When I was in Junior High my family moved to North Carolina. Being a boy from the Midwest, this was major culture shock. I refused to think that I was gay, but I knew I had gay feelings. There was no way that I could possibly let them know my feelings. Can you imagine if they found out along with the fact that I am primarily attracted to black men? There were Klan members in my High School and I just didn’t think that was a combination that they’d appreciate.
I had very few friends who were boys when I was younger. In North Carolina that was one positive change. I met up with a group of good ‘ol boys and we all became very close. In fact, we stayed in touch for years after graduation. The closeness I had with this group of friends was the most positive thing that had happened, despite still feeling like an outsider. I still haven’t mentioned to any of them that they were all adorable and I had crushes on each one at one time or another. I doubt they would like that very much, but who knows?
My friends were all attractive and were always getting the girls, while I on the other hand had gained a lot of weight and did not like myself very much. There were a couple of girls I kissed, but that was it. Not much to brag about in the last 7 years of my schooling. They told me I was a great kisser so it’d be funny for them to find out they were making out with a gay man.
We were a wild and woolly bunch. We would go to biker bars and drank a lot as well as do drugs. Mostly we drank and drank. Drinking was something I loved to do. It got me out of my head and I was silly and felt a part of the group. The mornings afterwords I was always proud that I was usually the main topic. Everyone laughed and enjoyed talking about my crazy antics that I didn’t remember. Big sloppy drunks are always a laugh riot. Remember John Belushi?
The painful part was not being able to come out and be who I was. I had to stay in the closet for fear of being rejected by everyone. I loved my friends but frequently felt I was only tolerated. Even though I didn’t know I was bipolar at the time, I did some strange things as a result. My actions came across as just plain weird. My bipolar disorder was enough. Being gay made it worse. I begged not to be gay. I didn’t feel shame – just didn’t want to be so different than anyone else.
Most embarrassing to me was that they probably all thought I was a virgin when I graduated high school. Heaven forbid! A guy being a virgin at high school graduation? Of course not even if you have to lie. I knew I’d never get away with lying. I was a virgin with girls, but not with boys. I had a good friend, Johnny, who was not part of my regular group of friends. One night while staying over at Johnny’s I lost my virginity. It was scary. It was wonderful. Finally I met someone like me. Johnny and I remained friends, had sex several times, but never discussed later what occurred.
After Johnny I began to have rendezvous in all kinds of sordid places. I had no idea how to meet a gay man otherwise or how to approach someone. Going out and just asking someone on the street just didn’t seem like a good option for me. Each encounter made me feel dirty and scared and I promised myself that I would never do it again. I felt even more like an outsider and was lonely no matter where I was or who I was with. Again, I felt only tolerated and not befriended most of the time.
In case I haven’t made it clear. I felt like an outsider. Thank you.
I worked a few years after graduation, but finally it was time to leave town. I needed a new start and possibly be who I was. Where was the place to go? For the life of me I can’t figure out why I chose to move to Nebraska. Certainly that was a gay mecca wasn’t it?
I promised today would be the conclusion, but I guess things were more complicated than I anticipated. Check in tomorrow for Part III and you’ll learn about meeting the girl of my dreams.