Sep 28, 2012
Note: My monthly column for Just Out Magazine “In The Trenches” was published today in the October issue. The piece is called “The Curse of Being Old Fashioned” and is about accepting all types of relationships. Unfortunately, the last 2 (very important) paragraphs were accidentally left out of the print version (something that has been making me CRAZY for days, and I’m sure will continue to all month) but the online version is complete. You can check out the original by clicking the cover image below, or just keep reading below.
In The Trenches: “The Curse of Being Old-Fashioned”
Let me start by saying I believe everyone should have the right to love whoever they please, however they please. My choice to love monogamously, and my sharing my thoughts around said loving with you all, is not meant to diminish your thoughts and choices, but rather to offer up yet another queer voice on the matter. I am not making a case for monogamy with this article, but rather a case for acceptance.
In recent days I’ve been reading a lot of articles about love, commitment, and the “M” word, followed by discussions with my fellow queers about said articles, and it’s left me feeling frustrated. I can’t help but wonder, at what point in our queer cultural development did it become acceptable to imply (or say outright) that a person or couple who chooses to be in a monogamous relationship is somehow less evolved than those who do not? I have encountered this view before in my previous dating misadventures, friendships, and relationships … as though my wanting to be with only one man for the rest of my life is buying into a “heteronormative” idea about love and, in so doing, is somehow oppressing you in yours.
It has been my experience that being what some would consider “old fashioned” feels, at times, a bit like a curse for an out, gay man. I have never had anonymous sex. I have never hooked up with anyone off of Craigslist. I have an iPhone but I am not on Grindr or Scruff or Manhunt or whatever other sites people use these days to populate their casual sex lives. In fact, I have never had a very casual sex life. It has always been tied to relationship or a longing for deep connection. My being this way has made it difficult for me to relate to the experience of many of my queer peers, and almost impossible for them to relate to me.
I don’t believe being monogamously in love is the worst thing I can be as a gay man, nor do I think this makes me any less queer than people who aren’t. I reject the idea that being singularly devoted to another person is a prison or a one-way ticket to a miserable existence. For me, monogamy is not about control or fear. It’s about keeping it simple. I tend to only want one man at a time, and once I am in love with that man, I become deeply committed both in mind and body. I totally get that not everyone is like this, but this is true for me.
For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be in love, to have a kind, handsome man decide I was the one he wanted for the rest of his life. I have fantasized about becoming a two-person family with this man, and exploring the world together from there. I dream of us having wild animal sex so many times that we become experts at one another’s bodies, all the while knowing that neither of us are at risk because other people’s bodies just simply aren’t part of the landscape. I want to get married in front of all of my loved ones and I have dreams of the sound of little feet in our house. I want to hold their hands as they grow and grow until I am left alone again with this man I have loved all these years, to rediscover life after the sound of little feet has gone. I want to die known and loved, and I want him to die knowing how known and loved he was in return.
My definition of “Radical” is standing for something that I believe is right for me, no matter how unpopular it is. I didn’t write these words to try and change your mind about monogamy in gay relationships. I honestly don’t even want to change your mind. Quite frankly, unless you’re fucking me, I don’t care who you’re fucking. Human sexuality is complicated, and it’s not always political. Ultimately, I want you to be free to do what fits with your heart and holes, and I need to be free to do what I want with mine.
The truth is, no idea about love and sex is any more or less evolved than another. It is all just personal taste. To say or imply otherwise is hurtful and damaging. I say do who you want how you want, and leave your judgments about who everyone else is doing and how they are doing them at the door. By my estimation, true sexual freedom will (for lack of a better term) “come” to our community when we are finally able to accept one another as we are, and respect each other’s differences.Tweet