I never did expect to have to come out of the closet again. But, I feel I am. Sort of.
As I have met a couple of other gay men and ventured into the community, I feel so lost. What does it mean to be gay and single? Or just gay? Especially after having been away from it for so long.
I recently attended the reading of a play in order to give feedback to the writer and to get out of the house. The reading was held in West Hollywood, known for two things, lots of gay men and an extreme lack of parking. I was a bit apprehensive being around all the men, but don't know why. Maybe it was too soon for me, I don't know. When I entered the auditorium, I selected a seat, second in from the aisle, and sat down setting my camera bag on the chair to my right. Presently an attractive man approached me, asked if the seat next to me was taken, pointing to my camera bag. I replied that it wasn't, removed my bag, and he sat down.
"I love the idea of this play, it's all about sex. Hi, I'm John."
Is that what being gay is, just about the sex?
The irony of this reading is that it coincided with a West Hollywood Holiday: Go-go Boy Appreciation Day. Seriously? Is that what being gay is? Idolizing and ogling half-naked young men? It's no wonder some people think gay men are so youth oriented and older gay men are tossed aside like used condom wrappers. Now, I must admit, I do enjoy looking at cute, young guys, but there are some beautiful older men who are just as nice to look at.
A while back a friend introduced me to a couple of his friends and we all went out to West Hollywood. It was an interesting evening as I wasn't in the greatest of moods, especially for ogling guys, but the company was great so I went along anyway. On the way home, two of them talked about Lady Gaga and Adele, which is an odd mix of singers to bring up in the same conversation! I must confess, I am not drawn to either of them. Gasp! I know. Revoke my gay card. I love Cher, and Cyndi. Ok, I'm safe.
So, being gay is all about the divas and their music?
A gay colleague was asking me about gay themed movies to recommend to his straight-but-not-narrow friend to aid her in her understanding of gayness (I prefer the term 'gaiety') and gay culture. I had heard of, but not seen, some of the ones he'd mentioned, The Crying Game and My Beautiful Laundrette are two that come to mind. I felt awkward not being able to recommend more. I mean I have seen a few. I cry every time I watch The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Latter Days; or A Love to Hide.
It's nice to support these type of movies to show the industry we want to see more of them, but is it what being gay is all about?
I remember having all these same questions as I first came out so many years ago. Back then, I learned being gay meant you were attracted physically and emotionally to the same gender, that it wasn't all about the s-e-x; that is was also about l-o-v-e.
I also learned being gay was about being true to yourself and finding that identity. And now that my life has taken a new turn, it's time to find that identity again. But, I now have the added component of age. What does it mean to be a single gay man in the middle of his life. I mean life is different at 23, when I came out. Life, at that age, is about partying and discovering yourself as an adult. At my age, I've supposedly done that. But, have I? Do we ever?
As a gay man, I don't have to get Lady Gaga. I can appreciate her for her talent, and her contribution to the community. I don't have to get Adele. I can appreciate many people do. And maybe in time, I will get her. She does have a beautiful voice. I have always been drawn to more upbeat rhythms. After all, I spent my teenage years in the disco era, and came out shortly after, but that's not to say I don't appreciate a good torch song. I don't have to see every gay themed movie that comes along. Some aren't even that good.
As far as sex for the sake of it, I never really did appreciate just getting off with a stranger. It always felt awkward. It still does. But, maybe that's just who I am.
Maybe all of it is just who I am; a gay man who loves other men, who doesn't have indiscriminate sex, who unapologetically listens to, watches and reads the music, movies and books of his choice.
I am who I am.
Maybe that's my new identity.