Friday, March 16, 2012

In which Brett Explores the Dark Side of Sexual Repression

There is a trend, I think, toward believing that choosing celibacy is a legitimate option. At the very least, there seems to be a trend toward feeling like suppressing your own homosexuality is desirable. I don't want to tell you how to live your lives anymore than I want you to tell me how to live mine, but I would like to share a story with you.

Jonathan and I, a little more than a year ago, moved in with a guy a named Eric, who was renting out a spare bedroom in a condo he himself was renting. Standard sort of shady Craigslist roommate search. Well, Eric gave off a gay vibe from the very beginning, but we decided we'd probe it gently. He was super evasive, so we wound up getting more direct, to no avail. He once answered a question of "do you like boys or girls" with "um, girls are good."

Well, one evening after we'd been living with him for a couple of months we were out for drinks, which was a semi-normal occurrence for us, and Jon and I decided we would go and hit a gay club after. Eric decided he wanted to come with us, and we didn't see any harm in it. Having a straight friend at a gay bar is kind of fun, right?

Not exactly. I spent the first hour or so telling Eric how to avoid accidentally flirting, and coaching him on all the gay lingo he might come across. Turns out it was totally unnecessary. He went home with a guy that night, turns out he's a total bottom.

Eric was raised Baptist, not Mormon, but a lot of the same ideas apply. He was wracked with guilt, just like he always was after he got laid. We figured out that every time he came home from a vacation and went on a cleaning spree that lasted a week, it was because he had had sex.

And that was his pattern:
1. Do everything you can to be straight and celibate.
2. Decide that you can never have a meaningful relationship with a man.
3. Opt for anonymous sex with a stranger instead.
4. Go on a cleaning spree to begin repenting
5. Reaffirm your commitment to abstinence and heterosexuality.
6. Start over.

I'm not saying this is the definitive pattern that every guy will go through if they try to repress themselves. But I do think it's important to realize that you may not be as strong as you think you are, and you're fighting a powerful force of nature. Eric was good kid, but he had some really unhealthy self destructive habits. With time we were able to help him break out of that, but it took a lot of work to get him to the point where he was able to realize that a health, committed relationship with a man was better than having sex with strangers all the time.

Given the choice between the two, don't you think you'd prefer the one to the other?

Monday, March 12, 2012

In which Brett marvels at how the world, and his perceptions of it, have changed

I recently started a new blog to document my upcoming travels. You can read about it at Lambda Vagabonders. (Shameless plug) It got me thinking about how much I missed this one. The times I'd shared with the people who read my blog. The whining, the hiding, the envy, the whole spectrum of emotions that I'd experienced while typing away on this blog that I thought only a few people ever read. If only I'd known how many people were reading, I don't know that I could have kept typing.

Then comes a point when you realize: things are quieter now. I'm laying on a couch in the house Jon and I rent. Dr. Sharma cancelled class today and I only had the one on MWF. I haven't been conflicted about my sexual orientation in ages. I literally don't think I can remember the last time. I've grown to accept and love myself, and the world around me is changing in that direction too. I never would have believed, when I was a scared, gay 17 year old at BYU that things would ever work out this way.

Most of my old friends stopped updating their blogs a long time ago. I think the trendy thing is either semi-annual or annual updates. Not wishing to appear a slave to fashion, I think I'll opt for something like every 8 months, and then randomly switch to periods of activity. :)

Reading through the blogs, the dichotomy amazes me. People seem to, after a couple of years, take to one of two camps. They either decide to accept themselves and who they are, or they decide to loathe themselves at what they perceive to be the behest of the church, although I doubt the church as a formal body could really care less what they do. If I were the church, I'd really just want you all to go away. But I'm not, and I don't.

It's well exemplified by Michael, who is happily married to a man and even changed his name to his husband's, on the one side, and L, who is, I assume, happily married to a woman, active in the church, and an ardent opponent of gay marriage and "the lifestyle," on the other. I can't help but feel almost sort of sorry for L, which is funny because I used to so look up to him. I don't want to judge him, but I know what it feels like to wake up hating yourself while defiantly claiming to love yourself. I hope he, and those who choose his path, find happiness.

As the world turns, it becomes astoundingly more accepting of gay people. Currently, six states allow gay marriages. They are NY, CT, MA, IA, VT, and NH. Marriage is also allowed in DC. By 2013, marriage is expected to be allowed in MD and WA, and possibly in a couple of other states. For example, it passed in NJ, but was vetoed by the governor. About this time one year ago, Gallup found that the majority of Americans are in favor of gay marriage. 53% favored legal recognition of the unions compared to 45% opposing. It is difficult, in light of this overwhelming support, to imagine that there are still gay men out there who actively fight against gay marriage, gnashing that it must never come to pass. At the risk of sounding overly pompous, I feel for all of them.

I understand that many view me as apostate. I remember way back when the big apostate was "mohohawaii," who was so bold as to post on things like finding a boyfriend! In retrospect, I feel like he may have been a bit too forceful, but his intentions were good. No doubt many will feel similarly about me. Nevertheless, I hope that you can all look forward to the world changing for the better, at least in terms of how people feel about you. I hope that all get to be very happy, regardless of which path you take.

Friday, September 2, 2011

In which Brett and Jonathan save their marriage

Hello world. It's been a while, and I've sort of missed you. It's been an interesting couple of months, and when things get interesting there's really nothing quite like the Moho blogosphere to get it all out in the open.

Back in the beginning of July, Jonathan and I went through the worst fight in our relationship. Without getting into details, mistakes were made on both sides of the aisle. Things were so bad that Jonathan decided he had to leave. Immediately, he began dating another man. I turned into a total bar fly, with getting laid as my primary motivation in life.

Two weeks of this passed, and we both decided we really couldn't do it anymore. So we got together and talked, and decided not to file the dissolution paperwork. A week later and Jonathan had effectively moved back in.

Now Jonathan is going to counseling with a woman whose skill I greatly admire. The things that he is learning about himself and the management of his emotions I myself am finding useful. As soon as we were able to commit to each other fully again, things started going better.

Things are as good as they've ever been. Jonathan and I are madly in love all over again, our plans for our lives are back on track. We've even adopted a dog together. The secret, you ask? Commitment. There's nothing else that makes a relationship work, that makes a relationship last. There is no substitute for being wholly committed to your partner. It almost took our marriage dissolving for us to really learn this lesson, but now we know. are in the best place we've ever been, and hopefully have nothing but more of the same down the road.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In which Brett and Jonathan adopt

First of all, sorry it's been so long since I last posted. Between finals and a very stressful spring break weekend, I just haven't had the energy necessary to keep up the blog. I think that might make me unreliable. Huh.

Anyway, Jonathan and I were looking at puppies online last week. (This is something we do on a semi-regular basis even though our apartment does not allow dogs. It's really a very sad scenario, but there isn't room for one here anyway. When we buy a house, we'll get a dog.) After finding several very suitable candidates for adoption, we got sad and decided to give it up. Somehow, I honestly couldn't tell you how, the conversation turned to Jonathan's older brother's former pet snake, a Burmese Python. I put my foot down on snakes that get to be up to 22 feet long. That was not acceptable to me. But I was open to the idea of something a little bit more apartment friendly.

We decided to go to Petsmart, where we looked at a few different varieties of snake, including ball pythons, milk snakes, and corn snakes, each of which only get to be 6 feet max. I played with a corn snake and milk snake both for a while, and I was pretty quickly convinced that getting one would be OK. Being the type of guy I am though, I wanted to check out some other places first, and Jonathan wasn't quite convinced because setting up the vivarium for the snake was a bit cost prohibitive. We went to a Petco, which was kind of sad and dirty and didn't have any corn snakes, only ball pythons. She suggested we check out a totally local place called Tropical Hut, which was only about a mile and a half from our place. We headed down there, where we met and talked to the owner and one of her good friends who were working on breeding some ball pythons. She was the most amazing source of information, and was able to give us a deal that brought our total cost to less than half of what the Petsmart was saying. And we got a more interesting, rarer snake in my opinion.

After a day to think on it and make sure we were ready for that sort of commitment, I talked to the land lady. She was cool with it, so last night when Jonathan was done with class we drove down to Tropical Hut and picked up Dorian. He seems pretty happy in his new home, seeing as how it's at least three times as big as his old one. It's pretty spartan for the moment, and this morning he's burrowed himself into the bedding to feel safer in this strange place, but we're going to get him some decoration and creature comforts in the coming week to help him feel more at home. Dorian is a Blood Corn snake, which refers to his skin color. Both his mother and father were Bloods, meaning that in their adult life their pattern faded and their main skin became a darker red, making for an all red snake. I'll keep you posted on his developments, but we're super excited to have Dorian living with us. It's a nice feeling, that we're responsible for a life together.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In which Brett and Jonathan Get Kicked Out of their Bedroom

A little while ago, Jonathan and I had a slight mold problem in our apartment. The wall was bubbling with it, in fact. It was pretty gross. The manager came out and had a look at it, and popped a couple bubbles. A putrid smelling liquid came out, and that was the end of her experimenting. She had the maintenance lady cut a piece of the wall out, an found that there was mold on the back side of it too. So, for the past couple weeks, we've had a hole in our wall. It's that little black patch in the corner, and, needless to say, it really didn't bug us that much and we quickly stopped thinking about it. Until Friday, when the land-lady came by to tell us she'd found somebody tear our wall out and replace it and that we needed to have everything out of the bedroom when they got there (they'll be getting here in about ten minutes.)

So, last night Jonathan and I emptied out the Bedroom, dresser, closet, bed, etc... and moved everything to the living room. Our sleeping arrangement now looks like this, with our mattress on the floor nestled between the bookcase and the couch. Supposedly, this is for the next three days, but possibly longer depending on how bad the mold problem is. We are getting 100 dollars off the month's rent though, so that will be pretty nice.

Anyway, it turns out that our living room is not exactly level. The night was restless, tossing and turning and nightmares, and body aches and a horrid headache when we got up this morning. We've decided we probably slept with our heads downhill. We're switching the pillows and bedding around today to see if it gets any better. If not, we'll have to figure something out. It's finals week and I need to be getting the right amount of sleep.

Monday, March 15, 2010

In which Brett celebrates his 21st Birthday

This last Tuesday, I had the great honor of joining the ranks of "adults" for the second time. Next one's at 25 and the last one's at 40. I can hardly wait. The 21st birthday is, in the American tradition, one of the more important ones, on which the birthday boy(or girl) is supposed to be out at a dozen different bars at midnight and get so trashed that they have, in fact, no memory of their birthday to begin with. I, however, am boring. (And that's another post I'm working on, maybe later this week.)

Having already been so drunk, at one point in my life, that the room spun and I threw up, I had no desire whatsoever to get even drunker than that just because I could finally legally purchase alcohol in the states. So I went with Jonathan to see Alice in Wonderland (Really not that great) instead. On Friday, we went to dinner with Jonathan's older brother (Jeremiah) and niece (Serena). The Montage is a different sort of establishment, if you want a local micro-brew on tap instead of something crappy in a bottle or can, you have to go into the bar in the back, get it yourself, and bring it back out. So, we did.

Back in the bar, it was just Jeremiah and I. I turned to him and said, "Somehow, I really hadn't imagined that I'd be buying my first beer with my boyfriend's older brother."
He just grinned a bit, and we ordered our beers.
"That's funny. I really hadn't imagined I'd be buying my little brother's boyfriend his first beer."
It was a nice sentiment, and really made me feel like part of the family. And the beer was crisp and delicious.

The next day, we went to celebrate with my family, an affair consisting of German food and tremendous awkwardness. My older brother came in with a chip on his shoulder, first he got into it with my parents, who had asked him to take my little sister to an event at the church. He felt like they were trying to wrangle him back in, and rather than making his point maturely about it, he acted like a little kid. After this, he got into it with me about gun rights. After that, he started going off about conspiracy theories including aliens in Olympia Washington, and a secret plot to take over the world from underneath the airport in Denver Colorado! The short version: He's finally lost it and gone totally off the deep end.

Recognizing the need to get out of there, my mother suggested that she take Jonathan and I to a movie, so we went to the theatre. She's Out of my League was the movie we decided on... awkward, is the best way to put it. I almost died sitting next to my mother in the scene where the main character cums in his pants... Fortunately, she was cool about it, and actually said she enjoyed the movie. Even so, let me express that you shouldn't take your mom to it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

In which Brett and Jonathan Go to the Beach

Saturday was very nice by Oregon standards for this time of year. It was 63 and sunny in town, so we decided to pick up our friend Jessica and head on out to Cannon Beach. It was a great time, albeit windy, and since Jessica was there, there are pictures! This featured one is of Jonathan doing a handstand and me tickling him, in case it wasn't obvious. As the day warmed up, we got ice cream cones and Jonathan got himself one of those giant suckers.

Once we actually got to the beach, we walked across a small but absolutely freezing river that split the beach in two as it met the ocean. On the far side of the river, the beach was more or less deserted. We walked all the way to the end of the beach, enjoying the sun and our ice cream. It was serene and peaceful, and we decided it had definitely been worth the mild discomfort of that little stream to get to where we were. On the way back, I found a whole sand dollar buried in the sand. For those of you unfamiliar with Oregon beaches, it's pretty rare to find a whole sand dollar unless you're scuba diving and the thing's still alive. In the past nearly 21 years, this is the first one I've found, and Jessica, who's in her late twenties, confirmed that she had also only found one or two in her life. It made me feel special.

After playing on the beach for a couple more hours, we decided to pile in the car and head down further south in search of either another beach or another adventure. We wound up at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, where we watched a man vacuum seal 42lbs blocks of cheese to age in the cooler. That's a ton of cheese. We ate our free samples and left, the cheese having tickled our appetites. We drove back up the coast to Rockaway Beach, where we stopped in at a hole in the wall none of us had ever tried before. The Old Oregon Smokehouse, hardly even visible from the main drag of HWY101.

We went in and the sweetest lady, probably in her 40s and presumably the owner, helped us out with our food. The prices were reasonable, and the food was really good. There was a slight problem though. She undercharged us for our meal. We didn't notice it until we were almost done eating. Jonathan hardly hesitated at all. He pointed out to us the mistake, and said he'd wait until the other customers left the shack (seating was outside) and he'd go in and talk to her. True to his word, he did just that. At first, the lady refused to take the money, but Jonathan was insistent, and she eventually gave in and took the money.

While Jonathan was inside, taking care of the money, I turned to Jessica and said to her, "That's why Jonathan's my boyfriend; he's the kind of man who does what's right." She looked at me and nodded, smiling. "He's a real catch."