People I love
Glory be to God for dappled things-
For skies of couple-colour as a brindled cow;
all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced-fold, fallow, and
And all trades-
their gear and tackle and trim.
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
never really part, you just reduce the frequency of your encounters.
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
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
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 than me.
My Current Partner 2000—present
My current partner is very private and wants no details
published. We have a non-sexual relationship.