Justin's Life...

~ December 2001 ~

December 13, 2001 - Thursday

I was in the mall earlier today buying a Christmas present for Jay when my cell phone rang. It was Larry, who asked me what I was doing and then about Jay. We talked about that for a bit then he proceeded to tell me about developments with Andrew and that he had a new boyfriend and thought I should know.

I hadn't really expected that information: I thought Andrew and he were a happy couple, but I knew when I moved out that I was no longer privy to insider info. A new boyfriend wasn't that big of a deal.

Yet when I inquired as to where he found his new boyfriend, my mind started whirring at the answer: The town where the ranch house is located. I'd expected "AOL" or "Yahoo!" or "he works for so and so."

With that answer and such a miniscule population there, it was unlikely that he'd met someone new; that left Mike, who I don't think I ever mentioned online, and Jeremy, the red head for whom I'd gone cuckoo just before moving out. Mike and he did seem to get along, but I didn't picture them together in a relationship... but Jeremy and he in a relationship was far more unpicturable. I mean, when I tried to get the three of us together in a last ditch attempt to not move out, Jeremy was adamant that he wanted nothing to do with Larry in the sex department. Larry mocked me for finding Jeremy attractive and at last check, still thought he was incredibly immature. Yet I pressed forward in my questioning about this new boyfriend.

I don't remember how I got there, but Larry said something about looking at his beautiful red hair right that second. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded.

Of all the possible pairings, I would've never imagined Larry and Jeremy. I mean, I'd sensed Larry was talking to him via IM the other day when I was over at the La Jolla house. (He wouldn't have the AOL window open when I was in the room, so not only could I not see the content of the IM, I could not see with whom he was talking either.)

Yet, Larry and Jeremy? That just couldn't be. If Jeremy was going to end up with anyone, it was with me... not Larry. Surely, he was jerking my chain. This was some odd attempt at humor.

Dazed, I asked if Larry was serious and he said that he was, and then I remember asking him if he was smoking crack... because the conversation seemed that unbelievable. Heck, I even bit my lip as I was going down the escalator to make sure I wasn't dreaming... and I NEVER do things like that.

How? Why? No, really? Countless questions were racing through my brain, and I was overcome with the feeling of having wanted something and not gotten it but watching someone else get it who didn't even want it. How did Jeremy get from the place where I last saw him, where a hug goodbye was too intimate, to where he could be Larry's boyfriend? No, it just shouldn't be that way. It's not right. Larry never wanted Jeremy. The thoughts continued flooding in, and as soon as I could get out of the store after finishing my purchase, I called Jay.

He asked me, "Why do you care? Do you want either of them?" and I said that I didn't but I wasn't really sure if I didn't. I had tried to get Jeremy to come down to San Diego a while ago, but he didn't and I just chalked it up to Jeremy being Jeremy. "How could he have changed that much?" I wondered out loud. I vented... and repeatedly found the concept of Larry with a red head, that red head, when I was the one who was obsessed with them as baffling.

But, as the day went on and time passed, I realized that I'm happy in my life. Through eyes with a little perspective, I can see just all the little details that I was overlooking when I first heard the news earlier today. I see that Larry's got issues that I never saw when I was with him... and I still care about him, but his life is his now and mine's mine. I've got Jay as my best friend and I am figuring out who I am; that was the real point of moving out. I don't have an empty feeling. I don't long for anything. Why do I care if Jeremy and Larry are together? Good for them.

So, my ex is now with the guy who contributed largely to my ex being my ex... whoop de do. At least now I know what it feels like to be a guest on Jerry Springer.


December 28, 2001 - Friday
9:08AM - Eastern Time

Having flown back to Kentucky for the holiday 9 days ago, I think I've had just as many noteworthy observations about life here, and though the observations are often similar to ones I've had before, the changes I find are equally amazing.

For example, last Saturday, I went to the new bowling alley here in Richmond with Dad, my brother, and my brother's girlfriend, and when we were telling our shoe sizes to the guy behind the counter, he was holding my gaze too long and had a little smile. Yet he didn't fit the typical Kentucky "gay boy in denial" or "super flame" extreme. In fact, he was scraggly haired and seemed just like any other "yokel" 'round these parts.

So here we had a poor rural boy (around 19 years old) who was comfortable enough being gay to smile at me at his workplace in the bowling alley yet he hadn't fallen into the trap of stereotypical gay extremism that living in Kentucky pushes almost everyone into. I was amazed and as we were all putting on our shoes, I relayed what had happened when I got mine... but my brother's girlfriend seemed playfully incredulous as to my story. I responded that I didn't want him; that wasn't the point; the point was that he was smiling at me HERE.

But, as often the case, another's doubt is enough to put just a bit of doubt in your own head, so when the pin resetter on our lane stuck, I offered to let the guy behind the desk know and to double check to make sure he was smiling... and sure enough, he was.

When we'd finished playing and it was time to return our shoes, I told my brother's girlfriend to watch, and the three of them hung back while I went up to the counter. The guy there most decidedly smiled at me and kept my gaze and I smiled back, too, just to let him know he hadn't been totally wrong. When we all got out to the truck, my brother laughed, saying that the guy did stare at me but when his girlfriend put her shoes on the counter, he didn't even look at her and turned around the other way.

That's quite a transition from the Richmond I remember. Nonetheless, on Christmas day I went to the movie theatres in Lexington with Mom and Dad and saw a guy on the "gay boy in denial" path I just mentioned.

Actually, giving him the benefit of the doubt, I thought for a minute that he might have been there with his fag hag, but as only one seat separated us, I heard him tell her a story which included, "When I was dating" and some random girl's name which I don't remember. Moreover, he knew the name of every you-never-heard-of-him-but-he-looks-good-so-he's-in-a-bunch-of-teen-movies actor who they showed on the previews, and he was drinking a beer even (yes, in the middle of the theatre). She was fat and rubbing his arms and back. -- A more typical case of "gay boy in denial" couldn't have been found in any theatre. Even the beer added to it; he was so proving his masculinity that he had to drink beer during the movie.

And yet, before the movie started, I stood in line behind a guy I just wanted to grab and hug tightly. He had such a genuine quality to him as he stood there and talked with a guy who was presumably his father-in-law. Indeed, I'd noted before I saw him that a genuine quality exists in guys here as it does not in California, but he had the quality several times over, as did a guy I'd seen in the ticket purchasing line a few minutes earlier.

However, the focus of my observations quickly changed as I noticed the huggable guy in front of me look at a white woman coming in the theatre with a black man. Were I not even looking at him, seeing his stare, I could have felt the eyes on her from all over. As much it would seem not to be the case, dating a person of your own gender is far more acceptable here than dating a person of the opposite sex of another race. Dating a guy is just nature, dating a black person is going beneath your own worth: that's the thought back here.

In fact, it's not the idea of two guys together that really freaks anyone back here out. Yes, they may squirm at the idea of two men together in bed, but it's the feminine quality of more visible gay guys which causes most of the concern and disapproval. Two men together in public is fine. A feminine man and another man is not.

And, while I myself am not afraid of feminine guys, I do understand the general feelings of folks here. Say what you may, I still believe most boys are born masculine and most girls are born feminine, and most of the gay guys who are feminine in their adult lives are feminine because they at their core dislike themselves and have fallen into the idea of what culture tells them that gay guys must be. I know that won't get me the title of Grand Marshall in the Pride Parade, but that's what I believe.

I mean, Jay drug me to a holiday party a few weeks ago. There, I started talking with a guy, and when I even brushed on my thoughts of not needing to be submersed in the gay community, the attack back was that I wasn't comfortable or happy being gay. He couldn't appreciate my point of view because in some ways, it said his was wrong. I mean, he was living in San Francisco but said that it wasn't really submersing himself in the gay community because he didn't live in the Castro. That's like saying I live in Utah but I'm not really submersed in religion because I don't live in a church. A friend of his countered, too, that most of the people living in West Hollywood are straight. I didn't know if that statistic was right or not, but my point just wasn't sinking in, and when Jay tried to help me explain, he couldn't get through to them either: it was simply that I wasn't comfortable or happy being gay. Fer sure!

Anyway, the observations have been coming in non-stop. I just haven't had time to write them down until now... and even then, I've only got this down time because I insisted. It's go go go around here but it's home.


December 30, 2001 - Sunday
11:04AM - Eastern Time

After a week and a half of go go go go go, I'm ready to get back to my normal routine in San Diego. Indeed, in my room, home alone while everyone else is at church, this is the only time my ears (and I) get a rest.

It's like silence is forbidden around here, and it doesn't matter that I'm on the phone and Mom's not really watching TV. She'll turn it up, WAY up, just so there's something going on in the room. Of course, there's also the TV going in two other rooms (with only one other person home), dogs barking, and clocks chiming, but if I mute the TV while I'm on the phone, even if we were channel surfing before the phone rang, there's just not enough chaos, even for a minute.

In fact, the frenzied pace of always being on the go has me torn between wanting to hide out by myself and wanting to be a part of the family. I haven't seen David nor have I really been anywhere by myself (except for one late night Christmas shopping), because I feel like this is family time. Moreover, Mom told me shortly after I got here that she had had a feeling this was going to be her last Christmas, but she didn't feel that way anymore. Needless to say, feeling that way anymore or not, we were crying when she told me, and part of me knows that it's just paranoia, but the other part thinks "what if..." So I'm "appreciating" every moment, even if it's driving me a little crazy all at the same time.

So, I'm here until Thursday and being a good son until then. I'm driving up to Red Lobster to meet everybody after church for lunch in about half an hour, even if part of me would rather just take it easy here and see them when they get home an hour later. I'm not complaining really. I wouldn't trade 'em for anyone. Sometimes, though, my logic laden brain gets overloaded by all the craziness.

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© 2001 Justin Clouse
Justin's Life...Justin's