Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Lover's History. . (NSFW)

I was commenting on a post over at My Confessions this morning and got shoved right down Memory Lane. My buddies, HB and Bigg, are experiencing something fairly common to intergenerational couples - petite angst based on the older partner's history and the younger partner's reactions thereto. HB's a little put out after witnessing Bigg's reaction upon encountering (after 25 years) a man who could be described as his First Great Love. On the face of it, I'm inclined to side with Bigg and think maybe HB's overreacting. Followers of My Confessions know that it would take the Second Coming itself to dislodge HB from Bigg's #1 spot - and there's some doubt about that!

About that trip down Memory Lane, though - my ex-partner and I spent 23 years together with a 20 year age difference between us. When we met, I was 18 and he 38 so I spent a good bit of time as The Child Bride (a favorite nickname of our friends).

Some memories from those 23 years are clearer than others. The one that tickled my brain while reading Bigg's blog stands out, if for nothing else, as an embarrassing reminder of one of my less stellar moments as both a partner and seemingly rational human being.

Before Al Gore invented the internet, back when gay men actually had to leave their homes to meet each other, one way of making a connection was through local and national pen pal services - paper, stamps, the United States Postal Service and a phone number if you were lucky. Email? Still in Mr. Gore's imagination. Some of those services were through national magazines like
Stars and others were local with some guy, for a membership fee, collecting and compiling personal ads into a newsletter, Xeroxing it and mailing it out to subscribers. Before meeting me, Ex (that's what we'll call him), belonged to one of the local pen pal groups. By the time we met, he had been using this service for quite a while, and we even socialized with a couple of guys he met over the year or so he subscribed to the newsletter. Domestic bliss made short work of that subscription.

Several months into our relationship, Ex was cleaning out some old files. I saw he was going to toss the pen pal file, and I asked if I could take a look before he did. The newsletters made for interesting reading. It was fun to follow how some men changed their ads from time to time, tops turned to bottoms, dick sizes increased, weights fluctuated, and men used words to figure out how to be appealing without the benefit of the very visual technology we take for granted today to get certain needs attended to.

As I mentioned, we socialized with a couple of guys Ex had dated before me, and I especially enjoyed reading their ads - mostly because they contained information I might not get over white wine and quiche (the preferred meal of the average suburban gay male circa 1980). There were also ads for guys he had hooked up with. He freely shared some of those hook-up experiences, some of which lead me to conclude that - Internet or not - dating was just as sucky an experience then as it tends to be now. One of his favorite stories was about a guy he called Long Dick Albert, a young Black man a year or so older than me with a 31 inch waist and a penis of significant - practically useless - proportion. They visited a couple of times and despite Ex's fascination with Albert's knee-length pecker, things never progressed though Ex said he was a nice enough guy who really enjoyed older men. (The photo is the infamous Long Dong Silver - to my knowledge Albert was never captured on film.)

I have to say this - no penis is so large as to be useless. One simply has to adjust his technique. That, however, is for another post.

Anyway, I'm happily reading and tracking Ex's ads over a period of time. They didn't change much, but when they did, it sure got my attention. At some point, his ads changed from "Any Race" to "White Only" and stayed that way until his subscription expired. Now what kind of news was that for his 19 year old,
African American, Child Bride to stumble across? Considering we were both an intergenerational and an interacial couple (he's White), I could only conclude in the rapid, non-thinking way that teenagers do that I had been sharing my life with a racist.

There's no excuse for what happened next except perhaps at 19 I was kind of stupid. Okay - really stupid. I lit into the poor guy - still one of the gentlest men God ever put on this planet - as if he were George Wallace baring the doors at Ole Miss.
How Could You! If I had Known! You're A Racist! WTF!!?!?! I went on at some length before Ex could get a world in edge wise - shouting at the top of my well-trained classical singer's lungs. I gesticulated, fussed, fumed and made a general handwaving idiot of myself, determined not to hear an explanation for his betrayal.

When I decided there was enough for the Academy to go on and calmed a bit, through gritted teeth, he offered his explanation for his Klan membership. (Never said I wasn't a Big Ole' Drama Queen.) After listening for a minute, it was clear he was not a racist and the noose in the bedroom had other uses. His explanation, in fact, puts a kind of weird perspective on the subject of "type" and "preferences" as we consider our attractions to other people.

Remember Long Dick Albert? Well, it seems that in addition to his obvious gift, he was also blessed with the kind of body hair common to African American men who may not be as racially mixed as are many American blacks. Albert was a darker guy with very short, very tightly curled pubic, chest and under arm hair and Ex just didn't care for that. I, on the other hand, with plenty of white folks climbing my family tree, have straight, very loose - yea, even silky - body hair. Poor Ex who had only come out moments before we met and seconds after leaving his marriage, didn't have enough experience with naked black men to know that we didn't all come in the same flavor.

And that, was that. And I felt silly. He told that story at least twice a year during our relationship and, I'm happy to say, we still giggle about it on occasion today, even with new men in both our lives. Even with my 49th birthday coming on like a freight train.

I'm all growed up now and disinclined to tantrums. Wouldn't do me any good, anyway - Ollie would simply leave the room, pour himself some Merlot and, if it got real stupid, suggest I hop into my car and finish the scene in my own living room. Smart guy, my Ollie.

I'm certain my friends at
My Confessions have it all figured out - in addition to a great blog, it's a fantastic love story.

Right, guys?

5 comments:

ravn said...

Please tell us more!! Like how did u meet and fall in love?

23 years is a long time...I wish Sander and me will stay together for the rest of our lives

love from Ravn
impatiently waiting to hear more

Bigg said...

I've read this several times now, and each time I learn something new about you. I think these little jaunts down memory lane should happen more often.

Dick Small said...

I'm sorry, I just couldn't get past that picture ....

Dick Small said...

... that just seems like SO unnatural...

Anonymous said...

Anymore than a handful is wasted I reckon!
There is enough there to feed a family for a week!
It must take him a day to achieve a full erection?