Playing It Straight

I was chatting with a FB friend the other day who came out late in his life. He asked me if I had ever thought of going thru life pretending to be straight. He was shocked when I shared the idea had never even occurred to me.

If you’ve been here long enough [1]oh you single digits few, you’ll remember I “left’ home at a very early age. I was also sexually active very early. That said, at the time I still wasn’t actually sure I was gay. When I told my dad on that fateful day, I remember just telling him I liked having sex with guys, not that I was gay. It might seem like I was dense but I had no idea what it was to be gay. All I knew were the stereotypes thrown around every day.  My understanding of “being gay” meant I had to be super effeminate , wear dresses, or want to have sex with animals or kids. And while I turned myself into a stereotype many years later, at that time none of those things applied to me. It wasn’t like I could talk or ask anyone about it. There were no cell-phones, internet, or social media back then. My small town didn’t have ‘dirty magazines’, much less gay ones. We lived so remote we didn’t even have a landline phone.  For a few years I thought I was a straight guy that just liked sucking cock on the side. I kid you not, I thought that way.

Fast forward to my early 20’s, I survived my stepmother’s torment, being thrown out on the street, M’s death, and a near suicide. These things changed me so deeply I can understand why it never occurred to me. The evolution of my understanding and acceptance of myself negated the very idea of pretending. It just wasn’t an option. I could theorize over it but that seems pointless.

My friend was flabbergasted by my story. He just assumed we all hid it when we were kids. Funny how we go thru the world projecting our assumptions. I was a bit shocked he thought all the guys in our age group hid it until we were older.  He was married to a woman. No kids, but not from the lack of ‘trying’ as he put it. He also shared with me he felt ashamed to bottom until he was almost 50. I can’t say that surprised me. Too many fellow homos carry this nonsense around in varying degrees to this day. He also shared with me the torment he lived with knowing he was living a lie. He both loved and resented his wife because of his secret. He was careful to avoid anything “too gay”, lest he be discovered.

It was a very interesting perspective to me because it was so foreign to my own story. It was a really good conversation. Anyone having to hide who they are doesn’t have it easy, regardless of the circumstances. My struggle was and is but one of many.

At this moment in my life, most of my coming out is a dull memory vs the sharp stabbing pain it used to be. And while I have wondered at times what my life would have been like had I not come out when I did, it is not from a sense of wishing it so.


1 oh you single digits few


Someone asked me the other day what it was like growing up gay. They were specifically asking about what it was like for me before I came out. [1]This is also prior to finding my first love in high-school, the resulting drama and his eventual death.

The biggest frustration was the isolation. I felt so alone in the world. I didn’t have anyone to confide in, ask questions, and there was no such thing as the internet back then. It is no easy thing to keep something so fundamentally important locked inside of you at all times. Even before I knew what I was, I had learned that being different was bad and made one a target. And while I may not have known why, I most definitely knew I was different.

In the beginning, it wasn’t so bad as I had so much other drama in my life it was really hard to focus on it for any stretch of time. Having no real exposure to what gay people were like, all I knew were the stereotypes. I didn’t see a correlation between the idea of being gay and myself so it never really crossed my mind. . .at first. Having no frame of reference to explain it, I literally felt like I was the only person alive that was this way. This did make the isolation worse, especially as I got older. Even being extroverted as I was, I still didn’t make friends very easily in school. I grew up in a very small town so I knew everyone but knowing doesn’t equate friendship. And living in the middle of nowhere, having neighbors was as foreign to me as watching ‘Leave It To Beaver.’ My closest neighbor, either direction, was at least 3 miles of nothing but piney woods. And even if they had been closer, neither had children. So at the end of the day, I was pretty much alone with my feelings and confusion.

I first began to get an inkling there was something different, I mean really different, right before puberty. Deep down I’d always felt a little out of sync as long as I could remember, but as I aged things really started going wonky. I’d always had a fascination for naked guys. I would get a funny feeling seeing a naked guy. It was like butterflies bouncing around in my stomach. It wasn’t quite lust, that came later. I’m wondering if it was just attraction? I wonder if it was possible to be attracted to someone w/o first having a sense of sexual relations? I dunno, all I know is I felt very different.

It all started after my mom died and my dad remarried. I’d never felt attracted to family members that I grew up with. It just never occurred to me to look at them that way. [2]I guess that blows the myth of rednecks being all inbred out of the water! lolol Two of my new step-uncles were very attractive and very masculine. Having never known my new uncles, I began to discover odd feelings when they were around. The hairier one practically dripped with masculinity. The first time I saw him naked I got a very new sensation in my stomach. It wasn’t so much butterflies, but more a sense floating on air. lol I know that sounds weird but it is the best way I can describe it. He would often come visit to go hunting. Naturally, opportunities for him to be naked would present themselves. We were all guys and no one thought anything of it. I knew enough to never stare or be obvious but I didn’t quite understand why. lol Honestly, it was very perplexing.

As I aged and puberty begin to hit, it really begin to dawn on me that I might be gay. I say might because again I couldn’t relate to the stereotypes so I didn’t really think I could be gay. I honestly thought I was straight but got off on seeing guys naked. Anyway, I now discovered that seeing my step-uncles naked brought a new sensation…lust! lolol It was actually these sensations that jump-started my puberty and foraging into self-manipulation. Then I discovered a stack of my dad’s hustler magazines! OMG! I would sneak them every chance I got. But the funny thing was, I wasn’t looking at the women. I was totally fixated on the guys. The different types of guys, different body sizes, different “anatomy” sizes, it was completely fixating!

This is when the real frustration and isolation began. I had no one to talk to. No one who could explain why I felt this way. Knowing what I heard about “faggots” I knew damn well not to bring it up to my family/friends. I would plead with God at times to “take this away from me,” I would bargain about being good if only these strong and unrelenting feelings would go away. I tried to get excited looking at women or dreaming of women. Sadly, it never worked. If anything it revolted me.

When I was at school, even though kids would sometimes call me fag or queer, I didn’t really resonate with it. Children can be incredibly cruel at times. Having grown up with my parents making me dress differently, I was already used to being an easy target for name-calling. The names themselves didn’t really matter. Being skinny, almost frail, didn’t help none either.

On one hand, I was very aware of my sexuality but on the other, I was completely in the dark. I guess I hadn’t really learned how to reason or reconcile more advanced issues so it took a wall for me to really believe I was actually gay.


1 This is also prior to finding my first love in high-school, the resulting drama and his eventual death.
2 I guess that blows the myth of rednecks being all inbred out of the water! lolol