The plane is landing. I can feel something in my belly. It begins as a dull thud, worsening… as if a hand is gripping onto something inside me. The pain radiates into my back, sharpening as it reaches my flank. I breath deeply because the seat belts have to be fastened. As we hit the land I feel nauseous and sweaty. My heart is racing. Then I am asleep. We have landed, they are already waiting with their hand luggage. The woman besides me lets me know that it’s time to leave the aircraft. I walk to the carousel to pick up my luggage. I lean in to fetch my second bag and I faint. As my head hits the woman beside me, breaking my fall, I wake up. An asian woman fetches me a small bottle of water. I get a taxi into town and wonder what I should do. I call the hospital and the insurance company. For the next few hours I wait in the emergency room. They check everything and finally refer me to a pancreatic specialist. A few days later I meet him. He is personable, he wants to do very specific tests to my pancreas. A week later I am laying in the hospital. Before I am taken on the gurney into the room where the complicated tests will take place the kindly doctor says, “I’ll only perform a biopsy if we find something nasty.” I lay calmly. The anesthetist asks how I’m feeling. I wasn’t really feeling anything. I feel the first flush of anesthetic. “Oh, am I going under?” I giggle like I’m drunk. She said, laughing, “It’s just like two glasses of wine, that’s what I’ve given you… two glasses of wine.” And that’s what it felt like. Two glasses of wine. When I wake up he has performed a biopsy. So, I endure ten days of waiting before I find out everything is ok. Everything is fine.
For months… I’ve not written my blog. But urgent commentary needs listened to sooner… rather than later.
I didn’t care about the implication of the biopsy. Because I’m a pathetic alcoholic the first thing I say to my friend who is there to escort me home? “They gave me two glasses of wine!”
This observation masked my real concern. I am thinking about other, more important, more… pressing issues. Issues that have plagued me for years. When I think I am in love… nothing really matters.
I wanted to know the result but I was not wedded to it. I wasn’t in a relationship with the result. Until it’s delivered. I stay out of the result. It’s none of my business… until it is.
I still think about it.
This is a picture of a barn I am buying.
I’m early at the club for breakfast. It’s empty save for the worlds most beautiful boy lounging on an oversized velvet sofa. I catch the eye of the beautiful boy. There are always beautiful boys. But some of them send out something unexplained that I can catch hold of and make mine. If only for a few moments.
We hover around the breakfast spread, he’s pretending to choose juice.
I want to tell him how handsome he is but I ask him instead about his grapefruit juice.
We sit on the sofa and gaze at each other and he tells me everything without saying a single word. He says, “Nobody knows about me. Nobody can ever know. Will you do to me what men can do? Together?” Instead of saying no, instead of telling him that this isn’t going to work… instead of saying fuck off beautiful boy because you are going to break my heart… again.
Instead of saying no. After the hospital, after the first round of scans and shit. We’re on a train to Hudson. His huge feet and hands and thighs… brushing up against me. We are on a train and I am overwhelmed with expectation. He says, we are just going to cuddle but we end up in a hotel room in Tivoli doing everything I had longed to do when I first looked into his big green eyes and I think to myself. Let me love you. Let me fall in love with you just as long as you are here.
“Duncan, are you insane? Can’t you hear the melancholy, wailing sirens warning ’bout the rocks in the ocean.”
“Don’t blind me, guide me through the foggy night.” I implore.
Roy told investigators that he saw waves breaking on the reef and turned abruptly, swinging the side of the hull into the reef.
“I have to take responsibility for the fact that I made a judgment error… I ordered the turn too late.”
The night became the morning and the dawn rose over two tangled bodies. He is a perfect man. His hairy chest and wrists. His red lips, his thighs wrapped around my neck. His huge white alabaster cock so far down my throat, I could hear him gasp with pleasure. He is a professional athlete, he speaks six languages, he is vain and arrogant and lies about money… and other silly things but none of it matters when you look into his big green eyes and you fall… fall in love.
He adds yeast to every story he tells. He says, “I’m adding yeast to this story. It’s not big enough. It needs to be BIGGER.”
He stays with me for four blissful days. Of course there are complications. He mimics my accent because he speaks six languages and he wants to speak mine. He pretends to be English at dinner with my friends. He’s behaving like a dick. Why? Of course there are complications. We talk about his gay father, I teach him to have compassion and forgiveness. I teach him how to forgive his father. There are complications because he is managing his honesty like some people manage their money. He is out to his parents but not out to everyone else. He wants the best job but knows he can’t have it… if he’s gay.
We talk about a defining celebrity incident (him and some girl) written all over the internet. It’s funny, the lies written about him are funny and endearing.
We dress him up in my clothes. We buy him gallons of green juice. We introduce him to friends and acquaintances. We attend an AA meeting. We fight about money. He recalls his one year relationship with a boy he met on-line with a drink and drug problem. He describes the terrible fights. His inability to leave. Did he love the boy? Has he ever loved a man?
I tell him that I love him. We make love. He cums a great deal. I don’t spill a drop.
The following day he tells me that a certain shirt I have picked out to wear is ‘too gay’. I can’t be seen with him wearing that. I suppress my annoyance. I want to hold on to this gift as long as I can. But all at the same time I’m boiling over because this is the same sort of gay man who defends a trans person’s right to be themselves… but not mine. This is the contradiction of being a modern, white gay man.
At a candle lit dinner in the Palladian mansion of a local baron, his mother texts him. She has the dirt… on me. All those ghastly queens leaving anonymous lies all over the internet, she’s picking through them like a beggar over land fill. It’s not her fault. She has to save him. And eventually… she does.
I am forced to ditch the bonhomie and explain myself, explain why there’s so much out there. That I didn’t care. I say, “You shouldn’t care!” But he does. That’s my public life. You, for the time being, are my private life. There’s a silent drive home. There’s nothing I can do to placate him.
I meet two kinds of gay people… those who care about what they read… and those who don’t. Those who care are worried that others might judge them for knowing me. They are scared. Scared that the perfect gay veneer of their lives will be shattered irrevocably by me. Especially the gays. Radical straight people think I’m a fucking hero… but the gays are seldom radical. Increasingly right-wing, closed-minded, striving for perfection.
He balked. I reminded him there were lies written about him too… but soon realized that on those lies he had built his brand. It suited his closet to be lined with clippings from a moment in time when others had lied about him and he refused to disabuse them. The truth is… his mother would rather he date a meth addict than me.
Bruce Jenner becomes Caitlin Jenner and makes a perfect argument for reinvention. Aren’t we all trapped in the wrong body? Why shouldn’t we all build our authentic selves? Live our own truths?
His truth was up to him… my truth, as it turned out, was up to his mother and google.
After a few days he leaves with my heart and my Rolex. He texts occasionally. He tells me not to introduce him to anyone, that we can only meet on our own. He lists things we cannot mention if we are with other people.
“I’m scared you’re going to write my name in your blog and post pictures of me.”
I am inspired to write my blog, I haven’t written it for months. I’m trying to wean myself away from you my darling blog. A few days after… he intimates that I’m just a meaningless interlude, an elderly uncle he wouldn’t mind having breakfast with if it suits his schedule. It is dawning on me (I’m a fool) that he wanted someone richer, more powerful, less controversial, a larger apartment in Manhattan. He already dated a billionaire, he has the numbers of famous actors in his phone. Yes. Like so many young white gay men… he’s looking for a merger and an acquisition. Later that week we bump into each other at the club. I’m with my German friend, he scoffs (in German) at how many women I’ve slept with. He assumes I don’t understand.
He speaks six languages but doesn’t expect me to understand any of them.
So, I hit the rocks and capsize. I had a fair warning.
We crammed a five-year, gay love affair into four days. It’s all I can expect. It’s all I know. The beautiful man is gone and I am left with beautiful pictures… and another story to write.
Hudson, where I have been spending the majority of my time, is a small town crammed with big personalities. The older gay men are sour and drunk. The ancient art dealer is ‘scary’, the realtor is a ‘bitch’ the antiques sales man has nowhere else to run… run out of New York City. I am familiar with men like this and on the whole sympathetic. These men are too old and too single to find someone to marry or buy into the modern gay aspiration of family, children and heteronormativity. It is particularly sad because they fought hard for others to enjoy freedom and equality but now stand on the outside of gay life.
Equality came to late for many of these men. I understand their bitterness.
Someone asked me at dinner what I thought of Hudson. Well, I looked at him for a second. “It’s not what you think.” I explained my problem. There are a large number of successful women in their late forties and fifties on the hunt for appropriate men. I have never felt so assailed by straight women as I do in Hudson.
It is an almost daily occurrence: coming out to some disappointed women who wants to fuck me. One woman, when she found out I was queer… was utterly infuriated. “You should wear a sign on your head.” She spat. For those of you who don’t know… queer men have to come out a lot, some times everyday, throughout their lives. Coming out is NOT a one shot deal unless you’re famous.
Carolyn Roumeguere is tall and French. She has a broad face, flowing hair and wears cowboy boots and mini skirts… even in mid winter. Raised in Africa, Carolyn is a local Amazonian socialite. Ostensibly a jewelry designer she lives in a converted barn crammed with bad African art.
I met Carolyn at the local bakery. She was making a huge racket about something or other, inviting comment. She looked coquettishly at me and asked if I were English when she heard me ordering coffee. Within three minutes she was sobbing on my shoulder about the death of her husband and how incredibly, indescribably difficult her life was since his death. She bemoaned how hard she worked to raise their three children, to build her home and guest house. Her life as a widow seemed intolerable. I fully conceded that her life must be horrible and held her in my arms.
She took my number, invited me to her house that very afternoon and went on her way. I didn’t go to her house. I resisted her invitations for a week or so. After a week, I thought, she would have googled me and found out everything she needed to know to make a decision about whether she wanted to get more involved.
Finally, I accepted her invitation. The night of the dinner my car died. I had a friend drop me off at Carolyn’s house.
From the moment I entered the house I knew I was in the wrong place. The party was ghastly, the food unpalatable, the ten guests a bunch of humorless wax works. I sat between an ex magazine editor recently jettisoned (publicly and cruelly) by her misogynistic publisher and a Russian oligarch’s wife.
The Russian was scouting for a liberal art school for her daughter. She was imperious as only the Russians can be. As it turned out (a little Internet sleuthing) she is very close to President Putin. She told us that Putin ‘laughs at America’ and ‘sneers at black Obama’.
Opposite, sat a thin, elderly woman whose pinched, wrinkled face peered at me curiously as she sucked on the over cooked salmon. She claimed to be a film financier, she told elaborate independent film stories. She sat with her ruddy, land owning boyfriend. When she couldn’t remember one of her dull stories she would prod her farmer consort to furnish details that slipped her mind.
Beside the elderly film financier sat a slack-jawed, floppy haired English public school boy called James Holland (well into his fifties) who claimed loudly that he was in love with Diandra Douglas. James told stories about Diandra and how funny it was that they took drugs before visiting Diandra’s addict son in prison. I have no idea if his claims were true. He’s the sort of Englishman abroad who paints a more colorful picture than the sepia life he actually lives. He grilled me about my schooling. I told him that I went to an unknown hippy school in Dorset. “Bryanston?” He barked. The salmon swam back up my throat on a river of piquant Hollandaise.
The louche forty-five year old woman to the left of the editor draped over the back of her chair. Her un-washed… matted hair, her velveteen pant suit smelling of sweat and vodka. She shared unsolicited details of her upcoming wedding to a wild Italian called Giancarlo. The plans included tequila shots, narcotics, Ayahuasca and an orgy. Giancarlo is the film making partner of Tao Ruspoli the Italian aristocrat formerly married to Olivia Wilde. Miss Louche couldn’t understand why I would want to give up drinking… or drugs. Perhaps, I thought, because I don’t want to look like you.
There were other less memorable men around the table… one being Carolyn’s current beau. Then, incongruously… a young, boy/man with huge arms, thighs and a brooding disposition. The boy sat protectively by Carolyn. I wondered if this hunk was her son? It turns out that this boy is just one of Carolyn’s many sexual conquests. The 20-year-old son of her best friend who predatory Carolyn had seduced whilst he was a sculpture major at Bard College.
I applauded Carolyn’s sexual tenacity, yet, for the first time, after hearing about the seduction of the boy, I felt rather sorry for her. Years of going to sex addict meetings I concluded that she and I have many… similarities. A string of sexual encounters with inappropriate local men have led her nowhere. She is Powerless over her addiction and her life is Unmanageable.
Carolyn’s precocious son sat in another room. A deeply unhappy looking child. This sullen, perilously over weight pre-teen, demanded our adult attention by hitting things with a measuring tape. He told us loudly some scientific fact he had researched on the Internet and how he knew more than his teachers. I quietly asked the ex-editor if the son has Asperger syndrome. She looked sadly at the child, “She won’t take him to a therapist.” she confided. A bad mother never wants to take her child to a therapist knowing that is it she and not the child that will have to do the hard work it takes to make a child well again.
I wanted to call a cab but the ex-editor very kindly offered to drive me home.
On our way to Hudson I told her how I’d met Carolyn and how ghastly I thought both she, her friends and the party. I told her Carolyn had cried on my shoulder in the bakery. She laughed, she told me that Carolyn and her husband had been separated for years… they weren’t even married… that he was married to someone else with whom he had a child.
“So, she uses her husband’s death as a lure? For sympathy?” I asked. She smiled and refused to answer.
Meanwhile, in Hudson, a straight rich South American man says my films would be ‘so much better’ if they were about straight people. Lordy, I hadn’t heard that sort of crap for a long time. I gently chided him, how insulting he was being. What a prick! I asked him if he thought white people playing Latin roles might make films better too? He shuts the fuck up.
This is a picture of a beautiful art party at the Basilica.
Finally, it is impossible not to mention the continuing race atrocity here in the USA after the shooting deaths of 8 black people in a Charleston church during an evening prayer meeting. A young, blond white boy with racist and apartheid sympathies takes his gun and kills innocent black people. There is an outpouring of grief from my white friends on Facebook. Yet, few of them address their own racism. They say, the kid who pulled the trigger looks like the devil. The problem is, this kid did not look like he came from hell, on the contrary… he just looks like any ordinary white boy. It is his ordinariness that is shocking. It is his stated racist intention that is shocking. But what is more shocking are all the white folk who cannot bring themselves to address his racism or their own. They say. There are no words. Yes, there are words. Words used by the right include: accident, mistake, loner. Words like, they deserved what they got because they wouldn’t have guns in their church. He is just another entitled white boy who hates black people because he can. Look at the haunted expressions of prescription drug addicted teens who commit these atrocities. A parade of white American faces on the TV who refuse to address their own racism. Whilst the black victims family say words like, forgive, reconciliation and prayer. It isn’t good enough to tell everyone else that they are racist without owning up to the racism that affects my own psyche. Pervasive and insidious racism that gets worse every year I live in the USA. To my gay friends I say this: Ask yourself… How many black friends do I have? How many gay men say… I don’t sleep with black men because I’m just not into them, they don’t turn me on. That, I’m afraid, is racist. We refuse to value black lives. Until we address our own racism these problems will not go away. Ask gay black people or gay people of color if they encounter racism in gay bars and clubs and they will tell you horrible stories. If you care about the lives of black people before they are murdered make yourself heard. Reach out. #blacklivesmatter