There are so many things I want to say... I just wish I had more time. This blogging experience is so liberating and I feel excited to be alive knowing that I am coming to understandings and insights that I would never have had otherwise. I've got a list of topics to bring forward to this discussion, but one at a time...
Have you noticed the different ways we encounter others and show our affection?
There is the hug you give your mom or grandmother or mother-in-law. It is sweet and soft, not too brief, not too long and you feel comfort and warmth and it's usually followed by a peck on the cheek.
There is the hug you give your mission companion after companionship prayer. With some companions, it's brief and stern, very quick and often jerky, but it is offered as one male to another saying "I think you're cool but let's not get carried away here." Of course, then there is the hug you give your favorite mission companion that has become your best friend and you've bonded together because of tons of spiritual experiences and trials you've endured together, and you linger a bit longer and even fall into each other's arms each night... (of course I'm getting carried away, but this is my blog, right?) This happened to a dear companion of mine... my last companion, a companionship that lasted several amazing months! (Our story together is material for another entry on its own!!!)
There is the hug you give your father or brother after a spiritual or serious moment, such as a priesthood blessing or ordination. This hug is usually stiff and you take turns slapping each others backs several times in good macho calculated rhythmic measure. Not too much touching, but quick, loud slap-beats of affection just the same.
There is the friendship hug where you put your arm around each other's shoulder and squeeze the other's shoulder a bit saying... "I'm here for you and you can always depend on me".
There is the hug of intimacy between husband and wife, the cuddling and security of being in each other's arms, a peace you offer each other of unity, love, and romance.
AND there is the hug that happened to me yesterday... a full body hug between two male friends (one straight, the other gay -- you determine who's who) of strength, squeezing around each other's waists, nestling our heads into each other's necks and whispering our love of friendship to the other, using our hands to slowly and tenderly massage the other's back...
I was about to head off to work yesterday morning. A dear friend of mine calls. We talk for a while and he tells me he wants to come over and bring me something. I'm a bit nervous as my wife is home, and in our currently relationship / agreement of my dealing with being gay I've promised her not to bring "friends" around... (sort of as a help to me to not get too involved with other males I'm naturally attracted to, and to respect her feelings of hurt and jealosy when she sees me longing to be with them... it's all very complicated and stressful and painful... and that's another topic for another day) but with a touch of hesitancy and a thrill of joy, I tell him to come over.
I wait nervously. This is ridiculous! Why am I nervous? I haven't done anything... yet...
It works out that my wife is in the backyard and out of view. I feel like I'm cheating just standing there as I open the door and see my tall, gorgeous young male friend smiling at me in the cutest way that makes me quiver inside. I'm not sure if he knows my inclinations, but other than in words, I haven't tried to hide them much. We immediately embrace. It is our common practice between each other. It feels so good to be in his strong, athletic arms. He engulfs me as I engulf him.
We talk for a while and he updates me on his life and the new adventures and challenges before him. (We hadn't talked for a couple of weeks). I stare at him in complete awe of his amazing maleness. He's so beautiful, both inside and out. I don't hear all of his words as I'm distracted by his perfect hair and internal glow!
The conversation turns to me and without saying much he feels my pain and senses my internal struggles and grief. I disguise it as a "midlife crisis" of some kind. He buys it, I think, but I'm not sure. Deep down inside I want to tell him what is stirring inside me, but I can't get the words to come out. He knows I want to tell him something. He wants to tell me something, too. He gives me a letter and tells me to read it later.
We then hug... not just any hug... but a real full-body embrace of male-to-male contact. I'm amazed that he's embracing me as much as I am him, much more than "normal". There is a moment, a brief second or two, when I feel so at peace, so complete in his arms. I forget where we are and don't seem to care. We continue rubbing and caressing each other and though we've done it before, this time seems more meaningful, more full of purpose, more loving as two great friends. I kiss his neck softly and whisper to him "I love you so much".
You know there is the time in a long hug when you try to sense if the other person has had enough and it's time to let go and so there is that quick "are we done here?" jerk and sensing from the other whether to go on or not... well, I was in that mode and he was sending signals that he wasn't done yet... so, with delight, we kept hugging. He knew I was in pain, and in his "straightness", this was his way of easing my pain... I felt so good, so whole, so alive in his arms!
But then, I started getting excited down under... it wasn't something that I wanted to happen, but it started to happen. As I realized it, I wanted to keep going, but I knew I couldn't... so I broke the hug and turned away for a second to gain my composure. I thanked him. He smiled. I put my hands around the back of his neck and asked him point blank: "Do you do this to anyone else?" meaning, "Do you embrace your other guy friends like this and make them crazy and all giddy inside?"
He answered, "No... just with you."
He must sense what he's doing to me, right?
I slap his head and tell him I've got to go to work... I watch him from behind as he goes to his car.
I grab my bag and sit in my car for a minute. I'm late for an appointment and I really don't care. I'm shaking all over. I try to regain my composure. I forget my cell phone. I return to the house and retrieve it. Coming back to the garage, I see my wife coming from the garden. I kiss her "goodbye" and drive off to my meeting.
All I can think of is the irony of the situation. I wonder what crazy life I'm living. I wonder what would have happened had she caught us in each other's arms. Nothing happened, right? It was just a friendship "hug". And yet the thought of hurting her made me check myself and slap me into "reality".
But another "reality" was that I really liked it! I kept thinking about him and what he must think of my "midlife crisis". Does he know? Do I tell? I know he is "straight"... and that for him, we are very close guy friends and nothing more... I've never done anything to lead him to think otherwise. I've been there for him in his time of need, and that is what his letter was expressing, his thanks for my sensitivity toward him.
You know... this really is a gay thing to talk about... and yet, isn't it wonderful to be gay and not feel guilty about talking about such a wonderful thing! In my world of limited male-to-male contact, this touch of heaven, this moment of exhileration, this taste of JOY is all I have...