GAY GUYS BETWEEN COUPLE LIFE AND CAREER

Hi Project,

I have been following your forum for years, albeit occasionally. Somehow you covered all the topics, but one was only mentioned in a couple of posts, probably because it is very often linked to the failure of the couple’s life. I refer to the conflict of aspirations between two guys, not to the conflict of their dreams, which generally doesn’t put anything in crisis, but to the conflict of their concrete aspirations and their decisive professional choices. I know you don’t like such a speech, but, gay or non-gay, when a guy is called to a choice between emotional and professional life, he cannot always “save goat and cabbages” (a typical Italian expression that means  reaching a compromise and getting both things that seemed to be mutually exclusive), and it happens frequently enough that he has to give up one of the two things to save the other. In some cases, compromise choices cannot be made because it would end up ruining both affective and professional life. A gay guy can fall in love non only with another guy but he can as well fall in love with his job, his career which sometimes entails so many gratifications, and also with the fact of reaching an enviable economic position. These things happen, and they’re not that rare at all. Often, if you put the two options on the two plates of the balance you realize that it is perfectly in balance and so, if you are not really madly in love, you decide to leave your boyfriend and dedicate yourself completely to your career. You don’t imagine, Project, the power that the idea of becoming someone, that is of becoming important, can have on a guy. It is clear that making a radical choice is anyhow lacerating, because one would instinctively try to save both feelings and career, and when you realize that it is not possible and that you have to make a radical choice, because the third way, that of compromise, is unavailable, you feel split in two. 

I can’t tell you my story by going into too much detail because I have to save my privacy (not just mine) and therefore I will mainly tell you about my moods. When you enroll at the university you still see it from outside and from afar as a mountain to climb. If you work hard with the maximum effort you get your three-year degree without wasting too much time, then during the two years of your master’s degree you dream of a doctorate, you try to convince yourself that you may not get there and instead you graduate and get there. Of course it takes effort and commitment, but then you get there, then there is the post-doc, which seems a distant option, but in the end that too comes and the road that opens up in front of you is very attractive. You feel at least a bit important, you are no longer the low man on the totem pole and the prospects of an academic career begin to take concrete form, publications increase and also your credit in the scientific world. Up to this point it seems all logical, all beautiful, but there is the other side of the coin, there is a price to pay, if you think about your past you see that you have never had a real emotional life, because the emotional life takes time and if you dedicate time to research you cannot dedicate it to emotional life. In practice more or less you always did  monastic life. 

If one is in a similar situation he begins to ask himself a thousand questions but in practice he has no doubt about what to do in the future, simply because he has no alternative, he can only go on on the path he has followed up to that moment. But since a few months I had an alternative. I had met, always in the university environment, a guy my age (here I’ll call him Mark), who had followed a path practically superimposable to the that I had followed, even if in a very different sector. It had taken us a while to understand that we were both gay and, since we had long been hungry for affectivity, it took us even a short time to have our first sexual intercourse. He wasn’t beautiful but physically he was the kind of guy I like and I realized that he was very interested in me. And from here our problems began. 

Two “normal” guys, let’s say so, without concrete short-term expectations, would have lived together and enjoyed their beautiful love story, assuming that over time it could become a true love story, because there were the right premises in our case. But unfortunately or fortunately we were not two “normal” guys, both he and I had worked hard to build a future as we wanted it, but at that time we found ourselves having different objectives and above all irreconcilable with the continuation of our story. It is bad to think that if you want to make a career you have to put feelings aside, but in the end it is so. 

I don’t know if I really fell in love with Mark. The sexual interest was there and also the emotional one, but above all on the emotional level I didn’t really feel in love. Maybe it would have happened over time, but I had to decide without even having the time to know him well and he too was in the same situation. We talked about it, but talking about these things is embarrassing, it’s not like making a declaration of love to a guy, here you have to tell him that you fell in love “but …”, that is, in practice you have to tell him that the career can be more important than him. Fortunately he too was in the same predicament, because otherwise the speech would have been very difficult. In short, we spoke “very rationally” as if it were an abstract issue that didn’t concern us, each tended to emphasize that he didn’t want to bind the other but it was evident that he didn’t really want to bind himself. I thought that even after this speech we would end up in bed, as had happened many times before, and instead nothing happened, there was a lot of coldness, a lot of distance. In practice it was understood that both for him and for me the fact that we would each follow his own path was practically inevitable. 

I can’t say if I took it too badly, because after all it was what I wanted too, but I can say that I went into crisis, I felt mean and selfish and I consoled myself only thinking that in the end we  both were mean and selfish. I realized that in fact I had given up on having an emotional life and not only with Mark, with whom perhaps it would have been impossible anyway, because he too had made a similar choice to mine, but with anyone, because I will have a lot of commitments, and I already have them now, and I will have to go and live where more opportunities will arise and I will have no security for several years and therefore I will not be able to build any serious story with a guy, because I should find a partner willing to follow me, that is, to sacrifice his dreams and plans for me, that is for someone who may even be able to love him but will never be able to dedicate himself completely to him. 

Now I have lost Mark, but in front of me I see the emotional desert and this scares me. I tell myself and I repeat that I’m not able to truly love, that I’m too centered on myself, that I’m too selfish, that I demand what I’m not willing to give. I’m reminded of the gospel phrase: “No one can serve two masters” and I’m afraid I have sold my soul to the worst master, who could give me great satisfaction, and I say “could” because I certainly can’t  take it for granted, and in any case it would be satisfactions all and only of the same kind, and I’m not at all sure that the choice I made is truly the best for me. I mean, Project, that sometimes I feel disgusting. It is true that the university has increased my self-esteem, which before was rather weak, but I’m starting to think that it may have put many really wrong ideas in my mind. 

Sometimes I see guys who got lost along the way and who didn’t get where I got, in a sense I feel satisfied, but in another I feel that between me and those guys an abyss has been dug that cannot be filled anymore and I begin to think that their life will be much better than mine. My environment is very competitive even if we are really few. In my environment I will never find friends but only colleagues from whom I can hope for a certain degree of correctness but nothing more, and to find friends in other environments I should attend them what I will not be able to do anyway. Do you understand what I mean, Project? I know that only I can deal with these problems, I only ask you for a contact to speak a little. My parents know nothing about me and according to them I’m a happy man with excellent prospects, but I feel that it’s not like that at all and I can’t talk about it with anyone. At least with you there is anonymity and I can say what I think. I wait for your answer. My email is very generic, so if you want you can publish it, because it’s quite anonymous but, if you can, send me a contact.

See you soon.

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If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-guys-between-couple-life-and-career

GAY GUYS AND DOUBLE BED

Hi Project, 

I’m Paul, the 43-year-old who wrote to you because he was trying to accept that the guy who seemed to be his boyfriend had left him to go back to an ex-boyfriend (A GAY STORY OF ALMOST LOVE). When I wrote to you I hadn’t heard from him for more than two months. Today something has happened that has overturned all the balances that I was struggling to achieve and in part at least I had achieved, but I’m happy. In an unexpected way he called me when it was already midnight and said to me: “I need to make love with you, what do you say? Can I come to you in twenty minutes?” I replied that he can come whenever he wants and that I’m always pleased of it, he added: “If you don’t feel like having sex, we’ll just talk.” And this in my opinion is the most beautiful thing you can say! I told him that I was waiting for him and I immediately changed the bed and opened the window, to cool the air a bit, because it’s hot to die for but fortunately there are the mosquito nets. I wondered why he had the idea of having sex with me after almost three months and I thought that the relationship he had resumed with his ex-boyfriend had come to an end. 

When he arrived he undressed and put himself on the bed and he was really beautiful! And above all he was there for me, he had come on purpose with the idea of having sex with me and this idea put him in a very strong state of excitement. I was afraid of not being up to the situation, because sometimes it happens, but I didn’t feel in the least embarrassed, because when it happens he never gets upset, he has never had problems with these things. No, he was not only beautiful, he was really animated by a sexual impetus as in the times when we met many years ago. I refrained from asking him questions. I was fine, with him the taboos have not existed for a long time, with him I behave as I would behave with myself, with the same level of freedom, now it is an acquired fact. He was telling me: “But how is it possible that you have never had sex with anyone else? You should try to be with somebody else!” To this speech, which is not the first time he does, I reply to him exactly as I have always replied that it never occurred to me to make love with another guy, because for me there is just him. 

He didn’t force me at all, no insistence, he knew that I could be afraid of diseases and we only had sex at practically zero risk, there was no need for me to tell him anything, for him exactly as for me, the fundamental thing isn’t in doing this or that but in feeling desired and accepted, and being able to live one’s sexuality together, without embarrassment and without seeing any kind of obligations behind sex. He was really transported by sex, within the limits of common sense, but truly transported. Between us, from the beginning there has always been a very deep understanding from that point of view, we never had sex out of boredom or as a pastime or worse out of duty, it was practically always a very strong thing and much desired by both of us. Maybe that’s why I would never be able to go with another guy, he is the guy of my dreams, after all, in my life, I only desired him in the true sense of the word. When he is with me I see him so free and involved that my head is empty of thoughts and I only think about making him feel good, thanks God I succeed! This seems almost unbelievable to me, but that’s exactly what happens. By now we know each other very well also from that point of view. There is nothing more beautiful than making love with the guy you love the way we do it. Then there will be his ex, maybe, or maybe there will be many other guys, but he has not put me aside at all and he thinks of me just as an important sexual fantasy.  

There was only one thing that I would have wanted different. Generally, even before, after sex he used to get some melancholy, maybe once the sexual involvement is over he begins to reflect on his boyfriend and what to do with his boyfriend, or maybe very likely he doesn’t have a boyfriend anymore. Maybe I don’t have the first place in his heart, but I can’t deny that the his involvement (that was there from the beginning) doesn’t seem in the least vanished because of other things. I wonder how a guy like him can be in love with me, that is, even sexually in love with me, who am a very common type. Now I seem to see him lying on the bed while looking at me and saying “Everything okay?” I would be with him my whole life, it would be a dream for me and today I think it wouldn’t mind him at all, obviously without any constraint, but I think it could last forever. 

Tonight I feel really upset but I’m happy and I think there will be nothing that will be able to separate us, perhaps for a while, yes, but in the end we love each other, between ups and downs, we have been together for many years and then there is between us real affection and respect, I think he is a guy of the highest level both in intelligence and honesty and he trusts me, he doesn’t fear me, in short, I also feel at the center of his attentions. All this, however, must not become a trap, he is not mine, we love each other but he must be free because only in this way he can truly love me. In the end how can people say that there is only sex between us? It’s not true! There is an absolutely unique way of understanding each other. He never felt like a beautiful  guy and instead he is beautiful, when we are together I tell him it many times, he acts as if I hadn’t told anything, but after all he is happy to hear such things! 

I’m also beginning to think of something else that I had always considered stupid before. At the end of our meetings he leaves, he cannot sleep at my house because the next morning he must be at work before 8.00 am if he would start from my house he should get up too early, when he leaves he makes me feel so melancholy because I would like him to stay with me all night long, I would really like to sleep with him. We had sex many times but we never slept together but I think that sleeping together and waking up together would be really beautiful and I think he would like very much such things which are not exactly sex but are sometimes more important than sex itself. I realize that these things, that is in practice the double bed, belong to the behavior of consolidated couples, while he is not my boyfriend, at least in a certain sense he is not, but anyhow falling asleep one in the arms of the other would be really beautiful! In my house there are no double beds and the idea is coming to my mind to buy one, maybe it could also be useful. But I met guys to whom sleeping together in a double bed seemed too sweet, something typical of people romantically in love and not suitable for real men! I can’t stand this expression! Real men? And those would be real men? Those who have sex in five minutes and then bye! Those in my opinion are stupid men! 

However, I feel embarrassed to talk to him about the double bed, but not because of sex, the fact is that he can consider the use of the double bed as a trap from which it is good to stay away. That is, if we have sex with each other as we have always done it is something that seems no more than an outburst, something somehow boyish (and I don’t even understand why!) While if we go to sleep together in a double bed it means that ours is a regular, standard relationship, of those that take away your freedom. I know it is only symbols, but symbols are also important. Maybe I would like to fall asleep with him in a double bed just because I could delude myself that he is mine, this could also be true, but meet in the spare time only during breaks between other work or family commitments, in the most unlikely situations, and always keeping an eye on the clock it is certainly not the best and some of my sexual problems could be due to these things. I need time in sex, I’m slow, if I think I have to get to the end in a set time, I go haywire. Instead with a nice double bed and a whole night together in perspective, well, I think everything would be very different. 

There is also another fact that keeps me from buying a double bed, I live alone, luckily for me, but it happens that from time to time my father, my mother and even my brother (100% straight) come to see me at my house. They always warn me one or two days before, so I don’t have the fear of being caught in the act while I’m in bed with a guy, among other things, my family members don’t have the keys to my house, but they are used to the idea that in my room there is only one single bed and in the guest bedroom there are two single beds. What would they think if they saw the two single beds disappear and found a double bed instead? I don’t know this but I would feel embarrassed, and so I thought that in order to sleep with him in a double bed I would have to go on vacation with him, but even there the embarrassment would be considerable. It is not easy to book a double room in a hotel with a friend and ask for a double bed instead of two single beds. It seems absurd, but these things still condition a lot. I’ll try to talk briefly with him about the hypothesis of the double bed, let’s see what he tells me! 

In short, Project, since the last email I sent you, the world has really turned upside down for me. I had read your answer, very wise and very rational, but my antennae told me that my story, despite appearances, was by no means over and now I can say that I was right! 

Take care of yourself! Obviously do whatever you want with the email.

Paul

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If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-guys-and-double-bed

A GAY STORY OF ALMOST LOVE

Hi Project,

I don’t know who you are, but if you put all the Project material together you are one who tried to do everything he could to do something good and I think you did it, at least to me in these days it was useful to read the forum, it helped me to feel less alone. 

I’m 43 years old, middle age, I’m neither young nor old, it is no longer the age to sow, that time has passed, I think about it with nostalgia but that time has passed. In these days I find myself experiencing situations and sensations that I had envisioned for a long time, but perhaps it is better to start from the beginning. 

Up to 32 years old, I had lived on dreams only, out of laziness or out of fear, I had never looked for or favored any concrete opportunity to find a guy, then at 32, it happened to me what I had dreamed of at least a little and had also scared me a little. I met a very young gay guy, he was 18 at the time, 14 years younger than me, he was a beautiful guy but I considered him a kind of unattainable youth myth. 

We started talking in chat, then we met in person and he fascinated me, he was very intelligent and then he had a dignity that I have never seen in anyone else. It happened that he fell in love with me, something I never would have imagined because he could have had any guy if he only wanted or, better, I think he hadn’t really fallen in love with me but he was fine with me, he felt important, he knew I loved him. My first time, at 32, was with him, and it was the first for him too. 

On one hand I was fine with him but on the other I felt like a thief, one who takes advantage of another. There was not only sex between us, we talked a lot, I can say that we never had secrets from each other. At times he fell into deep depression and I tried to do everything to make him feel better and he had infinite patience with me and accepted the thousand complexes I had with sexuality. 

In the period in which we were together he had other stories that then ended, this actually didn’t create any particular problems for me because I thought that I wouldn’t lose him anyway and that, perhaps, even if in a marginal position, for me there would always be a corner, at least as a friend, and it would have been enough for me, but lately things have changed, he has restarted a relationship with one of his ex, a guy his same age, and since then I haven’t heard from him, I called him, at least to know how he was, but he was strange and detached, he seemed almost worried that I wanted to come forward. Obviously I haven’t looked for him since then and more than two months have passed and he hasn’t made himself heard. In practice what I was afraid of became real, he built an important relationship, which now completely absorbs him, and for me there is space anymore. 

I must say that all this makes me a little melancholy on a personal level, but I also know his ex with whom he restarted the relationship and I know that he is a good guy, that he is not playing with him but really loves him, so I’m happy that things have taken this course, which on the other hand, was inevitable sooner or later. I have been a phase and now my job is to step aside and not interfere in the least. I don’t deny that I think of him and that I remember many situations in which we have been together and those moments have all been very beautiful. I’m sorry that he can consider me a danger or one who can try to get into his life inappropriately. In fact, from many points of view it is much better that things have gone this way, it’s obvious that anyway I will have to get used to a life without him. And afterwards why can’t we stay friends anyway? From my point of view this would be fine, but from his? “In theory” it should not create problems, but perhaps it creates some problem for his partner, or it really creates some problem for him too because now he feels himself involved in an important story. 

After him, for me, there will be no one, he was special and still is, I have nothing to reproach him for, we never quarreled, he was always honest with me and I cannot stop loving him just because he found himself a another guy, I’m only sorry that he is afraid of me, that he may think that I could undermine his happiness, because this will never happen. I would have liked to see him happy, I would have liked him to have said it to me and instead I will only have to imagine it. This is my only displeasure. 

It seems like a paradox, but I’m glad he has found a way that can make him feel better, because I know that he feels really better now. He wasn’t really happy when he was with me, but he has been better since he got back in touch with his ex-boyfriend, the positive effects were evident and I can’t deny it at all. If I hadn’t seen them, I would have had a thousand doubts, but he seemed really another person. Now I will devote myself more to my work, I will resume contacts with my parents, who are now about 70. It may seem absurd but I feel happy! 

I embrace you, Project, use my email as you like better, but tell me what you think about, if you can.

Paul

_____________________ 

Hi Paul,

first of all happy birthday, because today is the 29th June, feast of Saints Peter and Paul! 

Reading your email makes me think that, beyond what you say and the melancholy you speak of, there is also a bitter background because the last chapter of the story should have gone another way. It is as if in the end he was afraid of you and tried to keep you at bay to save his autonomy, which, if you allow me, frames the story in a slightly different way. 

It is true that, as you say, you felt like a thief of his youth but it is equally true that he looked for you until he felt sure of himself, in some ways it is a love story but in some ways it is not is. There was certainly the big age difference but I don’t think that this was the basic problem. You yourself wrote that he probably hadn’t fallen in love with you but that he was fine with you because he felt loved and you talked about some moments of depression when you managed to make him feel better. On the other hand, he too gave you a hand to open a chapter in your life, that of sexuality, which you had left more or less deliberately closed. In fact, you yourself expected it to end like this and probably when it happened you weren’t very surprised. You helped each other to grow, which is already a great and rare thing, but it does not in itself create a love story. 

If he will be fine with his new-old partner, something that now seems to come true but it is not for sure that it lasts over time, you would do well not to live by myths or, if you want, by poignant but now unrepeatable memories. I know that such a thing is easy to say but very difficult to do, but time and detachment will do their job. If, in the long run, his new story doesn’t last, try to build a solid friendship with him avoiding to consider him as your boyfriend, because what happened could very well happen again. 

It’s evident that you love him but life goes on. I’m not telling you to find another guy, which would still be a very complicated thing, but not to depend on his memory and to leave to the past what has been and cannot be repeated. 

A hug. Project

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If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-a-gay-story-of-almost-love

STORY OF A GAY GUY AGED 20 TO 32

Hi Project,I’ve been reading you since I was 20, now I’m 32 and I have had my experiences of what it means to be gay. I went through all the phases, from the desire to find a guy, to the first experiences and then to quite significant stories, that is, to three stories that occupied my years from 20 to 30, then I detached from all this and, now, I have been alone just for a couple of years and I don’t know what to do. 

My first important story, that is, I should say my first story that seemed important, was with a good guy who never fell in love with me, not because he was in love with another guy, but because he was bisexual, he was “somehow” in love with me with me but he thought to women and every now and then he allowed himself some adventure, always with women. For heaven’s sake! I understand it very well, for him it was a physiological thing, it was in his nature, and probably it is I who am wrong thinking that I’m with you making love but maybe you’re thinking of a girl, because perhaps “in those moments” there are no girls in your brain, but let me tell it (what I never did in front of you), but I don’t really like such complicated situations. I know it’s the way it works for bisexuals but it’s not good for me. I know that if he was gay he could have done the same with a guy instead of a girl but it’s different, if he had been really gay he would have felt deeply involved at least sometimes, but with him the involvement was always very relative, or maybe I was upset because of other motivations and my brain was a pressure cooker about to explode, then he told me that I was not the guy he was looking for and that he wanted to try to get together with a girl,  I had nothing else to tell him than: “Happy wedding and male children!” So I said to myself, “It’s my fault! It goes without saying that if I get together with a bisexual then it ends up like this! ” 

A couple of months later I know a guy who looked “serious”, so to say, one who studies, who thinks about his position, about the future, not one who wastes his time, not one who doesn’t study and when is looking for work does everything to not find it. He’s serious, he’s interested in sex but sex is not his fixed idea, in short, the story starts. At the beginning everything is quite well, we see each other very little because he always has to study, but when we meet we are well together. He graduated, I had left the university halfway and at that time I was already working, then he tells me that he must do his doctorate in Germany, which is very important for him, etc. etc., in short, he leaves for Germany and we start to meet in the evening on social media, I go to meet him in person a couple of times a year, I wait for his doctorate to finish, he finishes it but doesn’t come back to Italy, he goes to work for a research Institute in Paris, I understand that he will stay in Paris for at least four years, so I tell him that I don’t feel like going on like this, that I can’t move to Paris because my job is in Italy. He doesn’t even try to insist, he simply tells me that given the logistical complications, as he calls them, perhaps it is better for each of us to follow his own path. Basically he dismissed me like that, then I learned that he had gone to Paris because he had met a French gay guy in Germany, who worked in his own research Institute and they lived already together in Germany, but he had “forgotten” to tell me this little detail. And then I said to myself: “It’s my fault! Those who are thinking of too big problems can’t think also of me! I have to stay away from such people!” 

At 26 I met my last boyfriend, with him things were much more complicated. We met casually for business reasons, at the beginning I wasn’t absolutely interested in him, he was not my type, he seemed too talkative, too complimenting, let’s say, a little fake or at least one who seems acting. There were immediately misunderstandings, every time I started to say something, he used to analyze what I had said finding the strangest meanings in it. Sometimes he just got on my nerves, I couldn’t stand him, I thought I would never get together with someone like him and instead it happened because he slowly brought me there and I, like an idiot, went after him. I should have stopped him immediately but I didn’t and he felt encouraged and step after step he gained ground and it was increasingly difficult for me to get rid of him. Once he calls me, he tells me that he feels terrible because his boyfriend left him and I go to his house to console him. It was my worst mistake! We ended up in bed the same evening, but as a “consolation”, which is certainly not the best. When I came back to my house, late at night, I felt a total imbecile and I understood that if I had not taken the courage with both my hands, I wouldn’t have gone out from that story anymore. But I didn’t take the courage with both my hands. Every time I went to him I said to myself. “This time and that’s enough!” just like those who know they will never get out of an addiction. He knew how to do, he knew my weak sides, he encouraged me, he consoled me when things were not going well. In short, our story, or it would be better to say our half story, has been going on for years. Sometimes he asked me to go to his house and I went there but I would have liked so much to stay at my house and not go anywhere, nevertheless I used to go to have sex with him, that is, to have sex with someone who had never been in my sexual fantasies, and this is also a bit depressing, over time he had become sticky, jealous of my previous guys, he wanted to know everything about them, but also about their sexual preferences, he asked me if we had made some videos while having sex, and this question left me like a dried cod, he saw me fall from the pear tree, so to say, and insisted that everyone does it and that it’s normal, in that moment I began to fear that he had placed some hidden cameras to record our sex meetings and I began to be afraid of him, maybe I was exaggerating, but I didn’t feel calm. 

Since then I started spending the afternoons thinking about how I could get rid of him in a non-traumatic way. It was becoming an obsession. I couldn’t find any possible method, anyhow our relationship has cooled down a lot, up to meet no more than a couple of times a month. Once I call him to probe the ground and he answers me in a very formal way (something very unusual for him) and then I hear a male voice saying. “Who is?” and he replies. “He’s a friend I haven’t heard from in a long time!” In short, he had found another guy. I never called him again and luckily it ended like this! And then I said to myself: “It’s my fault! I can’t go with someone I don’t like!” 

I was 32 years old and frankly I felt no longer like to look for another gay guy! My friends were enough for me, a few friends, always the same, friends who meet once every two months!  I’ve been alone for a few months now but I feel still uncomfortable. At 32, it’s too early to achieve the full peace of mind, I mean the total detachment from sexuality! I look at the guys on the street, I haven’t lost this old habit of mine but the total involvement that I once used to feel I don’t feel it anymore. Now I begin to feel melancholy for an impossible thing. On the one hand there is the temptation to try at least another time, but on the other there is the experience that stops me and says to me: “But where are you going? Do you want to make the fourth edition of your failures?” and so I stop before taking rash steps and I go back to my den. Of course many times I have the impression of wasting my life, also because if I don’t do it now, I mean what I’d like to do, I will not do it anymore! And in practice I risk putting myself in an early old age condition, and frankly doing it now I think it’s too much early. But having said that, the big question remains: what to do? Should I download that famous app on my mobile? Or should I join some dating sites? But I never did such things and maybe I did wrong, because I could have found the guy of my dreams right there. 

At the moment I have no goals, there is a guy that interests me and for whom perhaps I would take a risky step, but he is six years younger than me and I don’t even know if he is gay, even if certain things make me think it could be. But maybe he has a girlfriend and gets married in a month! Anyhow a guy like that still puts me in crisis. He works in a supermarket where I go shopping, he gives me an impression of lightness, looks like a happy guy who tends to smile at people, at the supermarket he has become the darling of old women because he treats them well without exaggerating. I also tried to infiltrate among the customers, he was very professional with me, but in the end he smiled at me too. Once, he was pushing a big cart full of groceries at too high a speed so that he was about to lose control of it and the cart was going to crash into a frozen food cabinet, I got in the way and stopped the cart, he flashed me a beautiful smile, I waved to be more cautious and he made a move enlarging his arms as if to say: “Ok, I don’t do it anymore!” 

What do I know about this guy? I know his name because it is written on a kind of pin from the supermarket that he carries as an identification, but here I will call him Paul for privacy, I know his age, because he said it, not to me but to one of his old ladies, when old women ask him about his girlfriend, because someone does it, he never talks about it, he is radically evasive on the subject and limits himself to changing the subject, and such a behavior makes me think. It seems too little to me to think about talking to him. I’d like it to happen by accident, like the history of the cart, but it may never happen. Could he be my fourth failure? He is a handsome guy, the most beautiful thing he has is his smile. And then what can I invent to start a conversation? I had thought that I could try to understand what time he gets out of the service in the evening and in order to pass “by chance” over there, but I thought of even worse hypothesis, for example that I could pass out in the supermarket when there is only him, so that he should give me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but maybe instead he could call the ambulance to take me to the hospital! 

I have not lost my head for this guy, but I have him in my fantasy, the fact is that in all probability I’m not in his fantasy! Is it really so pathological for someone my age to be at this level? I talked about it with one of my friends, with whom I hardly ever talk about these things, and he listened to me and it took him a while to answer, sign that he was thinking about it, then he told me it’s very stupid to think that this guy will be the one who will change my life, but thinking that he cannot be that guy in principle it’s no less stupid, and that after all, if I try and things go wrong, I only took my fourth punch in face, but if the story ends well – he said – my life can really change. After all, the answer is obvious and in a sense encouraging, but between saying: “Try!” and really trying there is an abyss, it would be complicated even with a girl, but with a guy there is the risk that he can completely disgrace you, even if I don’t think this is the case.

Can I ask you what you think about?

Alby87

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Hi Alby,you ask me what I think? Well, I think that what your friend told you is absolutely true. It’s evident that this guy interests you a lot, so a possible story can’t anyway follow the model of that one with your third boyfriend. Problems, however, are many, in the first place you don’t even know whether he’s gay or not and, on such a thing, relying on the so-called gay radar only is absolutely inadvisable. You should talk to him, you should try to build a minimum of friendship. I think giving up a priori would provoke in the future a series of very frustrating regrets, while giving up knowing that he’s straight would be somehow a very different thing, but if you don’t have even a minimum of relationship with him you will never know how things are and how far you can go. I just give you trivial advice: go to the supermarket often, try to exchange a few words about the weather or the about the supermarket service, then see if he immediately cuts off the conversation or instead he doesn’t let it drop. Don’t be afraid, even from the few elements you have at your disposal, he doesn’t seem like a guy who likes to put others in trouble. I don’t think you would have too much to lose anyway. I don’t know what else to say to you, except that I’m a fan of you and that I hope him to be finally the right guy for you.

A hug and good luck!

Project

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Hi Project,

a few months have passed since my first email and things have changed as I never would have imagined. I’ve been looking for a way to start talking to him. I went to the supermarket very early without the mask and waited for him outside. Employees enter 40 minutes before opening to the public and there were no customers. I called him from afar, he recognized me immediately, I told him that I had to do the shopping but I didn’t have a mask, he replied telling me : “Wait there, I’ll find one for you.” After 5 minutes he came back with a packet and a 5 euro receipt, I gave him the 5 euro, which he had paid in advance for me, and I put on the mask. I thanked him very cordially! Then I went in to do the shopping and when, during my shopping, I went to him we had a few minutes of conversation because nobody was there, then I went to get him a sandwich and a drink and I put everything in a paper bag, I went back to him (my legs were shaking!) and I gave him the bag saying “Thanks!” He seemed puzzled but looked inside the little bag, then looked at me as if to say: “But there was really no need of such a thing!” I thanked him again and then I left. 

With gimmicks of this kind, slowly a minimum of relationship has been created. He had said once that he had no car, and one day when there was a bad storm in the evening, I stopped by the supermarket waiting for him. At the exit time, when I saw him I called him, as if I were passing there by chance, he got into my car, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, I said to him: “Where can I accompany you? Because it pours.” and he said, “I have to go to my girlfriend, but it’s far!” For me, that word was like a stab, but now I couldn’t back down. Meanwhile we exchange cell phone numbers, then he calls his girlfriend, tells her that he is in the car with a friend (me), they talk for a few minutes but I can’t understand the real meaning of what they are saying and in the end he tells her to wait for us at the building door in 10 minutes. I stop under the girl’s house and the girl gets into the car too, she is not only a beautiful girl but also very intelligent and it’s evident that there is a very strong understanding between them. Paul asks me to accompany him and the girl to his house, and tells me where, I drive almost mechanically, I have the impression of having thrown myself into a story that doesn’t fit to me at all, in short, of having thrown myself into another of my troubles. 

Once there, Paul tells me: “Park and come with us!” I say that I don’t want to disturb and that I prefer to go away, but he says to me: “Look, there is someone who wants to meet you!” I feel strange and ask: “And who is he?” and he replies: “My brother!” and adds a phrase that is to me like another stab: “I have a gay brother!” I try to disengage myself, but while I’m putting together all my speech, the brother (I will call him Mauro) comes down the street and invites me to go up. I was having a heart attack. He was a beautiful guy, even better than his brother, a guy really sunny and I knew he was gay and he wanted to meet me. We go up to the house all four, Mauro had prepared four sandwiches and drinks, we eat and drink, then Mauro says to his brother and his girl: “We go away so you can be more comfortable!” 

Mauro explains to me that his brother had told him about all my maneuvers to approach him, Mauro had understood on the fly that there was something underneath and for that he was curious to know me. Mauro was 25 years old, one less than his brother, he was a beautiful guy, ok , but I really didn’t want to delude myself about anything. Looking at him the first time, I had thought: “A guy like this one must have already had his experiences!” And instead he had never had a guy, but that’s not enough, at 25 he was already a graduate and worked. In short, Project, after a couple of months in which we basically studied each other remotely, Mauro became my boyfriend and Paul and his girlfriend became my best friends. Mauro also has a nice character, he never leaves me to myself, he understands what I think, he’s strong, I’m not afraid that our story will end, he also sees things in a way not far from mine. With him I feel good from all points of view, I can say that I have rediscovered the pleasure of being gay. I will soon be 33 years old and it almost doesn’t seem possible to me that things have changed so radically and instead it happened!

A strong hug. If you want to publish the emails, do it freely.

Alby87

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If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-story-of-a-gay-guy-aged-20-to-32

GAY ESCAPADES

Hi Project,
I read your last posts in the forum and I was impressed by the speeches on monogamy, because it’s the first time that I read something about this subject that corresponds with my experience. I’ll try to explain better why. I’m growing up! I’m 34 years old and I begin to understand how gay love works. Of course without generalizing too much, however I begin to understand a little better the way through which many gay guys relate to me.

Unfortunately, they like me at first sight, that is, they see me and hit the ground running, it has always been like that, now maybe a little less. They follow me, they woo me, they have a strong interest in me, or rather they have a huge interest in having sex with me, to the point that if I say no, they feel really bad.

I don’t know what I do to men but for them I’m the object of desires, obviously they don’t evaluate the person I’m, because they fall crazily in love with me at first sight, without even having the time to know me a little.

And I’m not a so beautiful guy, I consider myself normal, I see many guys who look much better than me, really many. For a few years or more than a few years, I played with this thing, I knew that I had a power over men, or at least on a certain category of men, that is, on those who are a little depressed, a little cursed, tormented, very humoral, which are precisely the ones I like best and, I would add, that in general they are also very beautiful guys.

A few years ago I had come to discover a principle about this sort of falling in love. I told myself that they were in love as long as I didn’t give up, because at that time I tended not to give the guys much confidence.

Then when I started saying yes to someone I had proof that the crush on me doesn’t pass easily, in fact usually it doesn’t pass at all, but there is one thing that I don’t like: the crush on me is practically only sexual and this makes me uncomfortable.

I can find guys to woo me quite easily, even when I have no intention of it and I don’t get rid of them easily, but they want to get from me one thing only. Honestly it’s not that I’m sorry that things go like this, in a way it’s comfortable, but it’s not enough for me, because these aren’t love stories.

When I go to bed with some of these guys I see them really taken by a kind of absurd frenzy that almost seems pathological to me because nothing like this has ever happened to me, sometimes the enthusiasm is so strong that the guy doesn’t even think about condoms and there I stop him and say to him: “I’m not crazy! I don’t want to risk getting HIV just for a fuck! ” However, the point is another: these guys are not looking for a guy but just for a fuck! Because in the end they have their boyfriends.

I don’t know if they tell their boyfriends that they go around courting me, I don’t think they tell them such sort of things, but they tell me that they have a boyfriend because they understand that I wouldn’t get away from them for this reason, and they tell me it because according to them in this way I can’t delude myself that they are in love with me. In a sense, “with me” they are honest.

At the beginning I used to think that these behaviors were a sign of something pathological, that is, I thought they were just uncontrollable physical outbursts and instead the more I go on the more I realize that this is not the case. They need two things: the first is to have a steady boyfriend, that is, a serious point of reference, which is fine for certain things, and the second is to have a lover with whom, even if there is no real emotional relationship, it is anyhow possible to let off steam. It is a bit like in the 1800s, one had a wife who was fine for certain things, then he had a lover and paid her with money and so he thought he was using her as a tool of pleasure only, but when he was with his lover he used to let himself go and not just sexually, and he used to tell his lover things he could never say to his wife.

In conclusion, I think that stable gay relationships, in many cases, are a bit like a golden prison from which many guys sooner or later tend to escape. The guys, from what I see, with the stable boyfriend have a relationship that is also sexual, but up to a certain point, that is, there are still taboos, which for example don’t exist at all with me. With me they talk about their sexual problems, they want to know what I think of their way of having sex, they compare with me, they take me as a yardstick and I think they do it to have a way to evaluate from the outside their relationship with their stable boyfriend.

The fact that they often tell me and repeat that they have a stable boyfriend, in my opinion, means that they are also afraid of falling in love with me because this would undermine their relationship with the stable boyfriend, that’s why they insist on telling me that they have sex with me only for sex, but this thing is so repeated that it ends up being the classic excusatio non petita (unrequired justification).

Why do they come to tell me and remind me of it every time? This means that they have a dirty conscience, that is that they actually keep me at bay and are afraid of me, but not because I could fall in love with them but because they could fall in love with me! Because they would like both me and their stable boyfriend, but this puts them in crisis and forces them to lie, because in their world having a stable boyfriend is a bit like getting married and marriage must be monogamous.

Let me be clear, in the fact that they want both me and their stable boyfriend, I don’t see anything wrong, but they instead consider it almost a betrayal, even if they do it anyway! For them, keeping one foot in two shoes is a problem, because they say to me that they have a stable boyfriend, while with the stable boyfriend they are careful not to talk about me.

This is a bit what I don’t like about these guys, I don’t like their fake respectability, their way of not saying things as they are because they are afraid of losing the stable boyfriend, because you must keep in mind that having a stable boyfriend is a social status, with the stable boyfriend they go out with friends while they are afraid of being seen on the street with me.

I can satisfy their needs only at home, or better in bed, this is my role, they would never introduce me to their friends, because friends belong to another sphere. I’m part of the sex area, not of the social relations area. They treat me a bit like 19th century men used to treat their lovers.

I don’t mind being with these guys, they also have a kind of loyalty towards me, even if, clearly, they are ashamed of me or better of themselves. Of course I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of their stable boyfriends! In short, I’m the dark side of their life, the one who must remain hidden in order not to ruin the really important things.

They think that I suffer from this situation but I’m fine, I don’t want a stable boyfriend, to end up like their stable boyfriends. I love the guys who woo me, they make me tenderness but I absolutely don’t see them in the role of a boyfriend, I know that sooner or later they will leave, perhaps

because they are in love with their boyfriend or because maintaining a relationship with me would become too complicated, maybe it can be done when there is no coexistence with the stable boyfriend, but when they live together, escapades are no longer practicable. I’m the escapade! And I smile while saying it! But even escapes have their own meaning.

I hug you, Project! Keep doing what you do!
Obviously you can use the email as you want.

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If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gay-escapades

GAY LOVE AND OTHER INTERESTS

Hi Project,

I have read your forum far and wide and now I would like to let off steam with you on a thorny issue, in my opinion much more thorny than the issues related only to sex, betrayals and so on. You often talk about gay love as something completely detached from everything else, but unfortunately gay love (and for the straight one is absolutely the same) doesn’t come from a sterile and uncontaminated environment, but comes from the brains of people who have thousand other things on their minds, and they have a thousand other mental habits, from which they certainly don’t detach themselves when they fall in love, if they really fall in love. I mean that, sadly, gay stories are tainted by other interests, which sometimes don’t even reach the level of consciousness.
 
I don’t mean that guys pretend to fall in love realizing that their falling in love, beyond appearances, has a thousand other reasons, or at least is conditioned by a thousand other reasons. You fall in love but taking with you all your mental vices. And note well, I’m not talking about sex-related things at all. We often fall in love mixing our falling in love with the idea of finding a “comfortable accommodation”, of having something to gain either in explicitly economic terms or more often in terms of benefits related to coexistence, such as reducing subsistence expenses and those for the home, or even to have assistance in case of need or illness, especially if one begins to move forward with the years.
 
Furthermore, if one of the two partners has a job and the other doesn’t, the situation becomes tragic and the interests directly or indirectly linked with economic sphere become absolutely preponderant, even if no one talks about it. In summary, I think that often, unfortunately, affectivity and sex are by no means the central element of a relationship. Now I come to clarify the reason where all this talk comes from.
 
I’m over 40 and in my life I had only two important stories, the first one with a guy 15 years younger than me, that I mistreated because he seemed to me almost dependent on sex, I say almost because it was not really a pathological thing, let’s say trat his propensity for sex  was excessive for me. Then, after four years I broke the story with him and at the moment it seemed like a liberation, and I started a story with a man four years older than me.
 
I felt better with my new partner, in practice I felt at the same level, but a thousand other things emerged with him that slowly put the relationship in crisis. My current partner works, earns well, I mean much more than me, but has forms of avarice that irritate me. He doesn’t want to change his car because he says it is still very good, however, when he has to go out for work, he uses mine which is almost new and makes trips of 200-250 kilometers a day, but not only, he never refuels with petrol, I always have to do it, now he also takes it for granted that my car is somehow also his.
 
You will tell me that a car is only a car, but it doesn’t do it only with the car but also with the smartphone. But that’s not enough: we’ve been living together for almost three years now, at my house, and he has never thought about contributing to expenses or going buy foods to the supermarket for both of us with his money. Mentally he reduced me not only to the role of paying bills, gasoline and various expenses, but also to the role of butler and cook, because he does nothing at all at home.
 
Days ago I started thinking about my first boyfriend and many episodes of which at the time I didn’t even understand the meaning. At the beginning he did only precarious jobs and sometimes very heavy ones. I once thought to give him a smartphone as a present, I made a nice little package and gave it to him and I was surprised by his reaction, because he didn’t even open the package, he put it back in my hand and said: “No! This is not good for me … “At the moment I felt offended by this behavior and then I forgot about it. He never wanted to be accompanied anywhere by car.
 
Once, he came to my house and found a terrible confusion, he began to collect all the scattered things around and then he started washing the dishes and only allowed me to dry them. He never wanted to come and stay with me at my house when he wasn’t working yet and I didn’t understand why, then he found a permanent job and asked me if the proposal to live together was still valid, I said yes and he moved to my house and thenceforth  he started do pay “always” a half of the bills and half of the shopping, he used to do it with an accuracy and a pride that somehow bothered me but that had a profound meaning, he didn’t like at all to feel like one who takes advantage of the situation not even at a minimum level. He used to cook very often and was very careful to keep everything in order.
 
Since he had to go to work very early, he also used to get up very early and showered first. When I entered the bathroom, everything was perfectly dry and shiny, the window was open and the room was well ventilated. With my last partner, it is exactly the opposite, he goes out with wet thongs and splash with dirty water the whole house, he leaves the bathroom like a lake because he knows that there is someone who has to think about it.
 
Perhaps my first boyfriend will also have had a fixation on sex, and in any case he didn’t put me in crisis because of this, but he had a dignity, that is he was interested in me, for sex, certainly, but also because he loved me, not because he needed a car or because while living with me he could live at my expense. A couple of days ago we met again and I was struck by his way of doing things: he was happy to see me! And honestly me too.
 
We talked for three hours, then I asked him if he had a partner, he said no and I told him that I had thought a lot about him and that I understood how unique he was and that I thought I would like to get back with him but now I had my new partner who was living with me. He asked me: “Are you in love with him?” and I replied. “Now not anymore.
 
Now I understand many other aspects of his nature that I don’t like at all, but there is the problem that he has lived in my house for three years and he considers it his home, and convincing him to leave will not be easy …” He told me: “Are you waiting for him to leave spontaneously? You can take it for granted, he will never do it!” We talked about how I could get rid of my partner, first of all I would have to find the courage to talk to him hoping that he won’t make too many stories.
 
Then he said something I didn’t expect: “When you want, when he’s out, we take all your things away and you come and stay at my house, it’s a very little house, but it’s mine. Then if he makes a lot of stories, change the lock and take his things to a deposit and if he wants, he can go and get them there. All this seems to me really difficult to put into practice but I have to regain my freedom, I absolutely must succeed. Thinking that I was so stupid as to be enslaved by the guy who should have been my ideal partner makes me feel really bad.
 
Project, this is the point where I’m now, my house is occupied by my (ex-)companion that now I can no longer stand. Cohabitation is not a dream and can become a nightmare. Except in exceptional cases, I strongly advise young people to put aside the idea of living with their partner, unless he is a person with real dignity.
 
Thanks for listening, Project. If you put this email on the forum I would be happy if he reads it! Obviously do what you think best.
S. G.

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OPENLY GAY GUYS AND COLSETED GAY GUYS – A SINGLE WORLD

Hi Project,your site was recommended to me by a friend whom I respect very much and I went to have a look, in truth I had already heard of it but had never opened it. The forum is huge and very interesting but it is basically a monument to another era, now it is practically abandoned or almost. I like to read many different posts coming from people who think in various ways, on the forum there was a lot of such posts, but now there is nothing similar. Have you ever wondered why it ended up like this? I’m old now and I don’t really feel like the most suitable person to preach to the boys, when I was young I couldn’t stand old people who chatted too much, but now the boys are not in the least interested in your Project, they have other means to stay in touch with each other. 
The emails they send you are not really a cross-section of the gay reality, they come from people who in their way are aligned with the model of the Project, and so a small group of right-thinking people, let’s say so, gathered, who sing and play whatever they like but are always among themselves. There are no dissonant voices, basically you don’t receive criticism and here I can enter the scene, because I come from gay experiences completely different from those of the Project. 
First of all I’m an openly out gay man, but people, given my age, over 65, don’t get upset too much, they don’t think that I’m gay, but that I have been gay in other years and then I ended up in the twilight of sex and instead it is not so. Project, I read your post on “gays and time”, well it smells of depression, you have to wake up. Why do you think there is an age beyond which it is not appropriate to have a partner? I have a partner, we often fight but then we make peace, we are two old men who fought their battles on the streets, even going to the pride half naked when we were already old. 
Yes, there is homophobia, I know it well too, but I don’t like to think that it could prevail and that boys must be afraid of it, my partner and I have fought for this and continue to fight even now. I don’t think at all that closeted gay guys “don’t have the balls”, to use your expression, I understand that in some cases it is very difficult, but if you don’t start to break the most deeply rooted and absurd social beliefs, they will tear us to pieces or will force us to bury us in the catacombs. I have lived in gay militancy for years, I organized clubs and groups and tried to avoid any selection, I tried to take everyone in. Sometimes behaving irresponsible they even messed me up. Many used to come to meetings just to look for someone to have sex with, that’s it, Project, but there’s nothing wrong with that. 
If you really want to be useful to something, you have to get out of the hole, you have to throw yourself into the fray, you are an intelligent man but you are afraid, and therefore you are yourself but only halfway, you start with the brake applied and stop yourself almost immediately. I too know a lot of gay boys but they are boys of another gender, a kind that you probably consciously or unconsciously kept away from. But do you know how much adrenaline unleashes going to the pride together with hundreds and hundreds of people who “openly” claim their identity? 
I never told the boys they had to come out but I certainly didn’t discourage them. Project, you call it prudence but it seems like fear to me, and you shouldn’t be afraid of anyone. Don’t think that openly gay guys and those closeted are two distinct worlds because it’s not so. Openly gay guys aren’t sexually ill persons, they need love like everyone else! I’m not saying that openly gay guys are better but only that they are not another planet. Of course they think in another way, they have other problems because they have made a different life, certainly freer and somehow more risky. 
There isn’t, or better, here I agree with you, there should be no pride of being an openly gay guy, maybe that pride still exists but we have to overcome it, but rest assured that there isn’t any pride in this email, I respect your work, for heaven’s sake! But let’s not make the war between gays, let’s not segregate each other, let’s try to understand each other’s world, because seen from close up it’s the same world. Go ahead with what you are doing but, please don’t be afraid and don’t raise fences.

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GAYS AND HOMOPHOBIC GOSSIP

Hi Project, 

It’s since October 7th, 2019 that I had decided to write to you, I wrote drafts of emails that slowly became a kind of diary, to keep track of what was happening, but then I didn’t send you anything, now instead I’m sending you this diary, if I can call it so, because the situation has defined itself and I think it’s important.

October 7th, 2019, Monday.

Dear Project, today I’m very nervous and I cannot let off steam with anyone. I don’t know if you remember “XY33”, I wrote to you almost a year ago and you replied telling me things that have been really useful to me, we also got in touch on skype, but then I didn’t keep in touch anymore because, let’s say so, I was able to continue walking alone, but today I’m furious, I’m angry, aggressive, near to explode. I work in a public office at a good level and I say it with pride because I’m an executive and being in a job like mine at my age is certainly not a common thing!  Where I work there are many people and unfortunately there is also a lot of hierarchy. 

My boss, who is someone who really matters at the political level, doesn’t want to do anything, or better he isn’t able to do anything, he’s always on the phone chatting about his personal problems and always downloads his work problems on us. Two or three of my colleagues (female colleagues) do twice the work they should do, because they also do the job of the boss who basically does nothing at all: he signs without reading and then when a mess breaks out he screams like a madman, but all this, if we want, is ordinary administration, more or less all the bosses do it with their subordinates. This is the common practice, I had to get used to it, but today I’m furious for another reason. This piece of shit, speaking with the two boot-lickers (the ladies who do his job in his place), allowed himself to do my caricature claiming that according to him I’m a “fagot”, the ladies then told me everything, but if I asked them to testify what they said to me, I’m sure they wouldn’t and they would deny everything.

There is a total omerta in the office. I have no relationship with the boss, although I should, in practice I only see him on television, when he acts like the first actor, and there he plays his role very well and manages to make fun of those who don’t know him and anyhow he would never have bothered to talk to me and even less, I think, he would have bothered to make fun of me, and just because of that I even had the doubt that the two boot-lickers (just to say the least!), I mean the two witches, had really invented all.

I really can’t imagine him while he imitates my gait and makes fun of me in such a vulgar way. I really can’t imagine such a thing. He’s an asshole no doubt, it can be taken for granted, but to imitate my gait he should know who I am and he must have seen me several times, but nothing like this has ever happened. Damn! … I guess they were screwing me! Because there is also a ruthless careerism between us and every system is good for killing me. Did you understand the two witches? They wanted to put me against the boss, so they would have fun like two geese (which is who they are!). 

They would have enjoyed a lot seeing me torn to pieces by my boss and with this elegant ploy they would easily take me out of the circle of those who can make a career! You have to keep in mind that in the moments when I was most angry, I was about to go to the boss to vent even at the risk of losing my job, luckily I didn’t do it and thought to send you this email. In fact what they told me doesn’t make sense! It just doesn’t make any sense! That’s why they raised the tone when they told me about it. It’s okay that only they can go to the boss, but what I know about the boss is only what “they” told me … Project, I think I was going to make a huge mistake.

October 14th, 2019.

Hi Project, I will attach a copy of the previous email (which I didn’t send you) and now I continue the story here. For the whole week I studied the behavior of the two vipers and there are many things that sound very strange to me. They are always by the boss. Always no, but often yes, so why when they talk about him separately with other colleagues they say and repeat in all ways that he’s an “asshole” and other similar epithets? If he’s really what you say, why are you going there? Project, I have to understand how things really are. Is the boss an asshole? Ok, and you, then, who only talk about him with slimy contempt, what are you? You are worse than him because you keep one foot in two shoes and play the double game!
 
October 15th, 2019.

This morning the two vipers are back in the office with the story that the boss makes my imitation and I lost my patience and pretended to get angry and then to go to the boss to express all my irritation and ask him for explanations. I went to the boss but brought with me a folder of documents on which I needed clarifications, however the boss was not there and I asked for an appointment. Just before noon his secretary calls me and I go to talk to him with my papers hidden under my jacket. I go in, it’s him, “the asshole!” He gets up to shake hands and makes me sit not in front of the desk but in the little sitting room nearby. To begin he asks me who I am, a clear evidence that he doesn’t know me, I explain it to him and then I move on to the concrete problem, showing the documents I have with me. He listens to me, then he quotes me an article from the last financial law, he tells me to go to the desk, he looks for and finds two recent court rulings of the Council of State and says: “I think we should operate this way, what do you think about?” I look at him in admiration and say to him: “I don’t think there are more doubts!” He replies: “You have done well to raise the problem, please write an internal circular and bring it to me and I will sign it and the circular will be sent to the offices.” Then we shake hands and he accompanies me to the door. 

In short, Project, this would be the “piece of shit”, the one who does nothing from morning to night and makes fun of me imitating my gait! Now the game of the two vipers is clear. I go back to the office and “I don’t want to talk to anyone” (clearly I’m acting), the two vipers must think that the boss has destroyed me, but I have to prepare the circular to bring to the boss and I can’t waste time. In less than an hour the circular is ready, I call back the boss’s secretary who tells me that the boss is waiting for me. I go there without saying anything to anyone, I give the circular to the boss, he says to me: “Put your initials on it, then I’ll countersign it, the responsibility is mine, but you did the job.” I add my initials and he countersigns and gives the text to the secretary, then he takes leave of me and says: “Thanks, you did a good job and did it immediately!” I go back to my office and try to be dark in the face. The younger viper wants to know what happened but I send her away rudely, almost shouting, saying I don’t want to see anyone!

October 16th, 2019.

The circular arrives in the Office, I don’t say a word, it ends up in the hands of the old viper who grimaces with his mouth, my initials on the circular, in place of hers, have particularly bothered her, so she decides not to speak to me anymore, what I don’t mind at all, I took my revenge!

October 24th, 2019, Thursday.

Dear Project, the story is not over, there have been further evolutions. The boss values me a lot and asked me to do some research to clarify some points that seem very obscure. Practically every day I go to him to show him what I found or rebuilt and we talk about it together. He’s certainly 100% straight. While we were talking, his wife called him and when he was talking on the phone with his wife he was smiling. I made the gesture of getting up to go and wait outside to let him speak with due privacy, but he motioned me to stay and at the end he said to me: “If I didn’t have my wife I would be buried under an avalanche of documents!” and smiled. Then I went away. Now the vipers are hardly seen around the boss’s office!

October 25th, 2019, Friday.

Today an elderly colleague, who will retire in a month and who is therefore not interested in social climbing, told me that the two vipers say that I’m a “fagot” and that now I’m courting my boss who he too is a “fagot”! To which I replied: “Of course being a spinster at fifty must be ugly!” and he laughed.

November 14th, 2019, Thursday

Everything is fine with the boss, but this is not what I would like to talk to you about, now I have to tell you a lot of things about something that is really changing my life. A new guy was to arrive at the office and the boss entrusted him to me for orientation and training in service, previously this task was the exclusive prerogative of the two vipers but this time they remained dry-mouthed. A couple of days later the new guy shows up, he’s a beautiful guy in his early thirties, I’m 34! They told him I would be his tutor and he seemed happy with that. I infer from his resume that he is not married and has no children, but there are no other personal informations that might be interesting from my point of view me. 

His name is Luke, he is tall, blond, blue-eyed, he has a sexy voice like an actor of first order and he also has two fundamental and very rare characteristics, he is truly intelligent and he wants to work. Everything is fine with Luke, I feel very at ease with him, in short between us a perfect understanding has been created. After ten days he’s already very quick in work and competent in research on the repertoires of laws and judgments of the judiciary. Then I make up my mind to go and present him at the boss, who speaks very well about me and encourages him. From here on in the office everything is booming. Luke doesn’t need any further training, he can do his job very well on his own and much better than me, even if it doesn’t take much to do better than me. 

These are, let’s say, the working aspects of my relationship with Luke, but beyond of all this, as you can imagine, there is everything else. I practically fell in love with Luke and I also have to be very careful at work so as not to elicit too much attention, I have to keep him at a distance and I have to limit contacts with him to the bare minimum. We never go out together, he goes out first, I see him walking away from the window and five minutes later I go out. Even if he were straight, what is obviously very probable, it would be “anyhow” a good friendship. Evidently in saying so I mean that I could appreciate Luke, at the limit, “also” as a friend, but I hope with all my might that he is gay.

December 3th,  2019, Tuesday.

I guess I dreamed too much! I’m very downcast. I feel like a total moron. Today, when he came out, there was a girl down waiting for him and they embraced and kissed. It was far away and I can’t say if they kissed like friends or like lovers, but would a girl come and wait for a gay guy to leave work? No! Definitely no! So, dear Luke, goodbye! Our story is over and I go back to the usual melancholy. You could have been at least less handsome, less intelligent, less charming, at least I would have felt less frustrated, but no! Beautiful, intelligent, charming and STRAIGHT! Yet it had seemed to me that between us words where not needed, otherwise what is your intelligence for? I thought that you had understood everything, I even thought of asking you to meet after work, to go to dinner together, to spend a Sunday together and instead you stay with your girlfriend and you haven’t even noticed me. Gay dreams vanished as clouds in the wind! I learned a very hard lesson! Goodbye, Luke, I hope you can live a happy life!

December 4th, 2019, Wednesday. 

Hi, Project, I’m confused, very confused. At 8.30 this morning Luke comes to my office (he never does such things!) And tells me that yesterday he would have liked to talk to me (I don’t understand if about work problems or something else) then he continues almost casually: “but since there was a female friend waiting for me on the square I had to go away immediately.” He had to talk to me? And what would he have told me? At the moment we have no work problems in common and then why give me explanations and tell me that there was a “female friend” waiting for him? But he said “a female friend”, he didn’t say she was “just a female friend”… Friend – girlfriend the two words sound quite similar but as for the meaning there is a big difference! In short, we agree that we will meet today at the exit, even if not right in front of the offices, but in a place that is on the opposit side from where the two vipers pass. 

I work not to think about what will happen at the exit, I have to be careful not to build castles in the air, however, as the exit time approaches, I feel more and more agitated. Half an hour before the exit, the boss’s secretary calls me and tells me that the boss wants to see me, I go but the boss is in a meeting. I hope with all my strength that he will free himself immediately and tell me why he made me call because I don’t want to leave Luke waiting for me, I could warn him with a text message but it would sound strange. Five minutes before the exit I decide and send the text message “Everything postponed, I’m sorry, I’m by the boss, he called me.” At that moment I would have killed my boss. However, I could only wait. He lets me in after almost half an hour, after six politicians of those I’ve seen on TV come out of his office. He is very agitated. I dare not ask him what happened. 

As usually he makes me sit in the sitting room, he lets out a big sigh and then comes to the point and tells me that he thinks that there have been irregularities in some very important procedures and that he needs to check but cannot trust anyone, because there are spreading rumors about his office that have come to politicians and it is necessary to understand if the irregularities have occurred, and if there have been, of what extent and who made them. This is very important because if you understand all these things you can also get to understand who started the gossip. In short, the boss asks me to work in a separate room of his office, with his access codes to the information system (he will not let me know them, this is obvious, but he will access the services with his credentials and then I will be working on the system to find informations). I tell him it’s okay, we shake hands, then, opening the door and he says: “We start tomorrow morning, ok? I recommend, maximum confidentiality.” I nod my head and add: “You can take it for granted!” and I go away. 

But I’m not thinking about the boss or the possible cheating or gossip, I’m thinking only of Luke, I go running to the appointment place but Luke is not there, I feel discomforted, invaded by a black sadness, I send him an text message to apologize and I he replies: “Wait for me, I’m coming in a minute, I’m at the bar around the corner, I’ve been waiting for you.” This answer makes me change mood, I just didn’t expect it. He arrives after less than a minute, really beautiful as a god and asks me what the boss wanted, I downplay and concentrate on the fact that I was only sorry to make him wait and I was afraid that he would go away. I think I ask him how his female friend is, but I immediately remove this stupid thought. He tells me “What about eating something together?” The answer is obvious, it is late but there is a place where many tourists go which is open until early afternoon. There are people, too many people, there is not a minimum of privacy, an hour later we are out of the restaurant. 

I would like to ask him what he wanted to talk to me about, but I don’t, I wait for him to make the first move and after a while he does it. He says to me: “I wanted to talk to you, but I think there is no need because from so many small things I realized you understood. What do I have to do?” I tell him: “I feel very happy and there is no need for any speech.” Soon after, a terrible embarrassment took over, a mixture of anxiety and fear of having misunderstood, the speech had been very allusive but basically vague. An explicit speech would have been much more difficult but would have dispelled all the mists. I couldn’t go on not even with the shadow of uncertainty and so this time I took the substantial step forward and asked him: “How did you understand that I fell in love with you?” and he replies: “Well, somehow a gay radar does exist!” After these words the state of happiness both his and mine was evident, we walked on foot until late in the night, and it was freezing cold! Then we said goodbye with a hug (the first hug with Luke!).

January 4th, 2020.

Dear Project, I have been with Luke for a month, it’s a beautiful but very complicated thing, we have a thousand problems. Our relationship is very tender. Luke has a lot of attention for me, we talk a lot, he told me his previous stories, absolutely nothing heterosexual, only two boys whom he then lost sight of, with the first perhaps he was in love, but he was not really in love with Luke and found another guy. With the second there were only a few days of sex, then it all ended because of mutual disinterest. I told him about my stories of ten years ago with one who then found something better and left after less than a month.

March 21th,  2020.
Between me and Luke there is a lot of embarrassment when we talk about sex, not when we talk about the sex that there has been before but when we talk about the sex we are supposed to have between us and on the other hand we only talk about it by phone because now we have to be isolated (because there is the Covid-19). Today he said to me: “How about we both get tested for sexually transmitted diseases?” I said yes, because his proposal was essentially also a sexual proposal, but who knows when it will be possible and therefore between us, at least now, no sex at all. Cuddling yes, and on the phone only, but nothing too much sexual. I had thought of propose him to use the cam, but it seemed like a bad idea. I’ll wait! Obviously I masturbate thinking only of him and he probably does the same but this is a taboo topic and we never talk about it! You don’t imagine how conditioned and anxious I feel, these long waits are unnerving and anyhow we have to do the test first, we just can’t do without it.

May 5th, 2020.

We booked the HIV test, obviously we did it in the same institution but separately so as not to be labeled! Think how far paranoia goes! They gave us an appointment for June 5th and another month will pass by. I talk to Luke on Skype every evening for a couple of hours and I’m alwais admiring him because he’s really beautiful, it’s not me the one who is out of mind, it’s he who is beautiful! Now we are less clumsy and we talk about everything also about sex and masturbation even if we still talk about it “in general”.

May 22th, 2020.

We ended up to have sex on cam. No embarrassment! It was an overwhelming thing and then he’s beautiful there too and he lives sex spontaneously, laughing, joking and above all participating in a very strong way. If I’m so involved on cam I imagine what it will be when we will do it in person. June 5th is near, but we still have 13 days left, I just hope they don’t close everything again, otherwise this time too everything ends up in nothing . Now our speeches are finally explicitly sexual and without any embarrassment and I’m happy because before I was afraid he wasn’t really 100% involved, but now this doubt has completely dissolved.
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End of quotes! Now I will send you the email, then maybe I will send you another one after June 5th.
If you want, you can publish everything, because it seems to me that there are no references to sensitive elements in relation to privacy. I modified some things related to work environment and anyhow everything is quite vague, even if the atmospheres are exactly those.
I embrace you and hope to hear from you soon.

Matthew

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If you want, you can participate in the discussion on this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gays-and-homophobic-gossip

I’M GAY BUT I’M FINE WITH MY GIRLFRIEND

Hi Project, a few days ago, surfing the net, I found your forum and started reading. I must say that I was very impressed because there are no obvious things. I begin to read a story or an email and I imagine an ending a bit like in a porn video, but then the story doesn’t work at all like that at all. Above all there is one thing that strikes me, there is also sex, but all in all it does not have a dominant position, it is not an obsessive idea, there is sex, it is important, but there are also feelings. Reading such things pleases me because I feel at home in them and I identify myself with some of the protagonists. Let’s talk a little about me. I’m 24 years old, I’m about to get my Master Degree and I feel realized from this point of view. I’m passionate about my studies which are not at all heavy for me, because I study things that I want to study. My family is not bad, my father is almost 60 years old, he has always tried to give me maximum autonomy, perhaps precisely because he knows that I would not abuse his trust, I have never been able to understand him, he treats me affectionately but I realize that I’m probably a concern for him, even if I don’t understand why, since I never had problems with studying and I think that afterwards I won’t even have problems finding work. I will come back later to this point because it is important, that is, it is important to me. My mother is not yet 50 years old, she feels a beautiful woman and in the end she is. I see her as very calm and even absent-minded when it comes to me and my situation, a bit the opposite of my father, that is, she sees me as someone who will never have problems and who is going on very well. Then there would be my sister, who is 28 years old and who got married six years ago. There was never a real relationship with her, that is, we never spoke with an open heart and she was not substantially interested in my life. You may have wondered why I didn’t say “I’m gay” up to this point. Here, in reality, even if it is absurd at the age of 24, I still have many doubts, or rather I have no doubts but I find myself living a very particular situation. I have a girlfriend since I was 18, and she 15, I will call her Mary. I have to try to make you understand the meaning of our relationship because it is more complicated than it may seem from outside. I’m fine with Mary, that is, I love her, she’s a very good girl and she loves me too, but she’s very different from the other girls and perhaps for this reason I really love her. We have been together for almost 6 years and have never had sex and not even things that vaguely resemble sex. She never asked me and never made me understand that she needs also sexual involvement. Some things are paradoxical: in public she’s very loose with me, kisses me on the mouth, caresses me, but when we are alone (which also happens rarely) there is none of this. Basically this is the reason why we stay together: I don’t feel cornered, for me, in essence she is a friend, a true friend but nothing else, that is, she’s not my girlfriend in the sense that guys generally give this expression, and there is also another reason, she not only doesn’t put me in a tight spot in order to induce me to have sex but when we talk, and at least we talk a lot on the phone, she never asks me for explanations, that is, she accepts our relationship as it is, without asking me and without asking herself questions of any kind. If we don’t meet on a Saturday, I just need to say that I can’t and she won’t even ask me why. I want to emphasize that she considers me an important person. Last year I went to the hospital for a small surgery and she came to all the relatives’ visits and she didn’t miss the visit a single time, she did it also because my parents were there and she had to play the role of the official girlfriend, but if my parents weren’t there, she would have come all the same. Project, I asked myself many questions about Mary, but I should have asked her those questions, but as she has always respected my privacy, so I too have always respected hers and I know very well that I must not pester her and I must not meddle in her things. Now I go back to my father. I think he’s worried because, despite Mary’s efforts to do her best  as girlfriend, my father begins to suspect that there is something strange about our engagement. We meet but it is clear that there is not all the involvement that should be there. I suspect that my father blames Mary for all this, that in essence he accuses her of being cold and detached, almost of playing the role of the girlfriend at best but not feeling in that role at all. My father thinks that the relationship with Mary makes me suffer but it is not at all like that, indeed the relationship with her calms me down, gives me serenity. In fact, my relationship with Mary is out of all the rules, she never talks about marriage and on the contrary in the speeches that are made with friends she has said many times that marriage is not needed if you love each other and it is a slavery in any other situation. And now something about me. I know I’ve always been gay, I’ve never had sexual interests for a woman, yet, I will tell you, Project, I think that living with Mary would be good and I never thought the same thing of a boy. We could be a couple without sex and at best with a little pampering, but sometimes I think that she would never accept a “bond” with me. I want to be explicit. All the other women don’t interest me at all, but Mary does, that is, it makes me tenderness, apart from the fact that I always wonder what is behind her behavior. I thought that she could be a lesbian, and she really could be, and the fact that she never spoke of such a possibility avoiding even the slightest hints, certainly does not eliminate suspicions, because I too have never spoken to her about my homosexuality. But not having talked about it, after all, is not a reticent behavior, that is, it is not a deception, we know very well that each of us has a private life and that that private life must be respected. On the gay side, so far, I have never had a story or anything similar to a story. I have a lot of fantasies and I go on with those and with some porn. Today as today the relationship with Mary doesn’t complicate anything for me, but what if I find a guy? I don’t know what could happen. I think that for Mary practically nothing would change and that maybe she would be happy too, the fact is that having a boyfriend is not compatible with having a girlfriend who has known your family for years. And then how could I tell my father that I’m gay? Mary also gave me a strange speech, she told me that if today or tomorrow our relationship ends, she would absolutely not make it a tragedy, we could remain friends as well and she said it with full conviction. I mean, Project, I like this girl. Sex has nothing to do with it, but I like her because she thinks like me, and between us, unlike what my father thinks, there is a practically perfect harmony. Project, I’m not cheating Mary and she’s not cheating me. Asking for explanations seems clearly out of place because I also don’t want to give explanations and then I believe there is no need for explanations. Even with my father I think it will go on like this. I don’t see any need to clarify. Then, if I would happen to find a boyfriend, then I will ask myself a lot of questions, but now, in my opinion, things must go on like this. What do you think about it? p.s.: If you want to publish this email do it freely. I have changed something of the details but the story in substance is that.

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GAYS AND TIME

In the career of an athlete, sooner or later the time comes to choose the day on which he will have to withdraw from competitive activity. Some argue that the ideal time to retire coincides with that of maximum success, others have different opinions, but the fact remains that if the time to retire is too much postponed, the athlete ends up being considered a survivor and, in practice, a caricature of what he was in better times.

In the life of ordinary people there are many moments of choice and each of them marks the transition to a further phase, if we want more mature and more aware, but from which there is no going back. Obviously “there is a time for everything” and this also applies to gays. There is a time to understand that you are gay and one to accept it, there is a time to fall in love and a time to be indifferent, a time to long for a partner and a time to long for solitude, a time to hope, a time to get busy and a time to forget. Time limits are generally elastic but cannot be postponed indefinitely. This means that they are choices that must in any case take place and that only the determination of when is left to us, and many times with very strong restrictions.

The time limits within which to make a choice or behave in a particular way are defined with two different criteria, that of possibility and that of opportunity. Both, despite appearances and with a few exceptions, are very nuanced criteria. The possibility is defined by physical or legal parameters: you cannot choose to civilly join another person before the age of 18, because law doesn’t allow it, and you cannot decide to retire at any age, because law sets precise deadlines, but you cannot even think of bringing help to a person who needs it when you are no longer in suitable physical condition to do so. The criteria of necessity, although sometimes even very elastic, have an intrinsic cogency, in the sense that if it is true that something can become increasingly difficult over time, without any theoretical limit, it is true, that after a certain time that “something” will become so difficult as to be in fact impossible.

The opportunity is something radically different from the possibility, it is a social criterion and is therefore questionable, as in the case of this statement: “It is appropriate to start a coexistence when you are between 23 and 35 years old!” In this case “appropriate” means socially accepted and nothing more, which means that making the choice of coexistence beyond certain time limits exposes to social discredit for failure to comply with the social rules of opportunity, but nothing prevents that coexistence can begin at any age.

So far I have talked about possible and opportune choices, which are in any case choices, that is voluntary and conscious acts, but the problem of “time” sometimes arises even in a very heavy way in relation to the acceptance of inevitable things such as disease and death itself, realities that induce defensive behaviors, aimed at denying the problem or relegating it to a future to which we try in every way to give the halo of uncertain and hypothetical.

I don’t intend here to address universal problems such as that of the acceptance of death, on which too much has been written, but I would rather focus on the problems related to the choice of times by gays in issues that are typical of gays. Among these problems there is the choice of the time of coming out. It is true that coming out is not an obligatory choice and therefore the full determination of whether or not to come out is left to our freedom, but certainly coming out at 15, 25, 50 or 80 has very different meanings and purposes, that is the time, in this case, qualifies the action in a substantial way.

Among the problems connected to the better times for the “forced” choices, there are those related to attitudes and behaviors that undergo an inevitable deterioration connected to the passage of time. It is not said that you have to live as a couple, you can also live as a single and, at least in theory, there is no time limit to start a couple life, but on the other hand, if the couple life must really be a couple life and not a substitute for a mutual assistance relationship, there are certainly times “within which” that choice must be made. Also in this case, going to live with your partner at 20, 40, 60 or 80 has very different meanings and purposes.

When we talk about gays in general we mean referring to a particular subset of gays and that is to say young gays, and we identify as classic gay problems the discovery of being gay, the acceptance of being gay, the coming out, the looking for a partner and the building a couple’s life or friendships within which to live one’s own affectivity-sexuality. All these things, as it is easy to notice, refer mainly to young gays, but identifying gays with gay boys who go to the disco on Saturday night means forgetting that being gay is a fact that pervades the entire life of an individual up to at its end. Nobody talks about middle-aged gays (50 years old) or sick ones, or old ones who end up in nursing homes. They too were young, certainly in other periods, and then they grew old, but they are still gay.

The dimension of flowing time is often neglected or forgotten even in the use of words and we sometimes refer to one’s age group as if it were something stable and not something subject to change due to the passage of time. Young people reason as if the category of “young” were their stable characteristic, forgetting that they are young “now” but they will no longer be in twenty years and old men try to evade the evidence that they are old “now” but in twenty years, and perhaps much earlier, they simply will no longer exist.

A gay man, like any human person, follows a parable from birth to death. The acceptance of homosexuality or the coming out or the search for a partner are classic gay problems which are either exclusively gay, like the acceptance of homosexuality and the coming out, or they are universal, like the search for a partner, but, for gays they take on a so particular and specific connotation that they become problems substantially different from those of hetero people.

I will now try to deal with three typically gay problems from the point of view of the times:
1) The acceptance of one’s homosexuality
2) The coming out
3) The search for a partner
Let’s start from the first topic.

THE TIME OF ACCEPTANCE OF YOUR HOMOSEXUALITY

To clear the field of possible misunderstandings, I must start by saying that I will only speak of guys who are properly homosexual, not bisexual. Acceptance is not in itself a problem, because experience teaches that in environments where there is no homophobia and there is a correct sex education (as in Scandinavian countries), the acceptance of homosexuality by boys coincides with puberty. Genital sexuality already has a homosexual connotation at its birth, the thing is not a taboo, it is possible to talk about it without problems in the family, with classmates and with friends of the same age or even adults without meeting questioning and perplexed looks. Summing up, in an atmosphere of this kind homosexuality is a normal fact and to say: “I’m gay” is not a problem, as it is not to say: “I’m straight”. The two are both part of the domain of normalcy.

Of course, imagining a society without homophobia means thinking only based on theoretical concepts, however, there are societies that reflect that model quite faithfully and in which homophobic attitudes are objectively rare; and at the other end there are societies in which homophobia is instilled through religion and becomes a common cultural heritage and is sometimes even protected by law as a value capable of moralizing society.

May 17th is the world day against homo-, bi- and trans-phobia. This date was chosen because thirty years ago, on May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization finally removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses! Even today, despite repeated appeals coming from the European Parliament, there are countries within the European Union that don’t recognize any legal legitimacy for homosexual unions. In Italy civil unions between people of the same sex were introduced with the Cirinnà Law, Law 20 May 2016 n. 76. In some countries, such as Italy, there is no specific law for the suppression of homophobia, but outside Italy there is much worse, always in the European Union, in Hungary and Poland, levels of discrimination on a homophobic basis are widely covered and protected by law and institutions, but it is enough to look beyond the Atlantic to see, under the Trump presidency, the resurgence of homophobic attitudes, not only not repressed but encouraged and legally protected. In some Islamic countries homosexuality is still punished today with the death penalty, a death penalty which is in itself and in any case a sign of incivility. I remember incidentally that on November 30, 1786, 234 years ago, Pietro Leopoldo of Habsburg-Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany, abolished the death penalty in his Grand Duchy without exception, paving the way for a modern criminal code. It was the first explicit abolition of the death penalty in the world. But let’s get back to the topic. On the occasion of the world day against homophobia, the President of Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, took a very clear position stating that homophobia violates human rights whose respect is necessary for the full development of the personality. In essence, homophobia deprives homosexual people of the serenity necessary for the full development of their personality and compels them to stressful defensive behaviors that effectively limit their individual freedom.

In the various countries of the world homophobia manifests itself in various ways and degrees and consequently the acceptance of one’s homosexuality becomes a more or less serious problem depending on the pressure that environmental homophobia is able to exert, such pressure can go from simple cancellation of any reference to homosexuality, up to violent bullying by the family itself and work colleagues and in some cases the consequences can be extreme, as it happens in the film “Viharsarok”, a Hungarian film of 2014, released also in English with the title “Land of Storms”, in which a gay guy suffers homophobic environmental violence, exercised on him in such a systematic and persecutory way, that to free himself from the induced “guilt feelings” related to homosexuality, he ends up to kill the his partner. In this case the murder, more than to the exasperated guy, it must be attributed to the environmental homophobia that led him to that extreme gesture. In situations such as those described in this film, accepting one’s homosexuality is truly dramatic. But between the extreme levels of the radical absence of environmental homophobia and of the violent homophobic climate there is an infinite gradation of attitudes, more or less aggressive and more or less persecutory.

Becoming aware of one’s homosexuality when homosexuality is openly subject to social discredit, because it is considered a psychiatric illness, a behavior against nature, a moral degeneration or a guilty “choice”, is objectively difficult. It is not a matter of declaring yourself gay publicly but simply of accepting that you are who you are, but in order to accept that you are who you are, you must become aware of the absurdity of what is commonly told about homosexuality, therefore you must have access to objective information not spoiled by ideological prejudices and you must realize that, due to the effect of environmental homophobia, a gay guy will never be able to freely express his way of being and loving. But all this is not enough, because once you have acquired these awareness, sometimes the idea of having to integrate in any case into the world of others dramatically takes over. But for a gay guy this means forcing himself to live a fake hetero life, that is, forcing himself to play the role of a straight guy even through marriage, or simply to put aside sexuality altogether, perhaps sublimating it in work or in something so “high” that it appears worthy of such a sacrifice.

Those who live in Western European countries tend to give the word homophobia a reductive meaning, because they see homophobia as a fact “still present” and perhaps “still faintly present” but destined to disappear anyway and not as a distressing and heavily persecutory problem, as it is still today in many countries of the world. The problems of homosexuals do not come from homosexuality but from ignorance and prejudice and for this reason, the real solution to those problems consists in the diffusion of a free and honest culture able to provide gays with the indispensable tools to understand and judge consciously and in the same time to provide others the means to prevent homophobia, against which the only effective antidote is true culture, which undermines prejudices and accustoms the brain to think autonomously.

The time that elapses between puberty and the acceptance of one’s homosexuality by a gay boy represents the measure of environmental homophobia which, of course, is far from uniform within a state and indeed has very strong local components, linked to individual communities and even to individual families. I would add that traditionally religions, and I would say above all the great monotheistic religions, have always been directly and indirectly among the main sources of inspiration for very deep homophobic sentiments.
In conclusion, the time of awareness is not in substance an autonomous individual characteristic, but is the result of the widespread cultural climate in which we find ourselves living.

THE TIME OF COMING OUT

What has been said about environmental homophobia in the previous section obviously also applies in relation to the problem of coming out. However, a clarification must be made: the problem of “coming out” is a problem that has arisen only in recent years. Already in my time, 50 years ago, the idea of coming out (I’m obviously speaking of public coming out) could have had some connotation of concreteness, perhaps, for some movie star or for some super-billionaire, but also in Western Europe, it didn’t even touch the brains of gay boys, as today it doesn’t even touch the brains of boys who live in Iran. Today, in Western Europe and in the USA, the idea of a coming out limited to a more or less restricted group of reliable people is much more common than the idea of a coming out without limitations. Still today the idea of public coming out is not taken seriously as a possible hypothesis by the great majority of gays, because the consequences of a public and generalized coming out can be and have been in fact disruptive even years later. In Italy, of course, there are no laws that discriminate against homosexuals, but homophobia exists all the same and is exercised in an undeclared but substantially effective way. To dismiss a gay employee, an employer can’t at all motivate the dismissal with the sexual orientation of the employee, he must be able to carry out targeted mobbing actions to obtain a “voluntary” resignation or may resort to disciplinary proceedings based on a real presumed fault of the employee. It is true that it is possible to appeal to the employment judge but it is expensive and in any case with an uncertain outcome and so homophobia, if properly hidden, can continue undisturbed to do its job.

In general, the coming out with close friends is today much more anticipated than in previous generations. Many youngsters already at 14-15 have confided their homosexuality to their most trusted friends, although the cases in which these confidences are delayed even by 5 or even 10 years are not uncommon. The specific environmental situations condition these postponements much more than general rules and prudence itself do.

Among the forms of restricted coming out, coming out with parents is of particular importance and has a rather characteristic timing. Given that coming out with parents is still an uncommon thing (3-4%), even if it is spreading, albeit in a very limited way and slowly over the years, I observe that or coming out with parents happens very early, between 14 and 16-17 years of age, or is postponed indefinitely, using a formula more or less like this: “I will only tell my parents about my homosexuality when I’m economically independent, because thus, if the climate were to become unlivable, I could permanently break up my family relationship.” That this type of postponement is actually a definitive removal of the problem can clearly be deduced from the fact that no “coming out” with the parents follows the achievement of economic independence. The cases of coming out with parents of adult and cohabiting gay sons are very rare and in general they are the seal of a very rare dimension of respect and substantial family affection.

THE TIME OF SEARCHING FOR A PARTNER

I come now to the last subject that I had proposed to face: the time of the search for a partner. Here it is not a question of carrying out an action in this or that moment or of reaching an awareness in tis or that moment, it’s not question of defining the time of an action that is substantially “punctual” but of defining a period, normally very long, in which the research of a partner can materialize. The time of searching for a partner therefore has a beginning and an end, normally located in very distant phases of life. For a young man it makes sense to ask himself when it is possible or it is appropriate to look for a partner, for a mature man it makes sense to ask himself when it becomes impossible or at least inappropriate to look for a partner, obviously these are extremely different situations both of which are part of the gay dimension.

For a teenager, there is nothing more unwelcome than being told: “Wait! You have to grow up! Before making your choices you have to mature! ” The word maturity has become so important that at least in Italy it has given its name to the exams that conclude high school. Before the high school final exam (“maturity exam”) all the choices are actually made by the parents, after the high school final exam there is the first real choice made by the boy, which is the choice of the university faculty. It is an extremely important choice that often young guys faced with the total unawareness that they are about to decide something fundamental for the future, in other words, such an important choice is made on the basis of the hearsay, without collecting serious information and often pursuing the intent to please the parents by adapting to their expectations. In other words, very often the choice of the university faculty is faced in a deeply immature way.

An adequate level of maturity is also required for the search for a partner, the phenomenon is not substantially different from the choice of university faculty. To look for a partner you should have a realistic idea of the true life of a couple of gay men and you should also understand why many gays don’t like the couple life, but not only, you should also know where to look for a serious partner and how to behave in the initial stages of a possible relationship, but also in looking for a partner guys rely on the hearsay and very often choices are made in an immature way. A serious sex education and a specific information on the true experiences of other gay guys would be very useful and would favor informed choices built on the basis of reliable data, but, at least in Italy, sex education, which until a few decades ago was in entrusted in fact only to the church, is now delegated, also this time “in fact”, only to pornography and dating sites. In such a situation it is inevitable that guys make immature choices and make mistakes of various kinds, which result in states of unease, intolerance and frustration.

Just as science proceeds by trial and error, also the acquisition of experience in the emotional and sexual field proceed by trial and error. If you learn from experience and don’t make the same mistakes again, then the experience makes you grow up and the vision of relational and couple problems becomes more and more mature. If, on the contrary, experience easily put aside and one enters a vicious circle within which the same mistakes are repeated, even if with different people, one never manages to accumulate an experience that allows conscious and mature choices.

The search for a partner is precisely a search and can end with the creation of a stable couple, or at least hypothetically stable at the beginning, but it can also lead to a long and more or less frustrating series of attempts that anyhow contribute to the maturation of an experience on the basis of which the criteria for continuing the research can be refined, expectations can be reduced and previous experiences can be differently assessed.

Among the many possible determinations to which the experience accumulated in the search for a partner can lead there is a very particular one which is the decision to end the search, because lowering expectations too much or waiting without any time limit for the arrival of the ideal partner means in essence trying to settle for something that will not be satisfactory anyway or wasting your time in an activity that is likely to not achieve any result. The conclusion of the speech can be summed up with the expression: “Enough! I can’t waste years and years of my life running after dreams that probably will never come true!” Certainly, the affective-sexual life will continue anyhow, but as for the future at least the couple model of “two hearts and a hut” will be put aside. At what age does all this happen? First of all it should be clarified that this is not a formal decision taken in a precise moment but something that matures slowly over the years and gradually takes on greater concreteness. The heavier the series of frustrations we have faced, the faster we reach these decisions.

Let’s admit that there has been someone who has accumulated few experiences and all in all just a little frustrating or who has perhaps accumulated many disappointing experiences but is animated by an indomitable enthusiasm, in such cases the decision to say “Enough!” it may not mature at all and, at least in theory, the search for a partner could go on without time limits. But the passage of time creates so profound physiological and psychological transformations that many of the motivations that had been the basis of the search for a partner in youthful years and also during maturity, become much less strong and fade away due to the passing of time. Sexual libido is no longer that of youth, the desire for novelty is clearly reduced, health is no longer something which can be taken for granted and any change in the pace of life becomes problematic. In essence, the problems of the couple life, in the individual balance, end up prevailing over the possible advantages. In this way the couple’s life loses its charm and solitude becomes, for a few more years, the most accessible surrogate of bliss. All this obviously lasts as long as solitude remains in fact a manageable hypothesis, that is, as long as individual physical autonomy lasts.

I would like to close these reflections with a passage of an email I received about ten days ago from a thirty-two-year-old guy, that can help to understand a way of dealing with the search for a partner that is increasingly spreading today.

“… I had a lot of guys, they were good guys, but I wasn’t in love with them, with some of them I tried to build something, but when the basic push is missing there is little to do, in the end you can’t build anything. I also fell in love with some guys but they didn’t care about me. I had a decent guy with whom I felt not so bad, although I wasn’t really well. With him, perhaps, I could have built something, but he was afraid of everything, he was hypochondriac, he was even afraid of touching me, and after a series of steps forward and backward he preferred to leave than to overcome his fears.

At the end of all these stories what’s left? I lost years and years of my life and I realized that maybe being alone is not the worst solution in the end and then, I’m not alone, I don’t have a boyfriend but I have many friends, I have a job that is not that great but at least it keeps me calm from that point of view. I don’t know if there will ever be a guy for me, but I’m tired of thinking about these things! If that guy will come then I will think about him, but for me the time for chats and dating sites is really over.”

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