Begin Again

Renato Ferreira by Greg VaughanThis post will attempt to merge several ideas related to the previous post and raised by commenter Lea, as well as some insights raised by my close friend Milton in an email exchange.

As an update to the previous post, I have to explain that my friend Alex called to inform me that the guy that dumped him asked him out to dinner and they apparently have worked out their differences and are dating again. I'm ambivalent about Alex's situation, although happy that he is happy. But I'm ambivalent because a guy that has hesitations going into a relationship of any sort is bound to be haunted by his initial fears later on. This can only cause conflict and emotional distress. It is a bitter lesson that I have learned and, at the risk of consciously projecting, it is something that I am currently witnessing in my own life with devastating consequences.

This goes to the heart of Lea's statement that "blending" (I like that word) is not such an easy process. In fact, Lea's observation that we do "blend" is more accurate the more I think about it. We do in fact blend into a relationship. We become something other than what we were before. But that assumes that we want to blend and that the person we are blending with holds so much value and, ironically, increases our self-worth to a degree that makes the blending worth our time.

I say "ironically" because the old saying goes that "you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else". If we follow that logic to its natural conclusion, the corollary to that saying should go something like "and before anyone else can love you." But we know that the fact is that we have loved many who don't love themselves. It happens all the time and every day. We also know that often times we don't love ourselves either, yet people find a way of loving us. We also know that there are plenty of people who don't just love themselves, hell, they ADORE themselves but are utterly incapable of loving someone else. So the logic of that old saying breaks down.

Yes, often times imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery. But let's not flatter ourselves. The price to be paid by engaging in such obviously emotionally destructive mind-games is measured yearly in suicide rates and homophobic violence.
Not that there is anything logical about love. I believe we can all agree that where this ephemeral thing is concerned, logic plays very little part in the decision-making process. In the case of Gay men, logic breaks down totally due to our penchant for extrapolating and intensifying heterosexual stereotypes to absurd, sometimes even emotionally and psychologically, dangerous degrees.

The fem/butch dichotomy of Gay life is one where heterosexual role-playing becomes so ritualized and so internalized that they overwhelm our own rational thinking processes. We aspire to become, in essence, that which we have proclaimed not to be. Some of my more radical friends would even venture to say that we become that which we hate and, further still, we become those that hate us. It is a form of psychological suicide where we try to kill our homosexuality by killing any overt signs of it. The flipside of this is that some of us crave the butch/straight/straight-acting/DL/unclockable/unspookable/thug/bugarrón stereotype in relationships with almost masochistic abandon. Death by proxy (even when it is purely of the psychological kind) is almost always preferable for some people.

[It seems like an eternity since the first post. However, you should know that there was a very common and very annoying issue with the rendering of the original template on Internet Explorer. I understand that most of the civilized world use that browser (you should really switch to Firefox). So in order to make sure that I.E. users do not go cross-eyed, after endless hours of fiddling with element margins and float variables I just opted to switch templates.]

[UPDATE: Apparently my instincts were right. Alex is no longer going out with that guy.]

[Image credit: Renato Ferreira by Greg Vaughan]


Jon L. said...

In every relationship you make the best thing is open and honesty. If you can't be honest with yourself, then you can't be honest with anyone and only problems and hurt will come from this.

Bitch Slapper said...

Very true, Jon L.

Many relationships have been built on deception and self-delusion from the start.