So, a little bit of an update: it's been six man-dates with my MOHO "just a friend" (JAF). So what does that mean? Does that mean we're going steady? Do guys go steady anymore?
We complement each other well. It's been a fun adventure along a new path, as I've pushed him in ways that he feels he needs to heal and grow and he's pushed me in ways that I need to heal and grow.
For example, I have had serious hangups and anxieties being surrounded by men in a sports setting and locker room environment. I am sure it comes from the angst and persecution suffered back in junior high where I was chewed up and spit out as being "different" and "not welcomed" into that world of athletic and confident men. Something was "wrong" with me, and I've dwelt on that ever since, to my detriment, I'm sure. I have isolated myself from that jock-world and have allowed those memories to continue to push me around and make me feel weak and insignificant, and I have not entered a locker room or actively and / or voluntarily participated in athletic or sports pursuits since then (even with the obvious enticement or fringe benefit of beautiful eye candy to behold)... that is... until yesterday.
JAF was the first person to instill enough confidence in me and encourage me to overcome my self-image issues, my hangups on feeling inferior and insecure, and succeeded in getting me into a locker room at a public emporium, and putting on a racer swimming suit and going into a pool to swim laps surrounded by other men and a few women. (NOTE: I do go swimming on occasion, but typically at a beach or swimming pool on vacation with the family where it is casual and confusing and focus is on the family and there is no locker room to be found. And I do lift weights, but at home in a home gym - I still wouldn't be caught dead going to a real gym to exercise - way too scary for this inferior skinny-boy! And a further note: for the record, the temple locker rooms don't count - though the baptistry locker room is close to counting!!!).
Needless to say, it was not a scary experience at all (or at least not to the degree that I imagined). The world of junior high locker room taunting was not to be found, and I enjoyed swimming the laps with JAF immensely (and enjoyed the speedo eye candy as well :)).
As I contemplate this, I feel this is good, healing therapy. It is easing my mind and building my confidence in this other "world of men" from which I have isolated myself, and again, to my detriment. Why do I have such hangups? Why do I hate my skinny body image so much (not that I want to be fat, but a bit more muscle would be nice to cover my my bones!)? Why do I feel so inferior for so many decades now? Why have I allowed this to fester so long? This is silly. I'm not in junior high anymore. So, why do those memories of pain flush back into my mind and why do I hear those voices that make me feel so "beneath" other men?
I hope that this is one step toward conquering these fears of mine and maybe there is more healing in ways I haven't yet anticipated. And I thank JAF for bringing me to this point and helping me to dive in and become a participant in life again.
One interesting twist with the "man-dating" gig. Unlike a straight date where you go to separate locker rooms, with a man-date, you get to share a locker together, shower together, and see each other in all your glory... pretty fun stuff. Yes, I can say I've seen my first MOHO naked! :)
Sounds like progress to me... what do you think?