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 received a mail today that contained an excerpt of conversation between two gay guys. The conversation took place at the time of the end of their relationship. I have been asked to post the conversation on the forum, I do it gladly. Some little changes have been made in order to preserve privacy.
Actually, even though it is a conversation that concludes a relationship, the atmosphere is very quiet and sincere dialogue has not failed, even on the most thorny topics.
ESTEBAN: .. hello …
MARCO: There is some noise because I’m on the bus, tell me.
ESTEBAN: … sorry, if you cannot talk, call me at another time.
MARCO: No no, I hear you, tell me everything.
ESTEBAN: I’ve been a bit sick these days, nervous, I’m just sleepy, distracted, yesterday I also packed a car!
MARCO: I’m sorry.
ESTEBAN: I called you because I want to ask you a last favor, please do it, I have to understand the meaning of our path, what happened, because at some point I became a ballast for you! Tell me what you did these three days since I left your home. Did you feel alone, bored or calm?
MARCO: Quiet, you have to be quiet, I’m peaceful!
ESTEBAN: What did you do?
MARCO: … usual things, nothing particular or important …
ESTEBAN: tonight what will you do for your birthday? You deserve some fun …
MARCO: Well, if weather keeps nice I go to the theater! I don’t know, I have to decide, Lucy and Rose cannot accompany me, I think I’ll take Matthew, I know he will agree!
ESTEBAN: … Matthew … How about Mattew?
MARCO: Well, well, I told you I’m fine with him! What I have to say, it’s all so new, I don’t know, … you know I’m not sure of anything! Anyway yesterday we stayed together at his home!
ESTEBAN: … Together …?
Did you already do that?
ESTEBAN: Yes, I wanted to ask if you did it already?
MARCO: Do you care if we did?
ESTEBAN: Yes, please, I need to understand!
MARCO: Yes, we did. But it was not even programmed, that is, I would never have imagined that a guy like him could be with one like me. We were walking around, then he asked if I would go to see a movie at his house … Eh eh eh, what a nice excuse eh!
ESTEBAN: How was it?
MARCO: Well, strange, special, maybe I was expecting a little better, I do not know what to say. I was very much involved, however, with an involvement that with you I didn’t experience for a long time!
ESTEBAN: So why would you come with me as you had already started thinking about him?
MARCO: No, but, look, it is not over for him, it’s over because I did not feel anything anymore!
I was with you for affection. Perhaps I’ve always seen you more like a brother, a confidant, it’s normal, we’ve always been fine-tuned, it was always spontaneous for me to tell you everything, there was an exceptional understanding!
ESTEBAN: Did you enjoy it?
MARCO: Yeah, but he was a bit sheepish, he’s 20, he’s still a kid, and I too I do not have so much experience … You definitely were better than him! However, we did more or less the same things I did with you!
ESTEBAN: But at this point I ask you, in six months have I ever enjoyed you? Have you ever been attracted to me?
MARCO: Yes, please, you enjoyed me a lot! Attracted I think no or just a little, I was attracted a little just early in the way!
Tell me, you think a guy can he be attracted to me?
You know I think I’m ugly, I want to know what can be interesting about me …
ESTEBAN: Well, I can tell you what I’ve seen in you! Then you have to give yourself the same answers to me!
MARCO: All right!
ESTEBAN: I have been attracted by you sweetness, by your brain, by the fact that you document, you care about everything, by your smile, and then by the fact that you talk, I do not know how you can say you are shy and closed!
MARCO: Thank you, we are both sweet. And physically?
ESTEBAN: well, physically you know, the answer is in the poem I sent you this morning for your birthday!
MARCO: … yes, so much stuff!
ESTEBAN: For me you are beautiful, I adore your skin, the blond of your hair, the hairs, the robust feet and the slender legs. Your big eyes .. And then yes, even your penis I like it very much, damn! How it swells! I still remember the last time we were together, you got up to go to the shower, you looked like a Watusi with this penis still perfectly upright …
MARCO: And after having done it three times, huh, you know I’m just 23!
ESTEBAN: Now it’s up to you!
MARCO: Well, let’s see … You’re definitely sweet, you have not always been, at first not so much, then yes. It’s not that I liked your character, but lately you’ve been able to give me some serenity. At the beginning of our story I saw that there was something wrong in you, you looked angry, sad, suffering. You absolutely have to laugh more. You have a wide mouth! And then open it to laugh, anyway yes you have a good smile! Look, you do not have to be serious because when you are, you’re really ugly! I also have to say you were too shy, then the fact that during Christmas you brought me to dinner with your friends and did not say anything about us I did not like it! Sincerely, I would appreciate more effort on your part. You’ve decided to just come out now and it’s a shame!
ESTEBAN: But I still have all my life in front!
MARCO: Then try not to go back or get lost! Anyhow I like it when you sing, you have a nice voice so you should do it! I’ve heard you in Spanish and I have to say that you change your voice, you’re wasted to speak Italian, but when you speak Spanish you get a nice voice! But did you always have that voice? And you look like a South American!
ESTEBAN: But you know that since I went to school I always presented myself as Stefano, I did not use my real name, it seemed to me that calling me Stefano they could accept me more easily.
MARCO: But why?
ESTEBAN: Then it seemed to me so.
MARCO: But I say that it’s such a beautiful name, exotic, and then it’s just beautiful … well, anyway, let’s go ahead. Your features are particular, I have to say, I do not even know how to define them … Surely they aren’t so common in Italy, there is little to do, you are not and you will never be like an Italian guy! You have a strange skin, which is hard to get used to, and the dark color speaks clearly! You have a beautiful body, I like your legs, massive, muscular, sure, a bit of belly, but ok! However, you have to give more value to yourself, you overlook yourself a lot, you dress badly, maybe this last period you have been slim and you have found yourself in large clothes without having time to renew the wardrobe. But you have to do it. We are not beautiful and this is why we need to be careful to enhance our strengths. Well, don’t put on sweatshirts because they’re bad for you, because you’re low, they shorten your shape and flatten you. Penis, I just do not like it circumcised, perhaps because I had never seen a circumcised penis before, anyway I like it not circumcised, just like mine. I doubt you’ll be able to reconstruct a foreskin, but listen to the other tips!
ESTEBAN: Of course you did not like me, the attraction was not reciprocal!
MARCO: But be patient, you have to think that for the first time you sent me a picture with a bad resolution in my opinion. Sure, you told me you were South American, but I expected maybe one with a Brazilian body. That is, if I think of South America I think of Brazil, I don’t know where your country is and how its inhabitants are. Even after we saw each other, I had always in mind the image of your body that I had made, and when we were together it happened that I had one thing in mind, but then I found myself near a body that did not match. With Matthew it was different, I saw him and I was immediately attracted to him, but I did not fall in love with a telephone voice like it happened with you, you at the beginning were a projection of my mind! There is little to say about the dick, I never thought about asking you if you were circumcised or not, and it did not seem to me that I should ask for a photo. There it is what happens when you meet someone on internet”
ESTEBAN: Sorry, that means I was lucky, you on the contrary got a bad surprise!
Okay, that’s enough for me. I renew my wishes and … I don’t know, if you like to take a walk or have a coffee, you know that I come to M ***** once a week to see the psychologist. If you like, let me know …
If you like, you can participate in the discussion of this post, on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/showthread.php?tid=133
I am deeply grateful to the reader of Parma who wanted to transcribe for Gay Project, authorizing the publication, some letters found in an attic of a farm he owned in the province of Parma. It is a touching document, a homosexual love story at the time of the great war and the od Spanish flu of 1918-1919. Text notes, that I added in order to make reading immediately understandable, are in square brackets. Homosexuality comes out of these letters as a value. There is also an absolutely exceptional figure in the panorama of the era, a heterosexual lawyer of Brescia, former captain of the army at war, who regards homosexuality as an absolutely natural thing and helps two gay guys, one of whom had been at the front with him, to realize their dream.
To make the non-Italian reader able to understand the climate in which events took place, I remember that the Kingdom of Italy completed its territorial unification only in 1870, with the annexation of Rome. Before 1866 Venice belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and in 1866 it was annexed to Italy, which since 1861 had organized into a Kingdom around the King of Sardinia Vittorio Emanuele II. The city of Trieste remained an Italian language enclave in the Habsburg Empire until 1918, when was annexed to Italy after the end of World War I.
In October 1917, the Kingdom of Italy suffered the heavy defeat at Caporetto by the Austro-Hungarian army. The Austrians invaded Veneto to the River Piave. The commander in chief of the army, General Luigi Cadorna, was replaced by General Armando Diaz, who managed to stop the Austrians on Piave.
Vittorio Veneto is a city which assumed the name of Vittorio in 1866 in honor of the first King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II. From Vittorio Veneto started the great Italian counter-offensive that forced the Austro-Hungarian army to surrender.
Quinto is a village in the province of Treviso, not far from the Piave front.
I translated the letters of the protagonists into English. Letters were written in a rather correct Italian, a sign that the protagonists, while being peasants, had a minimum of instruction, which at that time was not common. Venetian dialect expressions are scattered here and there.
“Quinto, Sunday, May 25, 1919.
finally, thank goodness, I can write you something good. It seems that this curse is slowly going [This is the Spanish flu, the most terrible pandemic flu that history remembers. In the world about 20 million people died of “Spanish”, at least 375,000 died in Italy, but if the aggravating effects of Spanish flu on other pathologies are considered, the number rises to 650,000. In some countries, in that terrible 180 days between the end of 1918 and the early 1919, some 70% of the population disappeared], I lost all my family, my dad and my mom, my two brothers and my sister, Antony of Aunt Bepa, has rescued because he went to Valdobbiadene before the start of this plague and stayed there. But here in the plain they have buried so many dead that the graveyard was not enough. I was still in the army and when and I was dismissed, my dad just ordered me not to go back to Quinto, that there were fevers and many people died, and sent me to Aunt Bepa and I was there for four months, but there too the fear was great, we didn’t even go to mass on Sunday. Every family with the beasts in the middle of the countryside and to speak, in the voice, just from afar. What happened in Quinto we knew from the parish priest who buried them next to each other. Then, about month ago, no one died anymore and the doctors told us that we could come back. And then Antony remained with Aunt Bepa and I went down to Quinto, but there was no one, I was in the graveyard to see the crosses, crying desperately that there was no one of my relatives, and even the beasts, there was nothing. The parish priest gave me some money that my father and given him for me. Joseph, for us the war was not enough, we had even to face this other disaster; we, born in 95, we had to fight throughout the whole war and, thanks goodness, we pulled our feet out of this curse. But now we are still alive and we still have the strength to go on. Do you remember the 15 (year 1915) when hell this began? We hoped to go to war together, but what could we know about war? They had told us so many stupid things, but we believed in those things and then to the front we had to get out of the trench praying all saints because they fired at us with the machine guns, Joseph, we survived the hell of Isonzo and Caporetto and be blessed Diaz be blessed Diaz because he was the one who saved our homeland, because we were fighting just for despair because Veneto, our land, just that of our own house, we already saw it in the hands of the Austrians. But when Diaz arrived for us it was terrible, you were sent on one side and I on the other, but these assassins who hanged Battisti [Cesare Battisti, Italian irredentist patriot, hanged from the Austrians in Trento on July 12, 1916] we threw them out from our homeland. We were on the Isonzo at the end of the 16  and do you remember when we were told that Cecco Peppe had died? [Dialect name commonly used for Francesco Giuseppe, Austrian emperor, dead on November 18, 1916] we all lifted the flag and thought the war would be over soon but it was not over. How I thought of you in the trench and I could not even write because letters were just for family, and I prayed God from morning to night to save both of us and if one had to be taken it would have been better to take me, because without Joseph I could not live. They have been bad years, Joseph, without you, and then in the evening of November 4 of the past year, they made us all arrayed and the colonel read the victory telegram, I just burst crying like a little child but all were crying, the war was over and we were alive! I was just thinking about you, praying to God that I could see you again. I tried to give me courage and went to the telegraphist and asked him for news of the soldier Joseph B. but he told me that the confusion was such that no one could have heard of a single soldier. I thought that they would dismiss us and let us go immediately and I would come to look for you but I did not know where and then I wrote to the parish priest to know news about you and he told me that you had written to him after the armistice and that you were alive and were at Vittorio and we would be soon back at Quinto but dismissing was delayed week by week and in the whole disaster it was a good thing, just in those days mom died and dad wrote to me that I did not have to go back to Quinto if fevers did not pass, then in five days they all died. When I read the letter from the parish priest I was so desperately crying that the captain saw me and sat next to me and I made him read the letter and he hugged me. Now I have only you and I know from the parish priest that you are still in Vittorio, fortunately the Lord did not take your mother even if he took your dear father. The war took away poor Angiolino, I knew this months ago, and also for you still remains only mom. I cannot wait to hug you, but you will not even recognize me because the war has made me ugly, I was wounded on my left arm but I move it well, I still have a big scar of a splinter and it’s already a great thing that I survived, so the surgeon told me, because it was a bad wound. I cannot wait for the moment that I can re-hug you, if God has done this miracle that we are alive, he has done this as a sign that we must love each other well. I love you, Joseph, like a brother and more than a brother.
“Vittorio, Friday, June 6, 1919
My dear Antony,
I had your letter yesterday and it would come much earlier if you had brought it to me on foot. You know well the happiness I’ve experienced, now we are alive and of those who no longer exist even the count is lots. Antony, how much I want to hug you, but I have to be here with the regiment, they say that they are finally dismissing us. Put a flower on my father’s cross and give a prayer to Angiolino because he does not even have a cross and who knows where he is, my poor brother, he died at 21 years, certainly he can look at us from paradise. What I passed was ugly but it was not really terrible, but what I saw was really terrible. I served a much earlier much earlier s a nurse and saw guys dying, they came with a wound that seemed a little thing, we did as much as possible but you can imagine the conditions, the wound was infected and the guy died, almost half of the wounded soldiers died in a couple of days. If I remember those things I lose the desire to live, I cannot forget such things. We went to war without understanding anything and we saw hell, the real hell. Antony, now I would cheer you up and kiss you because I do not want to think about the dead that I will not forget forever but I want to think of my Antony. The medical captain told me that as a civilian I could work in a hospital in Treviso because if you has been in the army in health services the place is up to you, but I want to go back to Quinto and I want to be embraced with you the rest of life, you have a beautiful big farm, mine is just nearby and this is the sign that we too must be one. What will people say we do not know, but we should not be afraid of anyone and then to you only Aunt Bepa has remained in Voldobbiadene and to me it was only my mother who is almost sixty years old. My mom can stay with us, the other relatives are far away and they are all old, or we can sell everything away, yours and mine, and go to another place even though my mom always says she wants to die here. We are only two and in addition we have my mother but we are young and we like to work, and then you at your home and I at mine with my mom but all day we’ll work together, there is a little money for a few beasts and I think that we could live well. But there is one thing that makes me feel bad, the parish priest has written to me that there is Gina’s daughter, who is twenty years old and who would like so much to know me, and wrote me just so “if it is not she will be another, but be sure we’ll find you a wife.” And this thing worries me, it is something that should not happen, and here in the country there are few men, and in particular few young men, or there aren’t at all, and there are a lot of women. I do not like this story, if I want a woman, I choose her and if I don’t I’ll remain single without marrying, it is not a duty to have a wife and I’m not going to get married.
If I sell everything away and go far away from Quinto, what will you do? I thought about going near Parma and buy some land there, then we could work hard with beasts and we know how to do it. Please answer me as soon as you receive this teller because I’m too eager to wait. I love you as a brother and more than a brother. I give you my wishes for your name-day that is in eight days! I think I can be at Quinto at the end of June, now it seems certain.
“Fifth, Friday, June 13, 1919.
Thanks for the wishes I can only receive from you because now you are my whole family. I thought about the things you wrote and, from some things that he says and that make me understand his thoughts, it seems to me that the parish priest aims to find a wife for me too, so we really have to go because we would not be able to live here. I cannot wait for the time and the moment I can re-hug you. As soon as you come here we have to get advise by a captain I met at the front, who is lawyer in Brescia, I wrote to him and he told me he will help us for all the legal problems of the contract, he is a good person and I trust him, he said he does not want to be paid because when you saw war and death close, when you are dismissed, things are no longer as before. We will not say anything to the parish priest as you come to Quinto, first of all we have to write to the captain, we go to Brescia and give him all the documents and he will care about, and then I think there is already a wealthy man who wants to buy the land, because he already has a great piece of land on your border and mine, he is a rich man and we cannot deal directly with him, he has already made me hear the voice from the parish priest. However, we have to sell the land, we do not have to throw it away. Joseph, then, God be blessed, we’ll meet in to two weeks at most, what a beautiful thing, I can hug you, I want to keep you close to me! Blessed God we are still alive!
“Brescia, Tuesday 4 November 1919.
today is a great day for us. And do you know what price we sell? We had said no less than 30 thousand lire mine and no less than 20 thousand yours, but the captain did everything very well and we got exactly one and a half, 45 thousand lire mine and 30 thousand yours. But now I tell you all about it. The captain wrote to Mr. F. telling him that he was aware of his intention to buy our land, but with a paper printed as a lawyer, and told him that had been commissioned by us to handle the sale. Mr. F. answered him asking him for the price but he did not tell him and invited him to Brescia at his studio to meet me too. That’s why he got me telegraphed to go running. Then he explained to me all I had to say, gave me a beautiful dress and the most beautiful shoes I have ever seen, sent me to the barber, and they also cared for my hands and nails, I looked like a great lord. Then we went into the living room with carpets on the ground and paintings on the walls and the waitress brought us the coffee when Mr. F. arrived. We presented ourselves, the captain said that we were friends even before the war and that our families had been attending each other for generations, in practice he did everything himself, then after a while we got to the point, we sat at the table and the captain said that our proposal was a hundred thousand lire for both lands together, they had to be sold together because I would go with my partner to open a farm in Parma. Mr. F. widened his arms and said that at that price he just did not feel like buying it, and here came the master shot of the captain, the maid came and told him that lawyer T. was on the phone for the sale of land of Quinto and he raised the phone and replied that as the other possible buyer would not buy the deal could have been concluded in a couple of days. When he put down the phone, Mr. F. felt caught in a counterattack and demanded what price lawyer T. was willing to pay but the captain replied that negotiating with lawyer T. was something between us and lawyer T., it was up to Mr. F. make his proposal and the vendor would evaluate the best conditions. Then Mr. F. said 70 thousand in all. I would have told him ok right away but the captain took time and told him he would let him know. Mr. F. would stay in Brescia one more day to get the answer. Then Mr. F. left, and the captain explained to me that lawyer T. was a friend of his and they agreed that he would call him at that time, but lawyer T. had nothing to do with the land, in short, was a combined thing. In the afternoon the captain called Mr. F. at the hotel and told him that he might agree for 75 thousand and Mr. F. eventually accepted and we met again in the evening and the lawyer made him sign a card, not the contract itself, but a commitment to buy, and there was also a deposit of 15 thousand lire and Mr. F. made a check to the captain of 15 thousand lire. The final act will be signed in November, meanwhile the captain has tried to see for a great piece of land in Parma, a bit on the hillside and it seems we have found it and that it’s a very good pasture. We have to go see it in two days. Then you have to know that another thing happened, I told the captain about the two of us, you have understood me well, and he told me we’re proper people, and if he can do something for us, he’ll certainly do it. I asked him how we could repay but he said that what he did, did as a friend, otherwise he would not have been a friend. He is married and has two girls about ten-eleven years old and said that the fact that the Spanish flu did not take away any of his family makes him feel in debt to those who were less fortunate. Joseph, good Lord willing, at the end of November or at most at the beginning of the year, we will really be together. And with 75 thousand lire we can set up a beautiful farm and we can start a new life that belongs only to us. I think of you every moment! Joseph I think no one feels better than I feel at this time. I love you so much.
Today is exactly one year since the day of the victory, Live Italy!
(1) Quinto, Domenica 25 di Maggio 1919.
finalmente, ringraziando il Signore, ti posso scrivere qualche cosa buona. Pare che piano piano questa maledizione se ne sta andando [Si tratta della febbre influenzale spagnola, la più terribile pandemia influenzale che la storia ricordi. Nel mondo morirono di spagnola circa 20 milioni di persone, in Italia ne morirono almeno 375.000, ma se si conteggiano anche gli effetti aggravanti della influenza spagnola su altre patologie, il numero sale fino a 650.000. In alcuni paesi sparì, in quei terribili 180 giorni, tra la fine del 1918 e i primi mesi del 1919, circa il 70% della popolazione], ho perso in pratica tutta la mia famiglia, mio babbo e mia mamma, i miei due fratelli e mia sorella, Antonio di zia Bepa s’è salvato perché era andato a Valdobbiadene prima dell’inizio di questa piaga ed è rimasto lì. Ma qua in pianura han portato via tanti morti che non bastava il camposanto. Io ero ancora alle armi e quando m’han congedato babbo mi ha proprio ordinato di non tornare a Quinto, che c’eran le febbri e moriva tanta gente a mi han mandato anche me dalla Bepa e son stato là quattro mesi, ma anche là la paura era grande, non s’andava neanche alla messa la domenica. Ogni famiglia colle bestie in mezzo alla campagna e per parlare, alla voce, da lontano. Quello che è successo a Quinto lo sapevamo dal parroco che li sotterrava uno appresso che l’altro. Poi un mesetto fa ha cominciato a non morire più nessuno e i dottori ci han detto che si poteva tornare. E allora Antonio è rimasto con la zia Bepa e io sono sceso a Quinto, ma non c’era più nessuno, son stato al camposanto a vedere le croci e mi sono messo a pianger disperato che non c’era più nessuno, e anche le bestie, non c’era più nulla. Il parroco m’ha dato un po’ di soldi che eran di mio babbo e lui glieli aveva dati per me. Giuseppe, a noi non ci bastava la guerra, anche quest’altra sciagura ci voleva, noi del 95 la guerra ce la siam fatta tutta e grazie di Dio che ne avemo tirato fora i piedi e poi quest’altra maledizione. Ma adesso siamo ancora vivi e la forza ce l’abbiamo ancora. Ti ricordi il 15 quando è cominciato l’inferno, che speravamo di andare alla guerra insieme, ma che si sapeva noi della guerra, c’avevan contato tante balle, ma noi ci credevamo e poi al fronte a uscire dalla trincea a pregare tutti i santi che ci sparavano a mitraglia, Giuseppe noi siamo sopravvissuti all’inferno dell’Isonzo e a Caporetto e benedetto sia Diaz che la Patria l’ha salvata lui, che noi ormai combattevamo proprio per la disperazione perché ormai in Veneto, la terra nostra, proprio quella di casa nostra, la vedevamo già in mano agli Austriaci. Però quando è arrivato Diaz per noi è stata tremenda, tu da una parte e io dall’altra ma a questi assassini che hanno impiccato Battisti [Cesare Battisti, patriota irredentista italiano, impiccato degli Austriaci a Trento il 12 luglio 1916] li abbiamo cacciati fuori dalla nostra Patria. Noi stavamo sull’Isonzo alla fine del 16 e te lo ricordi quando ci dissero che era morto Cecco Peppe [Francesco Giuseppe, imperatore d’Austria, morto il 18 novembre 1916 ] abbiamo tutti alzato la bandiera e pensavano che la guerra sarebbe finita ma non è mica finita. Quanto ho pensato a te nella trincea e non ti potevo neanche scrivere che le lettere erano solo per la famiglia, e pregavo Dio dalla mattina alla sera di farci salvi tutti e due e se uno se ne doveva prendere che si prendesse me, che io senza Giuseppe non ci potevo vivere. Sono stati anni brutti, Giuseppe, senza di te, e poi alla sera del 4 Novembre dell’anno passato, che ci hanno fatti mettere tutti schierati e il colonnello ha letto il telegramma della vittoria, son proprio scoppiato a piangere come una creatura ma piangevano proprio tutti, era finita la guerra e eravamo vivi! Io pensavo solo a te, pregavo Dio che ti potevo rivedere. Mi son fatto coraggio e sono andato al telegrafista e l’ho pregato di chiedere del soldato Giuseppe B. ma mi ha detto che la confusione era tale che nessuno avrebbe potuto avere notizie di un singolo soldato. Pensavo che ci congedassero subito e ti sarei venuto a cercare ma non sapevo dove e allora ho scritto al parroco per sapere tue notizie e mi ha detto che tu gli avevi scritto dopo l’armistizio e che eri vivo e stavi a Vittorio e ci saremmo rivisti a Quinto tra poco ma il congedo ritardava di settimana in settimana e nel disastro è stata una cosa buona, proprio in quei giorni è morta mamma e papà mi ha scritto che non dovevo tornare a Quinto se non fossero passate le febbri, poi in cinque giorni sono morti tutti. Quando ho letto la lettera del parroco mi son messo a piangere disperato che m’ha visto il capitano e s’è seduto vicino a me e gli ho fatto leggere la lettera e m’ha abbracciato forte. Adesso ho solo te e so dal parroco che sei ancora a Vittorio, per fortuna la tua mamma non se l’è presa il Signore come il tuo caro babbo. Angiolino poveretto se l’è preso la guerra, ho saputo anche questo, e pure a te ti resta solo la mamma. Non vedo l’ora di riabbracciarti ma non mi riconosci che la guerra m’ha fatto brutto, sono stato ferito al braccio sinistro ma lo muovo bene però m’è rimasta un grossa cicatrice di una scheggia e già è molto che sono sopravvissuto, così m’ha detto il chirurgo, che era una ferita brutta. Non vedo l’ora e il momento che ti posso riabbracciare che se Dio c’ha fatto questo miracolo che c’ha fatto campare questo è segno che noi ci dobbiamo volere bene. Ti voglio bene, Giuseppe, come un fratello e più che un fratello.
(2) Vittorio, Venerdì 6 di Giugno 1919
Carissimo Antonio mio,
la lettera tua l’ho avuta ieri che facevi prima a venire tu a piedi a portarmela. La felicità che ho provato la sai bene, adesso noi siamo vivi e di quelli che non ci stanno più se n’è perso il conto. Antonio, quanto ti vorrei abbracciare ma io devo stare qua col reggimento ma dicono che tra poco ci congedano definitivamente. Metticelo tu un fiore sulla croce di mio babbo e dilla una preghiera per Angiolino che lui non c’ha manco la croce e chissà dove sta, povero fratello mio, lui è morto a 21 anno, possa guardarci dal paradiso. Quello che ho passato io è stato brutto ma non è stato proprio terribile, quello che ho visto invece è stato proprio terribile. Io facevo l’infermiere e ne ho visto di ragazzi morire, arrivavano con una ferita che sembrava poca cosa, noi facevamo il possibile ma puoi immaginare le condizioni igieniche, la ferita si infettava e i ragazzi morivano, quasi le metà dei feriti moriva in un paio di giorni. Se mi ricordo di quelle cose mi passa pure la voglia di vivere, non me le potrò più scordare. Noi siamo andati alla guerra senza capire niente e abbiamo visto l’inferno, proprio l’inferno. Antonio adesso t’abbraccerei e ti bacerei perché non voglio pensare ai morti che non me li scorderò più ma voglio pensare a Antonio mio. Il capitano medico mi ha detto che da civile potrei lavorare in ospedale a Treviso perché se hai fatto la guerra in sanità il posto ti spetta, ma io voglio tornare a Quinto e voglio stare abbracciato con te il resto della vita, tu hai un podere bello grosso, quello mio sta attaccato e quello è il segno che pure noi dobbiamo essere una cosa sola. Che dirà la gente noi non lo sappiamo, ma noi non dobbiamo avere paura di nessuno e poi a te è rimasta solo la zia Bepa a Voldobbiadene e a me è rimasta solo mia mamma che è vecchia e ha quasi sessant’anni. Mia mamma può stare con noi, poi gli altri parenti sono lontani e sono tutti vecchi, oppure si può vender via tutto, il tuo e il mio, e andare in un altro posto anche se mia mamma dice sempre che lei vuol morire qui. Noi siamo solo due e in più dobbiamo pensare a mia mamma ma siamo giovani e la voglia di lavorare non ci manca e poi tu a casa tua e io a casa mia con mia mamma ma tutta la giornata si lavora insieme, un po’di soldi per compare un po’ di bestie ci sono e io penso che si potrebbe vivere bene. Ma c’è una cosa che mi fa stare male, il parroco m’ha scritto che c’è la figlia della Gina, che ha vent’anni e che ci terrebbe tanto a conoscermi, e m’ha scritto proprio così “che se non è lei è un’altra, stai sereno che ti accasiamo.” E questa cosa mi fa stare male, non ci voleva proprio e qui in paese di uomini specie giovani ce n’è rimasti poco e niente e di donne ce n’è tante. Non mi piace mica questa storia, se la voglio io una donna, me la scelgo io e se non la voglio sto senza, non è mica un dovere e io non ne ho nessuna intenzione. Se io vendo via tutto e me ne vado da Quinto tu che fai? Avevo pensato di andare dalle parti di Parma e comprare un po’ di terra lì, poi ci si potrebbe dare da fare che noi con gli animali ci sappiamo fare. Ti prego di rispondermi appena ricevi questa mia perché sto troppo in ansia ad aspettare. Ti voglio bene pure io come un fratello e più di un fratello. Ti faccio tanti tanti auguri per il santo tuo che è oggi a otto! Penso di poter stare a Quinto alla fine di Giugno, ormai sembra una cosa certa.
(3) Quinto, Venerdì 13 di Giugno 1919.
grazie degli auguri che ormai posso ricevere solo da te che sei la mia famiglia. Ho pensato alle cose che hai scritto e, da certe cose che dice e che lascia intendere, mi pare che il parroco abbia pensato ad ammogliare anche me, quindi ce ne dobbiamo proprio andare perché qua non riusciremmo a vivere. Non vedo l’ora e il momento che ti posso riabbracciare. Appena tu vieni qua ci facciamo consigliare da un capitano che ho conosciuto al fronte e che fa l’avvocato a Brescia, gli ho scritto e mi ha detto che ci aiuta lui per tutte le cose degli atti, è una brava persona e me ne fido, ha detto che non vuole essere pagato perché quando hai visto la guerre a la morte da vicino quando torni civile non è più come prima. Noi al parroco non diciamo niente, quanto tu vieni a Quinto, la prima cosa scriviamo al capitano, andiamo a Brescia e gli portiamo tutte le carte e ha detto che ci pensa lui e poi io penso che ci sia già uno che la terra se la vuole comprare, perché ce ne ha già un pezzo grande al confine tuo e mio, è uno ricco che non ci possiamo trattare noi, lui già m’ha fatto arrivare la voce dal parroco. Comunque la terra la dobbiamo vendere, non la dobbiamo buttare via. Giuseppe, allora, benedetto Iddio, ci vediamo da qui a due settimane al massimo, che cosa bella che ti posso abbracciare, ti voglio tenere stretto a me! Benedetto Iddio che siamo ancora vivi!
(4) Brescia, Martedì 4 Novembre 1919.
oggi è una giornata grande per noi. E sai a quanto la vendiamo? Noi avevamo detto non meno di 30 mila lire la mia e non meno di 20 mila lire la tua, ma il capitano ha fatto tutto lui e ci facciamo esattamente una volta e mezzo, 45 mila lire la mia e 30 mila lire la tua. Ma adesso ti racconto tutto quanto. Il capitano ha scritto al sig. F. dicendogli che era sto informato della sua intenzione di comprare i nostri terreni, ma colla carta stampata da avvocato, e gli diceva che aveva avuto mandato a trattare per nostro conto. Il sig. F. gli ha risposto chiedendogli il prezzo ma lui non glielo ha detto e lo ha invitato a Brescia al suo studio per incontrare anche me. Ecco perché m’ha telegrafato di andare di corsa. Poi mi ha spiegato tutto quello che dovevo dire, m’ha dato da mettere un vestito suo bellissimo e delle scarpe che non ne ho mai viste così, m’ha mandato dal barbiere, e mi hanno sistemato pure le mani, sembravo un figurino. Poi ci siamo messi nel salotto, coi tappeti per terra e i quadri e la cameriera ci ha portato il caffè, quando è arrivato il signor F. ci siamo presentati, il capitano ha detto che eravamo amici anche prima della guerra e che le nostre famiglie si conoscono da generazioni, ha fatto proprio tutto lui, poi dopo un po’ di convenevoli siamo arrivati al punto, ci siamo seduti al tavolo e il capitano ha detto che la nostra proposta era di cento mila lire per tutti e due i terreni insieme, che dovevano essere venduti per forza insieme perché io sarei andato con il mio socio ad aprire un’azienda agricola a Parma. Il sig. F. ha allargato le braccia e ha detto che a quel prezzo non se la sentiva proprio, e qua è venuto il colpo da maestro del capitano è entrata la domestica e gli ha detto che c’era al telefono l’avvocato T. per la vendita dei terreni di Quinto e lui ha alzato il telefono e ha risposto che siccome l’altro possibile acquirente non se la sentiva di procedere all’acquisto la cosa si sarebbe potuta concludere. Quando ha messo giù il telefono, il sig. F. si è sentito preso in contropiede e ha chiesto che prezzo era disposto a pagare l’avvocato T. ma il capitano ha risposto che la trattativa con l’avvocato T. è cosa tra noi e l’avvocato T, che lui facesse invece la sua proposta e poi si sarebbero valutate le condizioni migliori. Allora F. ha detto 70 in tutto. Io gli avrei detto subito sì ma il capitano ha preso tempo e gli ha detto che gli avrebbe fatto sapere. F. sarebbe rimasto a Brescia un giorno in più per avere la risposta. Poi F. è andato via e il capitano mi ha spiegato che l’avvocato T. è un suo amico e che erano d’accordo che lo avrebbe chiamato a quell’ora, ma l’avvocato T. con i terreni non ‘entrava per niente, insomma era una cosa combinata. Nel pomeriggio il capitano ha chiamato F. in albergo e gli ha detto che si sarebbe potuto concludere per 75 e F. alla fine ha accettato e ci siamo rivisti tutti e tre in serata e l’avvocato gli ha fatto firmare una carta che però non era il contratto, ma un impegno ad acquistare, e c’era anche una caparra di 15 mila lire e F. ha fatto un assegno all’avvocato di 15 mila lire. L’atto definitivo si farà entro Novembre, intanto il capitano ha cercato di vedere per un pezzo di terra grande a Parma, un po’ in collina e pare che lo abbiamo trovato e che deve essere pascolo ottimo. Dobbiamo andare a vederlo tra due giorni. Poi lo sai che è successa pure un’altra cosa, ho detto di noi due al capitano, hai capito bene, e m’ha detto che siamo persone come si deve e che se può fare qualcosa per noi lo farà certamente. Gli ho chiesto come potevamo sdebitarci ma ha detto che quello che aveva fatto lui un amico lo deve fare se no non è un amico. Lui è sposato e ha due bambine grandine e ha detto che il fatto che la Spagnola non si sia portata via nessuno della sua famiglia lo fa sentire in debito verso chi è stato meno fortunato. Giuseppe, se Dio vuole, alla fine di Novembre o al massimo all’inizio dell’anno venturo noi possiamo stare veramente insieme. E con 75 mila lire possiamo mettere in piedi una bella fattoria e possiamo cominciare una vita veramente nostra. Ti penso ogni momento! Giuseppe io penso che nessuno si senta meglio di come mi sento io in questo momento. Ti voglio un bene immenso.
Oggi è un anno dalla vittoria, Viva l’Italia!
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Sex is far from representing the highest value in human relationships, but nevertheless it is often considered an absolute value, that is, in essence, it is considered mythically and thought to be independent from all those conditions that make it truly rewarding.
Couple sex presupposes that there is actually a couple, that is, there are two people who love each-other and have visions of the World and of the sexuality itself substantially compatible.
Too often couple sex is experienced individually, totally outside of any affective relationship, as if sex could replace an objectively deficient affectivity. I hear very often about the sex experienced only as a form of physical and individual enjoyment detached from affectivity, but I am inclined to think that, at least in the long run, sex meant in this way is substantially depressing and frustrating.
In sexuality there are no standards and saying “gay”, in fact, means very little. Each individual has his own personal story, his conditioning, his fantasies, and it is certainly not a common thing that two individuals achieve a truly gratifying equilibrium for both.
Let’s now look at the symptomatic elements of a couple’s crisis, first of all, we’ll consider the lack of affectivity within the couple.
1) In the life of a couple, because of the presence of an emotional bond, the communication should be complete: each partner should communicate to the other “without filters” whatever happens to him, not only the objective facts but also his personal evaluations connected with those facts.
Confidentiality is a typical value of social environments where a social role is assumed, that is, where one is considered for what he is doing, for his own actions and not for his thoughts and for what he is in his private.
It is commonly said that when you fall in love you do not see the defects of the other and place him in an almost mystical atmosphere. As the age grows, and with the passing of years, the tendency to mythicize the partner, which is evident in the young sweetheart, does not disappear but consolidates on an affective level. This is clearly observed in couples of different age, especially by the mature partner, towards the younger.
The emergence of a couple’s crisis can be recognized by the changed attitude toward the partner, which is progressively no longer considered mythically, but is viewed with an increasingly critical attitude.
It should be underlined that, very often, the transition from mythicizing the partner to the opposite attitude does not manifest itself outside and is, at least at first, unilateral. The partner who sees his affective participation progressively vanishing, tries to replace his less and less affective spontaneity, with voluntary behaviors, assuming the role of the “sweetheart for duty”.
In short, the absence of spontaneity by one of the two partners emerges, for example through controversial and unusual discourses, which are immediately perceived as inconsistent by the other partner. In this way, the decline in the affective tone of the couple becomes bilateral and moves to a later stage, that is, it passes from affective contact (cuddling, even just verbal) to speeches and reasoning.
2) In the now-advanced couple crisis, the dominant element are speeches, speculations, and clarifications. Sexual contact is still present, but it is a contact where disparities and incompatibilities are underlined, a contact in which roles are created and are gradually consolidated.
There is, on the one hand, a dominant (or rather aggressive) partner who asks and sometimes claims for clarity, which detects the partner’s inconsistencies, recalling word by word the expressions that the partner used and asking promptly the motivation of each single word, and there is on the other hand, the submissive partner, who accepts, or rather suffers the whole situation, because he somehow is aware that couple relationship is completely over and wants to come out of it as quickly as possible but quietly.
Unilateral inconsistencies are also common in stable couple relationships. Unilateral tone changing within a stable couple, though perceived, is not interpreted as a critical and potentially destructive element, but in the presence of an incipient couple crisis, inconsistencies and tone changings are not only immediately detected but produce the classic aggressive reaction.
I also observe that in some couples where asymmetry is very strong, the characterization in terms of aggressiveness-submissiveness exists even when the couple is not in crisis. The aggressive partner boasts his rationality, his clear talk, his underlined repetition of the same concepts and blames the submissive partner not only for his fickleness and its inconsistency at the limit of deceit, but also for his deliberate refuse of taking into account what his partner says.
Slowly, the talk phase turns into a confrontation. The aggressive partner lists his merits, omitting any reference to his demerits, and thus causes the submissive partner to entrench increasingly in defense positions.
It should be emphasized that there are two underlying reasons behind the couple’s crisis: the absence of a true exclusivity (or at least of a strong polarization of affectivity and sometimes even of sexuality within the couple) and also the fact that each of the partners has a strictly personal life, of which the other partner knows little or nothing at all. Sometimes there is a completely concealed infidelity by the aggressive partner, in other cases the submissive partner gets only vague information and further clarifications are denied with phrases such as: “But you have accepted it!” or “These are my private and I don’t want to talk about it!”.
I underline that in some cases the aggressive partner assumes that a “sexual only” relationship can be maintained with the previous partner, even in the presence of an important affective relationship with a new partner. Faced with these behaviors really disruptive of couple’s life (because the so-called open couple is a highly ambiguous and contradictory concept) the submissive partner should come to the obvious conclusions, namely to realize that the relationship no longer exists, but generally this does not happen and the remissive partner ends up accepting paradoxical situations in hypothetical as unrealistic hope that things come back as before. These unstable compromise situations can last for years and are actually destructive, because asserting attitudes can transform what was a love affair into a radical devaluation of the other partner.
3) Sometimes one of the two partners asks the other for “a moment of reflection”, that is, for a pause more than a break in the couple’s relationship. The modes can be the most varied, from not getting in touch for a few weeks to getting in touch occasionally, without meeting, despite the interruption.
The “pause of reflection” is used to reconsider the relationship with a certain degree of detachment, to understand to what extent it is important and also to attempt other ways and to compare the various options.
The pause of reflection does not necessarily lead to the breaking of the couple’s relationship, but is useful as a test of the existence of the assumptions of that relationship. In this case the fundamental parameter is the time: the longer the pause of reflection stretches the less is the probability that the couple’s life resumes.
Generally, very tight couples interrupt the pause of reflection even before the established period. If this happens, or if the set period is relatively short (up to a month) and after the pause of reflection the couple relationship resumes, the affective motivations are usually strengthened.
If, however, the time elapses to two months or even longer, it is very likely that the underlying affectivity of the couple was superficial from the beginning and that the choice of being a couple was very precipitate or was determined by external factors.
I would like to dwell on a very important concept: “the affective participation cannot be pretended, the sexual one, on the contrary, can.” It is for this reason that many couples objectively in crisis because of lack of affectivity continue to exist: sexuality is supposed to overcome the lack of affectivity and for some time it may seem that things can work that way, but the weakness of the affective relationship cannot be covered for a long time by the persisting sexual interest because sex without love stops being a deep human contact experience and becomes a source of dissatisfaction and frustration. At the base of all this there is the idea I mentioned at the beginning: love and sex are different things.
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