So I wanted to announce to my friends and family about the new love in my life. I have been keeping it “in the closet” so to speak because I have met someone whom I would never have given a second look, in a matter of words, and yet here it is.
There are adults find that they are attracted to the same-sex well into late adulthood. Gay and straight people will both be the first to ask the question almost verbatim. How can you be straight your entire life and in your 40’s or 50’s decide, discover or convert to being gay?
I can remember when I made the decision, discovery or conversion. I was young. I knew for a fact that I was gay around the age of 15 maybe 16 years old. I remember clearly having crushes on my female teachers. I was definitely in awe of the prettiest girls in my class as well.
In the seventies being gay wasn’t what is today. It wasn’t acceptable to be attracted to the same-sex. I did what everybody did, I went out on dates with boys my age and tried to fit in, even though I wasn’t sure it felt right. You see, at the age of fourteen, boys were charged with testosterone and very aggressive. That scared me because of my past experiences with the men in my life and the trauma they bestowed on me as a result of their behavior.
I had gay male friends and they would take me to gay bars where I felt safe from the men, and the women, whom I didn’t find attractive were not aggressive, like my young straight male counterparts. It wasn’t until I met the one woman whom I found so desirable that I wanted to share my most intimate moments with her and the final conclusion was in. I was definitely gay. Final answer. Her name was… we will call her Jezebel. She, in my eyes was the spitting image of Jodie Foster.
Jezebel was not only visually attractive, she was gentle. We didn’t just jump into a bed. We went out on dates. We talked on the phone. Jezebel lived two hours away, so in those days, the seventies, we even wrote letters. Real letters that had to be delivered by the postman and it wasn’t instant like it is today. We had to wait days for the letter after knowing that it was on the way. Anticipation was such an enchanting part of this process.
Jezebel and I didn’t get very far, but I was an official Lesbian now. This was the beginning of my venture into romance. How I would form and develop my ideas regarding Love and relationships had its introduction and I was off to find the love of my life.
Then the time came again. I would meet and immediately move in with…we will call her Delilah. “What do lesbians do on the second date?” Rent a U-Haul, yes it’s true. This relationship was full of passion and fury. We were from opposite sides of the track. Delilah was a Sorority girl and I was a High School dropout. I was unaware that it would never work as I obsessed about the future we would never have.
Delilah graduated from college and left me alone in the very college town in which we met and played. The pain was excruciating for me. I didn’t want to be gay anymore.
The question plagued me to the point where I went out and met a man. I met the father of my daughter. A onetime decision to change everything, did change the game, but not everything. I would use that one romp in the sack to judge whether I was more comfortable where I had been for so long at this point in my life or if I really was different.
Without regret, I returned to the gay bars and social gatherings that would land me with that special woman who would be my life partner.
I entered into the real deal finally and got involved in my first long term, committed relationship with a woman. I am not going to name names at this point as I have run out of fictional characters that best describe the women I have fallen for.
This relationship would last for less than seven years. After we broke up I often wondered if I was really gay. I asked myself this question, not so much because, maybe I wasn’t really attracted to women, but because I actually wondered if I was happy with the “lifestyle,” and I say that because we are talking about the eighties. It still wasn’t very acceptable. Yes there were friends and neighbors that knew about us and while they didn’t burn any crosses in my yard, still they weren’t quite convinced that they would be okay if their children or siblings were gay. Much less if their spouse suddenly discovered, decided or converted to gay.
I ignored these thoughts as I returned to the local places I went to meet up with other gay women and hopefully again, meet that Love of my life.
Once again I would take a bite of the apple. Okay, we can call her Eve. Eve and I had a very strong attraction to one another. Once again I was out of my league. I was a Barber, she was an executive. Opposite sides of the tracks in every way, but we had Love. Right?
So maybe there is something to the seven year itch because just short of seven years, I left her.
The question plagued me once again. I didn’t act on it, because why would I do that? My return to the lesbian world was working out so well for me. Let me return.
I wouldn’t get involved again for many years. While I continued to go to the gay bar every week end and socialize with mostly lesbians, I just wasn’t feeling it with anyone that I had met.
Then I met # 3. Oh my! She was the one. Except for one thing. She was already with someone. Two years would pass as I adored #3. The day came when she was single. She had split up with her girlfriend of ten years. You don’t have be a genius to guess that yes, we hooked up. But once again, we made it one year.
That was 2008 and I have been single since. Not because I am scorned. Mainly because shortly after that I began my journey as a caregiver to my parents. A full time job plus some hours. I’ve been a bit unavailable for romance and the such.
My mother passed away in 2014 and I moved to Montgomery County, Maryland Last year with my dad to get closer to family.
Time here in Maryland has been lonelier than my Florida home where my life long friends remain. As my family members relieve me of my duty with dad a couple of nights a week, I didn’t know where to go or how to meet new people. I tried the online dating site thing, but man it’s really creepy out there. So I settled to just walk across the street to the local Beer and Wing place to play pool and hang out with some regulars that I enjoy talking to. Every Monday and Thursday you will find me there engaged in some beers, good talk and billiards.
About six months ago I was taken back by a man who looked so familiar to me. I could tell that he gave me a second look too. I couldn’t help how insistent the feeling that I knew him from somewhere was and I struck up a conversation with him.
As we talked he told me his name was Mike. He grew up here in Maryland. I went to Elementary school here as well and so we began our decent into the past.
Mike and I both attended Montrose Elementary school. When he told me his last name I almost fell out of my chair. Mike was my fifth grade boyfriend. He was my first boyfriend.
He kissed me for the first time on the cheek in front of the 7-11 on the corner of Rockville Pike and Randolph Road. He kissed me on the cheek and then ran away leaving me alone there on the corner. I must have stood there holding my cheek for an hour before I went home that day.
We had a good laugh at the memories of our childhood matters of the heart. Mike had given me promise ring and it was so big that it only fit on my big toe, and so I wore it there.
We smiled as we went through the stages of love as ten year old kids. It started out with him throwing notes to me from the doorway of my classroom. We weren’t in the same class so that was the only way to get my attention. It was the typical 5th grade romantic note. “Will you go steady with me?” Check the box for yes or no.
The answer was always no. But Mike kept throwing the same note. The girls in class encouraged me to give him a chance as they would have jumped at the chance to be Mike’s girl.
Finally I gave in and he took me to see the “Fiddler on the Roof” for our first date. That was followed up with a Slurpee and bubble gum.
Another thing I want to say about Mike is that I was no where ready for dating. The truama that I had experienced as a result of negative experiences had lasting and physical effects on me. One effect was that my hands were peeling all the time. Like a shedding snake, the skin just kept peeling. The doctor kept telling my mom it was the result of stress.
I was ashamed of them and when Mike insisted that we hold hands I was honest with him and showed him my hands. He said he didn’t mind, but I still wouldn’t let him. He was so gentle and caring that he surprised me one day with a glove. It was a glove that I could wear so we could hold hands. Eventually we held hands bare handed. Somehow, magically or through love and affection, the peeling stopped.
Mike and I spent hours that night laughing at the past. We exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet every Monday night.
Each meeting we learned more about one another. We discussed who we had became and how we wound up here. While we would occasionally refer to the past, we mostly talked about now. He explained how he had moved to California with his dad just before my parents moved to Florida and we lost touch. He lived there for most of his life but had come back to care for his mom, who has Alzheimer’s. We had much to talk about in that respect. He too gets relief from his duty with his mom from family to get out and join the world. He too lives walking distance to the Beer and Wing pub where we met again.
As the months passed we would spend quite a bit of time at the Pub across the street and gradually he began to visit me at home after dad went to bed. To keep things quiet we usually hang out in my room like teenagers. We watch movies and talk for hours. Sometimes the laughter wakes Dad and he will yell across the apartment “Who’s here?”
“It’s just my TV.” I answer to him. Just like a teenager.
As you may know where this story is leading, yes the moment came when Mike kissed me. He didn’t just grab me and kiss me. As we talked somehow our hands connected and we clasped hands naturally almost as though we had always done so. When we kissed it was synchronized. We met halfway. It was so mutual. When he left that night I was like a school girl. I couldn’t wait to see him again.
The most amazing thing was that I found myself fantasizing about Mike. About him and I.
Mike visits me three to four nights a week. We are official now. I made the conversion the same exact way I did the first time. Mike was gentle and understanding. He guided me with his patience and friendship. I fell in love with him. WOW! Did I just say that? I did.
Now I can’t tell you how far this will go as I plan to move south in August. We are talking about a union, but we are both very committed to the quality of life for our loved ones and that is a priority for the both of us.
So this is my second coming out. I wanted to tell this story because when I became involved with a woman it was not like I hid it. I would bring my girlfriend home and just “in your face” slapped everyone with the news. This time around I was bashful. Even afraid of the questions that would arise from such a lifestyle change. I didn’t want to explain anything, because I really couldn’t. I still can’t. All I know is that I want the world to know how happy I have been for the last few months. That I’m in love again and it’s amazing. It’s so new and adventurous. I’m in this “unknown” that is reaching me in ways that I don’t recognize.
My hope is that my loved ones understand. As funny as that may sound. I know that my family and friends have known me in one way, as I knew myself and how comfortable that was for us all. But now a change has occurred and I want everyone to be as comfortable with it as I am.
I will keep you all up to date as Mike and I progress and grow. I think it’s important to keep this conversation going, because it’s not everyday that a 54 year old gets to start a new.