UNPREDICTABLE GAY RELATIONSHIPS

Hi Project,

I am almost 70 years old and I still like to read your forum. I need such things to feel alive and in touch with the world after us. At my age, I can say that I have learned many things and above all one, that our time is short and we must not waste it running behind things more or less absurd, the only thing that makes sense to life is to try to make better other people.

For a gay, of course, it is essential to have a positive function for other gays, being always available to give them help, if needed. Obviously there is a time for each thing, and those of our age, if they don’t want to end up in ridicule, must understand that their role is not to compete with young people, but to facilitate the way of young people, through adequate behaviors: first of all avoiding to judge, then always telling the truth and knowing how to stay in place.

Falling in love with a guy is one thing, and it’s good for young people, but care about a guy it’s possible at all ages. I saw it in my personal experience: you have to sow something good, without thinking of seeing the results. Probably the results will be there even if we may not see them.

And then, I learned something else, the guys, all the guys and the gay ones in particular, feel a strong need to have around a family-like atmosphere, but not in the sense of prohibitions, advices or judgments, but in the sense of non-judgmental presences, of simple but unconditional affections.

Project, I’m older than you and I have a lot of melancholy on my mind, because now that I start to understand just a little bit how things work, I realize I’m coming to the end of my time and I think that all the experience that I accumulated may not serve any purpose, however, Project, even if I’m old, I feel serene, because I have my affections and I feel paid, there are guys who love me, they are two gay guys (a couple ) that I have met entirely by chance, they are more or less 30 years old, and a beautiful relationship was born among us. Obviously I don’t have to be too present because I would be invasive, they call me every week and more or less every week we go together to have a pizza, in practice they have adopted me.

I’m fine with them, I feel like I was in my family, a bit like a dad who is a widower and tries to move on as he can, but has two children who love him. I never imagined that in old age I could have a similar experience, but I assure you that these are things that fill life, give it meaning and make old age an acceptable thing.

I had read on your forum of a gentleman of our generation who was in a situation similar to mine (but I was not able to find that post), he talked about relationships similar to family ones that can be created in a way completely unexpected and that, perhaps in a minor tone, can create something like a real family, because they create a solidarity.

Of course, perhaps, in a family between parents and children there is mutual support (and perhaps so often there isn’t even that) because the ages of parents and children are less distant, but in fact, with my guys (I call them so) I have a good relationship: they care about me not only for my needs, so to say, daily, like going shopping and picking up my pension at the post office, but they also call me without a specific reason, but just for the pleasure of talking a little with me, at least I see it that way.

I am afraid of one thing: the possibility of losing my personal autonomy and practically “forcing” (not for my will, but out of necessity) these guys to take care of me, I think they would do it, but for them it would be a very heavy bond. However, I try not to think about it and to be comfortable with them as if I were their age.

I’m sorry to have to go out from this world right now that I was starting to feel good: I have a thousand ailments of age, also heavy ones, sometimes physically I’m right on the ground and I don’t know what to expect from the future, even in the short term, but I also have some real affections, completely unexpected, I don’t become young again for this and I have to keep all my illnesses, but I don’t feel alone, I also have real affections, I know they are there and they will stay with me until the end, and then when I see that they are well together, are calm, plan the future … well … I feel deeply comforted.

In short, strange and unpredictable things happen in life, which sometimes change your life for the better, even when you don’t expect it anymore. Well, I greet you, Project! Even when you’re old, you can feel good, at least on an emotional level, when you’re not really alone.

James from Bologna.

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GAY NEW YEAR’S DAY

Hi Project,
today is New Year’s Day and I’m alone in my house and have nothing to celebrate. I am 74 years old, I have worked a lifetime to buy my very small house and I have been cheated more than once by very bad people used to speculate about everything, but now I have my little house. I have brothers, sisters and nephews, but obviously they have their own world made of dances, of trips and of skiing in the snow, because they have the money to do it. Life, for everyone, even for them, in the end will nevertheless be disgusting, even if now they don’t realize it and when I talk to them I see that they didn’t understood anything and that they treat me like a half demented. I’m gay, they don’t know it, maybe they imagine it, but of course I’ve never talked about these things and on the other hand I’ve never had a partner. 
I feel proud of only one thing, that is, of not having given birth to children destined to suffer anyway. Youth, if you are rich, is a drunkenness of foolishness, you follow fashion, social role, and you don’t look around you, you don’t see in what a squalor so many people live, you don’t see that there are so many people abandoned to themselves that are slipping into the abyss of misery and depression. Yet nothing is done for these people and we continue to put children in the world in a completely irresponsible way. I’m gay and obviously I have no children, there will be no one condemned to live because of me. Frankly I never understood what my life is for: no children, false or non-existent family relationships, some pious illusions like religion, but it didn’t last long, and otherwise only a painful waiting for the hour. I’m still in quite good health, but years pass and every new year means to go down a step, this is my waiting for the future! I am now waiting for just one thing. Perhaps old people can no longer understand the world of young people, old people come to the awareness of the non-sense of life but cannot communicate it to anyone who is able to understand it. 
Yesterday I bought two over-thighs of chicken at the supermarket, this morning I put them to boil, with the broth I’ll make a little rice, then half a chicken over-thigh for lunch and a half for dinner and an orange, this will be my new year’s day. I’m looking forward to tomorrow because if I need the doctor at least I find him. My three brothers and my eight nephews have “forgotten” to wish me well, and I understand them, because my little house, divided among eight heirs, is a very miserable thing and it is not worth wasting time with an old uncle. But I’m better like this. 
I saw the Pope’s Mass, he’s an old man too, he tries to say something good, but nobody listens to him, who knows what he really thinks inside of himself. I’m always afraid of falling asleep with the fire on, I have to buy a kitchen with a safety system that extinguishes the fire if the temperature rises too much, or, and perhaps better, a time-controlled electric cooker, at least I can feel comfortable. I didn’t buy the telesalvalavita Beghelli (an alarm device), because I should connect it with the phones of my brothers and my nephews … and no, that’s not what I want to do. I was thinking of making a will in favor of a charity, but I am still uncertain, my nephews throw  a lot of money and they certainly don’t need mine. 
At the end of November I learned that a very nice gentleman died, we always greeted each other on the stairs, then I did not see him anymore because he ended up in the hospital and died there after three weeks. Now an agency came to his house to take care of the apartment (a much better apartment than mine) and took away all the furniture to make the renovation, from the way they took away the furniture it was obvious that everything would end up in rubbish dump, furniture, but also books and many other things, the memories of a life all in rubbish dump. Well, I don’t make it that long, so you understand, and I’m going to see at what point is the broth.
I don’t know whether to wish you a happy new year, because it would seem to make fun of you, I’ll just tell you that reading something of Gay Project pulls me out of the well of melancholy. Bye.
Philip (from Milan)
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OLD GAYS AND GAY CULTURE

Being gay and being old is basically different from a generic being old without any other specification? In theory it may seem that adding the adjective gay to old age the substance of the facts does not actually change, but a difference between a generic old age and a gay old age exists and is of considerable weight: gays do not have a family ‘they will probably have a family a long way to go and even then having a mate at a legal level means almost always having a peer or almost a peer mate, but for an old man the sense of the family is identified with having around people of other generations that are somehow linked by strong affective links to the old man and support him during old age, especially in the weaker stages where autonomy is diminished.

A gay is not a ring of a chain that will continue, a gay is the last ring of a chain and as such is destined to remain alone. Even those who have children can be basically alone and can in some cases feel more solitude because they have desired the affection of children for years and can see such hopes completely vanished in the sense that being abandoned by children is even worse than having no one to rely on. From this point of view an old gay is more protected, it is impossible for him to be disillusioned because it is impossible for him to be deluded.

An old gay will end up being an old man tolerated because he is essentially an alien to the lives of his relatives who will be close to him. An old gay tends to remain autonomous as long as he can, to avoid being a burden to anyone and at the same time to not limit his own freedom and privacy by reducing himself to being run by others, but time will still lead him to a condition of dependence and not of dependence on children but on people who are less likely to be really interested in giving him real support. An old man with children can accept to depend on them, although such a situation may be heavy, it’s at least natural, he can delegate to his children all decisions, even those that concern him most directly. In any case, children have an inheritance expectation that in any case would belong to them, and take care of old parents is generally not due to reasons of economic interest. When you have to rely on strangers or distant relatives, the speech is completely different and reasons of the economic interest really exist, when, even if small, there is a legacy.

I would like to add something I’ve been thinking about, an old gay over a bit of money and material goods also has a set of objects that have a profoundly private dimension for him: his books, his computer, his mail kept away over the years, his writings, poems, diaries. Where it would end all these things if they came to the hands of heirs driven only by economic interest? Probably would be thrown away in a very short time and the reflections of a life would end up in the garbage. An old gay usually holds a lot of his memories, his writings, his photos, things that are not of interest to others. All those things are part of a culture, a culture that is entirely special, that others cannot understand, which for them is not only foreign but is even a disvalue.

An old gay would be very interested that his world, after him, would not be completely destroyed, that at least a part of his experience might be useful to somebody. Anyone who has children can be deluded to transfer to the children feelings and values, on the contrary, the man who does not have children and belongs to a culture in some aspects (and are basic aspects) separate, would like to have a similar possibility of transfer contents in a chain that passes from generation to generation.

An old gay remembers that when he was young it was very difficult for him to have clear ideas about homosexuality, if he had been able to enjoy the wealth of experience accumulated by others before him, most likely, awareness would have been quicker, more complete and less problematic.

There is a specific gay culture, certainly evolving but real, strongly rooted in personal experience of any gay, but still today this culture is substantially reduced to what comes out of official culture, in terms of books and films. If a gay goes to see a movie like Maurice or reads Forster’s novel, he feels the movie and the book as part of his own culture, recognizes his roots, but apart from these great monuments of cinema or literature, now consecrated by celebrity, the heritage of the diffused gay culture, elaborated through the experience of millions of people who have not arrived to the notoriety, is unfortunately destined to perish with the death of those who lived those experiences.

Time ago I published pages from the war diary of two Italian soldiers who had fought against the English army in Libia on the Egyptian border http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/sh…php?tid=91 . From those pages you could guess the true story of the two guys, those pages have been saved by pure chance but are a very rare exception, especially if you think that we are talking about the diary of two soldiers. I wondered what could really be behind those diary pages, what feelings, clearly not expressed and inexpressible, what frustrations, how they considered and lived their life. These are fragments of gay culture linked to the lived life and unfortunately are just fragments.

Nowadays the possibility to collect our writings is certainly much greater, but the enormous amount of supply and the overwhelming commercial dimension of the culture make in fact a bad service to gay culture that too often assumes an ideological dimension and omits the narrative biographical dimension , the introspective and poetic perspective that would give gay culture a dimension much more tied to reality.

Each of us, insofar as he can, makes history and elaborates a piece of gay culture in the extended sense of the term. It is a culture often hidden and deliberately neglected, yet in the life of each one there are seemingly unique and unrepeatable elements that could be of extreme interest to many others. Culture means sharing, common heritage. There are so many cultures, and there is also a specific gay culture. We are not talking academically about the existence or absence of a gay culture, anyone who looks at the phenomenon from the inside perceives its irreducible specificity. It is culture as a fruit and the elaboration of experience, it is culture as a shared moment. That’s why an old man does not like the idea that his whole world is going to end up in a trash bin, that his PC is not intended to convey interesting content to others, but to be simply formatted to be reused for other purposes. A man really ends when even his own world disappears definitively, and that’s exactly what an old gay would avoid, if possible: he would be deluded not having lived in vain, not have spent a lifetime accumulating books, articles, mails etc. etc. just to let someone else throw all this into junk, of course, unfortunately, garbage remains the most likely hypothesis. The same goes for blogs, sites, forums, and any other means of expression that lasts as long as they are fed, and then are destined to disappear quickly with all its contents to make room for other content.

An old gay knows that his world, to have some hope of surviving it, must not end up in the wrong hands, I do not say hostile but just indifferent. But it remains the underlying conviction of the total transience and the uselessness of any attempt to preserve something of himself for others and this is consoling, because the dispersion of what we have been and of what we have accumulated over a lifetime does not depend on us and is in some way inevitable.

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DIARY OF A GAY 65

Hello Project,
I am sending you a fragment of my diary; feel free to post it on your forum if you like. I am 66 years old, I read your forum with some interest, I recently read articles that also speak about old people and with respect, so I decided to have my say.
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December 16, 2010; Thursday.
Wake up at 6:30, I close the alarm before it sounds, I usually wake up five minutes before the alarm, then I do not get up, just I see the time passing, it is a precise sequence of events, at 6:45 you hear the discharge of the toilet upstairs, then the sound of the shower. At seven o’clock my neighbor comes out and slams the door, then I hear footsteps on the stairs, but I do not get up, I do not have to go to work, I have relaxed paces, get out of bed at eight, and then go to the bathroom and there I allow myself a luxury, the hot tub which is really a great comfort, even if I have to be careful when I step over the edge to keep from falling. I rest in the tub about half an hour, I do not measure it but go out when the water begins to cool, today it has cooled earlier than usual because it is terribly cold. I love slippers, long dressing gowns and also the warm hat, because inside my house in the morning, in winter, it is cold. I put on home clothing and go to sit down in a chair in front of the PC.

An eye to the mail, but nobody writes to me, if I have nothing to do I lay back on the bed until nine. At nine o’clock I get dressed to go out, practically on certain days I have to self-impose it, like today, I go to the bar for breakfast, cappuccino and brioche, a different type each day. When it isn’t cold I take a little walk, always in the same places, but today I came straight home, I took the mail in the box, I put on my home clothing, opened the bills to pay and put them in a drawer where I put all the things to deal with, then I went to prepare the washing machine, as I usually do on Friday, a few things because I’m alone and I do not have many needs, I abolished all the clothing that require daily washing and ironing, no shirts if not for special occasions, turtlenecks for the winter and light blouses for the summer.

At ten o’clock I went out for shopping and also to move a little my old car which for me is a luxury almost completely useless because I’m not going anywhere. I go to the supermarket to pick up heavy supplies on Fridays. The other days I go to buy something nearby with a small shopping cart, no one notices it because I’m an old man. I spend over an hour at the supermarket. The supermarket is huge and in the morning is almost empty. I am fascinated by the objects for the house, I saw a marble mortar that I really liked and would be ideal for making pesto, which I like, but then I said it would be yet another useless object and I let it go. At the supermarket in the morning I always go to the same checkout, where there is a guy who is really nice and treats me well, smiling, his name is Francis, I know it because it’s written on the tag. Francis was there today, I’m aware that I’m just an old man and I’m upset putting things in great haste into the bags and then he does it for me (for the others he doesn’t do so) I thank him and that’s all.

At 11.30 I was at home, I have been cooking for more than an hour cannelloni with spinach and ricotta 24 cannelloni, I took off two, the others I made them cool and put them in the freezer with the label and the date, then I defrosted in the microwave the chicory and baked potatoes. I buy he bread on Friday at the supermarket and I freeze it and it’s enough for me for a week. I eat meat rarely, I buy fruit every day close to my home and I use it a lot. Very little wine, a bottle of 750 is enough for me for four days. I usually get a coffee at the bar, another chance to get out of the house, now it was too cold and I made coffee at home. After lunch, dishes to wash, I usually use only one, today I also had pots of cannelloni and it took me a bit of time. If I’m at the sink for a long time I feel pain and I also have to sit down, but I tried to do everything soon.

In the afternoon, I almost always I take a nap, just an hour and I did so today, at half past two I was again sitting in my chair. I see a little TV, if there are things that interest me; otherwise I go to the PC and read. An object of secondary importance to my house is the phone, I use a cell phone and I also have a fixed line for internet but I do not call anyone, if the phone rings the most likely is that they have failed to make the number. I have no real friends, everyone lives on his own and has his own world, I do not have relatives, only a brother but he does not live in Italy, in practice I have no one, my brother rarely calls, little more than at Easter and Christmas, he’s several years younger than me and has a thousand things to do and an older brother (15 years older) could be for him only a nuisance and, on the other hand, while it lasts, I do not have intention of being a burden to anyone.

Today, a thought has always been present, namely the idea that sooner or later I will need a caregiver, no matter if male or female, it’s just the idea that I don’t like. I have my things in my house, some old things, my books, my computer (that’s the only new thing I have) and many trinkets that mean a lot to me but for others would be just garbage, I would not like that others put their hands on. After I’m dead they can also throw it all away, it will certainly be the case, but while I’m alive those things are mine, are sacred.

I tried to know people through Internet, not gay people, because when you get old if they are gay or not doesn’t really make any difference, but they were people who wanted to go everywhere, which were always organizing something, in short, had a mania for doing, but I’m a calm man, I tried to keep up with needs of these people, but I’m tired and I have to be quiet at home. The afternoon was cold even inside the house and I went back to bed with all my peignoir, a wonderful feeling. Then it became dark, this season night comes soon.

When I’m in bed I like to remember my past life. In my life I too knew the love (if we can call it so) once, from 31 to 35 I lived with a guy, the only sexual experience of my life, if I read things I wrote at that time I think I have lived my loving season as an important thing, however, then the break was traumatic, he played a double game, telling me lies and then is gone with another guy. At that time I felt bad. Now I have not the faintest idea of what happened to that guy (he was a year younger than me). 31 years have passed since then and it no longer has any importance for me, as if it belonged to someone else’s life.

It is not about him that I think when I’m in bed but I think when I was in better health and I went to the mountains to my grandfather’s house, an old house, isolated in a large meadow near a forest. I rebuilt that little house a brick after the other, it took me ten years of work and savings, up to about ten years ago I went there on weekends, when I was still working and I dreamed I could live there after retirement, then I really retired but got some heart problems and my doctor says I should not go to the mountains, so my dream is over, the house of my grandfather will remain a useless monument as many other things.

In the afternoon I went to the computer, I read gay project forum and I thought I would write you this email. It is the life of an old man, now gay or not gay no longer has any meaning, being gay has affected my past and left me alone now. Had I to build a couple’s life thinking about retirement? But I think that if it went so, well, it’s because it had to go so. Regrets? No, not at all. Now I live my life day by day. Should I try to fill my life with a lot of different things? Searching for something to do, trying to build who knows what? But I’m tired, I have a quiet life and I have to go on.

I sometimes think about young people, blessed them, now it’s the time you can play your cards, or at least it looks like, then you can play as you like better but how the game will end up does not even depend on you. Now it’s late, I’ll send you the email tomorrow morning, so I can read it slowly before sending, I’m going to heat up dinner and then to see if there is something worth seeing on TV. Hello Project. Good night.

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