I never know what to make of new people. I’ll usually just watch them making themselves. It says more. They can say or do anything, whether it is true or not. Time makes everyone honest, eventually.
It’s often said that you know a good, honest person by their actions when their back is up against the wall. There is some truth in that. But even more truth can be found in someone’s actions when they are utterly embarrassed or humiliated. People avoid this, more than anything.
I’ve spent my whole life asking questions, even the most intimate and penetrating, as all of you who know me can attest. I do it to gain further insight into people and myself. It is also, inevitably, a test of character. I think I live up to my end. It is, perhaps, not entirely fair to expect others to. And I don’t. After a while, the questions aren’t even important. It is everything around them that tell the truer story.
Ask a guy how often he plays with himself. If he answers seriously, “I don’t, I’ve got a girlfriend” or “I just get laid”, you know he’s propping up his insecurity with some notion of “manhood” he holds important, and is willing to lie instead of feeling even insecure. If he answers, “none of your business,” you know that he has some rigid boundaries to watch out for. If he answers, “as much as possible,” you know there is much more likely a true, confident and solid person there.
In other words, going for the throat, or the root, so to speak, can be an efficient and accurate means to divine the more fundamental character of another, at least in part. I have no idea how Obama would answer that question, but imagining it has lead to a wide variety of scenarios. But it is not a question for the public sphere, yet, I suppose. And when it is, it will have lost its efficacy.
A few days ago, someone left some comments on an article I wrote a few years ago about Andy, Mark and marriage in Canada, and even moreso, about the decisions we make in life that effect us through time. This is what he had to say:
“fags. a bunch fucking asseating,cocksucking fags. hope you get aids faggot motherfuckers.”
I ask you, do you think he plays with himself? How would he answer that question?
People do not have such strong emotions unless something very personal is involved. This presents interesting problems for we people, who are mostly bisexual to one degree or another, who live in a society strongly slanted against same-sex love, despite our conceit of some “modern” acceptance. This acceptance exists only barely in our larger society, and sadly, rarely for any individual who ever finds themselves attracted to someone of the same sex.
This certainly leads to a lot of self-loathing, which can manifest in many bizarre and seemingly unrelated ways. But for the bisexual, it’s not always so difficult just choosing the path of being “straight”. What is important to remember, that such things are a choice. In other words, you cannot be straight simply by saying that you are, or even trying to believe it. That’s a good thing to keep in mind when you head to the voting polls. Some things are choices, and some things are not. Who we are capable of loving is not a choice. It just is. And it is the most wonderful thing we can ever hope to experience. And any time that love becomes more, and stronger in the world, we should help it to grow. We all need that.
So if you hear someone talking like this, I suppose it’s okay to get angry. My reaction is more akin to pity, because something within them is truly eating them up. I would try to help, based upon who they were. If that took anger, they would have it. If it took patience and persistence, they would have that. I would want to help, and not for myself either.
So the next time a guy tells you that they cannot tell if other guys are good looking or not, because they like girls, feel sorry them — try to help. Nobody is so insanely straight that they become blind to the aesthetic of half the world’s population. They become blind only as a means, and this is a confessional. If confronted with this fact, their next position is to admit, well, of course the can tell, but they’re not sexually attracted to men. It’s a hot spot, again, so to speak.
Sex is a very strong motive power for us, especially in men. Sparta harnessed this to create one of the world’s greatest armies. But when self-loathing is involved, any attraction can turn to aggression and even the machismo camaraderie of war.
Honesty is a rare quality. Even when brutal, it always leads to greater things. Imagine the trust you might place in another person, entering into a relationship with them, in love, or even in business. If they are willing to lie, rather than feel any degree of embarrassment or humiliation, how likely do you think it is that they would lie to you about selling you out for their own benefit, in one way or another, which is itself, a humiliating and embarrassing thing to do, and confess?
I suppose it might be like a little cache box of personal treasures that we keep hidden, for only our own eyes. Because if we reveal them, we are no longer special. We are no longer what we want to be, or wish we were. We become, only and simply, who we are. And we do not realize, that is where our true magnifisence begins.
Justin, you might be surprised to hear me say this, but you are the “straightest” guy I know, out of all these years, and all these people. Even considering that bizarre Swedish biker fantasy you shared with me. This isn’t a prize. Nor is it a curse. It’s just been a while since I told you that I love you, and I miss you, and in particular your clear, refreshing and utter honesty in all things, that even overwhelms me sometimes. Maybe it is a prize, if I had one to give, that could ever match that.
So here is hoping that should change come, that its foundation is rooted in the truth of all our vulnerabilities and our worth. May our separateness change directions. And our inadequacies find people that can fill them. May we no longer fear, and even have the reason.