About a week ago, fellow blogger BosGuy posted about an article examining the rarity of gay/straight best friend relationships.
I never really thought about it being all that rare because my bestie is a straight guy.
Well, technically, after seven years together, The Attorney is now my best friend. He’s my confidant and who I hang out with the most.
But “J” and I have been friends since our teens. About 25 years.
He’s a different kind of best friend.
The kind I don’t put my pecker in.
We first met in 9th grade after I moved in with my grandparents and started at a new school. We were on opposite sides of a flag football game in gym class. He had trouble with the concept that the point of flag football is no contact, and charged right over my skinny body.
He helped me up and said, “You need to check where you are, boy.”
“J” is a tank and always has been. Not real tall and densely built. Thick neck. Thick calves. Strong as a bull. And strawberry blond hair on a square head.
If he were gay, he’d be a hit with the ginger bear lovers.
I don’t remember ever having the big gay discussion with him. But then I never really has a coming out moment with anyone. Not even myself. I just sort of evolved. He came along for the ride. And it’s never been an issue between us.
The way he saw it, it meant less competition for girls.
Once he found what he thought was “the one,” he made me best man for his wedding – a post for which I was selected even though the bride could not stand me.1
There is no doubt that if The Attorney and I were to ever be hitched, “J” is who I would choose to stand up for me. And I have no doubt that he’d accept without a thought.
Anytime one of us needs the other, we drop everything. Even in times when our respective partners get neglected.2
He has Granny-sat for me.
I have dog-sat for him.3
One day, after he saw Granny have trouble navigating the porch steps, he showed up the next with lumber and tools to build her a ramp.
He was the first person I called the morning after I met The Attorney.
I was the first person he called when he went to jail.4
It’s always been that way for us. We just have an easy give and take relationship. Together we are a steady stream of jokes and poking fun.
I can’t remember us ever having anything contentious between us. Even though he is, by nature, fairly aggressive and a bit of a hot head. Maybe because I’m pretty even-tempered, we balance each other out.
Unfortunately his hot head is what got him in trouble.
This past winter, he came home to find his wife literally in bed with another guy.
“J” went nuts. And frankly, I probably would have done the same. He beat the other guy pretty badly and was arrested on assault charges.
One could argue that it was provoked, but the court determined that because “J” was not personally in physical danger, he owed society three years.
I miss seeing “J”.
I miss him stopping in and sitting with Granny like she was his own.
She sort of is, given that he lived with us for a bit just after high-school. His folks just up and decided that since he graduated he had to get out from under their roof. Even though he had nowhere to go. He eats like a horse and Granny is taken by anyone who appreciates her cooking.
I miss him jokingly giving The Attorney grief about his “advanced” age by calling him “Grampa” at every opportunity.
Football season starts next week. The three of us won’t be watching any games together this year.5
But, we have 20-minute recorded phone calls 2-3 times a week.
He will most likely serve only about a year of his sentence before being paroled. So maybe he will be back in a few months.
I’ll be here.
And in the mean time Granny and I have a dog.
If it was a Sunday evening in August, we were at the Dairy Queen.
Just like every other Sunday evening in the summertime.
Momma, Daddy, my brother and me.
It was the official end to weekends at Granny’s, where my brother and I were usually dropped off on Saturday night by our parents and stayed over until they returned the next day for Sunday dinner.
On the way back home, even when Daddy pretended he was going to drive on by, we’d pull up to the old-school kiosk-style DQ where you walked up to the window to order your cone.
Until I got a little older, I always asked for an ice-cream sandwich. Because in the Tennessee heat, I couldn’t eat the soft-serve fast enough without a sticky mess pouring over my little fist.
Even at 6 years old my OCD was kicking in.
I don’t so much have issues with white goop pouring over my fist anymore. But it’s the warm salty kind.
As fond as my childhood memories of Dairy Queen are, my fondness for ice cream, itself, has greatly diminished over time.
I don’t dislike it. I just don’t get a hankering for it very often.
But, somehow Sunday evenings at the Dairy Queen have become a thing again. Now it’s The Attorney and me at the end of weekends that he stays over.
He likes ice cream much more than I do. He likes ice cream. I like him. So we go to Dairy Queen.
I mostly go to people watch.
Even though you go inside to order now and there are tables in air conditioned comfort, we still kick it a little old school by taking our cones outside where we sit on top of one of the picnic tables and watch the people.
We make up stories about them, creating characters out of our fellow customers, deciding who they are, where they have come from and what their relationships are to each other.
I sometimes wonder if we nail it. Or least wonder how right we are.
While we were there last Sunday it struck me that maybe other people are creating stories about us or making a judgement about what our relationship is.
Neither The Attorney nor I is what you would call a flag waver, but if you pay attention at all, you gotta be able to figure it out.
Two teenage boys hanging out together at Dairy Queen is not that unusual. But two grown men, one in middle age and the other approaching, has to prick up your ears a bit.
We probably laugh too easily at each others jokes. We probably lock eyes a touch too long. Or probably sit a little too close to be confused for straight.
So I wonder who knows.
And what do they decide, based on that?
Does anyone sees it simply as a guy tagging along simply because is boyfriend like ice cream?
Which one do they decide is the top?
Does anyone nail it?
“Let me tie you up and play with your cock.”
Now, I’m good with most statements directed my way that includes “and play with your cock.”
“Let me order a pizza…and play with your cock.”
“Let’s go through a car wash…and play with your cock.”
Pretty much anything except maybe “Let’s murder a hooker…and play with your cock.”
So, “tie you up and play with your cock” doesn’t seem out of the realm of offers taken.
It was The Attorney’s idea. Not mine.
Getting tied up never held much fascination for me.
I was down for it.
As long as it was just wrists and ankles.
And not to each other.
I wasn’t about to get hog-tied or trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey.
And I promised The Attorney that if he even looked like he might try to tickle me, I would destroy whatever I was attached to getting free.
He knows I do not play when it comes to that.
But, I was willing to play along and explore his fantasy. I even suggested he use some of his suit ties. You always saw that on Cinemax in the 90′s.
He was not down.
We all have our limits when it comes to GGG.
His happen to be his clothing.
Apparently he was awfully confident that I was going to agree to his game because he did “just happen” to have some strips of fabric at the ready.
“Like you were going to say no to me playing with your cock?”
So, soon there I was: in my underpants and tied to a dining room chair– ankles to the front legs; wrists to the back.
The Attorney was in his underpants, too. So he sat in my lap and kissed me.
Either would easily get me to show up for the party. Together, I’m showing up before the “Save The Dates” go out.
Once I did, he hauled it out and worked his magic.
Teasing to the point that he had me trying to fuck the air.
But here’s the thing: I liked it.
Not just the playing with my cock. Bound or not, that’s a given that I liked it.
It was the being restrained part…that was pretty cool, too.
I liked it.
And I never really expected to. I always sort of saw it as a submissive thing. Maybe even a little emasculating.
But, it was just the opposite for me.
Tied up, I actually felt strong.
Like it would be a danger for me to be allowed to roam free.
It was hot.
It was a good fit.
To be tied.
Good, Giving, and Game. ↩
I’ve been achy and sniffling for two days.
Because I can’t behave like a grown-up.
A rain storm started just as The Attorney and I got back from out Friday night date.
A gushing, skies opened, downpour.
There had been a big drop in temperature and it was cold.
Not bitter cold.
And I loved it.
I’m a water baby by nature and I love anything that gets me wet.1
We ran from the car to the house. But I stopped half way, peeled off my shirt, turned my chest to the heavens and let the shower pelt it and my face.
The Attorney, ever the grown-up, shouted from the porch to get my ass out of the rain.
I told him I wouldn’t until he came and kissed me in the rain.
Reluctantly he did.
A quick one. “Okay, can we go in now?”
I held him back and pulled his shirt over his head.
We kissed again.
Bare-chested in the rain.
I undid my britches and shook them down to my ankles.
Only thing I love more than getting wet is getting naked.2
I told him to take his off.
But I had a way to convince him and eventually I did.
It wasn’t like we were not on private property a couple of acres from anyone else and under the cloak of night.
Plus we couldn’t go inside in soaked clothes.
So we made out bare-chested and bare-assed in the rain, until we shivered, goose-bumps and all.
But that’s something only grown-ups should do, right?
And now I have a summer cold.
But it was worth it.
Even though I am sort of near a mid-sized city, I actually live in a small town.
It’s not small enough that you know everybody. But, live here long enough and you know a pretty good percentage of folks.
I’ve been here since the summer I turned 14, except for a few years between like 19 and 22. A net of about 20 years.
So, I know a lot of folks, and they know me.
A lot know about me.
That’s the way you put it around here. Knowing about someone.
Those who don’t know for sure, have a pretty good idea. Or at least wonder.
After all, I’m 39 years old and the rare times I’m seen around with someone, it’s with a long-legged dude. I’m not flag waver, but I don’t hide it, either.
It never seems to be an issue. If it has been, except for a couple of times here and there, no one’s ever let me know. If there’s talk, it’s behind closed doors.
The couple of exceptions have been people I hadn’t known very long.
So, I was sort of taken by surprise by a girl I used to know.
“Girl” is probably not the right word anymore. She’s a couple years younger than me.
But I remember her younger. From the days when we used to hang out.
High school and maybe a little after.
I really couldn’t call it dating. She was not a girl you dated.
But I did bang her quite thoroughly on a fairly regular basis for a few years.
Do you still call it a fuck buddy when it’s a female?
Whatever it’s called, she was okay with that arrangement. I think she even preferred it that way. I wasn’t her only buddy.
Anyway, her class had their 20th reunion the weekend of my birthday and I ran into her while she was in town.
It was cool to see her and all was pleasant.
At first, anyway.
She is now divorced and I got the sense she was hoping for a “stays in Vegas” type situation while in the Smokies.
Once she found out I’m not married, she started the press.
To be fair, she didn’t come right out and say it, but I have a good sense of those things.
So, I let her know fully what’s up with my status. The Attorney and everything.
That’s where the pleasantries ended.
It was the biggest record scratch ever, followed by the loudest silence ever.
A fair amount of distaste and disgust registered on her face.
And that was it.
She sort of shook her head and just walked away from me.
Right there in the Lowe’s parking lot.
Without another word between us.
I almost wish she had said something. Just so I knew for sure where the response came from.
I’m pretty sure I know.
But, it could have been that I misread her flirt as something more and she was offended.
Although I doubt it.
That sort of thing never bothered her before.
Not the girl I used to know.
After today I will have 364 more that I can still say that I am in my 30′s.
Besides the family tradition of birthday pound cake, I also I have a private tradition of reflection.
Literally and figuratively.
I stand naked in the mirror, take in what I see and determine how I feel about what’s looking back.
Physically and spiritually.
The physical part is easy.
Not a whole lot changes in that way from year to year.
I’m still young enough that I am still 6′-3″.
I still have a big nose, big ears, hands, and feet. Which some my offer as an explanation as to why other things turned out the way they did.
My belly is still flat. But even though I’m still technically skinny, sometime in the last year I moved up to 33 jeans.
There is even more grey in my beard and my skin is taking on the texture of a man approaching 40.
I feel like I still have good shoulders and arms, but even though I can still easily do 100 push-ups (and often do), I still don’t have much of a chest.
I’m still very healthy and a lot stronger than I look.
I can still rock your world in the sack with the fervor of and 18 year old, but with the knowledge of a man in his 30′s.
Beneath all that surface stuff, I’m content.
My life is simple.
And I prefer it that way.
I still eat oatmeal and an apple for breakfast almost every day. And most days I do it on our screen porch enjoying the quiet noise of morning dew. It’s my true alone time. No Granny. No Attorney. NO TV, Twitter, or blog. Just me and the mountains and morning wood.
I’ve worked the same job since the late 90′s and taken care of Granny almost as long. I cook her meals, clean her clothes, and every couple of weeks re-teach her to use the remote control.
The Attorney and I have fallen into a very comfortable, if unusual, way of life together. It’s almost like couples where one partner works out of town. The week is filled with text messages and good-night phone calls and finishes off with standing Friday night “dates” of burgers, Scrabble, and dancing in the sheets. Sometimes it carries to Saturday and Sunday. But when it doesn’t, that’s OK, too.
I look at where I am in life. Is this where I am supposed to be at 39?
All, I can say is yes.
One, because I think everything happens for a reason. The universe just doesn’t find it necessary to always let us know why.
And two, things can only be what they are.
We don’t always control our destiny, but we have the choice to let it effect our happiness.
So, I choose to be happy.
It’s not just for birthdays.
You know the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?
Where Michelangelo painted Creation of Adam?
What if did 70′s porn, too?
In case you missed it, a modern take on Gainsborough’s Blue Boy here. (NSFW)
Granny is a worker.
It’s just her nature.
So much so that she gets very frustrated about the things she physically can’t do anymore. Particularly things involving keeping the home.
She loves to cook, but can’t lift heavy pots and pans filled with food or comfortably stand for very long.
Most house work is out of the question except for light sweeping, which I ultimately go back and do because she doesn’t see well and I have OCD.
One thing she can still do is fold laundry.
I hate folding. But, my OCD will not allow me to not do it.
So, we often do it together.
I put a pile of socks on her lap and she matches and rolls them.
I do the rest and we talk.
A weeks or so ago, during one of our folding bees she turned the conversation, as she often does, to The Attorney and me.
“You know boys can marry boys, now” she reminded me for the umpteenth time.
It was kind of sweet but I had to remind her for the umpteenth time, “Not in Tennessee.”
She didn’t say anything for a moment. Then she came back with “That’s not right.”
I don’t know if she meant that I was not right or the situation isn’t.
Either way, yes I am and no it isn’t.
Even though I am not itching to get married1, it’s not right that those who do have that itch have to go to another state to scratch it.
Around a month ago I ran into a guy I knew from about 20 years ago. The last time I saw him, he was at Dairy Queen with his wife and little daughter. He moved away at some point in those 20 years and was back in town visiting family.
With his husband.
We all had the feeling back then that he was gay. Everyone seemed to feel that way.
Except his wife.
He looks great after all these years and he and his husband seem like a good couple. They appeared to be very happy. And I’m happy for them.2
But, I couldn’t help wonder about his wife and daughter.
What is their life like now?
A common argument among the anti-gay marriage front is that gay marriage hurts straight marriage.
A bigger danger to straight marriages is not allowing gay marriage.
Here is a guy who married a woman and fathered a child with her because society told him to. And now they are divorced.
They may still be friends and everything beokay between them all. That’s definitely the best case.
But if gay marriage had been available to him, perhaps they both would have married others and there might have been one less straight marriage hurt.
It’s all speculation, of course. There’s no way to know what might have been.
He may have still been closeted and married her anyway.
Or if he was straight, they may still have gotten a divorce.
Which is sort of my point.
It isn’t sexuality that hurts marriages.
It’s marrying the wrong person, for whatever reason they are not the right one, that does.