Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Changing Tides

Earlier this evening, being someone out of sorts, I decided to write Flip an e-mail responding to his comment on a prior post. Along the way my fingers took over. With his permission here is the unedited e-mail:

I have given your comment much thought because it could have been me. I walk down the street and notice woman much more than men, the sex with my wife has also been ethereal at times (love the word) but ultimately when I lay in bed and fantasize, it is about men. Ultimately there is no denying when you hit a thought - involving a man - and you start to cum. It is the ultimate "lie detector" test. It is how this current period of my life came to be. One night in bed my wife took a dildo, put it in my mouth and I (as much as one can a toy) gave it a blowjob and very quickly wildly exploded. It was then my wife rolled off of me and said I needed to deal with my issues.

I tell my wife it is only physical, so I really am bi, not gay. She, being smarter than me in these matters, tells me that is becasue I never had the opportunity to have more than a semi-anonymous relationship. She says if you met a guy and actually courted, talked about music (my passion), that maybe there would be an emotional connection beyond raw sex. And I think about it - I think about the e-mails with you and others - the emotional content without sex. If I met you tomorrow and discussed Jackson and Sarah and Cowboy Junkies, would I ultimately want to have sex and would that be more satisfying than whatever encounters I have now. The answer is obvious of course - it would be infinitely more exciting and satisfying.

So I will stop writing about labels. I like your term queer - open ended with the changing tides. I am queer. I realize that my post and requesting comments ultimately represents my fear about an answer I already know.

My First Meme

The thing is I don't know what Meme actually stands for, but have always been good at faking things in context, so here goes.

Thank you Woe for tagging me. I would start with thinking of life in song lyrics also - it is true (ask Flip) but I think recycling is not in the spirit.

So here are my five wierd unique ... factoids:

1. My college roommate played with Springsteen in a band called Steelmill and insisted I see his first shows at a couple hundred person venue called Max's Kansas City. (btw - I think it ultimately caused my friend a depression worthy of Pete Best.)

2. I layout my clothes at night before I go to bed. (This really is an embarassing exercise).

3. I am famous at work for my total openess in discussing my life, family, basically anything. (What irony in as much as I have said, lets just say we left out a few biggies.)

4. My greatest regret - it is still almost too painful to say 26 years later - is that I had tickets the afternoon the Islanders won their 1st Stanley Cup and gave them away to go to my girlfriends college reunion. (It still hurts.)

5. I am unable to tag others - its not that I cannot come up with some names (though 5 would be tough). A corollary to this is that I will not put bumper stickers on my car or political signs on my lawn. Its a privacy thing.

I was not sure how I felt when I was tagged, but I ended up enjoying this - thanks Woe. I needed the diversion.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Words II

I did a post – Words - a few days ago and I just can’t let it go. I started this journey as a classic straight guy who happened to want sex with men. Reading CL and seeing this statement I quickly realized the absurdity to it – when you are doing the “dirty” with a guy, you are not straight. So with difficulty, I admited I was bi, bi-sexual.

Now in the last post I mentioned homosexual acts and my difficulty in that phrasing. As I thought about it more I realized that bi – biped, bipolar, bifurcate (I can go for hours) – all refer to two sides, yet I am bi-sexual as in a heterosexual with lapses. Now I consider myself reasonably intelligent and it does seem that if I am engaged in sexual acts with a man, at least at that moment in time I am a homosexual; this is a statement, and concept, I am just unwilling to accept.

And this led me to consider the issue I have read that gays have issues with bi’s. I never understood why this would be the case but I think I do now. I know that some readers of this blog are gay. What must it look like to them when a person doing the same things, albeit not exclusively, do not want to share their label.

So I have spent close to a week on this, I find I cannot let it go. The answer of course is simple – that being bi means I am both heterosexual and homosexual at various times. I am just not at a point of accepting all it conveys.

I generally do not fish for comments – I am happy people read this, but ultimately write for myself. I confess that in this case, I would welcome any thoughts.

Thanks for listening.

Galoshes

Before I get into this post, I need to make a confession – why I feel this need will become apparent shortly. I own a pair of galoshes. I can’t remember when I last used them and they have been residing for many months now in the back seat of my car.

Last night was big – our first dinner with our friends since my wife explained I was bi. It was my first time seeing either of them and we approached it with some trepidation; I had been thinking of ice-breaker lines all week – how to acknowledge the elephant without having it take over the room.

So they arrive and switch to our car to head to the restaurant. The husband – D – gets into the back seat looks down and with amazement says – “Galoshes”. Without thinking I say “yes – rubbers are always important.”

We ended up having our usual dinner banter – a good night with an almost unsaid acknowledgement of things and a chance for KA and I not to fixate, as we have constantly done for the past month.

Getting in the car to leave, D again noted the galoshes and I without thinking confessed that the galoshes are more embarrassing than the other issues in my life at the moment; scarily enough I almost meant it.

Act II:
Lacking a babysitter and not wanting to cancel this dinner our kids went to a friend’s house. We have not, and will not, share our story with this couple – she would understand but would end up telling someone and he will not see Brokeback Mountain – ‘nough said.

I get there close to 10 PM and go to round up the kids who are playing in a bedroom which I thought was the master. She tells me her husband is sleeping already and when I look around the room she realizes my confusion and then with a smile goes off on a stream of consciousness: “He is sleeping under the bed - no he’s sleeping in the closet - no he’s out of the closet – he’s getting in touch with himself.”

I looked at her and noted we are all getting in touch with ourselves. It just seemed the perfect end to the evening.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Into The Day

Driving to work this morning after another pre-dawn conversation, I was heading east, the sky was light with the pre-dawn glow, a sliver of moon off to the side. And as I watched the sky brighten, the ridge line of clouds low on the horizon, I thought that I am no longer sure where I am, I surely have no idea where I will end up, but I am driving into the day.

Words

Good and bad, I define these termsQuite clear, no doubt, somehow,
but I was so much older then,I'm younger than that now

As we spoke last night I ran into a problem with words. Now I love words, the running joke at home is my use of “SAT” words in conversation, and there is usually a perfect word for any moment.

So last night we were discussing the Kinsey scale which rates activity as being from 0 to 6 – pure heterosexual to pure homosexual – and what number I would be and as we discussed it I realized that I could say I was bi, I could say I have given men blowjobs, but I had real – very real – difficulty in saying out loud that when I was with a man, I was having homosexual sex. Now it seems silly – the word is the perfectly correct, but even typing it here I find myself back to “modifiers” to soften the blow.

I read Woe the other day and he said:
To keep it simple I will just be using the term gay from here on out. Typing out "bi possibly gay" is a waste of time.

A simple enough statement on his part but after last night I realize my recurring post title is relevant – “something so simple and so huge.” Sorry for not appreciating the distance you must have traveled to write that.

I guess the lesson of the week for me is that I still have much to strip away before I can consider rebuilding.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Next Phase

Work is busy and I do not have nearly enough time to post what I want in the way I want, so I decided to briefly update on the ever changing landscape. KA and I have been talking enormously, issues of sexuality and other issues of mine that I am finally willing to admit to and address. I am in awe of how little I got out of my prior forays into therapy – a clear reflection of my deeply held beliefs that I am always right. When I do find a therapist, I will enter with a new found humility which I would never have learned if not for admitting to being bi.

When all my posturing is stripped away, the issue we get back to is my marriage and my bi-ness. The nature of my bi side is sexual – no romantic notions, just what I used to call physical desires but am coming to admit are needs. While I would give up men if that was the price of saving my marriage – a fact my wife and I know to be true – we are intelligent enough to realize that would end up being an open sore that would just chafe and get infected with time.

So we have found ourselves with the following truths:
We both are committed to our marriage
I need to find a therapist and better understand my own issues, sexual and other
I am not ready to stop being with men (not that I have had time or emotional energy to really pursue it of late)
We both accept that I will hook up with men (at least in the near term and she thinks longer), but there is no need for it ever to be discussed in the newspaper sense (all those W’s from back in school)
We have a very, very long road ahead of us.

Tomorrow we have dinner with the only friends who know that I am bi. It will be my first time seeing them since the closet opened and while hopefully there will be our usual meandering conversation, the topic d’jour needs to be on the table: I remain cautiously optimistic, and in a sense excited.

Books aka independent validation

I was looking forward to a post about music – the life changing aspects of the iPod, how an extended family (mine) has come together with our music sharing project.

Then came another night of talking: the evenings are okay, but the 4 AM to 6 AM slot is murder.

KA brought us some books. It took her a little while to find the right ones – the fundamentalist female preacher discussing Satan and Lucifer (and I thought only the Rolling Stones used that name) is interesting but not particularly relevant.

One of the books that Amazon kindly delivered yesterday was Dual Attraction – Understanding Bisexuality. Now I have to confess when she first went on the book shopping binge, I was not truly supportive: it seemed I guess too clinical in nature. Now that I have read the first 70 pages, I can admit to being wrong. This book is clinical – a study of hundreds of people admitting to being bi in SF in the 1980’s.

What struck me is that my own definition of being bi exists beyond myself, and is rather common. They discuss sexual feelings, sexual activity, and romantic feelings on a scale of hetero to homo. Clearly on the first two, I am bi. However I do not have romantic feelings for guys – an aspect which makes it difficult for me to define my bi-ness. Their survey showed that bi men typically rated themselves much as I do – a very low romantic piece where as bi women rate themselves as having significant romantic feelings to the same sex. I am still working through the book and will have other thoughts I am sure.

After writing the above, I discussed it with KA and she did correct it on one point. I rated myself as being much closer to hetero, with a dash of bi if you would, on the sexual feelings. She points out that considering I have spent years now masturbating to gay fantasies, my self definition is disengeious. She is, as usual, right.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

On Blogging

Last week my wife had her first meeting with her new therapist - her appropriate response to my ongoing bombshells. Afterwards she went and told her friend that I was bi - a subject of my last post.

Both women had the same set of responses - surprise, interest, concern... And both of them had the same response to the fact that I have a Blog - OMFG!!!

On some level I understand it - I managed to tell KA that I was engaging in a regualr pattern of sex with men, yet struggled for three weeks to tell her of my blog. I was clearly worried about her reaction - would she be angry I am sharing our secrets with the world, even if it is anonymously, or would she be upset that I do not consider this world to be "anonymous" in that I feel like I know many of you at this point.

It turns out that the shock is the perception, maybe true, that if I have a blog I have taken being bi to a level beyond a casual encounter to a point of some "committment". Of course I suppose it proves a basic underlying truth - how much of our sexuality is in the brain, not the genitals.

So much for a quick two line post: time to start the working week.
Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

When did I cross?

I came home and told my wife (KA in the future - I think K is already taken in this little universe) how her telephone call that her friend told her husband had affected me. KA pointed out that I had crossed over that particular bridge the night before when I learned her friend knew and I was pretty okay then.

There was only one difference - yet another bump I had not thought about: her friend is a "she" and the husband is a "he". Clearly on some level a guy knowing is different.

A non-sequitor, if you will:
I read Mark's post Sexual Self before and after the phone call. As I thought about it more I realized what was striking was not how true the two paragraphs were - all of us know it - but Mark's introductory words:
"...it's something I've said before and something that I've never been able to do."
I am trying - we all are trying - and I thank Mark. It's good not to be in a vacuum.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Crossing the Rubicon

Yesterday my wife had tea with her friend. She told her what's new in our household - kids are fine, weather's good, husband's bi. I had previously expressed my view that she needed to speak with her friend - isolation is a bad place to be. My wife tells me the conversation went well - more than a little surprise, but much support.

We have also always felt you never ask someone to keep a secret from their spouse - it is just plain wrong besides never working.

My wife just called. She spoke with her friend today. She told her husband, our friend, last night. This normally unflappable person dropped the plate he was holding. Rumor has it that he is okay with things and we have not lost these friends.

Of all the steps on this strange journey, this had much more impact on me than I would have imagined. I have not seen them, was not a party to any conversations, yet there is now a harsh reality. It is no longer a private matter enclosed in our four walls. In at least one small corner of our lives, I am out. Seems like the genie is just warming up.

We will soon be off for the long weekend. We will stay with my sister. It will be peaceful. There will be time to have some wine and talk. I do not know where the conversation will lead - I harbor fear and dread. I want to say I'm feeling liberated, but there has already been too much lying to myself this week.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

So Simple and So Huge - Round 2

The last few posts have been a celebration of sorts – I’ve had my fun, given some blow-jobs, messed around, and now I’m back home and all is well. After all, I can still have my fantasies, never did throw away the toys…

Then I read Your Husband the other day. As I commented and e-mailed Jefferson, it had a visceral effect. That night driving home, I found my mind revisiting it. Today, as a reality check, I went back and re-read the post. I know there is all sorts of debate floating around – Edna’s comments, people (for reasons I can’t comprehend) blaming Jefferson for being with those who chose to be with him - a lot of noise to me because I keep going back to the original post.

The thing is that he captured an experience with an eye to detail that made it impossible to dismiss – I never had the exact experience of course – but for all practical purposes I was “your husband”. Which leads me to my reactions,

I read the post and found myself getting hard. My heart was in my throat. We are both in the same City and I was sorry I had not found him. I wondered how I find him now. All this from someone who had just finished a series of posts that I am making progress in resolving my issues - that I can live with just the fantasies. Yet I want to e-mail him – tell him I have a lunch hour – when’s good for you?

I went home that night troubled. My wife has been telling me for a week now that I am too quick to dismiss this all – that close to forty years of being bi somewhere inside is not let out and then recaptured in a matter of weeks. She tells me that I need to play this out further - to truly understand how it (or more I) fit. I tell her of Jefferson’s post – in broad strokes – and my reaction – in broad strokes. She does not say much – she had known this before I did.

The “simple” seemed clearer the other day; today is for the “huge”.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentines Day - 1989

It was our first valentine’s day together and we celebrated in one of New York’s unsung gems – the Hors d'ouverie. When people think of the World Trade Center in happier times they talk of Windows On The World, but next to it was a place for the average man. Before 1991, you could drive into the garage – have your ticket validated so it was free – take a short ride to the main lobby with its narrow windows evoking a cathedral more than an office tower and be whisked up to the top in those massive elevator cabs. You would take a quick left and down the end of the long passageway you could see the dark windows. It was a room built for the night – dark ceilings blending with the windows to be almost seamless with the night, tiered rounded banquettes so two could be alone and one, and the piano player – always there but never dominating.

I don’t think I ever had other than a Bombay martini there – straight up, very dry, very cold – and yes, an olive. I rarely drink gin anymore but when I do I always silently toast that room. Where else for the price of two rounds and a couple of hors d’ouveres could one be with the angels for a few moments looking out as far as the night would allow.

Monday, February 13, 2006

"A Thing So Simple and So Huge"

It was in the living an up and down weekend but the totality of it was amazingly consistent. I left work Friday with a clear direction and finally fell asleep Sunday having navigated my way to a certain level of peace. I had help from this blog world, wittingly and unwittingly. A series of e-mails with the wife of a bi poster gave great comfort and direction and ultimately Mark’s description of his sexual encounter with his wife helped crystallize some thoughts.

It is now clear to me that there are two issues in all of this – my sexual desires and my fidelity in a marriage. I have what I consider a healthy sexual appetite – K would call it oversexed, but why argue semantics. Part of my appetite involves stimulation which could be considered “gay”, but frankly as Mark so well described, many things can take place between a man and a woman; we own those same toys and have used them. Of late the sex, toys, stimulation have been rolled up in our bedroom with bi fantasies and I have work to do in separating these issues.

I am very attracted to women – walking down the street, being in the office, sitting in a restaurant, but even if given the chance, I would not act on these impulses. I am married. I cannot with straight face and good conscience argue that it’s any different because it’s a man instead of a woman. I fault no one for their acts – I am in no position to judge – but it seems to me its okay to be married, its okay to be not married, its okay to have a three some (if that suits both mates) – lots of things are okay. Cheating on my wife and saying its okay because it is with men is not okay for me.

Last night I also told K of this blog. Being smarter than me in these affairs (as I frequently point out), she has decided that what is once read cannot be unread. She may read this at some time, but is giving the subject consideration. For some reason I still don’t fully understand, it was harder to tell her about this than my indiscretions.

If the above sounds like all is undone, that would be grossly misleading. Rebuilding trust, a task in itself, seems to pale next to all the other issues. What does it mean to be bi, how that impacts a marriage, how our sex life can grow to again include certain stimulation that excites me with it remaining our bedroom without ghosts of unknown men, and of course still the core issue of trust.

Work is busy and while I will still post, it is now time to concentrate on work, home and hearth.

And in attempts to understand a thing so simple and so huge
Believed that they were meant to live after the deluge
Jackson Browne

Saturday, February 11, 2006

You Can't Go Home Again

(In order to understand this post, please read the one below this – Reality - first.)
I frequently start composing my posts from the title down and in the early pre-dawn I titled this “That Pesky Genie” referring to having once been let out of the bottle, the genie just doesn’t go back in. That could still be the title but it struck me as flippant (which is typically me) when dealing with issues that are deserving of more.

I am back at my desk some 13 hours after writing my last post trying to comprehend the ongoing mystery of my life. I went home and while the little ones watched the opening ceremonies, I sat with K at the kitchen table and told her pretty much everything in the Reality psot(only leaving out how I spent my lunch hour).

Have I mentioned that when it comes to these matters of the heart and soul that K is smarter than me? K tells me that she believes that I mean well, but that I am not being honest with myself. That I have not finished my exploration. That she can live with my finishing my exploration for the next month, six months, or a year. She sees us being together no matter what (within reason). She cannot handle my declaring my exploration over now only to announce in a year, or two or three, I really wasn’t finished – let’s go through this again.

So there are two genies out there now – the genie of our relationship – what has been said cannot be unsaid, and the genie of my being bi. Having been bi and in denial for forty years, I suppose imagining that I have come to any reality in four months is na├»ve. K knows my fantasies and that I cannot change them. Whether I act on them or not, the fantasies are their own reality and are not going back into any bottle either.

So K is right – as “noble” an attempt as last night was and as much as I did mean it, I am not there yet. A week ago I sent her 30 seconds of this song (a snippet to start her day). I really need to listen to myself better:

It’s no matter if you’re born
To play the king or pawn
For the line is thinly drawn ’tween joy and sorrow,
So my fantasy
Becomes reality,
And I must be what I must be and face tomorrow.

So I’ll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall.


The ride goes on. Any thoughts are always welcome.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Reality

It’s late Friday, most people are gone, I’m sitting in my office listening to Bruce – Backstreets from a September ’78 show. It has been a three, four months since I have been seeing guys, two weeks since everything was put on the table at home, and a few hours since my last encounter with my “bud”.

I have written many postings in my head this past week. I have joined and read SOTTs e-mails, started the books my wife has found, met with our Rabbi (gay and leaving the congregation come July), and of course read your blogs. Most of all I have tried to listen to my heart.

The postings in my head had various titles with the word Dilemma in it. I enjoy sex with men – hell I enjoy sex with women – I just enjoy sex. I am married. My wife always knew and accepted that I am both oversexed and have bi-fantasies. She has more than lived with them – she has played to them giving me immense pleasure in the process.

She did not sign on for me to have affairs. The fact that she has supported my minor explorations in the past, accepted and been willing to allow me to explore now is more than I would have asked way back when. Last night she made a comment about honesty and I responded that I had been quite honest. She didn’t respond at first and then said I had been except for a dozen times – a reference to the rough number of encounters I have had over the last few months.

So today I hooked up with my friend and it was good – I don’t deny it. But when I consider the totality of my life being bi should not be the defining or overwhelming issue. It is. That is not good.

So I am going home tonight. K and I will not talk till later – big kids, little kids, real life if you will. But we will end up together in bed and I will tell her that I cannot guarantee that I will not have another “Washington” (our code for a night eleven years ago in a foreign city); but I do not have the desire, the energy, to continue like this and to me, at this point in time, giving a blowjob, having my ass played with, etc., is not just not worth it.

Over the last few months I have come to accept I am bi. It is a strange enough acceptance and I do not claim to have come to grips with it all. My wife will have to continue living with my fantasies – spoken or unspoken. I cannot change them any more than controlling tomorrow’s snows. But at the moment I am weary.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

One Week Out

K sent me an e-mail Friday morning, a simple quote from “our” book. I am not one to be at a loss for words, but this left me silent on the subject for a day:

Travelers at least have a choice. Those who set sail know that things will not be the same as at home. Explorers are prepared. But for us, who travel along the blood vessels, who come to cities of the interior by chance, there is no preparation. We who were fluent find life is a foreign language. Somewhere between the swamp and the mountains. Somewhere between fear and sex. Somewhere between God and the Devil passion is and the way there is sudden and the way back is worse.

They say one can never go home once you're out. That part is true, but maybe you can build a better home. Still bricks are heavy and take time to settle in the mortar. There never was a choice.
(Jeanette Winterson – The Passion)


While I have much to say now, I think the passage summarizes where we are – strongly together but without the total certitude we had a week ago – committed to re-building and aware of the weight of the bricks.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sharing the Closet

I have been thinking of two things which have finally intersected in my mind. I have shared most anything that can be conceived of with my wife this week. The glaring exception is this blog; she knows I read blogs and this has raised whole questions of community and support systems. At some point she will be reading this because I will tell her but it seems easier to tell her I have sex with other men than to say I am sharing my thoughts with this little world. Now maybe I am projecting her reaction, but I think not. She has always said she could live (not happily and maybe not for long) with affairs of the flesh but not affairs of the mind and heart. In some strange way she (understandably) conceives of this being the latter.

This brings me to the closet where I am quite firmly ensconced. Other than my wife there is really no one who both actually knows me and knows that I am bi – a condition we see no reason to change. What I didn’t realize was that by telling her, I dragged her into the closet with me. I sent a two e-mails to fellow travelers in this asking how their wives dealt with it. Both were kindly, thoughtfully answered and were greatly appreciated. One of the responses included:

“So really the question is why does she feel the need to share it and define it to others. Would she go into graphic detail about your sex life together with others? In a way isn't that what this is. If she feels like she's hiding something then that's something else to discuss.”

I thought about this and realized that it is a question that could be directed as much to me (or him) as to her. Why do I maintain a blog – an act of some effort – if not to share with others? The answer to me is that humans require contact, feedback – a sense of community and this is the only way I know to have that. Why should she ask, or receive, any less?