Friday, June 30, 2006

The Gods of TV

One may have sensed frustration in my last post: one would be correct. So last night KA and I turned the volume down – backed away from the ugliness of the previous two nights. What better way to seal the deal then mindless TV. Of course we are in re-run season so the pickings are slim. KA surfs along and there at 9 PM is a Primetime – a Court TV style murder mystery.

As usual we have never heard of the case – all the better for watching the show. Durham, NC – an upscale family, a wife falling down the stairs and bleeding to death, a husband finding the body and calling 911. A husband arrested for murder. Standard issue TV fare; all that is missing is the money and sex, but the show is still young.

The police have their search warrant and of course seize, among other things, the husband’s computer. KA is watching quietly, but I have my first inkling. They find pictures on the computer. My antenna is going on alert: KA is watching quietly. Husband says he never had an affair – it was only physical. My brain is starting to scream: KA is watching quietly. Then the “punch line” – they show a picture or two: men. KA is watching – intently: we look at each other. This was supposed to be our night “off”. Volume down, right-sizing, but no.

Husband is bi-sexual. His brother tells us the family knew from age 13 or 14. His children tell us they are cool and still love him. His wife, well she’s dead now, isn’t she. The theory of course is that she did not know: the discovery on the computer was not a planned coming out. I suppose he was not a blogger.

The husband is a killer (he is convicted) and he is bi-sexual. As a minority within a minority, one wonders what viewers are thinking – bi-sexual – killer, let me see. From a personal viewpoint I am watching – husband, devoted to wife, not looking for a relationship but enjoys sex with men. This is supposed to be a TV, not a mirror.

I suppose it all gets back to the right-sizing issue. It is tricky sometimes. KA just finished a Joyce Carol Oates book – The Falls – which I am now reading. I have studied the jacket, the blurb, at length. There is nothing to indicate that in the first chapter this woman would marry and the next morning her husband, realizing how gay he is, will throw himself into Niagra Falls at dawn. (This is, after all, 1950.)

Maybe we are more attuned – the antennae working overtime – to what was there all along. Maybe it is the Gods of media teasing us. The nice part is that I am out to my wife; these events become opportunities for us to keep our dialogue going. That is what happened last night. If my view of the TV last night had been through a crack in a closet door… well, I cannot fathom that scene, the feeling of deception and isolation I would have been left with. So life is tricky, but life is good, particularly when imbued with a dose of honesty.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

What Size Am I?

For much of my adult life my shirts had a 15 ½” neck. One day I found myself in Nordstrom’s during a sale and went to buy a new suit. Wearing only a tee shirt was a problem but as befits a high end store they had extra dress shirts for fittings. Wow, that shirt was comfortable. It had a 16” neck; for the first time in years I could button and breathe simultaneously.

I have given much thought lately to
Flip’s concept of right sizing. The volume at home has been lowered. There are other things to talk about – some benign and as in any marriage some almost (though never quite) as charged as TGT. There is much in my life to occupy my mind – family, work, and music. Less time has been spent posting (sorry guys).

Yet in my mind, that little place central to all, the size while smaller is still quite substantial. Just the act of writing of right sizing is a form of “wrong” sizing. Of course the story of my neck is not random. My shirts were right sized at 15 ½” for many years. Then something happened: I got older, added a few pounds, nothing special, just life. Sexual identity is much more complicated and how one addresses newly found identities just add to the confusion.

So I do want to right size this in my life. I have been telling people – my therapist, the small circle I am out to, and of course myself - how successful I have been. My therapist tells me it is okay to put the bus in idle – this is my bus. But I still think about it – always there – peeking around the corner at me. I sit at work and in a random moment with a minute or two to kill while on hold find myself looking at Craig’s List. I consider, multiple times a week, whether to call the guy I had been hooking up with. Desire does not go quietly into the night.

Intellectually I understand that a marital spat – even an ugly one – unrelated to sexuality is normal and is, well, unrelated to sexuality. But after the fight, laying there in the dark, I cannot help but question why I am not hooking up. I have permission. She assumes it is only a matter of time. We are in the land of don’t ask, don’t tell again. So I lay there – I sit here now typing – and cannot fathom why I do not send my friend an e-mail. I would love to have “lunch” tomorrow.

I am afraid I suppose. Afraid that like an alcoholic, one drink will not satisfy me. Instead I will remember that I enjoyed the taste (lets not go there), the excitement, the forbidden nature. And I fear the emotion of turning a bad day or two (and the last few have been pretty bad) into an excuse to act out.

So Flip, I would like to right size, Lord knows, but my thoughts are not as cooperative as I claim. When I look at CL my fingers betray me. The road continues...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Two Moments

Last week I had lunch with my contact at one of my clients. I approached the event with some trepidation – was she thinking of quitting, looking for more money, maybe an opportunity to vent. It was a pleasure to learn she just wanted to have lunch and talk of anything other than business. So we talked of our lives, places we grew up – we are from the same area so surprising amounts were in common, simple general conversation.

The conversation gravitated to giving. This was “giving” in the best traditions of Spider, though I decided any conversation that could ultimately lead back to this place would be a mistake and Spider remained only in my thoughts.

Then she gave me a pop quiz meme. She did not know it was a meme, but we know. She told her story and then asked what was the best thing I had done for someone? A tough question given time to ponder: impossible sitting in a restaurant under a microscope. She wanted an answer and did not think much of my offer to e-mail one eventually. I came up with an answer – not a moment but a good concept all the same.

Since then I have occasionally thought of the question and yesterday realized that one of my best and one of my worst moments involved the same person. When I was twenty-seven there was a legal secretary at one of my clients – a mere babe of maybe twenty-two. We became friends – I would have preferred more, but with minor exceptions friends it was. (One day I will post on my propensity for brother / sister relationships.) She was my hero because she had come from a poor background, depressed small city, alcoholic dad – all the bells and whistles – and was working her way up towards the American Dream.

She –Kage - has actually
graced my blog once before. Tickets to a Broadway show I won at a raffle when we were together at an office Holiday party, the minor issue of living with my girlfriend in what had become a stale (at best) relationship, and the question of who to take to the show. Kage of course.

When we had known each other for a few years, Kage came to me with a problem. She had slept with an old friend – younger and poorer than her- and was pregnant. So for the first and last time in my life I found myself funding an abortion and I wasn’t even the doer. She went on to lose the boy, move into a strong management level position, marry and have a family. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if not for the abortion: somehow I sense that instead of her having joined the middle classes, she would have continued a cycle of poverty. It was a small act for me – not a lot of money for a young unmarried professional – but the future it purchased…

This “best” moment came to mind last night when I was reminded of one of my worst moments. KA and I was discussing this blog community and her jealousies of the bonds that exist between many of us. It is a strange fact that in this bi/gay world my closest friend is a straight spouse – sis as I call her. (Yes, there really is a post on my brother / sister thing just waiting for the writing.) This relationship has not gone unnoticed by KA and when I referred to the “safety” of this relationship, KA said safe it is – sis is 3,000 miles away. That may be true but it is not the source of the “safety.”

Twenty years ago I was married to my first wife but had a few un-reconciled issues – well, maybe more than a few. One day Kage came to my city on business. She had by this point moved into a solid management position and was a source of joy and pride. She was staying at a nearby hotel – quite upscale – and we met for dinner. Nothing untoward, my wife at the time knew where I was and who I was with. Kage and I had a wonderful dinner – two well dressed business people in the Hotel restaurant. Afterwards we stood in the lobby and – it is still hard to say twenty years later – I hit on her. Nothing physical, nothing noticeable to a passerby, but I made it clearly known I wanted to take her upstairs to her room, that I wanted to make love to her.

She wisely rejected my advances and I went home a little chagrined, but I had been embarrassed before – haven’t we all. I did not realize the damage I had done. It was the last time we ever spoke. By the time years later I was ready to apologize, I no longer knew where to find her. To this day I regret what I did and regret never having had the opportunity to apologize even more.

So when KA wonders if I would ever hit on Sis, she need not worry. A true friend, of either gender, is a treasure to be valued, something that even transcends sex. In a strange sense one can “buy” sex; friendship is not for sale. And that is central to everything I think and write because while Sis has become a true and dear friend, my best friend in the world is my wife.

KA and I will always be best friends – a fact neither of us doubts – and when you combine that with being lovers you have something not to be tossed aside lightly no matter what issues of sexual orientation are lurking.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Before we get to this post, a little side note: Last week Ben’s wife and I had a series of e-mails during which she let out what our wive’s must be thinking – at least it is pretty accurate of my wife’s view. While I assume many have read her post via Ben’s blog, I recommend it to those who have not read it yet. I do so because it is so much a part of where my thoughts are bouncing of late and has helped me focus.

This is my 100th Post. Somewhere after my second post as I found myself in the land of pure sex bloggers – not a bad land, just not my land – I decided to stop. In a desperate flurry of Googling, I found Raven’s blog and from there this community which has become a part of me. Somehow I feel this should be a momentous post – that nine months after I started sleeping with men, six months after I started blogging, and five months after coming out to my wife I should have some direction from it all. And I do, though by next week the winds of change will surely have taken their toll. But somehow discussing where I am as part of a milestone post gives credence where none is really deserving. So I will write of these things, just not tonight.

Tonight is another milestone, a much more sober one. As I drove home tonight I glanced at the clock – 6:30 PM. It was that time on June 19, 1996 – ten years ago exactly – that I was getting into a cab to the airport. The driver asked when my flight was and he told me we could not make it. I told him he would be paid either way. The plane took off late, with me on it.

My Dad had been sick for a few months and the only question remaining was when he would choose to draw his last breath. My sisters, KA, and I took turns going to South Florida to be there. One of my sisters was keeping us posted throughout that day and after hearing her voice I called my other sister who lives in a suburb on the other side of our City and at 6 PM we decided. We headed to our respective airports with the goal of meeting in West Palm around midnight. We both made dashes to our airports and barely made our flights. We found each other and a rental car and went to the rehab facility.

After a little time by the bedside – Dad was not really aware by this point – we took turns going back to his apartment for a little sleep. The next morning we gathered by his bed again and at 11 AM with all of his children by his side he passed on. I never saw death before – I was a city boy, a land where the natural flow of the universe is well hidden. Yet there, sharing a room - a bed - facing death, I discovered a comfort I never would have imagined. It is a strange comfort that will always remain a part of me.

My Dad was a human with all of the complexities. We knew his strengths and we knew his weaknesses. It troubles me at times to see how many of his weaknesses I ended up learning so well, but I continue to work on keeping his good traits and "softening" the others.

I sometimes wonder how he would react if he was alive today and I had the courage to tell him of my struggles. He would have done okay I suspect. When I divorced he was like most parents appalled – “what about the children?” But when most friends and family harbored an upset with me and downright coldness to my new wife - KA, my Dad saw through it all: he knew how special she was, how lucky I was. His penchant to be judgmental melted from the reality, both the reality of our love and more importantly the reality of KA. It is a lesson I hope in some small way is a part of me. It was a lesson in seeing the shades of grey that make up our lives.

As I sit here re-reading this post I realize: it is about honoring my father with love and respect. But it is also about honoring my children with that same love and respect, even - no, especially - when they try my patience. Love is learned and now it is our turn to teach.

Little did I know 100 posts ago how blessed I would be to find this little world.
Thank you all.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

"Memphis Blues Again"

Over the last few months I have spent a great deal of time revisiting a Dylan line in my head:
"Your debutante just knows what you need

But I know what you want."

Needs versus wants. This just builds on my last post on the bi - gay divide and my underlying feeling of selfishness. When the line first started bouncing around my head, the lyric felt backwards, but as I have thought more it is coming into better focus. I consider my gay side to be a want, not a need. Therefore if my wife is satisfying my needs – emotionally, sexually, as a best friend – surely that should be enough.

“Wants” – sort of sounds like a kid in the toy store – “Mommy I want this, I want that.” And all of us parents know that (as the Stones said) “you can’t always get what you want.” [Of course if one finishes the quote we have “but if you try sometime you just might find that you get what you need.” Mick and the boys do seem to contradict Dylan there.]

Selfish then remains the watch word. At what price am I willing to satisfy a want? I look back at my own life and realize there is an aspect of making up for a lost childhood. My parents as a matter of culture and money (who knows in what proportions) were not great satisfiers of wants. We did not have a surfeit of toys growing up. Hanukah was not the eight nights of pseudo-Christmas that it has become: it was one night to receive winter pajamas and in a good year new slippers.

As an adult I have become quite adept at acquisition of toys – satisfying of wants. While there is still a restraint that my childhood imbued, I still need a 60 gig video iPod? (I have adjusted to many children trumping the BMW – Honda makes quite a nice car.) Is my narcissism such that I have become devoted to satisfying wants without a care for the price; for the emotional price of this particular want is at best exorbitant.

Of course the answer as I write this becomes intellectually clear. One’s nature – who we are – is a basic. And acknowledging our nature is acknowledging a need. The inability to truly acknowledge it (a place I am coming to know well) is what tricks us into seeing a want.

Yes I am bi and as such can receive satisfaction from women or men. But within this definition I give precedence to the straight side which may well be appropriate based on marriage, children, family – in short a life. Yet there is no denying that in the dead of night alone with my thoughts, my fantasies almost exclusively center on men. To just deny the gay side a seat at the table seems disingenuous.

I generally work in the suburbs but spend some time in the City. The other day I came home from the City quite tired and KA realized this was the tired of depression – not of sleep deprivation. She was right. As we lay in bed that night, she made a comment that stopped me. “It would have been okay if you came home at 9 o’clock.” We did not discuss the comment because the underlying meaning was strangely clear: a depressed Nate was no bargain. And as I have read more books, blogs, and on-line group chatter, it is striking the psychological toll of repression: what appears to be a disproportionate amount of substance abuse and related issues.

Yet knowing all of this, being able to form semi-cohesive thoughts on the topic, I still feel that I am dealing with a want – a whim as I wrote yesterday – and I still feel selfish.

An' here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Going through all these things twice.
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,

To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

Yes Brad – there is no City that is safe:)

Friday, June 16, 2006


I have spent much time lately considering differences in being bi versus gay. This always strikes me as a “hot button” issue. Straights would look at this and see it in simple terms: “sex with men = gay.” Subtleties are probably not of great interest to them. I am probably even more sensitive to gay people thinking I am using “bi” as a distancing technique. Nothing could be further from the truth which is why I continue to use bi/gay in my writing and self description.

Anyone who has read much of this blog knows that I have spent way too much energy on labels and have gone back and forth between gay / bi / hetero like a pinball. KA would refine the comment I am sure: pinballs are random whereas my swings follow a pattern. Gay Mondays leading to bi midweeks and of course hetero for the weekend, probably with the hope of “getting some.”

But I do feel caught between worlds and cannot help but sense that gay or straight would be preferable to my nether world. There are two relevant measures here – emotional and sexual attractions/ gratifications. Both of these needs are satisfied at home with my wife. Would I enjoy sex with a man on a regular basis? Sure. But not at the price of giving up sex with my wife.

If I am straight, well so much for this blog and my life would not be in careening mode. If gay, there is some small measure in comfort in saying that I desire gratification - emotional or and/or sexual – that I cannot obtain from my wife. Not that life as a married gay would be a cakewalk. Issues of family, friendships and vows would remain but at least the reason for this raging internal dilemma would be clear. For the moment I struggle with feeling selfish, with wants versus needs.

I came out to my niece this week and at the end told her of being upset over turning my life inside out over “a whim.” She looked at me and repeated “a whim”, and it was clear from her tone that she knew that this was not a whim. She was of course right.

And for all who are wondering as the particularly obtuse title for this post, I frequently find myself witnessing OMG and OMFG moments. Time for an OBG (Oh Bi God) instead.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Saving Graces

In these somewhat stressful times there are still moments to savor. Recently I had two such times.

This weekend I spent some time with my favorite niece – a gay adult with a partner. She does not know of my current times though that is soon to be corrected. We are getting in her car – she driving and me riding shotgun – and her partner and my child are in the backseat. In response to my offering to close the rear door, her partner notes her leg is still out and she wants to remain a biped. My kid chimes in “What’s Bi?”

My niece and I look at each other and the family sense of humor kicks in: she and I have broad grins on our face. Maybe she suspects more than she is letting on and maybe its just those genetic similarities.

This morning I wake in the early dawn hours, still tremendously tired. Not wanting to toss and turn, I take matters into my own hands and the next thing I know is the alarm – another day. I tell KA of being in the middle of a dream. A few of us are on our way to a Springsteen concert – driving down the Jersey Turnpike. Looking at the tickets we realize that the show is in a small theatre and we are lost (who wouldn’t be – this is New Jersey – kidding guys). We need to go to the rest area and get directions.

KA interrupts: “Was McGreevy there?” Cold. Fair but cold. No need to continue this dream.

She takes the first shower and I comment afterwards how quick it was.
KA (smiling): I didn’t leave you enough time?
Nate (smiling back): I did that earlier to go back to sleep. Best sleep aid ever.
KA (really smiling now): Oh, that’s when you were thinking of McGreevy.

All in good fun and left us both with smiles. But as the old saying goes – There are no jokes. I could explain that I have never done a rest stop and the Jim was probably not in the fancy turnpike ones anyway, but there is no percentage in going there. Can almost hear the response – Oh you only did the adult bookstores.

Yes the landscape has changed. Not all badly, not with any malice, but a different place where words and stories take on their own new meaning. Still all in all, we can laugh and that is the ultimate saving grace.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

In but Out

My blog has been receiving more hits than ever of late. While I have a rudimentary counter, I do not use tracking software – you are all safe. It does raise the question of who am I writing for and as the hits mount I feel a strange need to write for those who honor me by actually reading my thoughts.

These thoughts have been around for a while, but a few minutes ago they took on another dimension. An e-mail from a friend telling me of an on-line
article in from Tuesday, June 6th.

The article lists the top bi blogs – I am not sure they are in any order but I weigh in at number four, which considering numbers 2 and 3 have not posted in a while is pretty good. Considering many of your blogs, I do not have a clue why I am on this list and other members of our community are not.

I admit to some mixed emotions – a bit of OMFG coupled with WOW. I feel a need to tell KA – honey I don’t have an STD but…. My narcissism is bursting with pride. My wife has always said that anyone who knows me would immediately connect the dots that litter my blog and of late I have been leaving even more dots – crumbs to find as my therapist would say.

My feeling has always been that if someone I know is trolling bi-sexual / gay blogs and finds me, I am guessing they are not here on a research project. But people love to talk and there is risk here – I am not ready to tell the world this any more than I would go to work and say I had really hot sex with my wife last night.

Only time will tell if I can continue to write without self censoring – I suspect I can. Okay - I know I can - reality has not so much changed as been confirmed: lots of people I do not know click on my blog.

I really had some things on my mind today, but that will be for the next post. It is strange – I am out to four people I know and I am in a strange way now out to the whole world. At work they always tease me I should write a book and I tease back maybe I will – and these are people who have no idea of this aspect of me. If my blog is my book, I now have the quote for the dust jacket.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

My Son

Nearly ninety-five posts into this, and my fingers start to fail me. I wonder why, but I know the answer. The topics are getting harder which means that it is more important than ever that I try to write. I have a few thoughts in my mind that are dancing around each other – thoughts involving my son and issues of my own – but this post is for my son, Jim (as I will call him).

I am deeply grateful to all who have commented and e-mailed their support. On Thursday night he was told he would probably be discharged the next morning. My phone starts to ring – Ex has heard from Jim and he wants to come home that night. He is begging the nurse, begging his mom. I call to speak to the nurse who is concerned that he is so desperate to leave, especially when he is getting out the next morning. I speak with him. If he checks out against medical advice the program will be done with him and just for good measure there is a chance that the insurance company will revoke their authorization. All for twelve hours. Finally he backs down.

Friday morning I get up at dawn and head down to his hometown. More time away from work for the roller coaster that is my life. 9 AM and we call the facility: morning meetings until 10 AM. Time for the waiting. 10:30 AM the social worker calls. They are evaluating some more and will let us know. I have some time with my other son when he gets home from school; I hover around the house with Ex but there is only so much to say.

They call back – 4 PM. He is coming home tomorrow and will then enter a three day per week, three hour per day program for the next few weeks as they continue to monitor things.

Excellent – I have written a post and not addressed any non-timeline issues. My son is twenty. He was three when we divorced and has always been a troubled child. I hang on to a strange piece of paper. In second grade his teacher expressed concerns as to his behavior and I scribbled notes of a telephone conversation. I have saved it and over the years shared it with Ex as she defended his latest crisis as being yet another stand alone event. I remind her of it yesterday and she gets upset until I reach into my bag and start reading:
Smart little boy; problem is irrepressible in a non-amusing way; well informed but can’t control participation; needs greater sense of empathy and better self control…”

Ex gets quiet and admits it is scarily on target. Ex has spent twelve years explaining that the teacher always hated Jim. This, for the moment, has finally stopped her. Later on we are talking with my eighteen year old and I try a different approach. Without attribution I read him the same comments. His face lights up in a smile – yep, that’s my brother, right on target. I share the attribution and suddenly all the problems are my fault. If only I had not saved the paper, if only we had believed in Jim more. The only thing missing was clicking the ruby slippers.

I talked with Jim during the day – they have a phone in the facility – and suggested real therapy. Earlier the most recent therapist he blew off told us, as best she could considering confidentiality, of her concerns and feeling he would benefit from an intensive in-patient program. He is twenty and unless he tries to kill himself (unlikely being he has inherited his Dad’s narcissism) there is precious little we can do to put him in that setting. He does not want therapy. He even admits that maybe he has issues but sees no need to do the hard painful work of addressing them.

So in a few hours he will walk out of the facility having been detoxed. He will stay clean for a while – a day program with random drug testing will do that. But there is little joy in my heart at all this news. I have not been an alcoholic and never to an AA meeting, but I have to guess the ones who are successful, collectors of those nice pins, are the ones who have addressed the underlying issues.

Until my son is willing to do the heavy lifting, I feel like we are sitting on a time bomb. I accept that under these circumstances he will never fulfill his considerable potential and can even live with that. It is the fear of the phone call – a jail, a morgue. They say that God watches over children. I hope the Lord is liberal when it comes to age limits.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


When reading a blog yesterday I saw mention of the 800 pound Gorillas in the room – divorce and money. I wrote a brief (well, maybe not exactly brief) comment because it struck a chord – actually a few chords. There are things that I have mentioned tangentially but need to be out on the table if I am to write from my heart – the only place I know.

I have long been a member of the divorced fathers’ club. My divorce occurred when my sons were young – so young that seventeen years down life’s road I am still embarrassed to write of it. They were three and one when I made a life decision – a decision that I would be happy and fulfilled, that I would be with the love of my life - KA.

Ex and I were living a nice life style – upscale suburban – and the system is loathe to reduce the lifestyle of the children, something I do understand. So a number was negotiated: no alimony but child support. A check was owed, a check every month for seventeen years: a check large enough to impact on our lives.

When we think of supporting our children we think of food and shoes, some clothing and toys. That would have been fine. Even those pesky children wanting a bedroom would have been fine – one less than I needed: Wait – they still needed one for my weekends. And the house they ended up living in had a kitchen and bathrooms and …. You can see the problem.

I am a financial professional relatively facile with numbers and I can tell you unequivocally that one plus one really does equal two. If you have a spouse who works currently there may be some mitigation. If you support a stay at home mom (a good thing if you can afford it) there is really very little play.

Unless you are currently in a position that you are banking money for savings, there will be a shortfall in your lives. It may mean different vacations, not buying that CD, more dinners at home.

This is all of particular interest to me because I sat with my ex on Sunday morning and we settled on the final payment. Fini. I will still have costs – they are my children – but they will be direct costs as opposed to paying someone else’s mortgage. My ex gives me good reviews – 9 out of 10 for doing the right thing. I may be economically ravaged but I am strangely proud - I did the right thing, the honorable thing.

Knowing what I do of the finances I still would have divorced. Ultimately money should never trump the heart in these matters.

No, I am not finished. There are children. I admittedly made one huge mistake in an attempt to be civilized and as homage to my guilt. Ex wanted to move eighty miles away – in my urban area anywhere from a 90 minute to a 3 hour drive depending on the gods of traffic. She had good reasons – family proximity, her family. I agreed.

It cost me my children and more importantly it cost my children me. It is hard not to have the weekend I just had – putting a son in a detox center – and not question my choices: the divorce, the distance. So while I can say that I would endure the economic hardships again, I am not sure as to the rest.

Usually I write for me: the fact that so many of you – those I know and am coming to cherish and those who are just clicks on my counter – give up your time to read continues to humble me. However today I write for you – not to depress you, not to scare you – but to share with you a road that I have traveled.

I am happy with my choices – realizing I am bi-sexual has no bearing on today’s post – but as someone told me recently: all stories have the same moral: actions have consequences.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Over The Limit

After I posted yesterday, KA had her usual reserve until I explained that it was a "good" post - about our being in a better place for a moment. I prepared for the day - the usual Saturday morning internal "Do I shave today?" debate. I considered that I would be around the house, some errands, nothing special. A family day with KA. I shaved: what "audience" could be more important.

Ready to roll - early lunch before hitting the road - and the phone rings. It is my ex - wants to discuss some financial issues and our twenty year old. I am half out the door and suggest we only do the easy stuff - my son. Ex tells me that is the hard stuff. My son has long been a difficult child - things our family are not used to. A stint in alternative school, minor brushes with the law - uncharted waters in our sheltered existence.

He drinks a little: KA and I have noticed in our limited time with him. But he lives a few hours away and we lack that day-to-day perspective. It seems it is more than a little. It seems he drinks to escape. It seems that a few weeks ago he came home bruised from a fight he does not really remember. And it seems that the night before he took the liberty of using the spare key for the neighbor and finished a half bottle of vodka before being found, by friends, passed out on the kitchen floor. It seems that I am driving two hours in the deluge to intervene.

We sit - my son, my ex, me. We tell him he will accept help - outside help - or he will be homeless. We will support him totally while seeking and receiving help. We will not support him at all should he continue to deny. The tears flow - his and mine; he agrees. He has been drinking for a year or more. He does not feel capable of stopping in a day program.

Now here we have to swim against popular culture and opinion. Insurance companies do have a little reputation problem but this is a crisis and on a Saturday afternoon we call the 800 number. Two hours and a few calls later, he is accepted to an in-patient detox facility for Tuesday morning. At one point the insurer told me this is not my problem - it is theirs. They did come through.

Back home - many other children - some younger, some older - in our lives and house. I drive the young ones for an impromptu visit with their aunt. I drive KA's car and pop in a CD. Now KA appears to be technologically challenged so when I had realized a few weeks ago that she burned her own mix I was quite impressed. Many familiar songs - a litany of these times we are strugging through - and a few less familiar.

A Warren Zevon song comes on: "Please Stay" from his particularly poignant final album.
Will you stay with me to the end?
When there's nothing left
But you and me and the wind
We'll never know till we try
To find the other side of goodbye

Please stay
Please stay
Two words I've thought I'd never learn to say
Don't go away
Please stay

The next song comes on, a Joan Baez song titled "Best of Friends":
We may not always be the best of lovers
But if you leave it to me
I think I can see
We'll always be the best of friends

I am not broken yet, but my heart is starting to ache. I make it through the song - little ones in the car and all - and the next song comes on - finally a "Nate" song. Old Bruce Springsteen -"Walk LIke A Man":
Well so much has happened to me
That I don't understand
All I can think of is being five years old following behind you at the beach
Tracing your footprints in the sand
Trying to walk like a man

There are other songs, before and after, but the cummulative effect of those three hit me in the gut.

In basketball after a certain number of fouls your team is over the limit. Now the last foul to put you there may stand out, but it is a cummulative thing. The first "dumb" one early in the quarter counts as much as the last. So I do not blame my son this weekend: his was only the last foul. But what is clear is we are over the limit.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Long Road Home

My blog has been quiet this week but my fingers have remained busy. Much of that busyness (God- only one letter between busyness and business) has been in a long series of e-mails with my new sister. (It has struck me that I came out to my biological sister over a week ago and other than an e-mail the next day, things have been silent. My adopted sis, as you will read, would not let me slide that long in these troubled times.)

Sis reads my blog but she also read something else I sent her: an e-mail I wrote to a group of married men out to their wives. In this e-mail I touched upon my confusion but more touched upon my desires relating to other men – a further extension of my last post. It discusses my inability to swear off being with a man ever again and my notable lack of desire to go back for a lunch time quickie. KA tells me that I can have other men and we can share a bed and a life but she draws the line at our making love – an answer I do not want but one that is reasonable. She suggests a whole framework – a new client requiring more frequent overnight trips.

This conversation occurs at night and the next morning I awake scared, confused, and depressed. I have won the “cake” lottery but I no longer have an appetite. That is not to say that the thought of sex with men does not still excite me in a tangible fashion, but it seems that this “fantasy” is not what I had envisioned, or maybe I am just not yet ready.

Sis reads the tale above and is very sweet – a short e-mail with a choice: she can send me the full bitch-slap e-mail or the supporting understanding version. She did not really need to ask – I had sent her the first e-mail as a “reality check” and am ready for the bitch-slap. Sis writes at length, the gist being that just because I can now have attractions to the whole population instead of just half, does not change the rules of monogamy. She writes of a marriage being a whole package – not a sexual receptacle but a partner in so many areas. She reminds me of the gravity of it all; of the importance of not doing more of what cannot be undone while still floundering emotionally. She concludes:
“And while she may offer you leeway to figure out whatever you need to figure out, taking advantage of that may not be the best way to honor her faith in you and your marriage.”

I read it all and am honored at the time and love that went into the response. I do not feel bitch-slapped. We exchange a few more e-mails and Sis asks me the question: What do I expect to get out of going to visit Jerry in Chicago. I respond:
What do I want out of my trip. I am not really sure but as I think about it, I do not think it is just a booty call. I have not seen my "semi-anonymous" friend JJ in probably 2 1/2 months - He thinks I'm hot in bed (I think so too but I do have this narcissism thing down pat) and I can e-mail him right now and probably be at the Motel with him tomorrow for lunch. So while I do like the sex with Jerry more, I do not need to fly to Chicago just for the sex. And if I felt that sex with JJ was not quite good enough I still know where to find Craig's List. Whenever I protest not knowing these things, KA is quick to correct me - she says I seem to have done just fine.

So why the trip? I like the man, it allows sex with emotion and we did mesh in bed. It allows me to be "gay" - go to dinner or a bar, though it does not sound so big stated that way. It allows me safety - we will never be more than an occasional thing - we each are very settled in our lives in far away cities.

I guess when it is all stripped away, I am a bi/gay man who is not willing to leave my wife specifically or all that comes with that - a lifestyle, friends, children, etc. Here is a safe situation where after 4 1/2 months break I get to spend 3 or 4 nights with a guy I like. If I see him again it will likely be 8 months after that. If I am bi/gay and willing to supress the physical and emotional desires for 3 or 4 nights two or three times a year - is that asking that much.

Sis reads this and writes:
Okay, now I’m going to slap you. Because I suspected as much. You talk about having safety in your Chicago trip. The way it has been reading on this end, you are using your family as your safety net while you get used to the idea of being gay. That’s not fair to them and unworthy of you. If you want something different, suck it up and make changes but don’t hang on to the lifestyle, friends, children, etc. so you have something to run back to if things don’t work out the way you hope. Yes, you can have a wife, kids, and your male lover on the side. It just might not be THIS wife or THESE kids, and acting like they should be willing to give you what you want because it really isn’t SO much to ask, now is it: that is really selfish. It’s one thing to explore as you try and figure out what you want and what you can live with, knowing at the end that the limbo will be over and you’ll have made a decision one way or another. It’s another thing to ask your wife to tolerate you having a lover for the rest of your lives together or to ask her to hang around while you find someone else just so you can be sure it will work before you take that last step out of the closet.

A thread of close to a dozen e-mails back and forth and finally I feel slapped – the sting that only comes with a heavy dose of truth. My mind is reeling. This “play” has unfolded over two or three days and I am being forced to think, being asked the hard questions in a way that I am not used to but very much need.

It is Thursday now and I am reeling with what feels like a struggle for my soul. I hear everything Sis says and it does slow me down. I do not want to “force” a trip to Chicago now as KA has suggested but I confess to still wanting my weekend there in September – I would like to deny that but lying is not my style.

Thursday night is a Jewish holiday and I had volunteered to make a brief presentation for this night of teaching. I work on my outline – Jubilee of course (what better way to tie in my emotional life, music and religion all in one package). I e-mail with the Troll – the man is smart - and put it all together. That night I spend with 25 others while a few others also taught and things were discussed. It was great intellectual stimulation on topics other than TGT - what a welcome relief. It was also a reminder of ways to grow and interact within my current life.

It was a late night – two in a row as it worked out – but KA is still awake when I get home. This next part is exceedingly difficult to write about because I do have certain privacy boundaries but this is central, totally central to where I find myself at this moment. KA and I lie there - quietly; we touch – gently; we slowly become one. The night had started. We made love as we had not in a long time. We did not need toys or fantasies – our bed was only for two that night. And I have written that the body does not lie; this was no different. My level of excitement – well lets just say I felt twenty years younger and it was a shame this was a work/school night.

So I have spent the last few days considering what occurred. It was a reminder that when discussing being bi the gay side gets a lot of attention, understandably; but I still do have a healthy hetero side. I think there is an allure to the gay besides the obvious of having been denied it for so long. It is the fact that the bi is still a strange nether world that people just do not really get. To the hetero world if you suck a dick or have ass play - you are gay: so after a while why fight it especially being fighting it makes you sound like you are ashamed of gayness - the self hatred that is so real and I am now willing to reject.

So I do not consider my struggles over - even I am not silly enough to go back to being "cured" or in "remission" but this sure is a nice way to go into a weekend for a change.