Saturday, June 26, 2010

A response to: meeting same-gender intimacy needs

Back in May, Active Gay Mormon blogged about Meeting My Same-gender Intimacy Needs. I wrote the following to him, but it was too lengthy to fit as a reply, so I've posted it here.

"Hey, this is a great post. Here's my take (in red) on each of your items;

(1) Playing sports with other men -- anyone up for baseball, football, basketball? I've only done this with other SSA guys and we were all pretty new to it, but I particularly enjoyed softball.

(2) Lifting weights with a buddy -- feeling support, feeling strong, feeling confident. Have done it as part of an exercise class. Didn't push any buttons for me.

(3) Going on a trip -- whether it is short day trip, a hike, or a 7 day cruise with three friend. Love these. They've been rare in recent years since my sons got their Eagle Scout awards.

(4) Getting together with the priesthood brothers to help someone move, (I think we all underestimate the power of service). Amen. Again I haven't done this in a few years since I was "promoted" into the HP group, but I agree it's a great way to feel connected and that you're making a difference for someone.

(5) Talking it up with a friend while taking a shower together in the public shower room at the gym after working-out (non-sexual nudity doesn't have to be a bad thing). Believe it or not I've done this literally hundreds of times over the past decade. Here's the math: At just two workouts a week, 48 weeks a year, over a decade, that's at least 960 times that I've changed into athletic attire, worked out, showered (usually with a buddy or someone I've gotten to know) and the dressed and returned my non-training life. The first time wasn't easy, but within a week or so, my anxiety gave way to appreciation.

(6) Going out and enjoying a nice dinner (But what is better than the midnight dinner and chat at Village Inn or your faviorite local dive) Haven't done this is years, but have good memories of doing such things as a younger man, particularly in college.

(7) Going camping -- I look forward to the father and sons outing every year. Enjoy this while your sons are young, believe me the years fly by.  

(8) Hugging and other gestures of physical affection -- what can I say it feels great. I would love to hear more about this. None of my straight friends are much into hugging. I'd love it (to give and receive), but I don't know how to initiate it. Any suggestions?

(9) Shaving -- shaving with a friend at the same time at the gym, getting ready to start my work day. Have done this a few times, usually on the lunch hour with a buddy when we both got too busy to shave before work. Agreed this is a nice male bonding activity. 

(10) Massage - what a great way to bond through non-verbal communication, non-sexual touching has tremedous healing power. I agree massage is great--that's why I have no regrets about the bucks I've spent with licensed massage therapists over the years. I'd like to ask my friends to do this, but again haven't figured out the approach. How do you approach it?

(11) Priesthood Meeting -- Going to Stake Priesthood Meeting or General Priesthood Meeting with your priesthood brothers (its even more intimate, when a friend sitting next to you, puts his arm around you, or rubs your back while listening to the speakers) I'd love that, but I'm usually sandwiched in between my sons and that has it's own warm and fuzzy aspect. But again my question is, how do you make this happen, or is it just a spontaneous gift?

(12) Watching Sports -- I love when my Bishop invites me over to watch sports with him and his sons! It doesn't getter better than that. I'm better at watching and understanding sports than I used to be, but I'd be there for the male bonding, not really because I'm a big sports fan.

(13) House projects -- whether its your house or a friends, getting those power tools in your hands destroying and building is great. Another amen on that one. I loved it when my sons and their uncles and I all chipped in on a home improvement project for an extended family member a few years ago. 

(14) Serving in the church -- I look forward to meeting with the Bishopric each Sunday to discuss the needs of the ward to minister together and administer. I used to be a clerk and I really miss that weekly contact with the Bishopric and the other clerks. Again savor it while you've got it. 

(15) Spending time with family -- I love it when my brothers and I get together and do guy things. Being without brothers, I've had to adopt a few. Participating in activities together with them, especially in the great outdoors, is one of the greatest things I can think of.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Do We Face the Death Penalty?

What does the state execution of a death row inmate have to do with the Moho world? Not that much, I suppose, unless you take into account that in some countries, in this varied world we live in, we could be condemned to die for the "sin" of loving someone of the "wrong" gender. 93 nations in the world still legally punish homosexuality. In 7 of these - Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Nigeria, Mauritania - gays and lesbians are punished with the death penalty. But we're safe here in the USA, right? One Internet commenter reminds us, "being gay is a death penalty in the United States if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time." But who needs the death penalty when your religion makes you so conflicted that you choose suicide as the best option?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Almost Summertime

I know it's not officially summer until June 21, but for many of us summer starts when school ends or on Memorial Day weekend, whichever comes first.

By both of those standards summer has been here a while now, eventhough the weather here in the shadows of the everlasting hills has been unusually cold and rainy. Thanks to George Gershwin and Dubose Heyward, summertime isn't just a season but a wonderful melody and lyric:

Summertime and the livin' is easy
fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high
oh your daddy's rich and your ma is good lookin'
so hush little baby don't you cry

One of these mornin's you're gonna rise up singin'
yes you'll spread your wings and you'll take to the sky
but til' that mornin' theres nothin' can harm you
with daddy and mammy standin' by

I also associate Summertime with this classic by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II from the musical Show Boat:

Fish got to swim, birds got to fly,
I got to love one man till I die
Can't help loving that man of mine

Tell me he's lazy, tell me he's slow,
Tell me I'm crazy, maybe I know
Can't help loving that man of mine

When he goes away,
That's a rainy day,
And when he comes back that day is fine,
The sun will shine

He can come home as late as can be,
Home without him ain't no home to me,
Can't help loving that man of mine

Which brings me to this thought: As one of the older guys on Abelard's long list of Moho bloggers I can tell you that even well into my fifties and still committed to my wife, children and faith, there are a few men on this planet and beyond that I can't help loving.

Some are dead. Some are far away. Some are on missions of various types. But one day there will be a reunion or even a meeting for the first time of someone that I've always known, someone who has always known me. That day will be fine. The sun will shine. And perhaps on that day I will know even more surely than I know now, that the love I feel is a good, noble and God-given trait that brings great challenges and even greater blessings.