I met Rick about 15 years ago. I was in college at the time and he was a professor in the criminology department of the same university. Rick is a white guy, in his late 30’s with a stocky-built and a goatee that made him age a little. He was just coming out of the closet and I was one of his first guys to be with. He had a kind personality and very much into sweet romantic gestures.
We dated for few months and I remember the time I stayed over at his gigantic 3 bedroom house for the weekend. In the morning, we were brushing our teeth in the bathroom in our tighy-whities. I saw of us in mirror and found it oddly sexy.
For my birthday, he gave me a book called “Many Lives, Many Masters” by Brian L Weiss, MD. Inside the book, he wrote: I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Remember, be the master of your life. Happy birthday! love, Rick. I really enjoyed this book and found this quote profound. It reads:
“Balance and harmony are neglected today, yet they are the foundations of wisdom. Everything is done to excess. People are overweight because they eat excessively. Joggers neglected aspects of themselves and others because they run excessively. People seem excusably mean. They drink too much, smoke too much, carouse too much (or too little), talk too much without content, worry too much. There is too much black-or-white thinking. All or none. This is not the way of nature…… Humankind has not learned about balance, let alone practiced it. It is guided by greed and ambition, steered by fear. In this way it will eventually destroy itself. But nature will survive; at least the plants will.”
I find myself torn when I need to find balance and harmony, yet feel pressured by queer culture to be ambitious and face fears constantly. Gays have to be extremely ambitious to succeed because we fear being failures in society. We must defend marriage equality, stand-up against homophobia, and ACT UP, FIGHT AIDS!
Because LGBTQ people are so oppressed in society, the only way to balance that is to be excessive. Perhaps, it’s a yin & yang, which oppositions create harmony.
Another aspect of gay culture I feel conflicted by is greed. Of course I like to party-hardy sometimes, but alcohol and substance use can be excessive in gay culture to the point to abuse. I have seen way too many friends destroy their lives after becoming acquainted with Tina.
To celebrate freedom, pride festival is sometimes borderline live porn scenes. Open relationships among gay men are becoming more of a norm, which they have boyfriends and get to have sexual encounters outside of the relationship.
Yes, I do enjoy no strings attached sex occasionally (sometimes even with guys who are in open relationships) but for me, it has be good, safe, and with a right person. I think that’s called making love, right? I realized I am a minority in gay culture when it comes to wanting romance over sex and I feel like I am the only one who has never been to a bath house.
It was particularly evident when my doctor (at a LGBT health center) said I don’t need to be screened for STD’s or HIV when he reviewed risk behavior questions, as he compared to my gay peer group. Regardless, I get tested yearly.
As a criminology professor, I am sure Rick certainly fought many crimes and did not abuse alcohol or drugs. When I was dating Rick, he wanted to be in a monogamous intimate relationship. However, at that time, I was more consumed by what gay culture told me to want: sex, drugs, and rock & roll. Now I want peace, love & harmony.
I lost touch with Rick about 10 years ago and last thing I heard was he was in a committed relationship.