Monday, August 27, 2007


I recently got back from a week at Easton Mountain, a retreat center for Gay men in the foothills of the Adirondacks. I had ideas--or fantasies--of how the week was going to go, but as usual, life had other plans. I didn't have a hot and heavy romance, or sex. But I did find some sweet connections with several of the men there, and I surprised myself.

I made a conscious choice to talk with some men whom I would've normally avoided. Typically, at gay men's gatherings, I scan the crowd for handsome men who might be potential "connections," for physical touch and (hopefully) romance. By mid-week, it seemed unlikely--the man I was most attracted to wasn't interested in me--a familiar story.

Instead of focusing on that, I took the time to chat with some of the older men who attended the retreat, including one who was struggling with recurrent skin cancer. I also hung out with another tall, thin, sad-looking man who looked like he could use a friend. With his skinny frame and scraggly gray beard, he was far from my type. But over the course of a few days, I found myself drawn to him. It didn't feel physical or sexual; I simply wanted to be around him, to talk with him, to enjoy his dark and somewhat sick sense of humor.

On the last evening of the retreat, we danced to a mix of disco music, more recent tunes, and a few slow oldies. We stood outside and watched an amazing light show--about two hours of intermittent lightening--which illuminated the sky in shocking bursts of white light against the darkness. And I found myself--gently, not wildly--attracted to this man whom I normally wouldn't even have noticed.

I know that I, like many gay men, have a physical "type." But sometimes I can get beyond that, at least for a little while. And that gives me hope that just maybe I can meet a man and develop a relationship with someone who is actually available, and who will accept my (many) imperfections, as I will accept his.


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