Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Confessions of a Recovering Homophobe - Part III

Parts I and II can be found here and here.

Before I could catch my breath after meeting my two hunky hosts, and before I could absorb my delight in my luxurious new digs and my amazement as I explored the rest of the compound, the guesthouse, the gorgeous patio and pool, and the tennis courts, we were whisked off to dinner with six or eight of R. and H.'s gay friends. There I was plunged headlong into gay society in that city in the Southwest. My sister, and brother-in-law, and I were the only straight folks in the group, as we were to be several other times during the visit. R. and H. knew that I needed an INTERVENTION, and they wasted no time in giving me one. They were too polite to call it that, but that's what it was.

While we were having our meal, and after a few glasses of wine, I asked R., "So, being gay is not a lifestyle choice for you?" T. answered, "Who would choose it?" I don't know, maybe some would choose it, and that's fine by me, but he's an out-of-the-closet business man, and I'm sure that his life would be easier if he were straight, therefore, for him, what he said made sense.

My next conversation was with K. K.'s story is so sad, that I want to cry when I think about it. He grew up in a strict Mormon family, so strict that the males in the family all wore "the garment", which I had never heard of before. It's a one-piece undergarment, sort of like an undershirt and boxers, but all in one piece. My grandfather used to wear something similar.

K. grew up, got married, and had two children. Well into the marriage, his wife told him that she had suspected for some time that things were not right in their marriage, that he did not love her in the way she wanted to be loved. She told him that he needed to go and be true to himself.

K. did love his wife, but not in the way that a husband loves his wife. He still loves her, and they are quite close, as he is to his children, but they are not married any longer. K. was alone and very lonely at that time. I hope by now, he's found someone to love and who loves him. He was one of the sweetest and gentlest people I have ever met.

He told the funny story of straying from the strict Mormon style of dress, and putting on shorts to go out. However, he still wore the garment underneath, and he had to be told gently that his garment was hanging out of his shorts.

All these men were lovely, interesting people, and they could not have been nicer and more welcoming to me. They took me in, whether I wanted to be taken in or not. It was a soft intervention.

For me, the week was, in may ways, my fantasy week. Before leaving home, I had looked at their city newspaper online to see what events were happening during the week I'd be there, and I saw that the opera association was having a performance of "Carmen". I love "Carmen", and I thought, "Hmm, that would be nice to do," but I decided not to make plans of my own, but left the planning up to my hosts. Soon after I arrived, I found that we had tickets for the "Carmen" production. I seemed to be in a place where your wishes came true before you even expressed them. One day, we took a beautiful drive to view desert rock formations nearby. Another day, my sister and I were treated to a facial and upper massage at a spa. The rest of the time was spent at dinners and lunches and parties with great people both straight and gay, but mostly gay, and a few quiet times hanging out at the mansion and, in my case, taking long baths, looking through the glass at my garden and my mountain view.

Our gift to them was to cook a New Orleans-style lunch for R. and H. and several friends. We decided on a Creole jambalaya, but my recipe was at home, and I could not reach my husband to have him give it to me. Fortunately, H. had a Creole cookbook with a jambalaya recipe in it, but one that neither my sister nor I had ever cooked. We made it hoping and praying that it was a good recipe. We fixed a broccoli, cheese, and almond casserole and a salad to go with the jambalaya, and it turned out delicious. Everyone loved it.

What a week! I met some of the most loving, welcoming folks I have ever met in my life, and I assure you that I was not the same person when I left, as when I arrived. Interventions? Bring 'em on! If you must undergo an intervention, do it in style. I fear that it would not take me long to become an irredeemable sybarite. I loved that life, but it was time for the limo ride back to the airport to return to the real world.

More to come.