People I love
Glory be to God for dappled things-
For skies of couple-colour as a brindled cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced-fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades- their gear and tackle and
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers forth whose beauty is past change;
Gerard Manley Hopkins
These are some of the people I have loved over the years in chronological order. I tend to get more attached the
longer we are together. I never seem to fall out of love, even if my partners do. I have a big soft spot in my heart
for all my exes. I can never understand why some people think it necessary to break off completely when they decide
to move on. The dates in the title lines are the years of our involvement, not the birth and death dates. My father
was 7 years older than my Mom. I have tended to follow that same pattern, preferring
younger, or younger-looking lovers. I define a lover as someone you live with in a sexual relationship. It also
requires that both of you call yourself lovers to your friends though not necessarily to your families. I have not
talked about my OIFs (Occasionally Intimate Friends). The nice thing about OIFs is you never really part, you just reduce the frequency of your
Don was 41 days older than me. I worshipped Don as a teenager. He is straight and was
completely unaware of my secret passion. He was my best friend. We have never had any sort of sexual involvement. We
once attempted to drag two boats up a mountain to Deeks Lake where we fished for trout. We did not make it.
Archaeologists in future may find them and ponder the mystery of why boats would be half way up a mountain.
Creationists will insist it is evidence of the global flood. Don is now a popular physician in Comox. He sends me
emails about his mountain hikes all over the globe. The song I associate with him is Roy Orbison’s Pretty
Woman. I was a song he liked but I detested.
John was about the same age as me. John was an engineering student who used to turn me on by whispering the mysteries
of electronics into my ear in his resonant voice. The night we met we wandered out onto a beach near UBC (University of British Columbia) in a
snowstorm. We ran up and down the beach stark naked and had sex until hypothermia put a damper on things. He was
quite thin. I took him back to the frat house where I was living at the time and warmed him up with mugs of hot
coffee. To my great delight he wanted to see me again, even though I had just about frozen him to death. Our
relationship ended when he went away to school back east.
Ben was three days older than me and a dour Presbyterian. I wrote a book called A Guide For The Naive
Homosexual. Ben came to see me as a result of it. He told me he moved to BC from Ontario so that he could drop
out of sight and commit suicide. I could not believe someone so handsome would want to kill himself. I decided to
make myself a friend. Later I was astonished to find he was interested in me as a lover. Our relationship was stormy
because, at the time, I was jealous and Ben very much enjoyed the hunting aspects of cruising. Ben and Jimmy and I
lived together. They both demanded I choose between them, but I could not. Eventually Ben moved out and moved to
Edmonton. Ben and I had an agreement. If we had not found permanent lovers by age 50, we would move in together as
companions. We did not keep the agreement because Ben died of AIDS (Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome).
You are my sunshine
Jimmy left extremely suddenly and has ever since refused to accept even a Christmas card. I decided to remove all
description of the relationship to give him more privacy. I pined deeply for a dozen years and then less deeply for a
dozen more. Dr. Phil on Oprah Winfrey spoke about people like me who obsess for years about a past relationship or
past traumatic event. He said two things particularly relevant:
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are gray.
~ Oliver Hood
Hanging on like that was the biggest mistake of my life, but I still have no idea how I could have got over him other
than time. Jimmy was like the sun, beside which all other joys were as pale as starlight. I had the nutty idea that
letting myself forget him would be a betrayal, that in some way would harm him. I had so much pain invested in
pining, I could not let myself give up, because it would have made all the previous pain pointless. Pining over
someone who did not even care I existed was nothing new. It was a pattern that started way back in childhood. The
song I associate with Jimmy is You Are My Sunshine. The songs that best express the desperate clinging
are Jacques Brel’s Ne Me Quitte Pas
and Roberta Flack’s Jesse. Even to this day, my fondest wish for myself is to be on friendly terms
with him, as I am with my other exes.
- Your pain becomes the link. You don’t want to give up the pain because you don’t want to give up
the link. Yet this is really quite silly since I have a strong feeling of connection with all my other ex’s,
without the pain.
- The payoff for staying obsessed about the past is you can keep your heart closed to new love. You will never
let yourself be hurt again.
Dennis was about 4 years younger than me. Dennis and I were never lovers, though I found him
utterly fascinating, and we did have sex a few times. I tell one Dennis story in my Reality is a Hallucination essay. Dennis had an older lover Fred G.,
a concert organist. Dennis told me that Fred was the one who had taught him about the mysteries. Fred denied any such
knowledge, with one exception — when he performed the exorcism. Dennis died of AIDS.
Don was about 4 years younger than me. Don and I were never lovers, though I have kept a
very warm spot in my heart for him ever since I first met him, and we did have sex quite a few times. I tell the
incredible story of our meeting in my Reality is a
Hallucination essay. He is the porn star. This picture was taken some years later, after he had gained quite a
bit of weight. The other guy in the picture is me. Don invited me to come visit him a few years ago, but became
ticked off with me for publicly telling the strange story of our meeting, and I never went. I think he would prefer
to forget that embarrassing chapter of his life. To me, it was a genuine miracle that must be told. Don has a shy
charm that makes him lovable as a puppy. I hope eventually we will get together again. The I Ching symbol
on Don’s shirt is Dispersion,
the I Ching hexagram of loving everyone.
Pat was about 9 years younger than me. I had a couple of friends David J. and Michael E. who
had been lovers since day 1. They were well matched in interests and attitudes. One day David phoned me and asked if
he could move into my house, since he was breaking up with Michael. I thought this would be temporary, since they
were made for each other. I agreed. A little later David asked if it would be OK if his new lover moved in too. I
said OK. The night they moved in I was reading in bed. There was a knock on my bedroom door. It was David’s new
lover, Pat. He asked if he could have sex with me. I refused. "You can’t do that. You are David’s
lover." He said that it was ok with David. A while later David came down and said it was ok with him. I said no
because it would just make things too complicated. A few days later, David and Michael reconciled. They drove off
together into the sunset, leaving lover Pat behind. I wondered if this was some Lucille Ball-like plot to get me to
forget Jimmy and accept an arranged relationship. Pat and I had sex, and I suddenly understood why David had selected
him for me. We became lovers. He disappeared one day taking Annie, our dalmatian puppy with him. I ran into him on
the street many years later. It was an awkward moment and I have not seen him since.
Donny was about 11 years younger than me and Jewish. I used to call him Red
because of his hair colour and preference for red or Trout because of his freckles. Donny and I used to
have intellectual discussions. One day we got talking and lost track of time. We found ourselves locked in an
underground shopping mall. We kept talking, and in a very formal Howard’s End sort of way got
around to asking if the other were interested in a sexual relationship. In a very indirect way, we both indicated
yes. About a week later, we started an intensely physical relationship. We put it on hold when Donny had a medical
problem that prevented sex, and never got around to restarting it. Years later Donny and I shared a bath together. He
told me stories of his adventure-packed life. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, reminding me
of a scene in the movie about the life of Scott Joplin where the two elderly men share their love for one another.
Donny died of AIDS.
Tom was about the same age as me and a Buddhist. I had been single about a year and desperately wanted to be in a
relationship. I told myself, "The next person I see, I am going to make that person my lover, whatever it
takes." I was sitting in the dark at the Richards Street Steam bath at the time. Somebody reached over and
touched me. I reached over and touched back and felt a very tall, slim guy. I said to myself, "He’ll
do." We had sex then went to the Night & Day restaurant for grapefruit juice. We shared an interest in
meditation and mindfulness. We became lovers for about a year. He broke off very gradually and gently. The problem
was I wanted a lot more sex that he did, and he felt we should not continue that way. He is now an elected official
living with a woman, so I don’t mention his last name. We run into each other from time to time. We still have
warm feelings for each other.
Shanön was 15 years younger than me and Christian. I met Shanön in San Francisco
shortly after he came out. I figured he would soon lose interest once he discovered how popular he would be in the
gay community. He had some spectacular physical assets as well as a sparkling extroverted personality. Everywhere we
went, he would strike up conversations with absolutely everyone. He totally charmed my landlady. She gave us the keys
to her outdoor hot tub. Ah! what a night… He gradually drifted away and started dating other guys. He phoned
me in Canada a year later and said he decided that I was the one after all. We decided to meet at the Ken Keyes
Center then go back to Canada together to live. We had a hoot. It was one of the most fun weeks of my life.
Shanön has a wicked sense of humour. He likes to do impressions of people. He is extremely romantic. He was an
artist and wanted me to support him while he concentrated on his drawing. I simply did not earn enough to do that.
Eventually I ran out of money and he had to return to the USA until I could replenish my funds. He used to drive me
nuts by sulking and saying, If you loved me, you would know what the matter is, Life with Shanön was
very exciting and somewhat exhausting. We had both tested negative for HIV (Human Imumuno-deficiency Virus), so we had plenty of exciting unprotected
sex. When we discovered I was HIV+ (Human Imumuno-deficiency Virus Positive (infected)) after all, (having been infected too soon before my first test to register), it
put such a damper on our sex life that it interfered emotionally as well and we decided to split. Thankfully
Shanön was not infected too. He called in 2002 and I discovered he now looks like Mr.
T. with a shaved head and beard, hairy chest and muscles. He is still his happy extroverted self. The song I most
associate with him is Madonna’s True Colours.
Roy asked me to remove his picture.
Roy was 14 years younger than me and Christian. When I first saw Roy, he was surrounded
by admirers. I walked away thinking I did not have a chance with him. A short while later though he sought me out and
made mad passionate love to me. He moved in within days. He was from Indonesia. He was a professional singer. Roy is
an ardent Christian, but that never came between us. He would sing love songs to me while tears streamed down my
cheeks. When his student visa was up he had to return to Indonesia. The Canadian government would not let him back
into the country, even to visit. I went to see him in Indonesia. We never broke up so we still have a very strong
heart connection. He now lives in the Netherlands with his new lover, Hank. When I met him he earned his living as a
computer programmer. He is now studying to be a nurse. He calls every month or so to check up on me. The song I most
associate with him is Wind Beneath My Wings as he sung it.
Bernard is still somewhat in the closet, so no picture.
Bernard was 18 years younger than me and Christian. Bernard answered a massage ad. When
he arrived, he explained he did not want a massage. He wanted to kiss me instead. He did, non stop for about 12
hours. He did not leave until a year later. He never let me massage him, ever, though I yearned to massage his
flawless, smooth skin and trim, lightly-muscled body. He was in his late 20s, from Mindanao in the Philipines. He
used to make me laugh with his Monica Seles impersonations. He persuaded me to take up roller blading. He and I spent
hours at the Fruit Loop skating until I fell and badly whacked my tail bone. It completely cowed me. Bernard was
quite disappointed at the loss of his rollerblading partner. He later sweetly nursed me through the ravages of HIV
illness. We were an odd couple, Bernard the fanatically neat and clean and me the messy, however, I did not discover
that until Bernard got his own place. When we lived together, he was too polite to complain. Once he got his own
place he indulged his desire to collect music boxes and musical dolls. While we lived together he suppressed it,
needlessly worrying I might not approve. I miss Bernard a lot. However, he deserves a more sensitive, tactful lover
My Current Partner 2000—present
My current partner is very private and wants no details published. We have a non-sexual relationship.