Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Matchers is Coming Friday 9/23! And About How I Came Out – Post #75


Last blog, I asked you guys to call or email The Center to ask about Matchers.  It was meant to peak the interest of the folks at the front desk, there.  Create a little buzz.

Well I went to The Center, today, to get our supply of condoms, and upon mentioning to someone new at the front desk that I host the event, she happily exclaimed, “Everybody keeps asking about Matchers!” 

Thanks guys!  I appreciate it.

The next Matchers event will be Friday, September 23rd, from 7:30 to 9:30PM (arrive between 7-7:20PM).  Room 310.  Email me at matchers4men@gmail.com for details.  The following date will be Friday, October 21st, same time, same venue, same room.

Here's the blog post dedicated to it.

Gay men don’t have very many places where it’s mostly gay men, where we can meet other guys.  Mostly bars and gyms.  Sex parties, too, but there’s usually not a whole lot of talking going on there.  The Center, of course, but Matchers is the only dating event there, too.

In conceptualizing this event, I’m going with the philosophy used by the members of the band, KISS, which is to create the event that I’m super-excited to attend.  So that’s what I’ve done.

Matchers is going to be a lot fun.  A cross between a talk show and a town hall meeting, where gay men get to share their opinions on a variety of hot topics (politics, social issues, entertainment), then get to fill out forms to select which guys he’d want to get to know better.  Whichever guys pick him, as well, are his matches.

I’m no longer billing this as an event for the exclusive purpose of looking for a partner.  That can feel contrived and uncomfortable, like “Are you my next boyfriend?!”  I’m happier with it being for any relationship, even if it’s platonic.  But ostensibly guys will go to Matchers more for dating than for casual friendships.

Casual sex is usually on gay men’s menus, too, so there’s also that. ;)

More information is coming, so please stay tuned to the blog dedicated to Matchers: matchers4men.blogspot.com.  Or email me at matchers4men@gmail.com.

Thanks again and I hope to not only see you, but to finally get to hear you, at the next Matchers.

Ö Ö Ö

Also last blog, I wrote about how I realized I’m gay.  Guys sometimes tell me that they like my blog (which is always surprising, since I sometimes think, Who reads this shit?), but I received more feedback from this one than maybe ever.  I’m glad.

So I figure I ought to follow it up with, How I Came Out.

I’ve already written about my initial experiences at the Long Island Expressway Exit 49 Park & Ride.  That’s where I…er…cut my teeth.  A dude I met there took me to my first gay bar, a few months after my 21st birthday (when I discovered cruising and became sexually active), called Pal Joey’s in North Bellmore.  That’s the same bar Henry Marquez was at just before he was murdered by Andrew Esposito, for being gay.  That incident led to a fairly large protest, which I marched in.  I also happened to move right up the street, about a year later. 

From the summer of 1990, until Christmas of ’91, I created a gay social life of mostly sex and bars and cars and more sex, apart from my straight life, which was college, working, and being in a rock band.  It wasn’t until January of ’92 when I came out to my family, which was really the high watermark for my coming out process: once they knew, then telling my straight friends would be pretty easy.

My father was a police officer.  Very straight-edge and conservative, but thankfully not religious.  I figured my mother, with whom I’d had many sophisticated supper conversations throughout my teen years (while Dad was working the 4PM-12AM shifts), and since she liked Phil Donanue and Oprah Winfrey, I figured she’d be cooler with it than my father would be.

Nope!

I remember being in my bedroom, getting my stuff together to take a shower, when my mother knocked on my door.  I let her in, she pulled out my desk chair, and said, “I don’t mean to upset you, but I’ve got to ask you a question.  Are you gay?”  My initial reaction – like that very first second – was to look up at the ceiling and start to make a facial expression conveying, “WTF, are you kidding?!” but when I looked back at her, I just gave up and said, “Yes.”  I literally felt weight come off my shoulders.

She was shocked.  I think I followed it up with, “Now we can talk about anything.”  And boy did we!  We talked for about an hour, and I told her things she was totally not ready for.  I’d assumed that the coming out part was like the pinnacle of anything taboo I could talk about with my mother, and that anything else would be easy for her to take, by comparison. 

Nah, she needed time to absorb the mere fact that her son just almost completely changed right before her eyes.  I was too naïve to get that.  She needed a lot of time to deal with it, so I moved out later that month. 

January ’92.  What a winter that was!  What a year that was!  Life is so exciting, dramatic, and seemingly unprecedented when you’re 22.

So my mother needed time.  Before I moved out, one afternoon, I walked into the kitchen and saw my mother lying on the den floor.  Her two hands pressed together, under her head, the way a child would.  She was awake, thinking…worrying.  Obsessing.

She stood up and said she wasn’t “taking this well,” so we sat at the kitchen table and talked some more.  She said some things, which today would be considered “toxic” and “homophobic,” but she was just processing too much information, with too many concurrent emotions, and having an honest experience.  She came around and has been great, ever since.

My father, though.  He was way different.  In a good way.  First of all, he’d been asking my mother for a while about why I’d never had a girlfriend.   Mom would tell him, “If you want to know, just ask him.”  But she didn’t believe I was gay, so she figured s/he had nothing to lose.  Finally, after he’d asked again, she went upstairs and knocked on my door.

My father was a police officer, so he’d already seen so much Life, had great perspective.  His third kid being gay wasn’t the end of the world, even as I feared he would think that way.

After my mother and I finished our first conversation, when I came out to her, I said I was afraid to come down for dinner because by then my father would know I’m gay.  My mother was about to officially confirm it.   That concept was a real trip, and a scary one.  She said she’d go down and speak to him.  I took my shower.

When I got out and returned to my bedroom, my Dad was waiting for me.  I only remember him saying, “It’s OK to come down for dinner.”  No gruffness or attitude, he was understanding.

I knew it was going to be alright.

He died in 2006, and it’s only since then that I’ve realized that my father likely already knew.  He probably picked up on things from when I was growing up.  Like I said, he’d seen a lot of life.

One instance, I thought for sure he was going to find a couple of gay magazines I had in my car.  I woke up at around noon, looked out my bedroom window and saw my car backed up the driveway, with my Dad’s legs sticking out the driver’s side door, his head under the dashboard.  He was fixing the turn signal, which he’d already told me he was going to do, so stupid me for keeping them under my seat.

Our driveway was slanted, so the back end of my car (a metallic orange ’75 Chevy Malibu, which I bought from my father for $1,000) was higher than the front end.  Gravity.  There were two magazines, the kind you find in gay bars, under the driver’s seat. 

This is what I saw when I looked out the window, having just woken up.

I totally thought he would’ve seen them, but since he hadn’t said anything, I’d always figured he hadn’t seen them.  But all these years later, I’m pretty sure he did see them.  And I’m really glad he acted as a catalyst to get the truth out in the open.  Good job, Dad.

The day before my mother asked me, funnily enough, I had just come out to my sister.  The very day before! 

Lori had just given birth to her daughter, on Christmas Day, and I went over to visit in the afternoon.  I think we watched “Blazing Saddles.”  Or “History of the World.” 

But I’d already written her a coming out letter, which I’d brought with me.  I was so nervous, I practically threw it at her as I was leaving, running to my car and speeding away.

I’d always felt super-safe around my big sister, which is obviously why I chose to come out to her, first.  She later said how much she was worried because A) We had just watched Blazing Saddles and she was afraid maybe she’d laughed at something gay and B) I’d think she told my mother.  But of course she hadn’t.

Coming out to my older brother, Vic, worried me more.  I was certain he wouldn’t kick me out of his life, but he was an ex-military, NRA, fundamentalist Christian, conservative, Ted Nugent-loving hunter-of-Bambis.  Even with all of that, I was secure that he’d be at least aiight. 

He lived in Wurtsboro, NY, and we planned for me to visit, that Saturday.  I didn’t want to come out to him, face-to-face; so, like with my sister (and as likely would have been with my parents, had they not asked), I wanted to tell Vic in a letter.  But it was already late in the week, so getting him a letter via regular mail wouldn’t work.  There was no email yet.

I quickly wrote a coming out letter to my brother, rushed to the post office, and had it next-day shipped.  Now that I write this, I’m thinking about how so very little money I had right after I first moved out, but it was less of a price than having to say it straight to my brother’s face.

Anyway, when I got to the house, he said that when he received it, he immediately thought “something was up.”  He was mostly very cool about it all.  I don’t think he ever tried to change me or whatever.  Pretty sure I’d remember that.

It wasn’t easy coming out to my best friend, Larry.  He and I were also in a band, called Tempest Rising.  Larry was a long-haired, crotchety conservative kid, but we were great friends. 

I’d already told our mutual friend, Rob, with whom I’d just moved in to my first place, a house on 25A in East Setauket.  I waited at the corner bar, called Country Corner, while Rob broke the news to Larry, next door at the house.  I sat at the bar with a bottle of beer, and after about a half hour, Larry came in, sat at the next stool.  We didn’t say anything for a few seconds.  I think the first thing he said was, “You know, I used to throw bottles at people like you.”

That broke the tension and, like with what my Dad first said, I knew it was going to be cool.  Larry and I, like most male friends, throw these types of barbs at each other to ease tension and to be playful. 

Larry was, and still is, very conservative.  He used to say, “I just don’t get it.”  Which was fine.  I tried explaining it to him several times, but it got to the point where, since it hadn’t been part of our relationship before, why start now?  We just proceeded with our same friendship and let it play its course. 

The extended family just kinda looked at me sideways, when they thought I wasn’t noticing.  But they were fine, too.  Granted, it’s Long Island, where the general perception of gay is a couple of decades behind Manhattan, but it’s been all good.

That was a loooooong time ago.  Sheesh.  It’s really something, how far we’ve come.

How far we’ve all come.

Ö Ö Ö


Finally, here’s an email someone forwarded to me, which he’d received from someone who’s been to my parties.  I don’t know who it is, but I’m sure glad someone feels this way.  hi - saw your posting on CL. I've always had good luck at parties hosted by Scott. You can email him for details - scott@theorgyguy.com  ...he has an apartment midtown west, charges $20 but worth it. Usually a dozen or so guys, good mix, and hot action, you can get as into it as you want, ok just to hang out as well. Hosts parties several times a week.



The Örgy Guy

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