Through all of the years of struggling and eventually coming to terms with who I am (I still struggle with this at times and think I always will). It all started really with my Uncle Tom and my strange attraction to him. He ran a taxi service all throughout Kentucky and for some reason I always was attracted to him.
It wasn’t a sexual thing and nothing sexual ever happened between us. I was too young to think in those terms but I just always recall thinking he was a sharp guy. Maybe it was his business knowledge and success that I found interesting or maybe it was something else.
He always had this manly smell about him. Borderline body odor I guess you could say but something about that musk I was strangely attracted to. I used to love to smell where he had been and for whatever reason it gave me a great sense of comfort and ease.
I know this all seems a bit odd but I’m just trying to share with you how I dealt with these different feelings over the years. That’s pretty much all I have to say about my Uncle. There really was nothing more to it. And we were related by marriage only so it wasn’t like he was any resemblance of my father or grandfather. So we can go ahead and throw that weirdness out.
But as a young boy I can always recall being fascinated with older actors on television. Actors that no one else would find attractive I had this draw to. All of the times they were older gentlemen who played a fatherly or grandfatherly role on their show. Tom Bosley and Happy Days was a show I really liked to watch. Tom was of course my favorite character and I just adored him. I wanted to sit in his lap and hug his neck. He just seemed so sweet and cuddly and comforting. Nothing sexual was ever thought since I was far too young to even know what sex and sexual feelings and attractions were.
I had good parents and a good relationship with my father. There was no reason to think there was some sort of void I was trying to fill looking back on it all now. It just was simply what I liked and that’s what I would struggle with for the next 25 years of my life.
I grew up in a very small town at the time. The town has since grown and has sprawled and merged with a larger city but back then it was a small farming community where everyone knew everyone.
There were only a few dentist in town and my dentist visits were always something I anticipated with much desire. My Dentist, Dr. Marks, was an older man maybe in his middle 50’s at the time. Maybe older but this is just a guess. He was sharp and very professional. This is probably my earliest memory of any sort of thing I could call an attraction.
I recall my friend one day who went to the same dentist and he just talked and talked about the dental hygienist and how hot she was. He talked and talked about how awesome it was when she laid her breasts on him and how he wished he could lick them with his tongue.
I unfortunately never had that same experience. Yes she would get her boobs very near my face but I never felt compelled to want to taste them, feel them or fondle them. On the other hand, when the dentist would come in I just LOVED hearing him talk. He had this cute little pot belly on him and nothing about him could have been any cuter.
He’d come in to check me out toward the end of my visit and he’d almost put my head in his lap as he would examine my champers through his black reading spectacles. He looked so incredibly handsome and serious in those glasses and he wore them like no one else could. His belly would rub against my ear and I would just nuzzle in and sigh.
I felt so comfortable and at ease in his presence. I knew there was something more to the attraction I was having but I wasn’t quite old enough to realize just what was going on in my mind.
As I got older and entered into middle school I would still focus in on certain movie stars and tv actors who were older. The popular sitcom Coach from back in the late 1980’s was another favorite of mine. But it wasn’t the main character “Coach” that I was interested in. It was Jerry Van Dyke. An absolutely adorable little gray headed man with a very sweet and innocent disposition.
He was funny, had a cute little baby face and I just found him to be irresistible. Here again I wasn’t exactly sure what this strange attraction was or what it meant. I didn’t have sexual fantasies about him or touch myself thinking about him. I just knew that if I met him in person I would love to squeeze him and be near him.
I had a principal in middle school I was very fond of as well. He was a nice looking man but maybe a little too gruff and mean for me to really have a man crush on. As I entered into high school the feelings toward older men got stronger and stronger.
In my early high school days it started to become apparent to me that this was more than a little crush on a cute little old man. It was something that would begin to consume my thoughts over the years and would eventually lead to some very destructive behaviors.
But it wasn’t that I would become obsessed with sex or old men, it’s that I would become consumed with how to deal with it and most importantly how to make it go away. This is where things in my life would get crazy as I tried to cope and sort these feelings out in my head.
As I embarked on an already awkward time in my life there were questions I would consistently ask myself.
- Why me?
- What is wrong with me?
- What happened to me as a child to make me feel this way?
- When will this go away?
- How can I make it go away quicker?
- Will God help me to pray away the gay?
- Who can I talk to?
- Am I the only one who is this way?
- What if someone finds out?
These were difficult times for an adolescent. Growing up in a small, narrow-minded farming community didn’t make matters any easier either. Lots of jokes were centered around gay men and derogatory terms. I partook in some of the pranks because I certainly didn’t want to appear as though I could “that way”.
But I was never mean or never mistreated others who were perceived as sissies or faggots. I was always nice to others and even though I never told anyone of my struggles, I somewhat knew what it felt like to be like them. But I was nothing like “them” so that was another aspect of it that was flying through my mind.
I was a very good athlete. I was handsome and I was masculine. I didn’t enjoy girly things like others I knew of. I had NO DESIRE to be a woman, be treated like a woman or even act like a woman. I was glad to be a man and the last thing I would want was to be girly.
But at times this would seem like all too much to process. Puberty, my parent’s marriage issues, my sister’s abusive ex spouse who never seemed to go away, and now this gay thing looming over my head.
So I did all I knew to do to deal with the cards I was dealt. Not to make this like it was some sort of terminal or disabling disease, it certainly wasn’t. But mentally it was very trying and challenging. Your mind is a powerful place and it can control you if you let it.
High school is where my destructive behaviors would begin. These behaviors were simply nothing more than subconscious coping mechanisms that I was unaware of at the time. I will delve into these habits and behaviors in future posts as they continued for a number of years.
If you’ve struggled with similar issues in life feel free to contact me here.