I don’t know if you remember me, a few years have passed, but I still remember the strange effect that made me talk to you, because I realized that I didn’t know gay reality at all and that I had an infinite series of fears, practically almost all nonsense, and I didn’t realize what could be the real problems of being with a guy, then I was 25 (good times!), now I’m 31 and I must say that things have changed a lot. I don’t know if you remember, Project, but a few months after our first conversations, I sent you a picture with a dedication on msn, a picture that represented me and the one whom I was hoping, even with a thousand uncertainties, was my boyfriend. Well … we’ve been together for 5 years now, and we live together. Now I’m not a boy anymore but I see my dream come true, Project, I feel loved. Do you remember the night you were talking to me on the chat? When bad thoughts passed through my mind? You told me that my life could have made another guy’s happiness and it seemed impossible to me, but that’s exactly what happened.
I met Luke in a chat, not in an erotic chat, but in a chat where they talked about architecture. There was talk not only of architecture but also about how a young architect can look for and even find work. At that time I was not working yet, neither was he. In his answers I saw the tendency to leave space, to make me talk, he was never impositive or aggressive, but was conversational without falling in the banal. We continued to talk in that chat for several days, then we discovered that we lived in the same city and we decided to meet up to try to plan together the search for a job. When I saw him I was electrocuted, he was a beautiful guy. We spent the whole day together and it was just fine! We only talked about job opportunities and we decided to give ourselves to do as much as possible to look for work together because economic independence was our first desire. I didn’t know anything about him then.
He has come to my house many times, he met my parents and I met his, obviously we were just two friends looking for a job together but the atmosphere was very positive. At his house, in his room there were many photos of a girl and it was like a stab to me: Luke was beautiful but obviously he was straight! My mood collapsed from one minute to the next. He noticed it and immediately told me: “It’s my brother’s girlfriend!” And in saying so he smiled at me. I thought that his smile was his way to come out with me and I also answered him with a smile and a breath of relief. When we said goodbye, beyond the usual handshake there was also a hug that I didn’t expect and it was not a formality. Since then our relationship took a different way.
You know, Project, you always say that the real problem is knowing if the other is gay, but if he is, the problem remains to understand how he thinks, what he thinks, how he sees the situation, and it takes time to understand it. Note, Project, that we never declared ourselves explicitly and that starting a speech beyond work was really difficult. Then one evening, after going to get a pizza, we stopped to talk in the car. He asked me: “Do you think it would work?” I had no doubts about the interpretation of that phrase and I replied: “We have to do everything to make it work …” He told me: “All right! Then I start.” He told me about himself without reserve and told me that he felt happy next to me and that he thought of me a thousand times a day. I took his hand and kissed it. It started like this. I skip the details you can imagine. I was really good, sexual transport was very strong. His way of experiencing sex was practically identical to mine: enthusiasm, but also prudence: doing the test, absolute mutual loyalty and lots of cuddles. I always wanted to be with him, when the time came to part from him I felt really halved. When I saw him smile, in his eyes I saw heaven. He had beautiful, warm hands and when he was holding mine he inspired me so much trust. And then he was not neurotic like me, he was quiet and close to him I began to overcome all my neuroses.
But there was a huge problem: we could go and make love in my parents’ country cottage, especially in winter, because no one ever went there, it was cold, but we knew how to warm up: a double duvet and we didn’t need anything else, it was fine but we often wondered what our parents would say if they understood how things really were. In practice we did everything in secret. For all the rest, we met each other, either, at his house or at mime, but we had to be careful to talk only about work. Another underlying fear was related to the fact that one of us could find work in another city, because such a thing would have been shocking. We were looking for work hoping not to find it. And we even arrived to present ourselves together for job interviews, saying that we were very close and used to working together, even if it is not easy for two architects to be hired to work together.
After about six months of “cohabitation” we got a job offer for a six-month contract in Kazakhstan, which seemed very strange, but the proposal came from an important multinational for which we had already held job interviews, we thought about it a little and then we accepted. Our families were very worried, but the fact of going there together led us to accept. After two days we were on the plane. The work was in Astana, a very special city, without western-style buildings, but with huge neighborhoods made of small houses with small gardens, very well kept, even if the city is almost in the middle of the desert. We have been housed in a villa, with three bedrooms and a bathroom, with a delightful little garden. People were also a pleasant discovery for us, but our dialogue with the locals could only take place in English, and on the other hand any contact with our superiors (Canadians) was only in English. In Astana we were really good and our relationship become deeper. We have worked together and a lot but we got also great satisfaction.
After the six months in Astana, they told us that we would spend another six months in Vancouver to oversee the construction of a port building, of course we accepted. The city is incredibly multiethnic and between the mountains and the ocean it is spectacular, we have happened there in summer, a very mild summer, similar to the springs of southern Europe. We had an apartment with a wonderful view. In Vancouver, however, we experienced that our English was very rudimentary and we tried to improve it with a group of local friends, including a gay couple, but of gays over 60, something that is rare to see in Europe. In Canada, the work didn’t have the relaxed rhythms it had in Astana, and several times we had to work even at night to keep up with the demands of the construction sites. We have worked, we have gained well but the nostalgia of Italy was very strong. By the way, work had distracted us from our basic problem: “what to say to our parents and how to say it”. For our parents we were in effect only two work colleagues.
A month before departure from Vancouver our superiors let us know that they would send us back to Italy to Milan, which is far from our home, but it is still in Italy. The second of September we arrived in Milan, also this time they placed us in the same apartment, which however was not even the shadow of the one in Vancouver and had not the eastern grace of that of Astana. Once settled, we decided it was time to speak clearly with our families. We didn’t know what to expect or even if it was the case to speak first with my parents and then with his, or to create an opportunity to make a single speech that would be good for everyone, but we were determined.
We set a lunch at my house for September 6th. The day arrives, we do the usual compliments, then Luke immediately enters the topic: “Listen to me a little … so we got to know each other better by working together for a year and we understood that we want to spend our life together, because we love each other and it seemed right to let you know.” In our opinion, the most was done, but the reaction to the words of Luke was disconcerting. My father pretended not to have understood, just like that, Project, while he had understood very well, he made a perplexed face, followed by a strange smile. Luke preferred to immediately eliminate any possibility of misunderstanding: “We are gay … and we love each other.” His father and mother did not say anything, they were almost paralyzed and did not know what to say. It was evident that a completely unexpected atomic bomb had fallen on them. My mother tried to lighten the situation but in the wrong way: “Now it can be a difficult moment but then things can get settled …” Luke immediately stopped her: “There’s nothing to settle …”. The most radical silence fell, interrupted only by banalities, like “Now let’s think about eating … we’ll think about other problems later, a solution will be found …” Luke also tried to avoid misunderstandings: “Solution?” My father started the wrong way again: “These are things that can happen, maybe these are moments of fatigue …” Luke looked at me in a very questioning way and said to me: “What do we do?” I answered with one word: “Let’s go!” We got up from the table and left without saying goodbye, and on the other hand our parents didn’t even try to hold us back.
The feeling of bitterness was very unpleasant, we both realized that the relationship with our families was over. Fortunately we were economically independent and we were working permanently in Milan, so the relations with our parents were in fact already very reduced. We immediately returned to Milan, our parents did not even make a phone call for a whole week, then my mother called me to ask: “How are you?” I noticed immediately that that “you” was referred just to me, she had only asked how I was and had not asked anything about Luke like she was used to do before, because by now Luke was like the devil who had taken his son away from her. I answered her. “We’re fine! (underlining the “we”) And how are you?” The embarrassment was evident, after a few minutes of banality the call was over. In the evening Luke’s mother called him and the script was virtually identical. We were not shocked by this thing, after all “maybe” we expected it. Up to this point our story may seem like the story of a double family failure. Two gay guys who would have all the credentials to feel fulfilled, are on the contrary frozen by relationships with their homophobic families that end up radically disappointing their expectations, but in reality things have gone differently. My father sent me the e-mail that I transcribe here below:
“Hello, your mother and I realized that we behaved very badly with you (Leo and Luke) and this makes us deeply uncomfortable. Luke’s parents share this unease with us, we talked about it together several times and we realized that we had everything wrong. We cannot be without our guys, we are living days of bitterness, but I can swear that we understand that we have to change our attitude altogether. We were not in the least prepared to face a similar situation. If you and Luke agree, we could maybe come to Milan for a weekend, so we can stay a little together. And then, what can we do to get a little clearer ideas? Because we tried to search for news on the internet, but orienting ourselves is very difficult. We await your response by mail and we hope so much that it is positive.”
I read the email to Luke and we agreed the answer.
“Hello, I spoke with Luke and if you agree we can meet not the next Sunday, because we have work commitments, but the following Saturday and Sunday. To get a little clearer ideas you can read the Gay Project Forum, it is very easy to find it on Google and you could also talk with Project, with whom I had spoken several times, he is a very good person and knows the gay world from the inside. As for our relationships, well, we are very happy with your email. Now we must try to rebuild everything without hiding anything and without pretending anything. Problems, sometimes, exist only in our imagination. Common sense is needed, it is true, but we are not naive and our choices have been made with good reasoning.
We embrace you strongly.
Leo and Luke”
The recovery of relationships with our parents on the basis of clarity, was not so easy, but on both sides there was a willingness to understand each other and, after about a year, things really became normal. By now our parents consider us as a couple and have overcome all or almost all their resistance and their complexes.
Project, I told you my story and I would like to see it on the forum because I would like to tell all the guys who see their future gray, that for a gay guy life can be beautiful and that finding a serious partner is not at all an impossible thing, even if the difficulties are certainly not lacking. I’m attaching in my skype contact, I would like to talk with you again, maybe to meet you at the beginning of the summer.
We embrace you!
Leo and Luke
If you want, you can participate in the discussion of this post open on the Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-risks-of-comig-out-with-parents