We’re funny creatures aren’t we? We do so many things naturally, but keep them to ourselves or judge that discussing them is taboo. I’ll name a few:
- Our true feelings — deep, dark, sincere feelings
- Our bathroom habits (e.g., a majority of older men have trouble urinating due to prostate issues); we don’t talk about it.
- Our fear of death and failure
- Our sexual habits and desires
- Thoughts of suicide when feeling alone or desperate
- Our true nature
Let’s face it, we are a repressed people. And, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
A Funny Story (names will be withheld to protect the innocent and humble)
I recently attended an extremely satisfying dinner party. I say satisfying because I’m normally uncomfortable and apprehensive about even attending them in the first place. I get all anxious and threaten cancellation at the last minute. But this one was different. There were eight of us: three Americans, two Canadians, one Swede, one Finnish and a Brit. Probably all left leaning, although I cannot be 100% certain. What I do know is that all eight of us were there to have a good time and a good time is what we had.
I’ve been out-of-the-closet for a long time; therefore, discussing my sexuality is not usually an issue or concern. My current attitude is simply, take me as I am or don’t take me at all. What seems to be more of an issue for others, is that I’m single. When I’m in a group situation and my status comes up, I usually state that I am “happily single.” I say this because so many people, gay, straight, and undefined, seem to believe that I am in some way unhappy or unfulfilled and that this state of being is directly correlated with being single.
The party host was unfortunately recently widowed. Since it has been a little more than a year, I can see that people who care about her, are interested or secretly hopeful, in seeing her paired-up. Why do we do this to one another?
With all of the not-so-subtle comments or questions that surface during a gathering such as this one, it was refreshing and poignant to be on the receiving end of a genuinely sweet and innocent question. I should be clear about two things: first, the individual asking the question is an ordained minister, and second, the question was directed at the two single individuals in the group; the host and myself.
It is true that the host and I have an outwardly symbiotic relationship. We laugh a lot, touch a lot, and although we only know one another for a couple of years, it is clear that there is a lasting bond between us. I knew her husband, in addition, I had the pleasure and good fortune of knowing them together. They had one of those rare and touching partnerships that makes you believe in love. Although I felt her loss deeply when her husband passed, what I feel today is hopeful. I see an individual who has embraced the notion that life goes on. She seems to know that although nothing will or can, ever be the same, living with the memory of a joyful and loving life partner, can be a force in experiencing current and future happiness. I’m not an expert on these matters, but nothing speaks louder than a real life example — she is my litmus test, my proof.
Back to the question posed: the minister, female, late fifties, early sixties, appropriate at all times and allow me to guess, a role model for most; looked at the host and I with an unassuming smile, slightly raised eyebrows, and an empathic tilt of her head (adorned with a gorgeous fedora), and asked: “Couldn’t you two get together and fulfill your sexual urges?“
Honestly, I’ve been exposed to open minded people my entire life, I have had innocent children ask me questions about my bald head, I have been asked about my favorite sexual position, but I have never been asked a question quite as pure and loving; bold and judgment free.
The space the eight of us filled became notably silent for about two seconds — two blaring seconds. Seven of the eight of us needed to replay the question asked — to process and ponder. The golden silence was followed by tremendously loud and raucous laughter. Did we hear the minister correctly? When we all realized that we had heard the same thing and that what we heard was clearly a serious question, years of taught appropriate behavior and political correctness, shook us all to our collective core. Did someone innocently and politely address the unspoken truth? Yes, we have sexual urges, yes we had the body parts that biblically match, and yes, we genuinely care for one another.
The idea that all of that would be enough to sexually join together a fairly recent widow and one very out homosexual, was cause for true unbridled joy. At that moment, I fell in love with the minister. The zero judgment attached to the question, the caring way in which she asked, and the reaction she unknowingly provoked, informed me that this moment was one for the “this only happens once in a lifetime, this is your life,” living journals. I will hold onto it until I can no longer remember my name and I suspect our host will as well.
Finally, allow me to add, at a time when we have been forced and advised to isolate ourselves from others, it is moments such as this, where social interaction and human kindness collide, that I personally realize, why it is essential that we come together. To be human is to be with one another; to laugh, to cry and to love. No judgment, just good intentions.
As long as I test negative for COVID-19 on Sunday, Cuba is finally happening. You’ll read all about it in my next blog.
Be well, and be with the people you adore and admire and those who feel the same way about you.
[I tested yesterday so that I could pack and prepare with some degree of confidence. Negative results were not a given. Having achieved negative results, I will be isolating for the remainder of this week.]