I’m a guy not too much young, over 35, all in all I’ve been lucky enough in a number of ways: I have a job, I live on my own and in a sense I found my accommodation at least economically, that is, I do not have much anxiety for the future.
My underlying problem is loneliness. I did not and I do not want to come out publicly, but I have some gay friends, not very few, all in the closet, like me, and with them I’m fine, we are more or less the same mindset, we come from very similar social environments, shortly we understand each other well. And here, with my gay friends, my bigger problem is born.
I’ve seen that you have repeated many times that the “gay + gay = love” theorem does not work, does not correspond to reality and I can say that I’m the living example of your statement. When I met my gay friends I expected that theorem to work but it did not work. I often see them, I’m fine with them, but I never lost my head for any of them, maybe it just happened once and very superficially with a guy, but when we met “a little better” (and still very superficially), the interest has just vanished completely and when I did not hear him anymore I pulled a breath of relief. I also have straight friends, but I have never fallen in love with a straight guy, and I have never even had theoretical hypotheses on them. So far you can tell me that my situation is quite common, and so on, and that if I’m not susceptible to the affectivity, this is a problem of mine.
Okay, it might be true, but here’s the real problem. How do you behave when you realize you are in the interest of another guy but you do not have a felling for that guy? That’s exactly what happens to me at this time. I have noticed for a couple of months that one of my gay friends is interested in me, I understand it from his embarrassed behavior, from his always giving up, from his approaching me as often as possible. When these things happened at our group meetings, well, I did not take much notice, but then that guy started contacting me privately, sending me mails and messages. I tried to pretend, not to understand and answered in a banal way, but obviously my message, which was a “no, thanks” was not properly interpreted and he is continuing his approach maneuver.
He looks like a good guy, but very fragile, I think he’s living a love story with me that does not make any sense because I’m not interested. Let’s talk about it, I’m not interested because he does not attract me physically and I think nothing can be done. As a friend he’s fine. It’s not like a person that I reject him, he’s honest, correct, whatever you want, but I do not see him in any way as a hypothetical guy with whom to build a life together. When he calls me, what happens quite often, I try to stay on very neutral arguments and never go into personal issues, but I see that he remembers what I say, he always asks me for explanations and especially does not realize that I’m not interested.
Honestly, Project, I’m afraid of really hurting this guy by telling him brutally how things are, but also by pretending nothing, remaining in the vague and postponing the moment of clarification forever. I thought of possible solutions: cutting relationships with the group, that is, just disappearing from the circulation, which is, however, very complicated to accomplish, to tell him or to make him understand that I have another guy, and other things even more absurd. He is not overly insistent because he is controlled and limited, but I see that this behavior for him is not totally spontaneous.
He is younger than me, a few years younger, he is 31 years old, but is an adult man, I know, I understand, I see he needs love, more than sex, he needs a stable affection on which to count but his point of reference cannot be me, because it is not spontaneous for me. Sometimes he makes me little gifts, which I never return, but he keeps doing so. They are not objects of value but objects that have something personal, particular objects that he has sought on the basis of something I said and he did not forget, for example I had talked about the old Neapolitan aluminum coffee makers, those of the years ’50, and he gave me one. What should I do? Would you give him back gifts and tell him that there was no point in insisting on those things? I have not been able to do it.
When we talk I try to stretch the pauses, and he waits for hours too, I see that he is still there, that he has not gone and then I resume the conversation, which is not unpleasant, but on my side is forced, or at least a little forced. I’m afraid he’s developing a dependency and I do not know what to do, because I would not really hurt him. Time ago he used to send me good morning and good night messages, a little like lovers do. The first times I answered, then I started not answering and he stopped, but I had the obvious feeling of doing a bad thing. It did not cost me anything to go on with the messages, but those messages for him meant something else.
I thought maybe the best thing would be to speak clearly and tell him that I see him as a friend, what I have already said many times more or less explicitly, he thinks that friendship can turn into something else but I know that nothing will change. Project, perhaps it would look brutal, but if you do not like a guy physically, if you often hear and see him and have never made fantasies about him, how can you think that he can become your boyfriend? Physical appearance is very important. Staying with him and making fantasies about other guys would be just the worst way of staying with him, but I think that would happen just that. I cannot force myself to try a relationship that I do not feel instinctively mine, he would notice that it is something not spontaneous and it would be even worse.
I have to confess to you, Project, that the idea of trying anyway came to me because I think he would do anything to get close to me, somehow he would suit me, he would end up accepting anything but I do not want such things to happen, there would be no equality within the couple, what I think is absolutely crucial. In short, it’s just a critical moment, I know I cannot go on for a long time with postponements, I know I have to decide and I have to decide soon. I feel split in two, I know he’s a good guy, but I cannot pretend to be in love with him and I cannot even start a totally unbalanced relationship because in the end I would hurt especially to him.
He is also a nice guy, although he is not my type, and there are some common friends who would probably want to draw his attention, but he only thinks of me and every other hypothesis is totally impossible for him. I’m not in a good situation. I do not want to hurt that guy, but I did not fall in love and I do not know how to get out of this situation without making damages. I would be grateful if I knew what you think. If you want to post the mail, certainly you can, basically I think my problem is widespread and maybe reflecting on these things can also be useful for others.
I greet you and look forward to your mail.
If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post, on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/showthread.php?tid=142
I’m writing to you because I cannot do it anymore, I don’t know where to bang my head. I’m thirty, I’m gay and I’m married for two years, I have a son not yet a year old. I feel literally split in two, on one side there is my wife with my son, on the other my sexuality.
When I was married I was 28 and I was with the same girl for ten years. Everything started almost as a game because all my friends had a girl and I with my friends was fine. Was I gay even then? I think so, my friends were drooling over their girls, I was fine with mine, but already I felt that having a girl at social level, for me was the maximum I could aspire; for my friends to have a girlfriend meant having sex with that girl. For them, doing such things was obvious and obviously very engaging, for me it was kind of a hypothesis that I tried to keep away as much as possible, even though I used to see my girlfriend almost every day with the blessing of my parents who were trying to leave us all the possible freedom, that is, they tended to leave us alone as much as possible, what I was trying to avoid systematically, because when it happened to be alone, a kind of sexual game, that she liked very much, started, but for me it was quite embarrassing.
Playing with a girl, including a certain level of physical contact was after all good and when we kissed the erection arrived. When she was touching me from above my trousers (always from above, with one exception) I felt a strange feeling of the type. “But what am I to do here?” I was wondering why I was not involved as my friends were in similar situations, although I knew it very well. The only time we masturbated each other my feeling was of total passivity, the brain was elsewhere and had already removed everything.
She was obviously inexperienced and then she was a girl and to me it was not good at all and then finding me masturbating a girl provoked me some moment of real rejection. It was a world I did not know at all and that I did not care at all. After that I had to make it clear to my girlfriend that it did not feel right to me to live sexuality that way, in practice I was flaunting false religious sentiments to prevent such experiences from repeating and it worked because she was not really excited by sexuality, at least as far as she could put it into practice with me.
Anyway, she was somehow perplexed at the beginning, that is, she was uncertain, then she realized that if she insisted she would lose me completely and she preferred to avoid systematically the subject, even because she was interested in marriage even then, as if marriage could be imagined without a real sexual interest, at least at the beginning. At that time I was 22 and she 21. We went on for six years between holidays together, without sex, of course, and lunch at my own home one Sunday yes and one no.
Then we had to think about the study and a reason to postpone the important decisions was there, then I graduated and she shortly thereafter.
There is something that I’m ashamed of a bit. I could have looked for work on my own but my father-in-law offered me to work with him and since everything seemed so obvious and the offer was good I accepted almost immediately. My father-in-law created a very collaborative relationship, almost a complicity, but my father-in-law took absolutely for granted that I would marry his daughter in a very short time. I was trapped now and I knew I could not escape so we fixed the date and married.
It all seemed wonderful but between me and my wife there was a fundamental issue never faced, not so much about having sex with her because at the limit, thinking of something else, I could have a sexual intercourse with her, the real problem was that I had a parallel life: no occasional lovers or sexual intercourses, but I was masturbating with gay pornography and I was doing it since I was 15 years old. I never put my wife’s health at risk, I would never have done such a thing and, honestly, it was a hypothesis out of reality.
I knew very well that I did not want to be with a woman, that for me was absolutely unnatural, but in my background there was the idea that “with a bit of will I could set aside the stupid vice of masturbation and so homosexuality would disappear. I started to try everything to get away from homosexual desires, I forced myself not to go to gay sites or rather not to go to porn sites of any kind, because in fact you can see men also in the straight pornography, I tried to drive those which I called “bad thoughts” but there was nothing to do, after a short period of time I was again masturbating with gay videos.
I had, if I can say so, a little bit of tranquility about the last times of my waiting for my son and the first six months after his birth. Frankly I thought I had found peace again. My wife did not attract me sexually but she was busy with the baby now and the problem did not even arise. Grandparents were radiant, we were receiving gifts for the baby and for us, my wife was in the seventh heaven but I slowly began to feel guilty in an ever deeper way: “I have a beautiful family and masturbate thinking about guys, but I am an adult, I am a father, I should think of the happiness of my family but instead of thinking of them I go looking for gay sites and I do it at night, in secret, when they are asleep, I’m just a shabby depraved!”
I considered as irreconcilable things my love for my son and, all in all, also for my wife, who is completely unaware of what I’m going through, and homosexuality, as if they were really incompatible things. I said to myself, “If you do those things you cannot love your son!” And even though I was looking for gay sites all night long, I loved my son tenderly.
Then I started wondering why homosexuality should be destructive of my real family feelings and I came to a conclusion, namely that I would never have wasted my marriage for “a gay adventure”, at that time I used that expression but as long as I was limited to some porn videos, in fact, I would not have destroyed anything, and so, we can say with more awareness, I decided to be able to afford gay pornography even if with limited time and of course in very private form.
Talking with my married friends I learned that they also used pornography, obviously straight, and that, from time to time, they betrayed their wives if they had the opportunity, and so I began to feel less the black sheep.
This is where I am now. I do not think I would ever betray my wife with a man, I do not know, maybe the opportunity has not happened yet and if it will happen I will do in a very different way but honestly I think I would stay in my place, But why should I deprive myself of that little sex that I really feel belongs to me? For the sake of my son? But what do you mean? I do not put anything into crisis and then why should I make a clear speech to my wife about these things? I know that in theory between wife and husband there must be no secrets, but she is happy now, so I just do not see why I should turn her life into crisis because of things she could never understand.
I’m gay but she does not suspect anything like that, so what do I do wrong going on like this? If things will change, I will think about, but now speaking clearly would mean destroying everything for a matter of principle that, in certain cases, can make sense, but in this case it’s completely misleading.
I’m anxious for your answer.
If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post, on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/showthread.php?tid=138
I have seen that lately the activity of the forum is very low. I hope you have the opportunity to answer me because in your forum I have read many interesting things about gays, things that are very different from what I had heard for years and that I still hear.
I’m 23 years old, I’m a gay guy, I have no doubt, in practice I always knew, at the beginning I did not know that my way of being was what people call homosexuality, I was aware of it a few years ago, more or less at 15. Currently I study Engineering, studies are fine and I’m not very far from graduation. Finding work will be a problem, but in my sector, luckily, there are few people and some possibilities still exist, but these are all things I will have to face later.
I am not publicly out, in fact I would say that I am not out at all and this affects me a bit. Anyway, I cannot risk either at university or at home. At the university it is only about study or girls (but little), I have never heard anything gay, not even jokes, the argument does not exist. In my course we are really few, at most a fifteen, and it is not the right environment to look for friends, the collaboration among students is only formal, although no one explicitly admits it, there is a race to stand out and everyone has its unspoken but evident aims because the environment of our faculty is very much tied to industry and professors are in fact an excellent launch pad for high-level work. We study a lot, faculty is considered among the best and it is really, but the human environment is competitive and in essence very unfriendly.
My parents are under 55, they married young. But I do not have much dialogue with them. In practice, I keep them afar off, when the opportunity to talk a little comes I prefer to talk about stupid things or university things that do not matter to me at all. I do not know if they ever wondered why I never had a girlfriend, since all my so called friends have a girl.
Anyway, my parents don’t ask questions. From a bit of phone conversation between my mother and my aunt I can deduce that according to my mother I have postponed after graduation the idea of catching a girl, however, this means that she noticed something abnormal but not only, that also means she talked about me with her sister, which makes me really bother. My dad is a bit different but he is succubus of my mother and, maybe I’m wrong, but I thought this was one of the reasons for my homosexuality: I do not want to be succubus of anyone. My father’s dependence on my mother, in my opinion, has something excessive, pathologic. Nevertheless, it does not make sense to try to make a clear speech neither with my father nor with my mother, so the problem does not exist at all.
I have passed my phases of interest in pornography, even exaggerated, but then interest has dropped. More than sex I needed a true friend looking a bit like me, I’m talking about a gay friend, if it was not just friendship, it would certainly be better, but it did not seem to me an indispensable condition. At the university I do not even try, because the risks are too many and there we are just reciting as in the theater. I tried the chats, those a bit hard but they were really a squalid.
After a while, practically by chance, on a Sunday morning I accompanied my parents to Mass. Time ago, let’s say up to three years ago, I was in the parish circles and the environment was quite familiar to me. My parents have known the parish priest for years and were talking to him. I sat on a step waiting for them and saw a group of guys playing football, more or less a dozen guys, but they were not kids, they could have had more or less my age. One of those guys immediately caught my attention, he smiled, indeed laughed very directly, was a handsome, tall, thin guy with light brown hair, smooth, short but not too much short, for a moment we crossed eyes and for me it was like a lightning strike. He had beautiful eyes, just looked like a happy guy. But the thing ended there, my parents came and we went home, but I kept thinking about that guy. Then the study week resumed and I ended up thinking about something else.
On the following Sunday I offered to accompany my parents to Mass, just because I was hoping to see that guy again. After the Mass I looked into the yard and the guy was there, he was sitting on a step talking to other guys, he saw me and gestured with his hand, I responded the same way, he obviously remembered me. Then I left and another week passed.
In short, I went every Sunday to Mass and after a few weeks I started exchanging a few words with that guy, whom I will call Luca. I was comfortable with him, he was very direct and at the same time non-intrusive and then he was a smiling guy. We started to greet us with a handshake, and he held my hand tight and it was a nice feeling.
One Sunday, and I will never forget it, we had to go to Umbria at my grandmother’s house and went to Mass at 7am at the first Mass. I almost got a heart attack when I saw him come out of the sacristy with the dresses on him, coming to say mass. Luca is a priest, I did not suspect it at all. There were few people in the church and Luca made a brief sermon that I still remember. The basic idea was to not judge because we just see the appearances and not the heart of people. That preaching, however, applied to Luke, led me to wonder what the appearance was and what was in his heart.
Of course, seeing that Luke was a priest I was shocked. I kept going to Mass but I avoided looking for him. In the end, after a few days, he was looking for me. Frankly I was afraid he would try to take me back to the sheepfold, but I did not have the impression that the purpose was such, slowly, very slowly, a true friendship was born, of course I carefully avoided talking with him about personal matters but I realized he was comfortable with me and was looking for my company. He lived in the parish, cared for the activities with the boys, and the parish priest trusted him very much but also kept him under control, he told me he would like to have a pizza with me one night but that he could not because he felt controlled and it was a strange speech.
One day he calls me and tells that his grandmother is very bad and he has to go to see her in a country in the province of Varese. He asks me if I am willing to go with him to Milan. I tell him yes and I tell him that we had to get there by car, because getting to Milan by train is easy but getting from Milan to the village could be very difficult. I told my parents that I could stay away for a couple of days and left with Luke at eleven in the morning. The journey was long and in the car we were alone, and so it was almost inevitable that we came to talk about our private. He did not ask me if I had a girlfriend. I just told him: “I have to tell you that I’m gay.” And he replied, “Me too.” Then followed a long silence. We talked a lot, he told me about his life, that he wanted to do something good and that he was not a priest to escape from something but to find something, he told me that he was happy.
In seminary he had talked about homosexuality with his spiritual father who encouraged him to move forward and do not abandon the road undertaken. He also told me that he was very happy to talk to me and that for him it was like a liberation, because he could be himself as never happened to him. I refrained carefully from telling Luca that I had fallen in love with him, because I would have put him in serious trouble, within me I do not deny having experienced some bitterness and I asked myself many questions. Was Luke really thinking what he was saying or was he saying that things because somehow he ought to do so? Certainly he seemed happy to be a priest and I think he was really, but sometimes even having a close friend or something more can be crucial, especially when the years begin to pass. I told him about me, practically everything, just omitting that I had fallen in love with him and I think he also told me pretty much everything, omitting that he had fallen in love with me. But in a similar situation what could we do?
We arrived in Varese in the evening, we did not go to the village because his grandmother had been hospitalized in the city. We went to see her. Luca brought her the Holy Communion, but she was better and the doctors thought she would leave in a few days. We had to come back, I would have liked to stay at the hotel to talk a little and start the next morning, but I ended up proposing to leave immediately because I did not want to create problems. We left. The journey was very nice, we looked like a gay couple, we were fine, but in the end we both chose to omit the fundamental thing, that is, the “I fell in love with you” that could have upset our lives. I drove all night and early in the morning Luca was back in the parish. The parish priest saw that we were back right away and now he trusts me.
Every now and again, more or less once a month, I’m going to have a pizza with Luca. Of course the situation is strange, but I see him happy and every other thought goes far away from me. We have also talked about gay things, sometimes, but always in a very abstract way and above all we have never talked about us. This story is very strange and I can tell you that among the many hypotheses I had made for my future I never took into account such a situation. Now I go on so, I just need to see Luca serene, even though I’m so afraid that things can change from one moment to the next.
If you want, post my mail on the forum. (Obviously the country was not in the province of Varese!).
If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/showthread.php?tid=128
reading here and there on the Gay Project sites I felt comfortable and I did not feel the same way reading other sites that talk about gay sexuality. I often felt embarrassed in talking with guys about sex and came to think that there was something wrong with me, something that did not work as it should have been.
I’m 26 and I have never had sex with anyone. Sometimes, but in practice only a couple of times, I thought that with the guys I met in chat we could even get to have sex, but the impression was quickly denied when I heard what they meant for gay sexuality. Maybe I dream too much, maybe I’m infantile in my way of conceiving sexuality, but I have the impression that with a guy, let’s say better, with the majority of the guys I would feel uncomfortable. I’m not sex phobic, I do not have nudity-related psychological complexes, I’ve been a team-mate for years, and I’ve never had problems with changing rooms and showers, I do not have religious complexes, I masturbate as all the guys do and I don’t have complexes even on this. Physically I think I’m a guy I do not say handsome but at least normal, but from a sexual point of view I feel a little disadvantaged.
I try to explain to you how I mean gay sex, or rather I try to explain how I would have sex with a guy.
First of all, I dream of love and not of sex, and it is not a matter of words, I dream of loving and being loved, I dream a true, deep, mutual love. I know that so many people would say that these are just fantasies and that reality is very different but with a guy who does not really love me and I really do not love him, I would feel absolutely uncomfortable, it would be a mutual instrumentalization. My purpose is not to have sex with a guy but to create a love relationship that can last in time, which can make us feel like a couple to help us in the real difficulties of life and then that is stable and faithful. I want a guy I can trust not one who speaks in one way and acts in another, he must be my boyfriend and I his, that is, our love must be exclusive, otherwise it is better to be alone. With my guy there should be a perfect consonance, a total complicity to understand each other without saying even a word.
But I come to sexual fantasies: first I dream about pampering, because I see it as a sign of tenderness, affection, physical proximity, sharing without reservations even physicality. I dream of sleeping together naked, feeling the warmth of my partner, I dream of being able to join him with my whole body, I dream of caressing him and of course I dream that he also does the same with me. I never, absolutely never, thought of sexual roles, my relationship with a guy must be absolutely equal, in the utmost spontaneity and in total agreement. Never and ever impositions, not even veiled, nor even repeated requests. Relationship must proceed in a totally spontaneous way. It is of particular importance to be embraced for a few minutes, to exchange heat, then, of course, kisses, caresses, hands moving into the hair and hugging tight, naked body with naked body.
Then I think also of something more strictly sexual and here I feel very strongly my distance from the mentality of so many guys. You may think it’s incredible, but I have never had sexual fantasies about anal penetration and, I would say, not even about oral sex. Pornography is full of these things but I cannot understand such things because they have never been part of my fantasies. Instead, I think of a sexual intimacy based on intimate genital caresses, to understand the physical sexual reactions of the partner, always under conditions of total reciprocity. I dream of having a partner with a dick very similar to mine, because I would somehow know it already and would know how it reacts. Then I think we would easily get to masturbation, but always having a long time, with long pauses, that is, without considering sex something separate from the rest of life, but on the contrary integrating it with everything else in a totally spontaneous way. And then the relationship would not end with ejaculation, but it would go on afterwards, staying close, hugging, cuddling even afterwards.
I would like to add something that might sound stupid but I think it is very important. I have often thought that my way of seeing gay sex would radically reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and, in my opinion at least, would not reduce the pleasure of having sex with a guy.
You can imagine the reactions when I talked about such things chatting with guys. Being considered a Martian was the least, many guys often considered me an unrecoverable psychopath, then when I came to Gay Project, I found your article on anal sex and I was shocked. I was not a pathologic case! But not only, there are so many guys who think more or less like me though unfortunately it is not easy to find them.
Project, I quote below the mail I received from a guy after we had talked a bit on chat. I think it may be indicative.
“But are you kidding me? Cuddles? How old are you? You have to start getting some real experience, you have to wake up! If you like, [Sorry, Project, I apologize for the vulgar expression] I’m available to fuck you and I think you’ll like it. So many guys act like fussy persons, but then, when they understand what sex really is, they don’t stop anymore.”
Perhaps another guy’s mail is even more interesting.
“Alt! Stop! If you’re out of your head I’ll leave you right away. I have enough psychopaths, I’m just looking for sex, I told you so clearly and I do not have time to lose, so bye and I block you right away.”
I also received a serious email and I have to say the truth, I thought he was the right person. I thought a lot about what I should have answered and in the end I sent my long and meditated email. Obviously I didn’t get any answer and that user disappeared from the chat. I think that falling in love and feeling the love of the partner it’s really beautiful, but to me it never happened. I do not know if it will ever happen, but I still do not give up on my dreams to find answers, which would not be what I’m going to look for. At least on Gay Project I feel I’m not alone.
If you want to post this mail do it, maybe my letter can help somebody else not to feel alone.
If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post, open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/showthread.php?tid=127
The History of Italian Literature has for centuries presented Torquato Tasso as the incarnation of the scruples and obsessions of the Counter-Reformation, Giacomo Leopardi, who knew very well the work and the soul of Tasso, found in him a poetic affinity and I would say a very deep moral affinity. If you look for substantive affinities between Tasso and Leopardi and do not stop at the surface, you come to the conclusion that one of the stronger contact points, if not the strongest is represented by homosexuality. The “Liberated Jerusalem” is the poem of the impossible love; the final duel between Tancredi and Clorinda make you think to the famous phrase: “everyone kills the one he loves” in Querelle de Brest of Fassbinder on Jean Genet’s novel.
Tasso’s official story is already complicated in itself, few characters have such a frantic life full of anxieties and upheavals. Tasso was a man of court, of course, the typical jar vase between iron vases, a man who suffered the violence of court life in all its forms, until the forcible hospitalization in St. Anna’s madhouse. Mind illness? Segregation for political reasons? Or something else? We will never know.
But besides the official story of Tasso there is a secret story that is good to know and in this secret story homosexuality has a fundamental role, but be careful not to assimilate the homosexuality of Tasso to the modern concept of homosexuality.
In order to understand Tasso’s homosexuality you have to enter the spirit of his time, in a counter-reformist environment where heterosexuality was already a taboo and homosexuality was violently repressed at least in public. At that time the expression “internalized homophobia” would have had a pregnancy that is now largely vanished. There was no talk about homosexuality except in a lesser tone with regard to classical literature. Understanding to be homosexual could be really traumatic and the idea of coming out in public was sometimes equivalent to suicide.
I intend to dwell here on a short period of Tasso’s life from May 1576 to January 1577. I remember that Tasso in 1576, to the usual feelings of frustration for his poor life to which he had been forced, although he was already a famous poet, had added another cause of concern: the idea of being spied.
Caused by the courtier Ercole Fucci, he had slapped him and Fucci had replied giving Tasso some stick shots. A servant had revealed to Tasso that in his absence Ascanio Giraldini, another courtier, had tried to force the door of his room to try to seize some Tasso’s manuscripts.
So Tasso wrote to Scipio Gonzaga:
“Now, Monsignor Luca, may even tell me that I’m too suspicious! I cannot help but tell you one of Brunello’s works. Each time I went out of the Ducal Palace, he asked me for the key of my rooms, telling me that he wanted to use it for love affairs, and I gave it to him, but locking the room where I kept the books and the writings. In that room there was a box in which, beyond my compositions, I kept most of the letters from your Lordship and from Monsignor Luca, and especially those containing some poetic advice [omissis] As I suspected something, I started hunting news, and in the end I came to know from a servant of my neighbor Luigi Montesucoli, that, while I was in Modena during Lent, he saw, when it was already night, that with Brunello also came into my rooms a smith. Then I went looking for that smith and found him, and he confessed that he had been to the Ducal Palace to open a room of which, who brought him there, said he lost the key. Your Lordship can infer the rest. This is one of Brunello’s frauds, but there are others, no less beautiful, and I think there are some more important, but I cannot prove it. It is my consolation that I destroyed all the letters from your Lordship and from Monsignor Luca, in which something was said freely, except those in which the details of the Sperone affair are concerned. For now I close here my letter and kiss with every affection hands to your most illustrious Lordship. Letter sent by Ferrara.”(1)
Monsignor (a term at that time also used for lay people) Luca, of whom Tasso speaks is Luca Scalabrino, a high-ranking cultural character of whom I was unable to find the exact date of birth but more or less coetaneous of Tasso. Scalabrino had fallen in love with Tasso and was kind enough to mention such a thing to the 21-year-old Horace Ariosto (descendant of the author of the “Orlando furioso”) who, in turn, had reported the news to Tasso himself, who at first reacted badly.
On May 9, 1576, Tasso writes to Scalabrino:
Luca Scalabrino. – Rome. 1576
“You are absolutely wrong and you cannot be disturbed by this. Writing to me is wrong in substance and form, but I only blame myself.
This is Just enough to answer a part of your letter, to which I will answer in more detail after having read not the Greek alphabet one time, but all the Psalms ten or twenty times [after careful evaluation]. Be sure, however, that I have always loved you and sincerely love you. I am not so crazy, that loving you as I love you, I cause your shame with my great ardor. I’m completely master of my secrets and I can, without offending anyone, reveal what I want and to whom I want. Of the secrets of others I speak only so much as it is pleasing to those who entrust them to my discretion. And if I have talked to your father about your disease, against your will, I have done it only because I’m worried about your health, of which I am determined not to worry more than you like; but, for the love I have for you, so that I am satisfied with you, never hiding any of my thoughts, please do not use with me any particular secrecy on some of your affections or projects that are well known to others, do not be angry with me, if anything, by accident, is reported to me, or at least, please, show your disdain jut to me without manifesting it to others, because you cannot do such a thing without showing that you love me just a little and consider me of little value. I said more than I wanted to say: forgive me, because the hand, driven by just pain, has gone beyond will.
But now let’s move on to another topic.
From Ferrara on the 9th of May.
Loving brother and servant the Tasso.”(2)
Scalabrino was afraid of the language of Tasso and sent to Ariosto a letter in which he accused him of having gossip with everyone, and in particular with Tasso well known for not being able to keep the tongue in place. Scalabrino already considered himself in very difficult situations but, shortly after, the fears were set aside and the dialogue between Tasso and Scalabrino became explicit.
To Luca Scalabrino, – Rome. 1576
“Your Lordship, with his last letter, asks me for forgiveness for not making me aware of his concupiscible love, and with the letters he has written before, has always shown me to believe that I was angry with him for the fact that he did not reveal to me his carnal desire, and gave me a very honest explanation of his secrecy and silence kept with me. I, who wanted to confirm the decision I made many years ago, that is, to consider Your Lordship not only as a dear and cordial friend, but as the dearest and closest of all friends, that is, as part of my soul, I no longer want to leave you in this mistake and in this deception: and if you don’t deceive yourself, but only want to show so, I don’t want to leave this possibility, nor can I endure that at least in my things and in what belongs to me, you don’t match my naivety, whether silly or philosophical. Know therefore that I did not despise you because Your Lordship had not shown me is love (because you had no obligation), but because you were driven to such an injury as to let Ariosto notify me the question. Not only did you get angry, but you wrote to Ariosto in a way that manifested that you had felt seriously offended by him. Then you wrote to me a letter full of contempt on which I add nothing. You had a good reason to think that Ariosto had revealed this secret to me, who don’t keep my secrets; but you certainly did not have any reason to say so openly with so bad words to him and me, against my reputation. The friend must hide the defects of his friend, and I, who consider myself the most polite man in the world, have never said anything that could displease you, either in this or any other occasion, except that I said of your infirmity to your father and to Monsignor Antenore, for the great concern of your health. And God testifies to me that I did not say anything about you, except for what I knew and believed it was according to your desires. But here I quit my complaint. I will remember only the many kindnesses and loving-kindness I have received from you, and of this banality I will not keep memory, but I will forgive the impetus of those letters and your nature, as I pray to forgive my nature the bitterness of some letters, in which, exhorting you to correct yourself, I used tones too harsh and vehement.
We are equal, as it is said, I begin now, and since the love and confidence I have for you have not diminished at all, I will carefully avoid to provoke your anger. I ask you forgiveness for my previous letters. You do not need to ask forgiveness to me as to a superior, because in nothing I’m superior and in many things I am after you. But if you want to do so, do it without hurting me in the act of giving me satisfaction, because the reason that you are asking me for forgiveness is not for the superiority of my person but for that of the cause; and I grant you my pardon, and you give it to me and let it over! … and stop talking about these things … I mean, I’m all yours.” (3)
These are probably the letters the courtiers were looking for in the rooms of Tasso!
In mid-December of 1576 the confidence between Tasso and Scalabrino is such that Tasso confesses to Scalabrino that he has fallen in love with the 21-year-old Horace Ariosto, whom Tasso simply calls the Lord omitting the name.
To Luca Scalabrino – Rome, Date December 14, 1576
“I saw the Lord’s letter, it’s very good, but what? I never doubted his wit, and now I am sure of this and wish him every success. But you admire in him the aptitude to eloquence, and I the disposition to be courtier, for he has learned more about this art within a few months in the schools, than I did in many years in the court.
In the end, I do not deceive myself, and speak for the sake of science, not by suspicion or by conjecture; you can believe what you like; but if you were here or were present at one or two of our reasonings, you would clarify in part your ideas; because he treats me so that he doesn’t care to leave me satisfied; for him it’s enough that I cannot be able to make the others understand that he offends me. I love him, and I love him for a few months, because love impressed in my soul an emotion too much strong, that cannot be removed in a few days, by an offense of any gravity; and I hope that time will medicate my soul for this loving infirmity, and will make it perfectly healthy.
Certainly I would not love him, because the more his wisdom is loving, and his way of doing towards everybody, the more his particular way of doing towards me seems hateful to me, this particular behavior has just begun, coming from I don’t know what affection, if not from emulation, or from the desire to satisfy others, what I believe most. I call this my love, and not benevolence because, in sum, it is love: I had not noticed it before, because I did not feel waking up within me any of those appetites that love uses to bring, even in bed where we were together. But now I clearly realize that I have been and I am not a friend, but a very honest lover, because I feel great pain, not only because he matches me little in love, but also because I cannot talk to him with the freedom, I was used to, and his absence is squeezing me gravely. In the night I never wake up that her image is not the first to come to my mind, and rethinking in my soul how much I have loved and honored him, and how much he has mocked and offended me, and what is most important to me (since it seems to me very resolute in his decision not to love me), I’m so afraid that two or three times I have cried bitterly, and if I’m saying the fake, God will not remember me. I would hope that if he was certain of my soul, he would have to love me, but how can he be certain of it, being certain of his thought, and judging ex aliorum ingenio (according to the reasoning of others)? And if you, to whom no affection of my soul was ever concealed, and that should have known so long how I can pretend, you doubt it, it is right that he who has less knowledge, doubts it. That’s enough about him.”(4)
Tasso and Scalabrino exchange letters on Horatio Ariosto even if the language is not always understandable because we don’t possess Scalabrino’s letters.
A Luca Scalabrino. – Rome.
“But keep your beliefs (if you believe what you write), that it is good for me to keep my certainty; in fact, I don’t like it, but it hurts me, that I would, if it were possible, don’t know so much inside as I know about this particular.
You, however judicious you are, will never be praised for that. That magnanimous courtesy, and that suffering of my overwhelming suspicion, real voices, sonorous and witty concepts, where are they born, and where do they come from? In response, I will just say that, in the future, I will be very careful to give myself in prey to a friend, so that it is not only difficult, but boring, to escape him. Now I approve what I said in other times inhuman, that you should love in such a way that it is easy to stop loving. The counsel you give me, I accept it as dictated by love, although it was first given to me by those who didn’t love me very much; when my bosses, who love me well, sought to create in me that confidence, of which my soul, at the beginning of this affliction, was completely full. I don’t know whether I will use it or not, but because men are not faithful, and I am poor in wealth and value, may God guard my innocence, and here is the end of these speeches. Be healthy.
Of Modena on January 6 ”.(5)
This last letter is of January 1577. Tasso, disappointed with Ariosto, begins a turbulent relationship with the young courtier: Horace Orlando. Tasso fears that the thing may become of public domain and tries to appear heterosexual as far as it is possible. On June 17, being spied on by a servant, launches a knife against him.
Of course, many other elements of a personal nature such as stress for Jerusalem’s composition, the frustrations for the misunderstandings he faced, and the obsessive fear of being spied, besides possible reasons of religious, political and diplomatic nature, have influenced in a very complex way Tasso’s biography, but, of course, there is also homosexuality among the elements which have determined his life.
(1) “Ora dica M. Luca ch’io son troppo sospettoso. Non posso tacer una delle prodezze di Brunello. Egli sempre, ch’io andava fuori mi dimandava la chiave delle mie stanze, mostrando di volersene servir in fatti d’amore, e io gliela concedeva, serrando però la camera dov’io tenea i libri e le scritture. Nella quale era una cassetta, in cui oltre le mie composizioni, io riserbava gran parte delle lettere di V.s. e di M. Luca, e quelle particolarmente, che contenevano alcuno avvertimento poetico [omissis] Con questo sospetto cominciai ad andar pescando, e intesi finalmente da un servitor del Conte Luigi Montesucoli mio vicino, che quando io era in questa Quaresima in Modana , vide entrare col Brunello, essendo già notte, un magnano [fabbro] nelle mie stanze. Tanto andai poi cercando. che trovai il magnano, il qual mi confessò d’essere stato in corte ad aprir una camera, della quale diceva il conduttor d’aver perduta la chiave. V.s. argomenti il resto, quella è una delle sue frodi, ma ce ne son molte altre, non men belle: e credo che ve ne siano alcune di molta maggiore importanza; ma io non me ne posso accertare. Mi consola che io stracciava tutte le lettere di V.s. e di M. Luca nelle quali era detta liberamente alcuna cosa, trattone quelle de i particolari dello Sperone. Altro non mi occorre per ora, se non che a V.s. Illustr. bacio con ogni affetto le mani. Di Ferrara.”
(2) A Luca Scalabrino. – Roma. 1576
“Avete il torto in mille modi; e sia detto con vostra pace. Scrivendo a me, peccate in materia ed in forma; ma io non ne incolpo se non me stesso. Tanto mi basta di rispondere ad una parte de la vostra lettera, a la quale risponderò più a lungo come avrò letto non una volta l’Alfabeto greco, ma dieci o venti volte i Salmi: frattanto siate sicuro che io v’ho sempre amato, e vi amo svisceratamente; non sono ancora tanto pazzo che, amandovi com’io fo , debba con tanto ardore procurare la vostra vergogna. De’ miei secreti sono signore, e posso senza offesa altrui, rivelarne quella parte che mi piace a chi voglio. De gli altrui, tanto ne dico quanto piace a chi li commette a la mia fede; e se io altre volte ho discoperto, contro vostra voglia, a vostro padre il vostro male, l’ho fatto per soverchio zelo de la vostra salute, de la quale son risoluto di non volere aver maggior cura di quella che voi vogliate che s’abbia: ma ben vuo’ pregarvi, per l’amore che vi porto, che se io rimango sodisfatto di voi, a cui nulla ascosi mai de i miei pensieri, che non usiate meco estraordinaria secretezza di alcuni vostri o affetti o disegni che a molti son palesi, né dobbiate poi sdegnarvi contra me se alcuna particella a caso, non la cercando io, me n’è riferita; o almeno sfogate meco tutto questo sdegno senza dimostrarlo altrui; che ciò non potete fare, che non diate insieme a divedere che poco m’amiate e nulla mi prezziate. Ho detto più di quello ch’io voleva: perdonatemi; che la mano, spronata da un giusto dolore, è trascorsa mal grado de la volontà.
Ora passiamo ad altra materia.
Di Ferrara, il IX di Maggio Amorevol Fratello e S. (servitore) Il Tasso”
(3) A Luca Scalabrino, – Roma. 1576
“Vostra Signoria per l’ultima sua mi dimanda perdono di non m’aver palesato il suo amor concupiscibile; e per l’altre sue, che prima m’ha scritto, ha sempre mostrato di credere ch’io sia sdegnato con esso lei, pereh’ella non m’abbia rivelato questo suo desiderio carnale, e rende assai onesta cagione de la sua segretezza e del silenzio usato meco. Io, che ho deliberato di confermar quella deliberazione ch’io feci molt’anni sono; cioè d’aver Vostra Signoria non solo per caro e cordiale amico, ma per lo più caro e per lo più intrinseco di tutti gli altri, ed in somma per parte de l’anima mia; non voglio più lungamente lasciarla in questo errore e in questo inganno: e se pur non s’inganna, ma vuol mostrar d’ingannarsi, non le voglio lasciar questo pretesto, né posso soffrire c’almeno ne le cose mie, e in quel c’appartiene a me, ella non corrisponda a la mia ingenuità, o sciocca o filosofica che sia. Sappia dunque, ch’io non mi sdegnai perché Vostra Signoria non mi scoprisse il suo amore (c’a a questo per nessuna ragione voi eravate obbligato); ma mi sdegnai perché voi vi recaste a cosi grande ingiuria che l’Ariosto me n’accennasse un non so che. Non solo vi sdegnaste, ma a lui scriveste in modo che ben si poteva comprendere che vi riputavate offeso da lui gravemente. A me poi scriveste una lettera piena di tanto disprezzo, che nulla più. Confesso c’avevate occasione di dolervi fra voi stesso, che l’Ariosto avesse palesato questo secreto a me, il quale so mal tacere i miei propri secreti; ma certo nissuna ragione voleva che, per cosa di si poca importanza, cosi apertamente fosser da voi dette parole cosi acerbe e a lui e a me medesmo contra la mia riputazione. L’amico deve ricoprire i difetti de l’amico; ed io, che sono il più loquace uomo del mondo, non ho mai detto cosa alcuna c’a voi possa spiacere, né in questa né in altra occasione; se non solo che palesai a vostro padre ed a m. Antenore la vostra infermità per soverchia gelosia de la vostra salute. E Dio mi sia testimonio, che di nissun altro vostro particolare ho io ragionato, se non in quel modo ch’io ho saputo, non che creduto c’a voi fosse caro. Ma sia qui il fine de le mie querele. Io mi ricorderò solamente le tante cortesie ed amorevolezze ch’io ho ricevuto da voi; e di questa baia non terrò memoria, ma perdonerò l’impeto di quelle lettere a la vostra natura; si come prego voi a perdonare a la mia l’acerbità d’alcune lettere, ne le quali, esortandovi al purgarvi, usava luoghi troppo aspri e veementi. Siam patti e pagati, come si dice: da ora inanzi io, non iscemando punto né de l’amore né de la confidenza che ho in voi, mi guarderò di provocar la vostra collera. Io vi dimando perdono de le lettere passate: a voi non occorre dimandarlo a me com’a superiore, peroché io in nessuna cosa vi sono superiore, e in molte vi cedo. E se pur volete usare questa creanza, usatela senza offendermi, mentre volete sodisfarmi: che non la superiorità de la persona, ma la superiorità de la causa mi fa meritevole che da voi mi sia chiesto perdono; ed io vel concedo, e voi concedetelo a me, e brindisi!… e più non si parli di queste co… In somma, io son tutto vostro.”
(4) A Luca Scalabrino – Roma Datata 14 dicembre 1576
“Ho veduta la lettera del Signore, bella certo, ma che? De l’ingegno suo io non dubitai mai, ed ora ne son certissimo e spero di lui ogni gran riuscita. Ma voi ammirate in lui l’attitudine a l’eloquenza, ed io la disposizione a l’esser cortigiano, perché ha più appreso di quest’arte in pochi mesi ne le scole, ch’io non ho fatto in molti anni ne la corte.
In somma io non m’inganno, e parlo per iscienza, non per sospetto, per congettura; voi credete quel che vi pare; ma se qui foste o vi trovaste presente ad uno o due de’ nostri ragionamenti, vi chiarireste in parte; perciocché egli tratta meco in modo, che non si cura di lasciarmi soddisfatto; gli basta solo ch’io non possa far constar ad altri ch’egli m’offenda. Io l’amo, e son per amarlo anco qualche mese, perché troppo gagliarda impressione fu quella, che l’amor fece ne l’animo mio, né si può in pochi dì rimovere, per offesa quanto si voglia grave; pure spero che il tempo medicherà l’animo mio di questa infermità amorosa, e ’l renderà intieramente sano.
Che certo io vorrei non amarlo, perché quanto è amabile l’ingegno suo, e la maniera in universale, tanto dee a me parer odioso un suo particolar procedere verso me, cominciato da poco in qua, e nato non so da qual affetto, se non forse da emulazione, da desiderio di soddisfare altrui, il che più credo. Chiamo questo mio amore, e non benevolenza perché, in somma, è amore: ne prima me n’era accorto e non me n’accorgeva, perché non sentiva destare in me nessuno di quegli appetiti che suol portare l’amore, anche nel letto, ove siamo stati insieme. Ma ora chiaramente mi avveggio ch’io sono stato e sono non amico, ma onestissimo amante, perché sento dolore grandissimo, non solo ch’egli poco mi corrisponde ne l’amore, ma anche di non poter parlar con esso lui con quella libertà, ch’io soleva, e la sua assenza m’affligge gravissimamente. La notte non mi sveglio mai che la sua immagine non sia la prima ad appresentarmisi, e rivolgendo per l’animo mio quanto io l’abbia amato ed onorato, e quanto egli abbia schernito ed offeso me, e, quel che più mi preme (parendomi troppo indurato ne la risoluzione di non amarmi), me n’afliggo tanto, che due o tre volte ho pianto amarissimamente, e s’io in ciò mento, Iddio non si ricordi di me. Spererei che se egli fosse certo de l’animo mio, sarebbe costretto ad amarmi, ma come ne può essere egli certo essendo consapevole del suo, e giudicando ex aliorum ingenio. E se voi, al qual nessuno affetto de l’animo mio fu mai celato, e che ’n tanti anni dovreste aver conosciuto quanto io sappia fingere, ne dubitate, ben è ragione ch’egli, che n’ha minor conoscenza, ne dubiti. Tanto basti intorno a lui.”
(5) A Luca Scalabrino. — Roma.
“Tenetevi pur voi la vostra credenza (se pur credete quel che scrivete) ch’a me giova d’attenermi a la mia certezza; anzi, non mi giova, ma mi noce, che vorrei, se fosse possibile, non saper tanto a dentro quanto io so di questo particolare.
Voi per giudizioso, non sarete giammai per questa ragione laudato. Quella magnanima cortesia, e quella pena del mio soverchio sospettare, voci in vero e concetti sonori ed arguti, ove nascono, ed onde vengono? Per risposta altro non dico, se non che per l’avvenire, mi guarderò molto di darmi così in preda ad alcuno amico, che mi sia poi non solo difficile, ma noioso, il ritormigli. Ora approvo quel detto che altre volte riputai inumano, ch’in guisa si debba amare, che sia facile il disamare. Il consiglio che mi date, accetto da voi come amorevole, se ben m’è stato prima dato da coloro che non molto m’amavano ; ove i padroni, che ben mi vogliono, cercavano di generar in me quella confidenza, de la quale l’animo mio, nel principio di questa briga, era in tutto pieno. Non so però s’io l’userò o no, ma perché ne gli uomini non è fede, ed io son povero di fortuna, e di valore, custodisca Iddio la mia innocenza, e qui sia fine a questi discorsi. State sano.
Di Modena il 6 di Gennaio ”.
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