I want him.
That’s what I thought the first time I saw Guy #81: Perfect body, perfect face, sweet, seemingly innocent and Asian. I have never hunted anyone down the alleys of a gay sauna as determined as I have Guy #81.
I knew he was out of my league, but I also knew that out of all the Guys there, I was the only one even remotely close to his league. It was a slow night and I deemed myself the best he could get. Guy #81 apparently agreed.
The two of us stuck together the night we met. It surprised me Guy #81 appreciated my company. I tend to get clumsy in the presence of beauty.
I’ve been clumsy with Guy #81 from the day I met him.
When morning broke he insisted on coming home with me. I let him. After an exciting blow job on a train we spent the rest of the day sleeping and cuddling at my place. We didn’t have any more sex though. Guy #81 told me he had been on XTC the night before and that he couldn’t really have sex without any. At first I thought it had to do with muscle relaxation, but as it turns out XTC doesn’t just add joy.
It rids you of guilt as well.
As time went by Guy #81 allowed me to get to know him better: He was a Jehovah’s witness in a family of Jehovah’s witnesses in a community of Jehovah’s witnesses in a world of Jehovah’s witnesses. His entire life had existed in a universe secluded from what others would call ‘reality’.
He was also gay: He spent his weekends in the obscurity of gay saunas or remote parking lots and his weekdays being a knock knock joke. In my eyes at least.
I often encouraged him to ‘just’ come out, saying his family would have no choice but to accept him for who he was. I pictured his family as a bunch of homophobic narrow minded simpletons, even though Guy #81 spoke very highly of them. He loved his family very much. I on the other hand couldn’t imagine loving a homophobe.
According to Guy #81, I didn’t quite understand his predicament.
He was right.
The end of times is near. Only those that adhere to God’s will are allowed a place in paradise.
Guy #81 handed me a few editions of ‘The Watchtower’, the magazine Jehovah’s witnesses give you when you open the door for them. It included drawings of happy straight folks enjoying a familial get together in the presence of pandas and baby lions.
“Do you really believe all this?” I asked in disbelief, pointing at the pet pandas.
“I know it to be true,” Guy #81 said.
“And what happens if you let go of it?”
“Then I’ll die when Jesus returns.”
In fact, by engaging in homosexual behavior Guy #81 didn’t just harm himself, he also prevented the Holy Spirit from protecting his loved ones. One day, in the never too distant future, the bad parts of the bible would descent unto Earth, killing everyone. Everyone except Jehovah’s witnesses. They would all rise from the dead and live an eternity in paradise. With pandas.
Sex with Guys would prevent all that from happening to Guy #81 and his family.
The more I learned about his religion, the more I came to realize that the life he led inside his community was a nigh perfect haven of love, harmony and understanding. Cuddly lions were notably absent, but apart from that his life was like one of the drawings in ‘The Watchtower’. Everything and everyone Guy #81 knew made him feel safe, welcome and prepared for whatever life could throw at him.
Everything except the gay sex of course.
I regret the lack of empathy I showed. At the time his religion showcased more compassion for his sexuality than I did for his religion. Despite their bleak outlook on the future, Jehovah’s witnesses genuinely believe they can help people and they are very accepting of those that don’t follow God’s word to the letter, even though they are certain those people will die soon. I wasn’t aware of the fact that faith, though stubborn and arguably blind, isn’t half as heartless as the real world can be. That’s what Guy #81 called his existence outside of his religion: The real world, and it was cold and scary.
Cold, scary, yet somehow tempting.
Leading a double life became increasingly difficult for Guy #81. One night I woke up from his screams. I asked what his dream had been about.
“Satan,” he said. Consumed by fear, he could only lay still and whisper.
For Guy #81, God and Satan were as real as his sexuality. I tried to explain that no God in his right mind would make a Guy as beautiful as he was only to not let other Guys have sex with him. I couldn’t fathom a God that cruel.
Guy #81 was never disappointed by my lack of empathy. He simply accepted that no one could fully understand what he was going through, except maybe God. And Satan.
Certainly not clumsy me.
It took some time for me to realize my atheist goggles warped my reality as much as religion had warped his. It’s easy to label someone indoctrinated and be done with it. I thought I was helping Guy #81 by trying to ‘snap him out’ of his belief system, not realizing how much God had given him.
We ended up dating for about four months, though it was more of a friendship with a sexual component than a relationship. We came to care a great deal for each other. Our friendship didn’t end after those four months, but our proximity to each other did. Our ‘relationship’ ended when I moved to South America. It was difficult for me leaving Guy #81 behind, left to fend for himself in the real world.
On our last night together we spent a long time lying in each other’s arms, Guy #81 feeling sad, me feeling inept.
Being one of only a few people in the real world that had ever been there for him, I couldn’t help but feel I was deserting Guy #81. I didn’t expect to ever see him again.
I didn’t expect Guy #81 to ever come out of his closet.
I let go and let God, so to speak.
3 thoughts on “Guy #81 – Nearer to God… (Part 1)”
Yes, it is sad that intelligent and good people can be so homophobic, and that religions have been so slow in pushing back hatreds they have supported for so long. I look forward to the conclusion to see what happens with Guy #81!
This post is rich with conundrums. One thing that stands out in my mind is that I do not think you had a lack of empathy for him, actually it struck me that you not only empathized but genuinely tried to help him through the grief of trying to reconcile his sexuality with a very rigid ideology. Speaking as a fellow atheist, I agree with you that our goggles also warp the world as do those of believers. However, regardless of what bias we filter the world through I am most wary of those ideologies that profess to know absolute truth – even if they go so far as to tolerate those on the outside. Better to admit that no one has all the answers. In the end, it sounds like you went about as far as anyone could. Sadly, there are times when we just have to do what we can to wish the other person well so that both can move on. Thank you for another thought provoking post.
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Well, I’m not saying I don’t feel any resentment toward religion and what it did to Guy #81 and his family, but at the time I probably didn’t acknowledge just how strongly (even fiercely) religion can pull on someone. I used to associate homophobia with stupidity as seen in the Sarah Palins and Michele Bachmanns of this world. I never stopped to realize that people who are homophobic in some cases are genuinely good people who genuinely fear God. I still think those people are misguided, but I was surprised by the amount of goodness found in Guy #81 and his family. Guy #81 more or less taught me that the most important thing is to connect with the good in people, rather than to convince them of what you believe is good. In that sense his religion handed me a few valuable lessons, even though I still think cuddling pandas is a bit of a silly prospect;)
Also, the story of Guy #81 didn’t finish here. (Imagine the following being said in a deep manly voice) : “Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of Guy #81!”
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