My therapist leaned forward and asked, “What are you looking for, physically, in a man?” I could have said, “Someone who looks like you.” It would have been truthful, though awkward. After forty-three years in the closet, the physical details regarding my ideal man were basic: someone over twenty-one and under fifty. Even then, I was willing to grant some leeway. If I had an angel and a devil on either shoulder, one was a gyrating go-go boy in a red G-string and the other was a gay Pat Boone.
“Tall, maybe six-two, one hundred ninety-ish pounds,” I said narrowing my eyes to visualize him and then continued, “brown tousled hair with highlights, blue, no, green eyes. He works out, but not too much, you know?”
“That’s fairly specific,” Adam remarked.
I was describing a guy I had just seen on the subway.
“Also, a good sense of humor and caring,” I attempted to round it out. Although these were not technically physical attributes, I hoped this made me seem less superficial.
“You’re a good person, you’ll attract a good man, but it’s important that you understand what you’re looking for,” He replied.
There was a warning of sorts, couched in that compliment, but like most people would, I focused on the compliment and ignored the warning.
After creating an online dating profile I showed it to my friends, Hans and Dennis. Hans had been in the closet for forty-six years and if Dennis ever was in, it was only to color coordinate his clothes. They lived together in a small condo on the top floor of a 1920’s building in Harvard Square. I would visit them often and dream of living in the city with the man I loved. Their home was like a photograph from the pages of House Beautiful. Although in House Beautiful, I doubt there was a charcoal drawing of an ejaculating penis on the refrigerator.
“Oh my God, so many of these men are the same ones who were on here before I met Hans. These poor men--Not you honey-- you’re fresh meat,” Dennis said patting me on the shoulder.
How long would it be before my meat began to spoil?
“Oh honey, let’s go through them all. I’ll tell you which ones to avoid with a ten foot pole,” Dennis said, then he raised one eyebrow and added “or the ones with a ten inch pole.”
Hans rolled his eyes.
It felt incestuous knowing that I could potentially date some man that Hans or Dennis might have had a relationship with. While I appreciated their insight, I didn’t want to end up with sloppy seconds.
“What does DDF mean?” I asked Hans.
“Disease and drug free,” he said.
“Honey, did I tell you about the time I did LSD with my friend Angie from high school?” Dennis said. “Her mother opened the door to her bedroom and Angie shouted, ‘Shit, it’s my mother!’ I said that’s not your mother, it’s a big crow! We started screaming and throwing pillows at her, trying to shoo her away.”
Hans gave me an upside down smile, pushed himself up from the table, walked over to Dennis and kissed him. They put their arms around each other and started swaying back and forth, laughing. I watched them dance to music that only the two of them could hear. They were in madly in love with each other. When I looked at them, I could almost hear the music playing and if I narrowed my eyes just a bit?
I could almost see my future.