I REALIZED I WAS GAY AT 26

Hello Project, I don’t know who you are and to send you this e-mail I opened a new e-mail account that I will use only to write to you, if you answer me. I know that maybe it’s an excess of prudence but that’s what I did. Call me Alex, although obviously it’s not my real name. I don’t deny that I don’t feel comfortable writing an email like this in which I tell things that nobody knows but I think it’s still worth writing them because Gay Project helped me a lot and my story can be useful to someone. 
I am 27 years old, since some months I live on my own, far from my family of origin. I have a permanent job that I like and I am economically autonomous, in fact the others respect me and have a good opinion of me. Let’s say that from the outside I look like one who has achieved his goals and in a sense it’s true but inside myself for many years I felt like a failure. I thought that in my life I would never have done what I wanted but always something else. I would have liked to study Physics but I studied Economics and it is thanks to that that I found a good job, I wanted to work in Milan where my parents live and instead I ended up living in Bologna where I found my personal autonomy, in short I always did the opposite of what I wanted but in the end I felt good. In one thing I felt like one who had failed to build anything and it was the emotional life. Reading your website made a lot of ideas clear to me. 
I considered myself 100% heterosexual until I was 26 and I had no reason to think otherwise, but none at all. I’ve never been with a woman but I did my fantasies on women even if they were never great things and sex for me has always been in a minor tone, I mean I have never had the mania of these things, I heard from others extraordinary things about sex that never happened to me. So sex for me was an unimportant thing and I did not understand what could be overwhelming in it but even the individual sex was something that didn’t excite me so much. I had also tried with the hetero porn sites but they seemed to me absurd things. Up to 26 years I never thought of a guy, but really never, the broadcasts on gays seemed to me things from another planet. 
Up to 25 years old I was practicing sports and with my team mates we took a shower together but the thing for me was completely indifferent. I really thought I did not have a sexuality. The girls told me that I was a nice guy but they did not fall in love with me, when I tried something they moved away from me and I was very disappointed. I don’t think I would ever be able to woo a girl and it certainly never happened. 
Things have changed for me since September 2008. I started working in another city, where I rented a little apartment near my workplace and in the place where I worked I met also a guy who was a year younger than me, let’s call him Max. Even he lived in a mini-apartment, but far from where I was, about half an hour by car. We were hired on the same day and I met him waiting at the door of the CEO to know his destination. I was there for the same reason. We waited more than half an hour, both him and me very timid and normal, and then we were both fearful of the new work environment, the first job for me and also for him. He enters first, I wait, after half an hour he goes out and they call me. I go in, they give me the letters of assumption and summarily explain that the next day I should take service, in practice, in a place very close to my house. I was happy. 
I go out and see that Max is in the antechamber. He was waiting for me. I liked it. He had no car. I ask him where they sent him, he tells me that they had sent him to the other side of the city, near his house, or at least not far away. I’m sorry, a bit. I tell him about my destination. We exchange mobile numbers. It was eleven o’clock, he proposes to have lunch together, I say yes, but it’s early. I invite him to my house but he prefers to take a walk, it’s a beautiful day and I don’t take it badly. We walk a lot, then lunch in a fast food restaurant. He asks me if I have anything to do. I say no. He asks me if the offer to go up to my house is still valid. We climb into my mini-apartment. There is a single double bed. He takes off his shoes and lays on the bed, I sit on the only chair and we talk. In practice he always talks about the fact that he was practicing sport, about how much he loved his grandparents, that he no longer has, about any songs he listens to, about what he expects from work and many other things. I listen to him with pleasure, he is nice, casual, then he says nonsense, he laughs, in short it is a pleasant company. 
After some time I realized that we never talked about sex or love, never, as if the subject didn’t exist at all, but then I didn’t notice such things. In the evening we took something at the fast food and then I accompanied him to his house but I didn’t go up. I was happy to have found Max. I didn’t feel alone even though I was in a city that I didn’t know at all. In short we have become like brothers. 
Ten days later it had become normal that we were always together until the evening or on free days, but the night we stayed each at his own home. After a month we also started to sleep in the same house and in the same bed but all without any implication of any kind at any level, we were just like two brothers, no mutual embarrassment and no sexual thoughts neither on my part, nor, I think, on his part. 
The first idea that the thing could have a different meaning arose in me when a colleague began to court Max. It was something that I could not stand, it bothered me, not that she did it but that Max could spend time with her. He treated her politely, probably he was not interested but I was afraid he was. One evening he tells me that the colleague had proposed to him to go out with her. I ask him: “And what did you answer?” He tells me that he said he didn’t feel like it. At that point I breathed a sigh of relief and I must have made a face very happy. Max looked at me and said: “Don’t worry, it will never happen!” At the time I made the face of the one who understood and I changed the subject, but that phrase started to turn around in my head in an incredible way. In the evening he stayed to sleep with me, I tried to resume the speech and he was evasive, he just told me: “Don’t ask too many questions …”. 
That’s when I wondered if Max had fallen in love with me. I completely excluded that I could fall in love with him, but I considered a possible thing that he could fall in love with me. I wondered what I should do, whether to cut off relations with him or simply not to sleep together anymore, even if nothing had ever happened between us. Anyway I did not tell him anything and everything, between us, went on exactly as before, we continued to sleep together in the same bed or at my home or at his and nothing happened. 
As the days passed I ended up putting away the idea that he was gay, it seemed absolutely impossible. I said to myself: if he’s gay, why does he remain totally indifferent? In the end we are together in the same bed. Is it possible that a gay guy in such a situation doesn’t try anything, even at a minimum level? However, judging by his behavior, it didn’t seem to me that he could be gay. In practice months have passed in which we have lived together and for his part there has never been a slight mention, never a speech, not even vague, nothing! A beautiful morning I wake up before the sound of the alarm clock, there was enough light in the room, he is asleep, I watch him carefully. He’s nice. I want to caress his face but I don’t, but he is just beautiful, serene, an image that I will never forget and that’s where I had the first physical reaction looking at a man. It had never happened to me before, it was the first time ever. I was disturbed. I said to myself: what’s happening to me? I got up and went to put myself under the frozen shower. 
At first I was convinced that it had passed. When Max got up, everything went as usual and I was very happy that it did not happen again. I was looking for every possible motivation to justify what had happened: the heat, the fact that I had had no sex on my own for a few days and things like that and the fact that my reaction had not been repeated made me feel comfortable. For the whole working day nothing happened. In the evening I had to go to his house but I made an excuse and I didn’t go there, I was afraid it would happen again. He did not tell me anything, after all I had been alone at home other times. I spent the night alone with the idea that it could still happen, I saw the TV, I was a bit on the internet, then he called me in chat to ask if everything was fine and it happened again even though we were talking only about work. I greeted him quickly because I did not want him to continue. 
I was really upset, I tried to distract myself but I could not and I did something I had never done before, I drank two cans of beer one after the other and, stunned as I was, I went to bed. I was beginning to think that I would have liked him next to me and at the same time that I would have to move away from him and that if I was at that point it was his fault, because his company had ruined me. In short, I hated him and loved him. Since then I started to remove him, probably for him it was a tremendous blow but he did not say anything and tried to do as if between us things had not changed. The more I walked away the worse I was and then I began to desire him, that is even at sexual level, with everything this implies. I told myself it would be over but I knew it would not be like that. The phase of removal, let’s say, lasted almost two months.
He was friendly with me when he met but it happened rarely and only when the company forced us to common activities, but at a private level we did not see each other anymore. The separation not only did not make me overcome my feelings for Max but put them clearly on a sexual level. By now I had totally renounced the idea of being straight but I had to keep just for me the fact that I was in love with Max, we were now like two strangers, or at least I thought so. It was during those days that I started looking online for gay sites and, after seeing things of incredible misery, that made me feel really bad, I discovered Gay Project and it was a fundamental discovery that really opened my eyes.
One day Max and I come together to a meeting, he asks me: “How are you?” But he asks me it in a very serious way, just worried about me. I tell him that I have problems, he looks at me straight in the eyes and squeezes my hand, from outside only a greeting, for me much, very much more. I tell him: “Do you want to go to my place in the afternoon?” He says to me: “Sure!” He comes immediately after work. I feel a terrible embarrassment, his physical presence puts me in a very strange state of mind. I feel very excited, even sexually, but I’m afraid to say things out of place, to hurt him, to offend him. Result: after hours of interview attempts I don’t say anything. 
He asks me if he can stay for the night to talk a little more, but I insist to take him back to his home. I take him back home, we don’t say a word all along the journey, the embarrassment feels very strong. I come back home. He calls me on the phone, a few words and long silences. We close the phone with nothing done. The situation has been going on this way for more than a month, but I could not take it anymore. An afternoon he comes to me, I had never seen him like that before. He doesn’t ask me questions, he only tells me: “Shut up and let me talk. . . ” I listen. He only tells me: “Alex, I fell in love with you!” I don’t know what I did at the time, I was happy but also upset, I did not expect such a thing, after several seconds I replied: “Maybe me too. . . ” But I added that such a thing had never happened to me and that I felt strange. 
It was the first time that we talked about us in a truly free way. Max and I had arrived at this point, now we knew each other even the most intimate things and everything had been absolutely simple. It seemed incredible to me that such talk could be made in such a direct way, but really it happened. He told me that when I had left him he had been very bad but he thought I had left him because I had understood that he was gay from the speeches he had made and he didn’t want to intrude into my life because basically even if he saw me as straight he loved me the same and he did not want to make me problems and so he had accepted to step aside. In short, he took me for straight and I took him the same way. 
We have confessed our mutual sexual interest but also the embarrassment about the possibility of having sex with each other. He too is rather inhibited. We decided to go very slowly. That night we just went to sleep holding hands. But even shaking his hand was beautiful, it was also a physical contact and transmitted a strong emotion. At a certain point I say to him: “Max, I feel excited” and he tells me: “Me too. . . but does it embarrass you?” I answer him: “No. . . and you?” He says to me: “Not at all, but just the opposite. . . “. Max had never been in love with a guy in his life, just like me. It was March 29th 2009 a day I will never forget. 
Project, Max and I consider Gay Project a bit like a second home, truly a unique thing on the internet, and in the way of seeing of these guys, Max and I find ourselves very well. Nobody knows our story, not even our families know it, because they probably would not understand the true meaning of our relationship, but we want the guys who read your sites to know it. Neither I nor Max would ever have imagined a life like the one we are now living and yet we really are living it. It is not easy neither between us nor on a social level but we have passed hard tests and we are here to testify that, if two guys love each other, happiness for them is possible. Thank you for what you do, Project, and never give up!
___________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-i-realized-i-was-gay-at-26
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MACHIAVELLI HOMOSEXUAL

Investigating the sexuality of great personalities of the past is not always easy, for some the documentation deriving from private correspondence is very limited but explicit, as in the case of Torquato Tasso, for others, who have left a considerable amount of private correspondence, the documentation is sometimes really encrypted and difficult to interpret, as in the case of Niccolò Machiavelli.
Reading the private correspondence between Machiavelli and Francesco Vettori, ambassador of the Florentine Republic to the Papal Court, we are often perplexed, because we reach the end of a letter with the clear impression of not having understood exactly the meaning that is hidden behind the words.
Machiavelli was a person of considerable political importance and the letters he sent, even the private ones, were subject to some form of encryption in order to make them difficult to interpret for anyone who did not possess the right keys to read. The discourses contained in particular in the private correspondence with Vettori, sometimes apparently vague and incomprehensible, are actually full of implications and metaphors that can be deciphered correctly only if one is very familiar with that form of correspondence.
So let’s get into the subject.
Machiavelli was born in Florence on May 3th, 1469.
On May 23th, 1498, when Machiavelli had just turned 29, Fra Girolamo Savonarola was hanged and burned in Piazza della Signoria. Between mid-June and mid-July Machiavelli was elected secretary of the Second Chancellery and also became secretary of the Council of Ten that was responsible for the policy of territorial expansion of Florence and for the affairs of war. In 1501, at age 32, a decidedly mature age for the time, Machiavelli married Marietta Corsini, with whom he had 7 children. It could be argued that there is no more convincing proof of Niccolò’s exclusive heterosexuality, however, many years later, Francesco Vettori, writing to an almost 54-year-old Machiavelli, on April 17th, 1523, will say: “we sometimes accuse the nature itself as a stepmother when, instead, we should accuse our parents and ourselves: if you had truly known yourself, you would never have taken a wife; and my father, if he had known my desires and habits, would never have joined me to a wife, as one who nature had generated for play and for fun, not eager to make money and in the least worried about his wealth. But a wife would have forced me to change, which, however, cannot be accomplished happily for anyone.”[1]
Vettori’s speech seems to allude more to heterosexual adventures, both of Machiavelli and Vettori, both very free in sexual behavior, rather than to homosexuality, but, as we will see, Machiavelli certainly did not disdain even homosexual adventures and probably a similar discourse could also be done for Vettori.
That Machiavelli was not only a married heterosexual, who limited himself only to sexual intercourses with his wife but that he went to look for sex for “foia”, that is for lust, even with very low-level female prostitutes is evidenced by his letter of December 8th 1509, when Machiavelli was 40, to Luigi Giucciardini (brother of the historian Francesco Guicciardini). In fact, Machiavelli tells Guicciardini that he had gone through an irrepressible craving of sex (affogaggine) with a very ugly woman, an authentic monster, only because there was just a bit of light that didn’t allow to see her clearly, but then, taken an ember from the fire he lit up the lamp, he saw how ugly she was and felt a very strong sense of rejection. [2]
On May 27th, 1510, an anonymous connoisseur put in a hole of anonymous denunciations this denunciation: “I notify to you, Eight gentlemen (police authority), that Niccolò of Messer Bernardo Machiavelli fucks Lucretia colled “la Riccia” (“The woman with curly hair”) in the ass”. [3]
Machiavelli was therefore accused of sodomy with that prostitute named Lucrezia called la Riccia (“The woman with curly hair”). The accusation is about sodomy but with a woman, the vox populi (popular rumor) who tries to discredit Machiavelli, a politically important man, married and with several children, does not therefore contain any reference to homosexuality, which would have been, on the other hand, not very credible.
The political fortunes of Machiavelli are linked to the Florentine Republic and to the pro-popular conceptions of Pier Soderini, perpetual gonfalonier. On September 16th, 1512, after the escape of Soderini, the Medici resumed control of Florence and the fate of Machiavelli precipitated. On November 7th he was deposed from his offices, on November 10th he sentenced to a year of confinement within the Florentine territory. Suspected of having favored the conspiracy of Agostino Capponi and Pietropaolo Boscoli to restore the Republic, on February 12th, 1513, he was arrested and put to the rope torture.
Machiavelli quickly tries to mobilize his powerful friends and gets results. While Capponi and Boscoli are put to death, Machiavelli is condemned to pay a large deposit, which he is not able to pay, but still comes out of prison in a short time because on March 11th, 1513, Giovanni de’ Medici, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, already created cardinal at the age of 13, becomes Pope Leo X. Leo X’s election is followed in Florence by the general amnesty and Machiavelli, released from prison, takes the prudent decision to disappear from Florence and retire to the farm of the Albergaccio, in Sant’Andrea in Percussina. Machavelli was then 44 years old.
On December 19th, 1513, Machiavelli wrote to Vettori a letter, cryptic in the first part but very interesting in the second, from our point of view. Let us limit ourselves to the analysis of the second part, which also suggests a reason for the so encrypted first part.
Machiavelli remembers that Vettori had written four verses about a certain Riccio (“a guy with curly hair”), a guy available to homosexual contacts, also indicating the names of those who had been put “in berta” (had been ridiculed) because they had gone with Riccio. Machiavelli recited those verses from memory to Giovanni Machiavelli, thus accusing him of homosexual activities. Giovanni Machiavelli took it badly and tried to insist, saying “that he does not know where you have found that he touches (touching means having homosexual relationships in the cryptic jargon of Florentine homosexuals)”. Vettori had not accused Giovanni Machiavelli of homosexuality, but it was Niccolò who, by changing the names, had given the impression that instead he had done so. Giovanni Machiavelli wants to give and ask for explanations and Niccolò laughs at the insult he has made. It should be noted that the verb “to touch” is fundamental because, as we shall see, it is necessary to correctly interpret a discourse that Machiavelli makes about himself. [4]
In the same letter Machiavelli mentions a Franciscan friar who makes politics preaching and throws words of fire from the pulpit. Machiavelli writes, not without pungent irony: “These things shocked me yesterday so that I had to go this morning to be with the Riccia, and I did not go there; but I do not know, if I had had to be with the Riccio, if the effect of the words of the friar would have been the same. I didn’t hear the preaching because I’m not used to such things, but I heard it repeated like this from all Florence. [5]
On January 5th, 1514 Machiavelli wrote a very interesting letter to Vettori.[6] He begins by observing that men are blind in the things in which they sin as they are bitter persecutors of the vices they do not have.
So, then, Machiavelli wrote to Vettori that had shown him that he was worried about the fact that having hosted in his house ser Sano, a well-known homosexual, could discredit him through the gossip of Filippo Casavecchia, and explains to Vettori that Filippo Casavecchia, another well-known homosexual and friend of Machiavelli, would never have criticized Vettori even if ser Sano had remained at his house from one jubilee to another, and indeed he would have congratulated Vettori for the choice. And the Brancaccio then, another well-known homosexual friend of Machiavelli, wouldn’t have dared to comment even if Vettori had taken home the whole brothel of Valencia, indeed he would have considered him a great man more for this than if he had seen him talk better than Demosthenes before the Pope.
Filippo Casavecchia would have thought it unseemly that Vettori would bring easy guys home, but not someone like Ser Sano who was prudent and Brancaccio would not like to see Vettori in the company of cheap whores. However, if Vettori had followed their advice, removing Ser Sano and the easy women, Casavecchia would have wondered where Ser Sano had gone and would have done everything to get him back. Machiavelli adds, to make things even clearer, a discourse that sounds more or less like this: if I had happened in Vettori’s house when he had chased away Sano and the easy women from his house, “I, who am running next to both guys and girls [7] would have said “Dear Ambassador, you will get sick because it does not seem that you take any fun, here there are no guys and there are no women, what the “cock”-house is this?”
On February 25th 1514, Machiavelli wrote to Vettori a very interesting letter [8], I quote the full text in a note and transcribe some parts here, simplifying the descriptions of the places, very detailed in the text, and trying to report the real meaning in a language more understandable at first reading. “I received your letter the other week and I waited until now to answer you because I wanted to have clearer information about a fact that I will tell you below and then I can respond appropriately to your letter. A kind thing happened, or to call it by its real name a ridiculous metamorphosis, which would be worthy of being noted in the books of the ancients. And since I do not want anyone to complain about me, I’ll tell you it hidden under allegorical forms.”
Machiavelli, in the introduction, then tries to tickle the curiosity of Vettori and is preparing to tell the story in the manner of Boccaccio’s novels.
Giuliano Brancacci, eager, so to speak, to go to the bush [which means to go in search of homosexual contacts], one evening a few days ago, after the Ave Maria, seeing that the weather was overcast and windy and that it was beginning to drizzle (all things that you can well believe that every bird [obscene allusion to homosexuals] waits), back home, put on a pair of big shoes [like those used to hunt], tied the game bag to the belt, took with him a lantern and the tools to hunt the birds, and went away for a while snaking through the alleys that lead to the center of the city, and not finding birds waiting for him, he went to the parts of the goldsmith that you know, he went a little further and, looking very carefully at the places where the birds used to hide, he found a beautiful young thrush and caught him using his tools to capture birds and took him to the bottom of the ravine, under the cave where Panzano used to stay.
He then stayed with the young thrush and, finding that he had the “vein” wide (obscene allusion to the ass), after having kissed it several times, he re-stuck two feathers of his tail and put it in his back bag.” [The Italian text is very ambiguous and clearly allusive to an anal intercourse: “Si intrattenne quindi col giovane tordo e, trovando che aveva la “vena” larga, dopo avergliela baciata più volte, gli riacconciò due penne della coda e lo mise nel carniere di dietro.”]
So far the metaphor, then Machiavelli continues more or less like this [even here I render the text more comprehensible]:
“Since I cannot lengthen the subject too much, I will proceed in clear and go bevenayond the metaphors. Brancaccio, who had found the thrush, wanted to know who he was and asked him and the boy replied that he was Michele, nephew of Consiglio Costi. Then Brancaccio said to him: “You are the son of a good man, and if you can do it, you have found your way.” So the Brancaccio [feeling that he could ran the risk of being involved in dangerous affairs] told the boy [lying] that he was Filippo Casavecchia [9] and he also told him where he had his shop [that of Casavecchia, of course]. Since I have no money with me now, come or send someone directly to the shop tomorrow morning and I will pay you.
The next morning, the boy, who was more lascivious than stupid, sent another to Filippo Casavecchia with a slip of paper, asking him to pay his debt and reminded him of what he had promised. Filippo read the note and made a sad face and replied: Who is he and what does he want from me? I have nothing to do with him, tell him to come to me. The boy who had brought the note came back to Michele, who had sent him and told him about Filippo Casavecchia’s answer. The boy did not even get a little scared and went to Casavecchia, reminded him of the benefits he enjoyed and concluded that if the man thought he could deceive him that way, he would have no problem to publicly blame him.
After that answer Filippo felt himself squeezed, let the boy in the shop and said: – Michele, you have been cheated, [but not by me!] I am a very moderate man and I don’t care such squalid things, so you have to think rather to find who deceived you, so that who has received pleasure from you pay the due to you, rather than to insult me in this way without you get any advantage. Now go back home and come tomorrow to me and I’ll tell you what I’ve come up with. –
The boy went away all confused and accepted the idea of returning the next day to Casavecchia. Casavecchia, left alone, was very worried about the fact and did not seem to be able to get out easily and felt as agitated as the sea in front of Pisa when the Libeccio  [a warm southwest wind] blows strongly. He said to himself: – If I’m good and quiet and I keep Michele good with a florin, I end up being blackmailed by him, I recognize myself his debtor, I confess the sin and from innocent I became guilty, but if I deny without finding the true guilty I could be compared with the boy, I should justify myself with him and also with others and the wrong would be all on my side. If I try to understand how things really went, however, I should still blame someone, I might not be able to blame anyone, I would make enemies and with all this I would not come out clean anyway of all this. –
While he was so anguished, he chose the last hypothesis as less unpleasant and was so fortunate that he addressed the first idea that came to his mind to the right target! And he thought that it was Brancaccio who had made him that bad joke, because Brancaccio was one who hunted for boys (“macchiaiuolo”, he gave himself to the bush, in the double sense of the word) and other times he had deceived him.
He then went to see Alberto Lotti, told him the fact, told him also what he had in mind and asked him to speak reservedly with Michele, who was one of his relatives, to see if other matches could be found. Lotti, who was used to those things and knew them very well, immediately thought that Casavecchia had seen right and promised that he would do everything possible, then sent to call Michele and after talking to him for a long time, he came to this conclusion. He said to the boy: If you heard the one who pretended to be Filippo Casavecchia, would you have the courage to recognize him by his voice? – The boy answered yes and Lotti took him to sant’Ilario where he knew that Brancaccio often entertained, saw the Brancaccio who sat among so many people telling stories, and shrewdly had the boy approached behind Brancaccio in such a way that he heard him speak, then they appeared before him and Brancaccio saw them, changed his attitude quickly and went away and everything was clear to everyone. Filippo Casavecchia came out completely clean and Brancaccio was covered with insults. And in Florence in this last carnival nothing else has been talked about, except: – Are you the Brancaccio or the Casa{vecchia}? – And this story was very well known to anyone. I think you already had news of it but I wanted to tell you the same in detail, because it seemed my duty.
As for you, I can only tell you to follow the love at loose bridles because the pleasure you can take today you cannot take it tomorrow, and if the things are as you have described them, I envy you more than the king of England! I beg you to follow your own inclination and do not let anything escape for any reason, because I believe, believed and always will believe really true what Boccaccio says: that is better to do and repent, than not to do and repent! “
So far, as we have seen, Machiavelli makes homosexuality a theme for spicy stories in the manner of Boccaccio, also hints at his “touching” that is at the fact that he does not disdain homosexual activities, but so far lacks the emotional dimension of homosexuality. Machiavelli is now 45 years old, has a wife and seven grown-up children and still behaves like a young man who goes into a cheerful brigade hunting for adventures.
However, a letter to the Vettori of August 3th, 1514 [10] shows that Machiavelli also felt the affective side of homosexuality. He congratulates Vettori for his romantic adventures in Rome and tells him that he (Machiavelli) has found correspondence “in a creature so kind, so delicate, so noble, both by nature and by accident, that I could neither praise nor love her so much that she could not deserve more.” The pronouns are used to the feminine because they agree with the term creature that is of female gender, this does not however have to deceive on the sex of that creature. 
Machiavelli adds: “And do not believe that Love to take me used ordinary ways, but knowing that they would not have been enough, he followed extraordinary ways, from which I didn’t know, and didn’t want to beware. It is enough that, already close to fifty years, neither these suns offend me, nor the harsh streets crush me, nor the obscurities of the nights amaze me. Everything seems easy to me, and I adapt myself to every appetite, also different and contrary to what should be mine. And although I seem to have entered great labor, nevertheless I feel so much sweetness in it, for what his so rare and suave appearance produces in me, and also because it puts aside the memory of all my troubles, so that if I was able to free me, I would not.”
We do not know who the “creature” is so kind, so delicate, so noble, but certainly it is the first time that Machiavelli does not use the tones of the Boccaccio satire but those of love.
If there is still any doubt that it is a homosexual love, it will be easily dispelled by a letter from Vettori to Machiavelli dated January 16th, 1515 [11]. Vettori writes to Machiavelli:
“Dear main man. I have no letters from anyone that I read more willingly than yours, and I would like to be able to write many things, which I know cannot be entrust to the letters. It’s been several months since I understood very well how you loved, and I was to say, “Ah, Coridon, Coridon, quae te dementia cepit?” [Coridon, Coridon, what madness took you?] Then, thinking within myself that this world is nothing but love, or, to tell it more clearly, lust, I held back; and I have been considering how much in such things men have their hearts far from what they say with their mouths.”
The Latin quote is taken from the second Eclogue by Virgil (Bucolics II, 69). “Ahi, Corydon Corydon, What madness took you?” Corydon’s Madness was the love of the beautiful Alexis. Corydon was already in the times of Virgil one of the most known myths related to homosexuality and certainly Vettori was well aware of that when he quoted Corydon and the second Bucolic in relation to Machiavelli. Corydon assumed such a symbolic value that André Gide (a character to whom I will soon dedicate an article) called “Corydon” a dialogue published in 1924 which contains a first attempt to demolish the respectability that condemned homosexuality. Gide writes in Corydon: “The important thing is to understand that, where you say against nature, it would be enough to say: against costume”. After the publication of Gide’s Corydon, Paul Claudel, a Catholic intellectual, stopped speaking to Gide. Current Catholic homophobia has distant roots.
________________________
[1] nos aliquando naturam ipsam tamquam novercam incusamus, cum potius parentes aut nos ipsos incusare debemus: tu, si te ipsum bene novisses, numquam uxorem duxisses; pater meus, si ingenium, si mores meos scisset, me numquam uxori alligasset, quippe quem ad ludos, ad iocos natura genuerat, lucris non inhiantem, rei familiari minime intentum. Sed uxor filie me mutare coegerit, quod nemimi feliciter succedere potest.– Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni Editore, Firenze 1971 
 
[2] Niccolò Machiavelli a Luigi Guicciardini
Verona, 8 dicembre 1509
Spectabili viro Luigi Guicciardini in Mantova tanquam fratri carissimo.
Affogaggine, Luigi; et guarda quanto la Fortuna in una medesima faccienda dà ad li huomini diversi fini. Voi, fottuto che voi havesti colei, vi è venuta voglia di rifotterla et ne volete un’altra presa; ma io, stato fui qua parechi dì, accecando per carestia di matrimonio, trovai una vechia che m’imbucatava le camicie, che sta in una casa che è più di meza sotterra, né vi si vede lume se non per l’uscio. Et, passando io un dì di quivi, la mi riconobbe et, fattomi una gran festa, mi disse che io fussi contento andare un poco in casa, che mi voleva mostrare certe camicie belle, se io le volevo comperare. Onde io, nuovo cazo, me lo credetti, et, giunto là, vidi al barlume una donna con uno sciugatoio tra in sul capo et in sul viso, che faceva el vergognoso, et stava rimessa in uno canto. Questa vechia ribalda mi prese per mano et, menatomi ad colei, dixe: Questa è la camicia che io vi voglio vendere, ma voglio la proviate prima et poi la pagherete.
Io, come peritoso che io sono, mi sbigotti’ tucto; pure, rimasto solo con colei et al buio (perché la vechia si uscì sùbito di casa et serrò l’uscio), per abbreviare, la fotte’ un colpo; et benché io le trovassi le coscie vize et la fica umida et che le putissi un poco el fiato, nondimeno, tanta era la disperata foia che io havevo, che la n’andò. Et facto che io l’hebbi, venendomi pure voglia di vedere questa mercatantia, tolsi un tizone di fuoco d’un focolare che v’era et accesi una lucerna che vi era sopra; né prima el lume fu apreso, che ’l lume fu per cascarmi di mano. Omè! fu’ per cadere in terra morto, tanta era bructa quella femina. E’ se le vedeva prima un ciuffo di capelli fra bianchi et neri, cioè canuticci, et benché l’avessi el cocuzolo del capo calvo, per la cui calvitie ad lo scoperto si vedeva passeggiare qualche pidochio, nondimeno e pochi capelli et rari le aggiugnevono con le barbe loro infino in su le ciglia; et nel mezo della testa piccola et grinzosa haveva una margine di fuoco, che la pareva bollata ad la colonna di Mercato; in ogni puncta delle ciglia di verso li ochi haveva un mazetto di peli pieni di lendini; li ochi haveva uno basso et uno alto, et uno era maggiore che l’altro, piene le lagrimatoie di cispa et e nipitelli dipillicciati; il naso li era conficto sotto la testa arricciato in su, et l’una delle nari tagliata, piene di mocci; la bocca somigliava quella di Lorenzo de’ Medici, ma era torta da uno lato et da quello n’usciva un poco di bava, ché, per non havere denti, non poteva ritenere la sciliva; nel labbro di sopra haveva la barba lunghetta, ma rara; el mento haveva lungo aguzato et torto un poco in su, dal quale pendeva un poco di pelle che le adgiugneva infino ad la facella della gola. Stando adtonito ad mirare questo mostro, tucto smarrito, di che lei accortasi volle dire: — Che havete voi messere? —; ma non lo dixe perché era scilinguata; et come prima aperse la bocca, n’uscì un fiato sì puzolente, che trovandosi offesi da questa peste due porte di dua sdegnosissimi sensi, li ochi et il naso, e’ m’andò tale sdegno ad lo stomaco per non potere sopportare tale offesa, tucto si commosse et commosso operò sì, che io le rece’ addosso. Et così, pagata di quella moneta che la meritava, ne parti’. Et per quel cielo che io darò, io non credo, mentre starò in Lombardia, mi torni la foia; et però voi ringratiate Iddio della speranza havete di rihavere tanto dilecto, et io lo ringratio che ho perduto el timore di havere mai più tanto dispiacere.
Io credo che mi avanzerà di questa gita qualche danaio, et vorre’ pure, giunto ad Firenze, fare qualche trafficuzo. Ho disegnato fare un pollaiolo; bisognami trovare uno maruffino che me lo governi. Intendo che Piero di Martino è così sufficiente; vorrei intendessi da lui se ci ha el capo, et rispondetemi; perché, quando e’ non voglia, io mi procaccierò d’uno altro.
De le nuove di qua ve ne satisfarà Giovanni. Salutate Jacopo et raccomandatemi ad lui, et non sdimenticate Marco.
In Verona, die viii Decembris 1509.
Aspecto la risposta di Gualtieri ad la mia cantafavola.
Niccolò Machiavegli
http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/p … s.html#170 Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere, a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni editore, Firenze 1971.
 

[3] “Notifichasi a voi, signori Otto, chome Nicholò di messer Bernardo Machiavelli fotte la Lucretia vochata la Riccia nel culo.”

[4] Quelli quattro versi che voi scrivete del Riccio, nel principio della lettera di Donato, noi li dicemmo a mente a Giovanni Machiavelli; e in cambio del Machiavello e del Pera vi annestammo Giovanni Machiavelli. Lui ne ha fatto un capo come una cesta; e dice che non sa dove voi avete trovato che tocchi, e che ve ne vuole scrivere in ogni modo; e per un tratto Filippo e io ne avemmo un piacere grande.

[5] http://digilander.libero.it/il_machiave … ttere.html Edizione di riferimento: “Tutte le opere storiche e letterarie di Niccolò Machiavelli”, a cura di Guido Mazzoni e Mario Casella, G. Berbera Editore, Firenze, 1929.
“Queste cose mi sbigottirono ieri in modo, che io aveva andare questa mattina a starmi con la Riccia, e non vi andai; ma io non so già, se io avessi auto a starmi con il Riccio, se io avessi guardato a quello. La predica io non la udi’, perché io non uso simili pratiche, ma la ho sentita recitare così da tutto Firenze.”

[6] Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni Editore, Firenze 1971.
Niccolò Machiavelli a Francesco Vettori
Firenze, 5 gennaio 1514

Magnifico oratori florentino Francisco Victorio benefattori suo observandissimo.
Magnifico oratore. Egli è per certo gran cosa a considerare quanto gli huomini sieno ciechi nelle cose dove e’ peccono, et quanto e’ sieno acerrimi persecutori de’ vizii che non hanno. Io vi potrei addurre in exemplis cose greche, latine, hebraiche, caldee, et andarmene sino ne’ paesi del Sophi et dei Prete Janni, et addurreve’li, se li exempli domestichi et freschi non bastassino. Io credo che ser Sano sarebbe possuto venirvi in casa dall’un giubbileo all’altro, et che mai Filippo harebbe pensato che vi desse carico alcuno; anzi gli sarebbe parso che voi dipigneste ad usar seco, et che la fosse proprio pratica conforme ad uno ambasciadore, il quale, essendo obbligato ad infinite contenenze, è necessario habbia de’ diporti et delli spassi; et questo di ser Sano gli sarebbe parso che quadrasse appunto, et con ciascuno harebbe laudato la prudenza vostra, et commendatovi insino al cielo di tale electione. Dall’altro canto, io credo che se tutto il bordello di Valenza vi fosse corso per casa, non sarebbe stato mai possibile che il Brancaccio ve ne havesse ripreso, anzi vi harebbe di questo più commendato che se vi havesse sentito innanzi al papa orare meglio che Demosthene.
Et se voi havessi voluto vedere la ripruova di questa ragione, vi bisognava, senza che loro havessino saputo delli ammonimenti l’uno dell’altro, che voi havessi fatto vista di credere loro, et volere observare i loro precepti. Et serrato l’uscio alle puttane, et cacciato via ser Sano, et ritiratovi al grave, et stato sopra di voi cogitativo, e’ non sarebbono a verun modo passati quattro dì, che Filippo harebbe cominciato a dire: Che è di ser Sano? Che vuol dire che non ci capita più? Egli è male che non ci venga; a me pare egli uno huomo dabbene: io non so quel che queste brigate si cicalano, et parmi che egli habbia molto bene i termini di questa corte, et che sia una utile bazzicatura. Voi doverreste, ambasciadore, mandare per lui. Il Brancaccio non vi dico se si sarebbe doluto et maravigliato della absenzia delle dame, et se non ve lo havessi detto, mentre che egli havessi tenuto vòlto il culo al fuoco, come harebbe fatto Filippo, e’ ve lo harebbe detto in camera da voi a lui. Et per chiarirvi meglio, bisognava che in tal vostra disposizione austera io fussi capitato costì, che tocco et attendo a femmine: subito avvedutomi della cosa, io harei detto: Ambasciadore, voi ammalerete; e’ non mi pare che voi pigliate spasso alcuno; qui non ci è garzoni, qui non sono femmine; che casa di cazzo è questa?
Magnifico oratore, e’ non ci è se non pazzi; et pochi ci sono che conoschino questo mondo, et che sappino che chi vuol fare a modo d’altri non fa mai nulla, perché non si truova huomo che sia di un medeximo parere. Cotestoro non sanno che chi è tenuto savio il dì, non sarà mai tenuto pazzo la notte; et che chi è stimato huomo da bene, et che vaglia, ciò che e’ fa per allargare l’animo et vivere lieto, gli arreca honore et non carico, et in cambio di essere chiamato buggerone o puttaniere, si dice che è universale, alla mano et buon compagno. Non sanno anche che dà del suo, et non piglia di quel d’altri, et che fa come il mosto mentre bolle, che dà del sapore suo a’ vasi che sanno di muffa, et non piglia della muffa de’ vasi.
Pertanto, signore oratore, non habbiate paura della muffa di ser Sano, né de’ fracidumi di mona Smeria, et seguite gli instituti vostri, et lasciate dire il Brancaccio, che non si avvede che egli è come un di quelli forasiepi, che è il primo a schiamazzare et gridare, et poi, come giugno la civetta, è il primo preso. Et Filippo nostro è come uno avvoltoio, che quando non è carogne in paese, vola cento miglia per trovarne una; et come egli ha piena la gorga, si sta su un pino et ridesi delle aquile, astori, falconi et simili, che per pascersi di cibi delicati si muoiono la metà dell’anno di fame. Sì che, magnifico oratore, lasciate schiamazzare l’uno, et l’altro empiersi il gozzo, et voi attendete alle faccende vostre a vostro modo.
In Firenze, addì 5 di gennaio 1513.
Niccolò Machiavelli

[7] “tocco et attendo a femmine”. 
To touch is a specific verb that indicates homosexual activities. “Tocco” and “attend” are not synonymous and we have already seen a clear example of this in the letter previously examined.

[8] Niccolò Machiavelli a Francesco Vettori
Firenze, 25 febbraio 1514
Magnifico oratori florentino Francisco Vettorio apud S. Pontificem suo observandissimo. Rome.
Magnifico oratore. Io hebbi una vostra lettera dell’altra settimana, et sono indugiatomi ad hora a farvi risposta, perché io desideravo intendere meglio il vero di una novella che io vi scriverrò qui dappiè: poi risponderò alle parti della vostra convenientemente. Egli è accaduto una cosa gentile, o vero, a chiamarla per il suo diritto nome, una metamorfosi ridicola, et degna di esser notata nelle antiche carte. Et perché io non voglio che persona si possa dolere di me, ve la narrerò sotto parabole ascose.
Giuliano Brancacci, verbigrazia, vago di andare alla macchia, una sera in fra l’altre ne’ passati giorni, sonata l’Ave Maria della sera, veggendo il tempo tinto, trarre vento, et piovegginare un poco (tutti segni da credere che ogni uccello aspetti), tornato a casa, si cacciò in piedi un paio di scarpette grosse, cinsesi un carnaiuolo [cerniere], tolse un frugnuolo [lanterna da caccia], una campanella al braccio, et una buona ramata [strumento per la caccia agli uccelli]. Passò il ponte alla Carraia, et per la via del Canto de’ Mozzi ne venne a Santa Trinita, et entrato in Borgo Santo Appostolo, andò un pezzo serpeggiando per quei chiasci che lo mettono in mezzo; et non trovando uccelli che lo aspettassino, si volse dal vostro battiloro, et sotto la Parte Guelfa attraversò Mercato, et per Calimala Francesca si ridusse sotto il Tetto de’ Pisani; dove guardando tritamente tutti quei ripostigli, trovò un tordellino, il quale con la ramata, con il lume, et con la campanella fu fermo da lui, et con arte fu condotto da lui nel fondo del burrone sotto la spelonca, dove alloggiava il Panzano, et quello intrattenendo et trovatogli la vena larga et più volte baciatogliene, gli risquittì [riacconciare le penne agli uccelli] dua penne della coda et infine, secondo che gli più dicono, se lo messe nel carnaiuolo di drieto.
Ma perché il temporale mi sforza a sbucare di sotto coverta, et le parabole non bastano, et questa metaphora più non mi serve, volle intendere il Brancaccio chi costui fosse, il quale gli disse, verbigrazia, essere Michele, nipote di Consiglio Costi. Disse allhora il Brancaccio: — Sia col buono anno, tu sei figliuolo di uno huomo dabbene, et se tu sarai savio, tu hai trovata la ventura tua. Sappi che io sono Filippo da Casavecchia, et fo bottega nel tal lato; et perché io non ho danari meco, o tu vieni, o tu mandi domattina a bottega, et io ti satisfarò. — Venuta la mattina, Michele, che era più presto cattivo che dappoco, mandò un zana a Filippo con una poliza richiedendoli il debito, et ricordandoli l’obbligo; al quale Filippo fece un tristo viso, dicendo: — Chi è costui, o che vuole? io non ho che fare seco; digli che venga a me. — Donde che, ritornato il zana a Michele, et narratogli la cosa, non si sbigottì di niente il fanciullo, ma animosamente andato a trovare Filippo, gli rimproverò i benefici ricevuti, et li concluse che se lui non haveva rispetto ad ingannarlo, egli non harebbe rispetto a vituperarlo; tale che parendo a Filippo essere impacciato, lo tirò drento in bottega, et li disse: — Michele, tu sei stato ingannato; io sono un huomo molto costumato, et non attendo a queste tristizie; sì che egli è meglio pensare come e’ si habbi a ritrovare questo inganno, et che chi ha ricevuto piacere da te, ti ristori, che entrare per questa via, et senza tuo utile vituperare me. Però farai a mio modo; andra’tene a casa, et torna domani a me, et io ti dirò quello a che harò pensato. — Partissi il fanciullo tutto confuso; pure, havendo a ritornare, restò paziente. Et rimasto Filippo solo, era angustiato dalla novità della cosa, et scarso di partiti, fluctuava come il mare di Pisa quando una libecciata gli soffia nel forame. Perché e’ diceva: Se io mi sto cheto, et contento Michele con un fiorino, io divento una sua vignuola, fummi suo debitore, confesso il peccato, et di innocente divento reo: se io niego senza trovare il vero della cosa, io ho a stare al paragone di un fanciullo, hommi a giustificare seco, ho a giustificare gli altri; tutti i torti fieno i mia. Se io cerco di trovarne il vero, io ne ho a dare carico a qualcuno, potrei non ivi apporre, farò questa inimicizia, et con tutto questo non sarò giustificato.
Et stando in questa ansietà, per manco tristo partito prese l’ultimo; et fugli in tanto favorevole la fortuna, che la prima mira che pose, la pose al vero brocco, et pensò che il Brancaccio gli havesse fatto questa villania, pensando che egli era macchiaiuolo, et che altre volte gli haveva fatto delle natte quando lo botò a’ Servi. Et andò in su questo a trovare Alberto Lotti, verbigrazia, et narratoli il caso, et dectoli l’oppenione sua, et pregatolo havesse a sé Michele, che era suo parente, vedesse se poteva riscontrare questa cosa. Giudicò Alberto, come pratico et intendente, che Filippo havesse buono occhio, et promessoli la sua opera francamente, mandò per Michele, et abburattatolo un pezzo, li venne a questa conclusione: — Darebbet’egli il cuore, se tu sentissi favellare costui che ha detto di essere Filippo, di riconoscerlo alla boce? — A che il fanciullo replicato di sì, lo menò seco in Santo Hilario, dove e’ sapeva il Brancaccio si riparava, et facendogli spalle, havendo veduto il Brancaccio che si sedeva fra un monte di brigate a dir novelle, fece che il fanciullo se gli accostò tanto, che l’udì parlare; et girandosegli intorno, veggendolo il Brancaccio, tutto cambiato se li levò dinanzi; donde a ciascuno la cosa parse chiara, di modo che Filippo è rimaso tutto scarico, et il Brancaccio vituperato. Et in Firenze in questo carnasciale non si è detto altro, se non: — Se’ tu il Brancaccio, o se’ il Casa? —; « et fuit in toto notissima fabula coelo ». Io credo che habbiate hauto per altre mani questo avviso, pure io ve l’ho voluto dire più particulare, perché mi pare così mio obbligo.
Alla vostra io non ho che dirvi, se non che seguitiate l’amore totis habenis, et quel piacere che voi piglierete hoggi, voi non lo harete a pigliare domani; et se la cosa sta come voi me l’havete scritta, io ho più invidia a voi che al re di Inghilterra. Priegovi seguitiate la vostra stella, et non ne lasciate andare un iota per cosa del mondo, perché io credo, credetti, et crederrò sempre che sia vero quello che dice il Boccaccio: che gli è meglio fare et pentirsi, che non fare et pentirsi.
Addì 25 di Febbraio 1514.
Niccolò Machiavelli in Firenze
http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/mac64_let_06.htm Edizione di riferimento Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni Editore, Firenze 1971.

[9] Notoriously homosexual. Of Filippo Casavecchia, in Florence, the relationships he had with Niccolò Machiavelli are better documented, to which he was bound by strong bonds of friendship. The familiarity between the two, which dates back to before 1500, results in particular from a group of five letters sent by Casavecchia between 1507 and 1509, during the stays at Fivizzano and Barga, and by the references that appear in letters by Machiavelli to common friends.
 
[10] Niccolò Machiavelli a Francesco Vettori
Firenze, 3 agosto 1514
A Francesco Vettori in Roma.
Voi, compare, mi havete con più avvisi dello amor vostro di Roma tenuto tutto festivo, et mi havete levato dallo animo infinite molestie, con leggere et pensare a’ piaceri et alli sdegni vostri, perché l’uno non sta bene senza l’altro. Et veramente la Fortuna mi ha condotto in luogo, che io ve ne potrei rendere iusto ricompenso; perché, standomi in villa, io ho riscontro in una creatura tanto gentile, tanto delicata, tanto nobile, et per natura et per accidente, che io non potrei né tanto laudarla, né tanto amarla, che la non meritasse più. Harei, come voi a me, a dire i principii di questo amore, con che reti mi prese, dove le tese, di che qualità furno; et vedresti che le furono reti d’oro, tese tra fiori, tessute da Venere, tanto soavi et gentili, che benché un cuor villano le havesse potute rompere, nondimeno io non volli, et un pezzo mi vi godei dentro, tanto che le fila tenere sono diventate dure, et incavicchiate con nodi irresolubili. Et non crediate che Amore a pigliarmi habbia usato modi ordinarii, perché, conoscendo non li sarebbono bastati, tenne vie extraordinarie, dalle quali io non seppi, et non volsi guardarmi. Bastivi che, già vicino a cinquanta anni né questi soli mi offendono, né le vie aspre mi straccano, né le obscurità delle notti mi sbigottiscano. Ogni cosa mi pare piano, et a ogni appetito, etiam diverso et contrario a quello che doverrebbe essere il mio, mi accomodo. Et benché mi paia essere entrato in gran travaglio, tamen io ci sento dentro tanta dolcezza, sì per quello che quello aspetto raro et suave mi arreca, sì eziam per havere posto da parte la memoria di tutti e mia affanni, che per cosa del mondo, possendomi liberare, non vorrei. Ho lasciato dunque i pensieri delle cose grandi et gravi; non mi diletta più leggere le cose antiche, né ragionare delle moderne; tutte si sono converse in ragionamenti dolci; di che ringrazio Venere et tutta Cipri. Pertanto se vi occorre da scrivere cosa alcuna della dama, scrivetelo, et dell’altre cose ragionerete con quelli che le stimono più, et le intendono meglio, perché io non ci ho mai trovato se non danno, et in queste sempre bene et piacere. Valete.
Ex Florentia, die III Augusti 1514.
Vostro Niccolò Machiavelli
http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/mac64_let_06.htm Edizione di riferimento Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni Editore, Firenze 1971.

[11] Francesco Vettori a Niccolò Machiavelli
Roma, 16 gennaio 1515
Spectabili viro Nicholò Machiavelli in Firenze.
† A’ dì 16 di Gennaio 1515.
Caro compare. Io non ho lettere da nessuno che io legha più volentieri, che le vostre, e vorrei potere scrivere molte choxe, le quale conosco non potersi commettere alle lettere. E’ sono più mesi che io intexi benissimo in che modo amavi, e fui per dirvi: « Ah, Coridon, Coridon, quae te dementia cepit? ». Poi, pensando intra me medesimo che questo mondo non è altro che amore, o, per dir più chiaro, foia, mi ritenni; e sono ito considerando quanto li huomini in questo chaxo son dischosto chol chuore a quello dicono cholla bocha. Ha un padre il figluolo e dice volerlo nutrire honesto: non di meno gli chomincia a dare un maestro che tutto dì stia con lui et che habbi commodità farne a suo modo, e gli lascia leggere qualchoxa da fare risentire un morto. La madre lo pulisce, lo veste bene, acciò che piaccia più: quando chomincia crescere, gli dà una camera terrena, dove sia cammino e tutte le altre commodità, perché possa sguazare a modo suo, e menarvi e condurvi chi gli pare. E tutti facciamo choxì, et errano in questo, più quelli a’ quali pare essere ordinati: e però non è da maraviglarsi ch’e nostri giovani sieno tanti lascivi quanto sono, perché questo procede dalla pessima educatione. Et voi et io, anchor che siamo vechi, riteniamo in qualche parte e chostumi presi da giovani, et non c’è rimedio. Duolmi non essere chostì, perché potessimo parlare insieme di queste choxe et di molte altre.
Ma voi mi dite choxa che mi fa stare admirato: d’havere trovato tanta fede e tanta chompassione nella Riccia che, vi prometto, li ero per amor vostro partigiano, ma hora li son diventato stiavo, perché il più delle volte le femmine soglono amare la fortuna et non li huomini, et quando essa si muta mutarsi anchor loro. Di Donato non mi maraviglo perché è huomo di fede, e oltre a questo pruova del continuo il medesimo che voi.
Io vi scripsi che l’otio mi faceva innamorato et choxì vi raffermo, perché ho quasi faccenda nessuna. Non posso molto leggere, rispetto alla vista per l’età diminuita: non posso ire a solazo se non achompagnato, e questo non si può far sempre: non ò tanta auctorità né tante facultà che habbi a essere intratenuto; se mi ochupo in pensieri, li più mi arrechono melanchonia, la quale io fuggo assai; e di necessità bixogna ridursi a pensare a choxe piacevole, né so chosa che dilecti più a pensarvi e a farlo, che il fottere. E filosofi ogni huomo quanto e’ vuole, che questa è la pura verità, la quale molti intendono choxì ma pochi la dichano. Fo pensiero a primavera ridurmi a voi, se mi fia lecito, e parleremo insieme di questo et molte altre choxe. Racomandatemi a Filippo, Giovanni e Lorenzo Machiavelli e a Donato. Christo vi guardi.
Francesco Victori oratore in Roma

http://www.classicitaliani.it/machiav/mac64_let_07.htm Edizione di riferimento: Niccolò Machiavelli, Tutte le opere a cura di Mario Martelli, Sansoni Editore, Firenze 1971.

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GAY LOVE BEFORE AND AFTER

Hi Project,

I have read many articles on gay couples, from those of a scientific-sociological type to those of gossip, to those of couple sexology, in those articles we can find everything: sex, sexual fantasies, the possible accomplishments of those fantasies, social roles, tolerance and of course beauty and charm, etc. etc., but in my opinion we always lack the fundamental element, that is loving each other really. Loving will also be a matter of sex, I don’t deny it, but in my opinion it is much more.

I don’t know why with some people it happens and with other people it doesn’t happen at all, but loving each other means first of all to respect each other, to understand each other, also in one’s own diversity. The other is not another myself, in him I don’t love myself but something different that I feel similar, sure, but not identical, I love his freedom even when it pushes him away from me, I love his being different from me and his loving me in spite of everything, a love that enhances me and makes me feel alive, appreciated, gratified.

Couple is good only when you really love each other, when you want the good of the other, when his happiness matters more than yours, but to love each other it is not necessary to be sexual partners.

I had a beautiful story with a guy I loved so much and who loved me so much, we’re not together anymore, but we still love each other, because the respect, the affection, the understanding that existed between us have remained the same, sexual exclusivity has failed, and yet we continue to love each other, even if he has a new partner and then, who said that you can love only one person at a time? If my ex needed me, I would do anything for him, because I love him, and I’m sure his current partner would not be jealous and would be the first to push me in that direction, among other things we know each other and estimate.

The only thing that could have put in crisis the relationships between me and my ex-partner would have been the deception, telling one thing and doing another, but that’s exactly what has never happened between us.

Legal obligations cannot create feelings. I never understood the guys who hate their ex-boyfriends, if they hate them “after” it means they didn’t love them “before”. I always considered my ex a great person from all points of view, I totally trusted him. Now we are no longer a couple but I continue to consider him an excellent person, I have not changed my thought about him because we are no longer a couple. In my opinion, we all, and in particular we gays make ourselves fascinated from the traditional model of marriage, which contains objective absurdities.

I try to explain better: when a man and a woman get married, at least when they marry with a religious rite, they promise eternal love, meaning for love not only respect and dedication but even exclusive sexual involvement and in promising something of this kind they commit to guaranteeing something that is not in their power. I can promise respect and assistance in case of need, these are the things I can promise, as for the exclusive sexual involvement, which is not a choice but is something free and spontaneous, I can at most say that that involvement exists now, but since it is not a voluntary act, I cannot promise anything for the future.

But perhaps traditional marriage is independent of love, does not oblige me to love a person for life but only to abstain from sexual relations with other people, which means that it forces me to behave absolutely not spontaneously. Now, perhaps in the hetero field such behavior can make sense because there are the interests of the children to be safeguarded, admitted and not granted that it is better for the child to have a parent legally committed to sexual fidelity, which seems to me to be all absurd, or at least I consider it as an undue simplification because it aims to guarantee forcibly what is not coercible. But for a gay couple, with no children, the marriage model makes no sense, because the only thing that matters is love, which is different from sexual fidelity.

I am not a boy, I am 55 years old and my ex-partner is just a little younger. Two years ago I had a heart attack and I was in danger of ending up badly. I no longer had close relatives and I was entrusted in practice to voluntary associations. I had not said anything to my ex-partner so as not to create any obligations of any kind.

He came to know that I was in hospital from other people and he immediately came to see me at the hospital. It was summer and he was on vacation with his partner. They broke off their holidays and came to me right away, they both came, and they did the shifts so as not to leave me alone until I was discharged from the hospital, then they came to stay at my house, they just moved to my house, as long as I have been convalescing, that is, for about two months and returned to their home only when they saw that I could be self-sufficient and, even after, they came often to see me and still do.

I saw that my ex was happy and that his partner was a very serious man. I felt loved by them. I know that this is not the kind of love that generally people consider more important, yet for me, this kind of love was the only real push towards the exit from my problems, that is the only real push towards life. I add one thing: since then we spend the holidays together and I can only say that we are fine.

Thirty years ago I would never have imagined such a situation. Thirty years ago I had many models in my mind and I dreamed of things that seemed beautiful to me, but they were totally unreal and I was not able to value the things I actually had. Then, slowly , I began to realize and understand what it really means to love each other. I understood it, in practice only as an old man.

Think, Project, that when I decided to separate with my ex-partner, I thought we would not see each other anymore, because in my opinion, the alternatives were just two: or perfect love (the fable) or total indifference, if not even hatred. But it was not like that at all. I never felt betrayed or cheated, I never thought I had thrown away the years of my life, none of this, simply, I learned to understand how beautiful can be live a relationship that remains a relationship of love, of respect and mutual affection, even when sexual attraction fails.

I am not an advocate of free love in the sense of experiencing sexuality superficially with the first guy you can find and just after Bye-Bye! No, none of this, but love is free and, if it is true love, it doesn’t fail even when sexual attraction vanishes. I tried to tell my experience to young gay boys but they looked at me with suspicion, as if I were a pathological case, for them there are a lot of models and I think this is the reason that causes them so much dissatisfaction. If I deeply internalize the models of fairy tales and confuse them with reality, I will end up being always disappointed by reality.

Reality must be understood, we must learn to see its positive sides, which are many even if they are not so evident. It took me years to overcome the behavior patterns of the matrimonial type but I can say that now I feel much freer.

I must say, however, that I don’t believe that my experience is easily generalizable, because my ex-partner is really a special person; if I were in love with a superficial person, incapable of true feelings and conditioned to the point of having to react always and only in the standard way, probably in those schemes I would have become entangled too. I do not want to be a teacher, because I was extremely lucky, but I have to say that my out-of-scheme experience was not a failure and it was in practice the discovery of a new world, much less conditioned and much more authentic. If you think it’s appropriate, publish this email, maybe for someone it could be useful.
Laurence

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GAYS AND SPECIAL FRIENDSHIPS

This post is devoted to an often underestimated aspect of interpersonal relationships and in particular of gay interpersonal relationships, namely the value and meaning of deep gay friendships.

To introduce the topic, I quote a mail I’ve received by a thirty-two-year-old guy.

“I don’t have a boy, that is, I don’t have a couple story in the sense that this expression commonly has. I have had occasions but it was not exactly what I wanted. Bet just on one person, if things are fine, can lead to happiness, but if things go wrong or just don’t go good as hoped, it leads to long periods of stress when the relationship crises and slowly falls. I have experienced such things a couple of times and, frankly, I don’t intend to repeat it. I don’t know if this is a renunciation, a way to put apart the idea of finding love, but frankly I don’t think so. The myth of the ideal companion of the so-called blue prince does not convince me and frankly I think that my personal well-being depends essentially on me and on what I do more than on another person who should give me happiness, or rather the other person can be important, but if the relationship works, the story must be built together and one cannot expect everything to rain from the sky with the arrival of the blue prince.

At present, as I said, I don’t have a boyfriend, but I have a special friend with whom sometimes there is a bit of sex, but it happens rarely, we are essentially two friends who love each other, who appreciate and respect each other, who understand that they can very well have each one his own live, but first of all we speak clear to each other, we don’t tell lies, and I think it is for this reason that our relationship goes on. Since the last meeting when we had sex, two months passed, in these two months a couple of times we had sex by phone, I know it looks shabby, but it has never been so for us, it’s useful to confirm us in the idea that there is also that kind of interest between us, but I would like to emphasize that it is not for sex that we are, so to speak, together. Our relationship is based on other things, which, viewed from outside, may seem stupid and of no significance, such as our way of communicating security to each other about the fact that we continue to love each other, and above all, to speak clearly. When he felt the need to stay with another guy, he told me it the simplest way. I frankly knew that this fact would not crush our relationship, which went on, for a while without sex, but with the same mutual attentions, with the same emphasis on the idea that we are happy to be together. He has spent a long period of trouble with the university and has lost a couple of years, if I have to tell the truth, this fact has created me many more problems than the fact that he was with another guy, a very serious guy who really loved him. When he came out of the negative period and began to study, he made me know, without much emphasis, that things had changed for the better, because he knew that this would make me immensely happy. I believe that at the base of our relationship there is the certainty that we will continue to love each other, of course without any kind of constraints, but we will certainly continue. I know he will not forget about me and that there will always be our highest sincerity. When I hear him by phone, I really want to close the phone call pointing out that I’m very happy to have spoken with him, and I’m really happy, he is less expansive, but he knows I’ll always be fine with him. In fact, we’ve known each other for 10 years now and our relationship has never really gone into crisis. In short, we are a certainty for each other. I do not know if this means being a couple, in a way we are, but only in a way.”

Another testimony can highlight the central value of the so called small things.

“Dear Project, for me today it’s a beautiful day! A few days ago I had a chance to know a little closer a beautiful guy I knew even before but very superficially. We talked and he somehow surprised me. I asked him if he had a boyfriend and he told me no and added that he wasn’t looking for boyfriend but for something else, that is, he was looking for real friends. I don’t doubt that this answer has cooled my enthusiasm a bit, but then we talked about so many things and I appreciated a lot what he said. We talk many times on skype, we joke, we’re together for hours, but we always say that it’s just a friendship. I find it difficult to consider him just as a friend, for me he is much more, but he insists that we are only friends, although friendship is not at all trivial, certainly there are no sexual prospects but I realize that he in a way loves me really. He told me one thing that made me think a lot: “I’m gay, but I’m just looking for a true friend, you are a very good and affectionate guy, and I’m fond of you but I’m not in love with you, I’m just fine with you” I wondered what’s the difference. Is the difference in having or not having sex? I don’t know what to think. One night he comes under my house unexpectedly and we go for a pizza and then we stay in the car talking, I think we’ll have some sex, but it doesn’t happen, I tell him I’d be expecting it but he answers: “I told you, I’m just looking for a true friend, if you’re not ok with this, you have to tell me clearly.” I think I offended him and probably he wouldn’t call me again, but that’s not the case, after three days he comes another time under my home, I come down to him and he tells me, “Just friends?” and I tell him, “Ok!”

A third interesting testimony comes from a forty-year-old single who created a relationship of friendship with a fifty-year-old single.

“He’s ten years older than me and he did his experiences, but I also had my stories, and as a result we tried to avoid getting together like a couple just dreaming to realize what we hoped for, we chose to stay on low profile things, simple but real. We often call each other on the phone, we often talk about work, because we work in very similar areas, mostly when we feel in times of difficulty and when we need to vent a little. He has problems with his older parents and has to deal with them because he has no brothers or sisters. I see him rarely, I can hear him by phone every day, but we never end up in ritual or repetitive phone calls. We start from work problems and then talk about anything else. Occasionally I propose a pizza, but rarely we can go really to have a pizza because he is bound by the family and then we talk by phone only and sometimes talk just a little. We never talked about the possibility of transforming our relationship into a true couple relationship, first of all because it would not be possible for logistical reasons and then because it is a hypothesis that really does not interest either him or me. We just feel that way. So things work. There is the phone call at least once a day and occasionally there is a pizza, but when there are serious problems we always talk and even for hours. Perhaps it will be an attempt to remedy solitude, but somehow it works and we experience the positive effects of such things. He tells me that he feels quiet now, that he no longer has the feeling of having failed in his life, that he has recovered a prospect for the future so that he will not age completely alone. I tell him I feel comfortable with him, and that’s true. Certainly this was not my dream of so many years ago, but my dream had nothing real, while my friend (I do not even say my companion) really exists and is a fundamental point of reference.”

These three documents, which represent different but not standard ways of experiencing gay affection and sexuality, are quite common situations far beyond what people believe; are actually three different answers to the crisis of the traditional couple model. Relationship models inspired by traditional heterosexual marriage have been in crisis for many years in the same heterosexual field and the attempts to apply them to the homosexual field have proven to be functional in a relatively small percentage of cases: stable and rigidly monogamous homosexual couples exist and in the time of HIV it is certainly not a negative fact, but gays who no longer seek a couple’s relationship of that type are now very numerous. New models are being formed, as the three mails clearly show. Let us now try to understand what is behind these new models.

It is first noted that sexuality is not the determining factor of the relationship, in some cases it is present in a sporadic way, that is, it is not excluded a priori, in others it does not explicitly enter into the relationship and is indeed deliberately kept far away. The basis of these relationships is the affectivity, and the central value is always speaking with the utmost clarity, namely, not hiding anything from your friend-companion. Sexual fidelity is not a founding element, but the honesty in declaring one’s own feelings is it.

Secondly, the absence of formal ties is often stressed: the relationship is totally free, it resists precisely because it is wanted and renewed day by day. Paradoxically, stability stems from the absence of formal ties.

Third, affectivity is cultivated through a series of reciprocal attentions that show an interest to the person of the companion. That interest may be sexual, but it can also be simply affective, it can sometimes result in a love without sex, in a relationship that is an “almost family relationship”.

The apparent internal weakness of such relationships makes them more rare and more stable than almost matrimonial relationships based on sexual fidelity. In other words, in order to create affectivity-based relationships, you have not to conform to models but you must have a certain experience of affective life, but that is why, when these relationships arise, they are the result of a well-meditated choice made by people who have now gone beyond mythical visions of couple’s life.

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A TRUE GAY BETRAYAL

Hello Project,
I was very impressed with our last night’s interview and I’ll explain why. You are older than my father and not a few years older, but you are serene, you are not neurotic, you have no angry shots, don’t panic as he does, don’t pretend to change people. I realized that you think in a way different from mine but you didn’t try to impose your point of view and in essence tended to resize the problems, make them become something normal, common things to deal with, but nothing special. You’re reassuring.
 
Tonight I tried to think about what we said last night: you think my doubts are unfounded and that with Mirco there is a solid relationship, that is, it is not at all a thing instrumental to sex. I tell you right away that I think you are right, though for me, to take my doubts out of my head is not easy, they are a bit like a trickle that creeps in depth and is likely to put everything to a crisis, although it is probably only one of my neuroses, a kind of fixed idea that wears me out and that I would like to completely overcome.
 
In fact, I have asked myself several times why he has always been looking for me, because I’m certainly not the best, with me he has always felt free to pull out all his neuroses because he knew he would be accepted anyway and then, especially in the most recent time, he has let go to some affectionate word, it happened seldom but it happened, he has always trusted me completely and this struck me and strikes a lot. He has never had inhibitory brakes with me, he has slowly come to accept that there are also different ways of seeing sexuality between us, he is much more hot, more carried by sex, I am much more for pampering and affection, at the beginning such two worlds seemed irreconcilable, then, step by step, we found  a balance, it was not the earthly paradise but it was something. If I reflect on what there has been between us, well, I cannot say I’ve ever felt frustrated, and presently I have some certainties, I cannot even hear him for a dozen days, but then he gets in touch. When we argue, what happens often, in a way very repetitive and almost ritually, we do not meet for a couple of weeks, but then he reappears, just as if nothing had happened, I tell him that I’m delighted to hear him, which in the end is true, he answers a bit embarrassed, because he doesn’t want to talk about affectivity, but I’m convinced that he is happy to know that he can count on something.
Over time I had learned something, or rather I had passed a block: in my adolescence I was convinced that to really love each other a monogamous relationship was needed and that the so-called betrayal would represent the last beach of a gay couple. I was just convinced, then I saw the story of a friend of mine, a hetero guy, Louis, who married and after a few years divorced but didn’t break his relationship with his wife, they continue to meet and every one has his own stories but they have remained in touch despite everything, they still help each other when it’s necessary and, in a sense, they are still in love. The thing at first seemed to me strange, contradictory, almost impossible. I had in my mind the myth of the exclusive couple, of belonging to each other all life long and so on, etc., and yet I had the sight of the fact that loving someone doesn’t mean exclusivity at all. I was looking for justifications in the idea that at affective level things might work even so, but at the sex level the exclusive relationship was indispensable. Then I ended up to talk about these things with Louis and he told me it happened that even after divorce he sometimes made love with his ex-wife. I asked him, a little puzzled, if the fact that she had another man made it difficult and he answered something I would never have expected, that his ex-wife’s companion knew how things were and left his wife free to behave as she wanted. I would never have imagined such a thing. Louis added that, clearly, both he and his ex-wife took all possible precautions, so as not to create problems as unwanted pregnancies or possible illnesses. I asked him if he often had intercourses with his ex-wife, and he told me that in a year it would have happened 4 or 5 times.
 
The reflection on Louis’s story had started my brain. I was wondering what I would do if Mirco told me he had a another guy … the idea frightened me, but I had been trying to get used to preventing the effects of any such eventuality. Then, a good day, in January 2016, I asked Mirco if he had ever had other guys and he told me that “now” (in January 2016) he had no other guy, but that word, “now”, put me in crisis, did that word “now” mean that he had had a boy before? I tried to ask him and he said that he had one while we were together and that then a thousand scruples had come to him, not because of infidelity, but because he could have been risking me, but he showed me the outcome of the test, one test done at that time and one very recent, both negative, and he told me that this was the only time he had had another guy. He didn’t tell me everything because he was afraid to lose me. I asked him if he was still in touch with that guy and he told me no, because that guy didn’t want to meet him anymore and left him because he said he was too neurotic. I asked him if that guy knew about me, and he replied that he knew I was his ex-boyfriend, but not that we were still in touch.
 
After this confession, I must say that I felt betrayed. I completely trusted Mirco and suddenly I found myself in a state of betrayal that I didn’t even imagine. He looked at me a bit worried and then told me: “It happened but I didn’t do it anymore.” I confess that I felt in a great difficulty. After all, he had really betrayed me, had betrayed my trust, it was not like Louis’s story, Mirco had played dirty. Yes, it was true that he had admitted it, though he could still pretend, but he had betrayed me. That evening we greeted differently than usual, I felt frozen, manipulated, I wanted to be alone, I didn’t want to know anybody anymore. 
 
After 15 days, the longest interval between two contacts with Mirco, I had no news of him, I was panicking, the rage for betrayal had abundantly diminished and I started to feel the void for the absence of Mirco, but I did not call him anyway. The third week without Mirco was really bad, I thought I was definitely alone. After 25 days he called me. He just said, “How are you?” I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t answer, I was silent but I didn’t  even close the phone. He said in a very hesitant voice: “I’m here at the door of your house, would you like to walk a bit?” I just said, “Come on.” He got up and we hugged very tight. Getting him back in my arms seemed to me like a miracle. We have been so at least ten minutes. Then we sat on the couch, he leaned on me and we have been there in silence for a long time to feel the heat of each other. I no longer cared about betrayal, in the end it was something that had made us stronger and I still had my Mirco, and saw his neuroses with tenderness, no need to talk, we understood each other even without saying anything .
 
Of this story I didn’t speak except with Louis, who heard and told me that the love that resists in time is the only true and that Mirco made a mistake, of course, but never stopped loving me. With other friends who are just talking about cheating and betrayal, I don’t even want to talk about my story, for them I would just be the idiot of “cheated and happy”!
If you like, post this mail on the forum. I’ll call you back in the next few days.
 
G.B.
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GAY BETRAYAL AND GAY LOVE

Hello Project,
I like your blog because there are so many things that have the taste of real life. Since reading the blog I have never felt any sense of rejection or even perplexity, I would like to tell you a part of my story that some years ago put me in a crisis and that ended in an absolutely non-standard way. This is to say that abstract behavior rules have no meaning.
 
The subject is betrayal. The story is simple, I had a boyfriend and we also had sex together, even though it was not that trivial, because we understood each other, we trusted each other, and over all we loved each other, then for various reasons he had his experiences but we were still in touch, we were not ex-boyfriends, because we never had been engaged, we just loved each other and it’s a very different thing.
 
At some point he was alone and we got together. I underline that he had always spoken to me very sincerely, I knew the guys he was attending and they seemed to me good guys, that is, guys who loved him. I do not say they seemed good guys because now I think they are not, on the contrary I’m even more convinced now than before that they are good guys. He has never interrupted the relationships (even sexually) with the guys who really had loved him, and I too am among them, I do not even have the presumption to be more important to him than others or more exactly than the two others.
 
When we got together, he was alone in the sense that those guys kept him away, because they would have liked him to have a monogamous behavior, but for him it is practically impossible. And here the alternative in theory is clear, or you really accept him as he is, or you have to go away. Well, that was what I was thinking, but I was really naive. Or rather, I thought I understood the rules governing the affective life, but I didn’t understand anything.
 
One night, at a very late hour, in practice almost in the morning, he comes to my house, with the risk of waking up all my gossipy neighbors, and tells me he wants to have sex with me, but also tells me that he has to tell me something immediately: “Before I came here I was at A.’s home (A. is one of the other two guys) and I had sex with him because I could not help it. Does it bother you?” I replied: “No, it doesn’t bother me, A. is a proper guy, he never played with you and loved you in the true sense of the word.”
 
Then I added that I didn’t I want to have sex with him because I was tired of the previous day. He got up to leave and said, “Okay … I understand.” But he was disappointed. I replied: “You have not understood anything and at this time I do not let you go with the car, otherwise I get a heart attack before time! I prepare you the room, at least you can sleep a little.” It was a speech he didn’t expect, he looked at me happily surprised, then told me:” I would like a cup of tea, tell me where are the things I need and I do it all.” We went to the kitchen, put the water to boil, and as he waited I went to arrange the room for him. Then I prepared the tea, he drunk it then stood up, approached me and embraced me and gave me a squeeze just there, saying, “Okay, it will be next time. I love you B.!”
 
The next morning we talked for a long time and very seriously about his studies, I saw him quiet, much less neurotic than usual. Then we started to meet more frequently, but always stressing that we are not a couple, that we are free and that there are no obligations between us. It was not the world of dreams I wanted at the age of 18, but in my opinion it had (and it still has) a deep sense and then it doesn’t matter to me that he is my boyfriend in the classic sense of the term, we have overcome these things for years, it only matters to me that he is happy, or rather that he feels better with me than if he were alone. He trusts me, he considers me a reliable person, he knows that I love him and this fact is not indifferent to him, although it was not enough to bring him to monogamy, or better to monogamy 100%.
 
When I tried to tell this story to my friends, even to gay friends, I found a reaction that made me very annoyed: they considered me stupid, weak, they told me that I had been fooled, that the rules must exist and those who don’t respect the rules must be removed without regrets. Only a girl understood the meaning of what I was saying, she didn’t give any judgments, but was inclined to think that if I had made such a choice it was not for naivety but for love, because I probably knew more or less unconsciously that he loved me even if in his own way. But the others were all aligned to the idea that couple means something very similar to marriage and those who do not accept such a thing must be marginalized without hesitation.
 
In their opinion I’m just a naïve guy who has been clutched by a guy without scruples, but for me, things are not like that. We love each other, I think we are really important for each other. I never regretted my choices and I would repeat them. They told me I’m throwing away life and serious occasions, but what does serious mean? Should I give up my boyfriend (maybe he is not even my boyfriend, ok) to look for another one? No! Absolutely not! It’s been almost 10 years since we’re “somehow” together, he’s neurotic, angry, and so on, all you want, but he is honest, he doesn’t hide anything, he does not fool me, tells me what he thinks, everything, even brutally, but he, with all his flaws, never really abandoned me, in moments of difficulty I found him close, he did not talk, but he was there and understood how I really felt.
 
Some of my friends have known him and avoid him because when they do their hypocritical discourses, he makes them notice it and so embarrasses them. Sometimes they invite me pointing out that I have to go by myself, sometimes they don’t invite me at all, but I don’t mind, I don’t really give up him to go to a party!
 
That’s the story, Project. He is not perfect, he has many defects, I know it well and then I have many defects too. They tell me that if I am with him I will never be happy, yet it is exactly the opposite. He went and goes  even now with other guys, actually only two and the only two who really loved him, but I cannot really see anything like betrayal, but betrayal of what? He needs sex and even affection, I understand it well and I don’t feel upset at all. We love each other in our own way, the rules of others don’t concern us, in their eyes we can also appear to be two poor naive people who will never understand anything, but for us what people say or think doesn’t matter at all. I add something before closing this mail, Project, I’m convinced that there are many situations like ours, although nobody talks about it. There are no rules when you love someone, feelings are the only possible reference.
What do you think, Project? Obviously you can post this email if you think it’s okay.
Lawrence
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GAY GUYS AND COMPULSORY MILITARY SERVICE

Compulsory military service in Italy was suspended, in practice abolished, in 2004. Prior to that, all the guys, at the end of the eighteenth year, were referred to the physical for military conscription. There were many legends related to collective nakedness and to the presence of homosexual doctors, with all that this could entail. The embarrassment for the physical, the first physical that included genital examination, was common for years among the guys who were preparing for the fateful moment. Of course, for gay guys the embarrassment was much greater, for many of them this  was the first moment of collective nakedness and hard-ons could become uncontrollable.
On May 3, 2008, I received and published on the blogs of Gay Project the email I quote below translated into English.
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I was born in March 1986, so in January 2004 I received, last among the last ones, the terrible call card for the military physical. Compulsory military service reform was a highly debated issue in those days, the suspension of the mandatory enlistment seemed a probable hypothesis, but a lot of things were not yet well defined. I had hoped until the last moment to get rid of it, but my precept postcard summoned me for military physical at the beginning of August 2004. From September 30, 2004, military physical has been abolished. In essence, I would have been in the very last contingents for the compulsory military service before the abolition of it.
At school I was a year ahead, just in time for not being able to get a referral for study reasons, I could enroll at the university and I would have escaped military service with the referral, and instead my parents did not want to hear any reason and I hated them for that, but in fact this was my luck, even though I realized it later on. My father always told me that in the army they would make me a man and said: “Who is not good for the king is not good for the queen either!” An old way to say that those who didn’t do military service aren’t good for marriage. I had the terror of military service, of hazing and of all I had heard about these things. I could not say to my dad that I was gay and that if I stated it during the physical I would have avoided the military service, so for me there was no escape.
I think all the guys have read a lot of porn stories on the military physical, well, I assure you that if you read about the military physical when other guys have to deal with it, it can be fun, but when you are the one you have to undergo this experience it makes you feel anguish.
It was not even for the thing in itself, because I had passed some sporting physicals and also with some embarrassing situations because having to lower your underpants in front of the doctor is embarrassing for anyone, but the thing I was worried about was not even that but getting a hard-on, because for a gay guy, in a situation like that, being naked in front of so many other guys and in front of the doctors who could do with the guys whatever they like with the excuse of the medical examination (and someone really exaggerated) well, it does a certain effect and, wanting or not wanting, when a gay guy sees things like that  it’s very easy that he can get a hard-on, but if it happens in such a situation there is not only the embarrassment but they brand you, that is, you cannot really lose control there. 
I didn’t knew exactly how it would have been, it was a common fear to all the other guys who had to get the military physical, but I didn’t know guys who had already gone through the physical. Those older than me had fun telling me terrible things, in short, things similar to that of porn movies. Last week I did a lot  of yoga exercises up to the incredible: checking my breath, posture, standing on one foot, holding my breath for a long time, pulling my belly back and so on because I had read it was something that decreases hard-ons, etc. etc..
The terrible day arrives, I was uncomfortable from the morning. They send us to a waiting room and, waiting, waiting, it’s almost noon; chatting with others, one tells me: “There is one doctor with a beard, if you happen to get examined by him you are in trouble! That doctor is gay and you’ll get a very special physical!” At a certain point a sergeant comes and calls ten guys and me among them, and he gets us into the locker room and tells us to held on just the underpants and to deposit everything else in the lockers. We undress. My heart beats violently, they get us two by two into the medical room and send us at the end of the room where there are two examination tables. I see a very nice blond guy just in front of me. 
Two doctors come in, they both have a beard, the doctor who comes to me has only a goatee, the guy in front of me is now completely naked and the doctor checks all that can be checked: fells the testicles, pulls back the foreskin, and I’m there to see, so I get a hard-on and I cannot hold it back. My doctor makes me lower my underpants and immediately realizes what’s happening, feels the testicles for half a second, pulls on my underpants and sends me rapidly away making me understand with a move of the eyes that I had to get out of the medical room immediately before the other doctor may be interested in me, all this while the other doctor humiliates the blond guy even making comments loudly.
When I went out of the medical room I had a terrible heartthrob, 120 and beyond, then the blond guy explained to me that the pansy (“finocchio”) doctor did not happen to me but to him. I was absolutely certain of the opposite but I could not explain why. Of course, for a gay doctor, doing military physicals should be the best, the doctor who had happened to me, however, did not humiliate me at all and did not take advantage of the situation while he could have done so putting me into a terrible embarrassment, but he, in my opinion, understood how things were, that is, that I was gay, and allowed me to escape the humiliation. The following days there were psychological tests, but they were all shit. At the end: skilled and enrolled! 
The first November they send me to the regiment. There was the atmosphere of a total disarmament, it was the last contingent of compulsory enrolment. I arrive, they incorporate me, then comes dressing and then they send me to the department. The usual embarrassment in the showers (no partitions) but as there were no fixed times, I ate very little at lunch and I was showering in the early afternoon when there was no one. I would very much like to do it in crowded hours, along with so many other guys, but that was too dangerous. Every now and then I entered the showers at rush hour, but that’s all another talk. 
Hazing? I did not see it, I repeat, perhaps because it was the last contingent, and even the officers treated us very elastically. In the early months there was a real discipline, later they realized that we were calm and did not disturb and this was enough for them, it was a rather bland thing. With the other guys things got loose quickly enough. Of course I could not say I was gay but I never felt in trouble because I was on my own. One of the guys was, Bruno, coming from Trentino was a very handsome blond guy, though he was called Bruno (in Italian Bruno sounds like brown) (I have e weakness  for the blondes!), I was always with him, we did everything together except the shower, he was polite, not intrusive, not conceited, a pretty guy but quiet. 
In short I took a crush for Bruno, keeping him close, talking to him, staying with him so long caused me sexual reactions and sometimes I was embarrassed because I thought he would notice it and so happened, he smiled and said to me, “But what are you doing?” I became red like a pepper, but nothing changed between us, we kept going all the time together, then came the talk of the military physical and I told him what happened to me, which in practice meant to make it clear that I was gay, going further on with such subject I was afraid of a negative reaction and I felt very embarrassed, but he was smiling amused by my story, then the unexpected thing, he looks firmly in my eyes and says, “You don’t know what happened to me, I just had a huge hard-on and my doctor, the one with the goatee, told me to leave as soon as possible.” So Bruno was gay too! This was his coming out.
We joked about all the stories of the physical, and then I said, “It’s great to be in the army! Or am I wrong?” Now you can wait for I don’t know what, maybe so much sex but no, there was some kind of total incertitude, both on my side and on his, I dreamed of him every night and when I could, that is when there was a little privacy, I masturbated thinking of him and he certainly did the same but we never spoke about. Once we camped together, near Udine, we were in the tent together but we were in eight and we couldn’t even have a little privacy. When we got to have free exit we were always together, same pizzeria, same walk. We sat on the benches and talked for hours, he told me all his fantasies, even sexual things but just little, then I asked him if he had a boyfriend in civil life and he told me no, I told him that the same was for me, but even after these confessions nothing happened. 
One day I told him I had fallen in love with him and he said to me: “I’m in love with you too, but I don’t feel like I’m starting a story that cannot last long.” He made me realize that he wanted me but he was saying it only with words, no gesture, not even least, not even a caress, we were deliberately going to the showers at different times, but we wanted each other. He was convinced that as we lived 400km away we could never have built a serious thing together, but to stay with him I would have done a thousand miles. I tried to insist, it was evident that he was tempted and was fighting against himself to hold back the idea, he was anxious, I knew that he was working on his choice, that he was basically trying to resist himself but wanted to surrender. 
Day after day I saw his defenses fall and I hoped that the next day he would tell me yes, then I was discouraged and I did not insist on saying that I wanted to have sex with him, reluctantly I was tossed into more generic speeches, that is sexless, in the beginning he seemed very reassured by my decision to lower the tones, then after two days, he comes to me in the morning and tells me, “When are you going to the showers?” I light up a smile at 34 teeth and say, “At two and a half, and there is no one!” He answers: “I come, but look, we just have a shower!” We were in the square and there were people around and so I could not embrace him and I could not even shriek for happiness because they would think I was crazy, I just made the gesture with my mouth to send him a little kiss and he said to me: “Remember you promised, just the shower!” Well, we arrived both at showers a quarter of an hour in advance. 
I was expecting that our meeting would easily turn into a very strong and direct sexual contact, but nothing like that happened. He told me that he was very embarrassed and that he didn’t feel like doing such things, I told him that I could understand it and that I would not hurt him. He hesitated a bit, then said to me, “But at a distance and together, did you understand?” And he walked away from me several meters, placed himself right on the opposite side of the showers’ room. We undressed together and went to the showers not only without touching each other but staying far away, but I could see him naked and it was not a fortuitous thing, he was there for me and on the other hand I was there for him as well. Everything lasted at most three minutes, I think the three most intense minutes of my life, then he said to me: “It’s enough!” We went back to the dressing room and we dressed. It was a thrill experience. 
Once dressed, we put our heads under the jet of frozen water because otherwise we were not in a state to leave the showers and go around the barracks. In the following days the shower rite at two and a half in the afternoon became the rule, he was less embarrassed and I too, but we never touched each other for about two months, then we were discharged and when they gave us the leave sheet and told us we could finally leave because everything was over, well, I went through a moment of profound discomfort, I felt agitated, I was really sad because leaving Bruno seemed to me a terrible thing. He caught it and said, “Do you think it will work?” I answered him as a desperate guy. We left the barracks and began to speak like a couple, now it was obvious that we would not separate anymore, that we would have fought against everything and against everyone to live our lives. It was 1st November 2005. We have been together for two and a half years now and I hope to grow old with Bruno at my side.
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