Gay Studies

I saw it among the recommendations when I checked my Amazon account, a novel about a gay man remembering his life, spanning 50 years of the American gay culture. Although I've read novels with a similar premise, the book still piqued me enough to buy it. I haven't read it yet, because it just arrived today. But it made me think about my experiences. From the moment I slipped quietly and anonymously online up to this time.

I've made a lot of mistakes, mostly trial and errors, in trying to get it right on how to be gay, because for the most part, I didn't know how to be one. I looked up (or down, depending on the situation) on those I've met and encountered, the way they act, move and behave; their beliefs, views, whims and even fantasies. But they were all different. There were the players and two-timers, those in committed relationships but looking for something discreetly on the side, those with terrible hangover from past loves, the i'm-really-straight-but-i-want-to-try-this-once guys, the loud, the closeted, the in-denials, those who have such high regard of themselves and their appearances that they made me wonder whether it's them who need corrective glasses and not me, those who are so full of themselves, those who consider themselves the center of the gay universe, the vain and the vainglorious, those in open relationships, the bisexuals and the generally confused. There were the romantics, the faithful, the loyal; those who carry torches seemingly for eternity; those perpetually waiting for one true love, always on the look out for Mr. Right or at least Mr. Right Now; the picky, the candid, the honest. Gay people covered the whole range of the moral spectrum. It was messy and ultimately confusing.

I couldn't form any general perception on how to be gay. In the succeeding years, I've learned to have no expectations. I've learned to stop reading between the lines and simply accepted the lines as they are. When I went out on dates, I never dreamed that soon we'll live together and try and try (the fun is in the trying, right?) to have babies. I never imagined anything past a date. I didn't put too much pressure nor attempted to put my best (fake) foot forward to impress somebody on a first date, because I didn't expect a second date. I didn't mind if the guy is also dating other people while we're going out. We're not in a relationship so it wasn't a problem. Some people collect then select. It's human nature that I've come to accept.

In another form, not only did I have no expectations, I also made very little effort. Even on some really good dates, I failed to make a follow through. It wasn't laziness, but a kind of fatalism and jadedness that eventually it will end and amount to nothing. I pushed some people away, discouraged others and encouraged them to look somewhere else.

It took a long time for me to get some sure footing, to feel comfortable with my own skin. While I may never get used to the madness that is the gaydom, I've learned to accept the peculiarities that exist. I can't say that I approve of everything, but I've learned to tolerate others and respect their lives, no matter how different they are from mine.

When a friend told me that he and his boyfriend celebrated their 2nd anniversary in a four-way, I simply said, that's nice, you reached two years already, wish you the best. Because, really, in this mad, twisted life we can only hope that everything will turn out for the best. That somehow in the chaos of the dance floor we find someone who knows the dance we dance and understands our version of happiness.


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