering never wearing it again. And when my son called it gay, he meant it literally, not in the more generic way.

    Thanks for all your support, men. At this moment I don't have any exciting dating news to report but hopefully that will soon change.

    Bill - As you said, I expect to be spurned because of my marital status. I just hope it doesn't happen so much that it depresses me.

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  12. Ah Cameron. I just revisited this post to get another look of you in that swim suit, and you edited your photo!

    I understand though, I doubt I'll ever put a revealing photo of me like that on my blog, but then again, I'm not handsome like you!

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