Monday, February 12, 2007
I had a great love affair 16 years ago. It was the stuff of fairytales, romance novels and really good gay porn. I had just come off the front lines of Desert Storm and I was working on the ports in Saudi Arabia just the war. I was part of the crew that was loading the Army equipment on the cargo ships to be sent back to the states. It was a very hard and dirty job. Each morning we would board the ships freshly showered in our coveralls and each evening we would walk off the ships looking as if we had spent the day in a coal mine, covered in grease, dirt and grime. We spent our days working hard, sweating and just being guys. We were always swearing, talking smack and attempting to wrestle one another to the ground. A group of men full of the bravado of soldiers who’d just survived a war.
In the midst of the insanity I met and fell in love with the ex-Navy captain who had piloted the ship to the Persian Gulf. The first time our eyes locked we were in love. It was a strange and wonderful romance we kept secret for the 4 days I worked on his ship. We would sneak off together for hours at a time. We had passionate sex, intense make out sessions and a lot of time just staring into one another’s eyes. The gay version of “An Officer and a Gentleman.” Well not really, but it was the best analogy I could come up with. It was the first time in my life I was in love and more importantly, the first time in my life I felt that my being gay was okay.
As with any romance with such magical beginnings, ours didn’t fare too well upon our return to the real world. Turns out that we weren’t all that compatible, but having him in my life certainly made my coming out of the closet an easier experience than I had expected. That break up broke my heart in a way I never knew possible. I was so in love with him that it took me a few years before the pit in my stomach went away. I didn’t think I’d ever love again and part of me didn’t really want to. I wasn’t sure if I thought the good times were worth the horrid feeling of heartbreak.
I’ve had 4 relationships in the 17 years since him. None of them worked out. It wasn’t really anyone’s fault, they just weren’t meant to be. I had pretty much settled with the fact that love wasn’t meant for me and I was honestly okay with that. I’d rather be alone and happy then be with someone just for the sake of having a boyfriend. Last summer I met this great guy. His name is Gary, he’s 42 years old. He has buzzed red hair, bright blue eyes and muscles for days. Basically, he’s my perfect physical type. We had a lot of chemistry from the first time we met. We flirted a lot and went out of our way to run into each other, but we didn’t take it further than that for a little while. Then we started spending time together, but I kept him a secret from everyone else in my life. I didn’t want to go through the same routine of having my friends get to know a guy I’m dating only to have us break up 2 months later. After a few months, I finally started bringing him around. He’s a bit shy, so it took him a while to warm up to my friends, but they’ve really clicked and every one adores him.
I love him. I really do. This is the nicest, most wonderful and easiest relationship I’ve ever had. We started at the end of last summer and now it’s almost Valentine’s Day and we’re still having a great time. We took it slow in the beginning and even 5 months into it, we’re not planning our future. We take it one day or week at a time. We have so much fun together and I’ve never dated someone who makes me laugh as much as he does. We’re a very affectionate couple, but not a very romantic one. We’re not really into the mushy things like flowers, greeting cards and candle lit dinners. And that’s fine with me. He does the nicest little things that show me how he feels about me. One day he showed up with a pair of boxers that said “stud” on them because he thinks I’m a stud. He bought me a pair of pajamas bottoms that have the Army logo all over them. I talk to him a few times a day and he reports to me where he is in Maine (as he travels all over the state for his job) and always has a funny story for me. A lot of the time, he calls to say, “Do you have this song?” He has no set taste in music, so one day he could be asking for an old Olivia Newton-John song and the next he’s asking for Fall Out Boy. The song that always makes me think of him is “Easy Silence” by the Dixie Chicks. He lets me be me. He has no interest in changing anything about me and I don’t want to change him. For the first time in my life, I’m approaching a relationship the right way and it’s such a wonderful feeling. I still get that tingle in my stomach when I know he’s on the way to my house. I still roll over the mornings he stays over and greet him with a big smile and say “Hi baby.”
This past weekend he and I were sitting at my computer burning him a few cds for his work truck. As we were composing the song list I started laughing and I leaned over to kiss him and whisper in his ear and I said, “You are so…..” and he said. “Stop, I was just thinking that! I am so gay! This is the gayest song list ever!” To which I replied, “Than I guess that makes me uber-gay because I had every song you requested.” As we were finishing up the song list, he said he wanted one more song, but he couldn’t remember who sang it or the title of the song. This is a regular occurrence as we sort through artist names and it always ends up that the actual artist is never anywhere near the list he gave me to start with. Case in point: He started thinking it was a KT Tunstall song, then thought it was maybe CeCe Peniston, then thought it might be an 80’s song, but no, he thought it was more soul. I started playing him all these different songs and none of them were even close. He told me that he asked me about her earlier in the week and I said I had the song. It was the song about me, he said. We finally narrow it down to Toni Braxton – remember we started with KT Tunstall—and then we had to find the song. We found the song, “You Mean the World to Me.” I looked at him puzzled and asked, “What’s so great about this song?” And with the sweetest look on his face he said, “It’s about you. You mean the world to me.” He immediately turned 22 shades of red and buried his face in my neck and I let him know it was one of the sweetest and most beautiful things anyone had ever said to me.
Even though Valentine’s Day will come and go without us giving it much notice. We rarely see each other in the middle of the week so I doubt we’ll make an effort that day, but there’s not a greeting card on the planet or a box of candy big enough or a flower so pretty that it could ever mean more to me than when he uttered those six words to me. I’m in love and it’s a wonderful feeling.
As the VDay approaches, I wanted to send this wish to everyone…I hope you have much love in your life. Remember that loves comes from friends, families, partners and even pets. If you’re single, don’t let the greeting card industry make you feel incomplete. Rather…revel in the fact that you are single and happy and have great friends. If you’re in a relationship, don’t let the VDay industry guilt you into thinking you have to go overboard and shower your lover with gifts. You should be expressing that love every day you’re together. If you’re into the whole flowers and candy thing, more power to you, but make sure the gestures come from love and not from obligation. I prefer handing out grade school valentines. I think I’ll get Power Ranger ones this year. Also, it’s a great day to tell the important people in your life that you love them. Celebrate love and celebrate life! (Whoa, that was so “Fame.”)
Happy VD everyone!
PS: These are some pictures I took of Gary this weekend. I’m still learning to use my new camera and he loves to have his picture taken. Once I noticed the pink phone in my roommate’s room, I knew I had to use it in a picture with him. There’s something quite funny about such a tough looking guy on a pink phone. I especially like the one of him on the bed. How the native American inspired quilt clashes with the flowery wall paper. I like how the South Park pjs on the bed contrast with the quilt. I like how the muscle guy contrasts with the pink phone. Lastly, I like how the scene out the windows looks like a black and white phone which contrasts with the colorful inside. It almost looks like a staged magazine ad. The only thing I did was hand him the phone and tell him to lay on the bed, the rest is kismet. J