Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hey God, If You Hate Me, The Feeling Is Mutual

I think from the age of six my family knew I was queer as a cat fart. I couldn't catch a ball and was obsessed with puppets and life-sized
animal costumes. How I didn't end up a furrie is anyone's guess. But as long as no one talked about it, other than my Dad calling me homo
when I missed a pass, it was ok.

But puberty hit and masturbation became a full-time hobby; I just had a slightly different spin on it. I would try to get the neighborhood boys to do it with me.
As it turns out, I was wildly successful. I would then broach the subject of doing each other, which again, worked out far more than statistical
averages would allow. Apparently I had an eerie charm that could cloud straight boys' minds. Unless this happens all the time and no one wants to admit it. So then I thought, let's try this mouth thing I've been hearing so much about.

Again, my suck-sess rate boggled the odds.

Thing is, I was a born-again Christian, and homosexuality was a sin against nature. So I spun the concept. I wasn't gay, I was just "fooling around."

"Fooling Around" should be a trademarked term, much like "Bombing the Middle East" where Christians can feel better about themselves for ignoring
biblical mandates ("Thou Shalt Not Kill") in favor of what feels good at the moment. I kept these blinders on for years. I was a total boy-whore and would
do anyone, anytime, while maintaining my self-righteous sense of born-again superiority that because I didn't speak with a lisp and had a lousy fashion
sense I couldn't possibly be gay. I liked dick, but come on, that hardly makes you one of those.

But then came Prom Night. A girl was giving me head and I thought to myself, " God, I could do this so much better." I came off and instead of
swallowing she spat down the side of my parents' car. "Good Lord," I thought, "I would have at least had the decency to...oh...wait...um, there's a
word for this, isn't there?"

Five-Thirty in the morning as I'm hosing down the side of my folks' car in an automated car wash, I realize the word I'm thinking of defines me.
Or, if not defines me, at least describes a certain part of me. A part I liked very much.

My slut-boy tendencies went into overdrive. I had more revolving-door dick than Lindsay Lohan. I could not be more chaste now, but back then I was the good time had by all. How I am not the HIV poster child remains a mystery. Once I realized that I liked what I liked and it wasn't just "fooling around" or making do until the
right girl came around I went cock crazy. In a supreme bad judgment call, I thought, "I know, I'll share this with my mother."

Oh god, that was stupid.

My mother and I, once upon a time, were close. She did crafty, artsy sort of stuff and so did I. Dad wasn't wild about it but we had our shared love of fabric textures and hot glue guns. I think her Christian sensibility liked that part of me as long as I was a sissy boy who had no blood flow to his penis. But dragging
deviant sexuality into the picture was not the wisest way to go. God knows how I thought this, but I had this feeling that she might understand. I forgot, somehow,
that her crazed love of a 2000 year old dead Jew and the words of his followers would matter more than her own son. I was eighteen. She was ironing. I
put it in brute, simple, terms:

"Mom, I'm gay."

She looked up. A tear trickled down her cheek. "I KNEW you stole my panty hose!"

I had to say it. "Get your perversions straight! I'm a queer, not a transvestite!"

And then she said the most horrible thing anyone has ever said to me: "I'd rather you were born dead instead of that."

This is the motherfucking thing about the motherfucking Christians. They've got a magic book, just like every other civiliZation with their own, different magic book.
All of the magic books say the same thing: This is the one true magic book and you are right and they are wrong. My mother's magic book, unfortunately, after
numerous translations before the 1611 one she settled on, had some unflattering things to say about guys who like guys. Therefore, she wished I was dead rather than
living a sinful life. The day I told her I was gay was the day she stopped loving me.

She lived by the scriptures: Slavery? No problem. Shoving a plastic enema up a child's ass as punishment? Hey, spare the rod. Boys who like boys? Death wish.

The weeks that followed were sheer hell for both of us. When the two of us, alone, were home she would burst into my room, waving a bible, raving about abominations.

I would point out that two verses up in Leviticus, cloth made of two different materials was also considered an abomination, making her cotton/polyester blend pantsuit on par with cocksucking. At that point her conviction that the bible was to be interpreted literally flew out the window, but somehow her belief in the queer-hating passages held fast.

One night I poured a glass of orange juice. "That is supposed to be for breakfast!" Mom snapped.
I quoted a television commercial on the air at the time. "Anita Bryant says 'It's not just for breakfast anymore'...'
"Do you believe everything Anita Bryant says?"
"Oh Honey," I said, flipping my wrist, my first and last attempt at camp.

She made me swear that I would never tell my father, my brother, my other brother or anyone in the family what I'd told her. Wrong that it may have been, I kept that
promise. It was our way of meeting halfway. I did check back a few years later just to see if time might have tempered her feelings. No, she made it clear that she still wished I was born dead. Thanks to that, I don't know what love is as relates to family. I'm a confused mess. On one hand, you want to love somebody but
knowing their look-at-me-I'm-right mindset means they wish you were dead instead of who you are puts a serious damper on things.

Mother brought out the big guns. She went on an anti-gay hunger strike and stopped eating. She lost tons of weight and of course Dad noticed. "I don't know what's
going on here but something isn't right!" Meanwhile, he wanted my friend Ron to take off his shirt in front of him and "get some sun". Dad's got some issues, but
apparently calling me queer every other week or so covered them up quite nicely. Mom continued to drop weight and she won. I told her it was a stage I was going
through. "Let's eat," she said.

The next decades were spent in shared denial. I never mentioned girlfriends or boyfriends. As long as she could keep the illusion I was an assexual slug, forever
a little boy yet to hit puberty, we could talk.

My mother died last year. I kept my promise to her but once she croaked I no longer feel the need to hide the things she wanted me to hide. Thing is, I doubt a
single person in the family ever thought of me as straight. My nephew made it clear he got the deal when he was eight years old. I'd brought my boyfriend home for the
holidays (euphemistically refered to as my "roommate".) Todd was gay as a goose and the fact that he and I lived together should have been a big, pink flag for
everyone concerned. Nephew started calling him "Uncle Todd." Mom totally spazzed out, shrieking "That is NOt your uncle!" I think that sort of gave the game away.
Not that us together wouldn't have tripped anyone's gaydar.

I don't have to keep a promise to a dead woman. Certain family members, I'm sure, imagine she is in heaven watching my every move. (No more jerking off for me!) I'm
sorry she's gone, but at the same time feel a relief that I can talk about, as I've said, what is absolutely no surprise to anyone.

And now that I can talk about it, I realize how truly boring it all is.


  1. Sorry my friend. About all of it. Except the blow job on prom night. That's fantastic.

  2. That made me laugh, it made me sad and it made me a little, angry. If your mon knew what an incredible creative force you are, I wonder if it would have mattered. More so, you have always been an amazing friend and I wonder if she ever felt that in a tangible, physical sense. You make me crazy sometimes, piss me off, make me hurt from laughing and challenge me like no one else does. I wonder... would she have a problem with a straight friend telling her "I am closer to Dan than most of the women I have slept with"? Or would that still be pushing the limits? I don't mean to knock her, may she rest in peace, but dammit... I hate that you lost a friend in that religious dance and that it was your mom.

  3. wow...thanks Bryan. Making people crazy, pissing people off, making people laugh and challenging others, to me. is what it means to be human. Sadly, none of this matters to a specific kind of religious zealot. Being right about the hereafter and more importantly the here and now takes precedence over your own flesh and blood. I know its crazy and wrong on so many levels, but that's just the way that world works. Plus you shouldn't be sleeping with women unless God and The State have blessed your union through the abracadabra ceremony of marriage.

  4. I'm a believer in Jesus and I know this may carry no weight or meaning, but I am sorry.
    This was a beautifully transparent post. Thanks for sharing your heart.