Archive for the HighStrungLoner Category


BlowhardSaturday was my 66th birthday. After celebrating by eating THREE(!) stupidly delicious deserts by Brant, the genius pastry chef, and drinking a nice Allagash Curieux, at Gross Confection Bar, I headed off to Blackstone’s. It’s our one real gay bar in Portland now and gets pretty crowded on weekends. Still it didn't take me long to snag a seat at the bar. I’m 5‘3“ and I feel more comfortable and visible raised up a bit on a bar stool. And did I mention I'm old?

It also didn't take very long, of course, to be accosted by a local windbag. "Oh, look who it is!" he bellowed. I'm not exactly sure what he meant by that because I think I've only seen him on Grindr or Scruff or something. I'm pretty positive we've never spoken in person. Like a typical pothead, he almost immediately started talking about that most tiresome of subjects: weed. My eyes glazed over. I've had this tedious conversation many, many times. I have nothing to say other than that I don't smoke it because I don't like the pot high. (BTW, I think it should be completely legal.) I'm convinced at this point that pot changes heavy users' brains so they don’t believe anyone could possibly dislike pot. They appear to not understand that possibility at all. To a man/woman, they suggest that I just haven‘t tried the right strain yet, as this guy did. Because of course he did.

You know, in my 66 years I‘ve smoked enough pot to know that it‘s not for me. I‘m OK with that. What these folks are really suggesting to me is that I should continue having unpleasant experiences—and they‘ve very nearly all been unpleasant!—until I find that elusive perfect strain for me. No thanks. It‘s simply not a priority for me. Please stop asking! Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more boring to me than weed talk. I don't walk up to people I barely know in bars and start chattering about bourbon and beer, do I? Please, Mary.

He went away. For a while.

When he returned, he pretended to be interested in my views on current events and that's when he became a real blowhard. Lucky me. He asked what I thought was our most existential threat. Country? World? Humans? Gays? He didn't specify. Off the top of my drunk head, I said “Climate change.” (It could have been any number of things but that, unchecked, will kill us all.) His response was “REALLY? That‘s what you think is the most dangerous? Climate change??” with a roll of his eyes. He went on pooh-poohing everything I said, offering no views of his own, just asking more questions. It was infuriating. I finally said "You know, you‘re acting like a superior asshole right now and obviously trying to humiliate me. I'm not interested in continuing to talk to you anymore." Thankfully, he just walked away without saying anything. Importantly, he didn't deny it or try to defend his ridiculous behavior. I guess he owns it.

I'm  grateful that the good feelings that began earlier in the night then just continued. I didn't end up screaming at this asshole, and getting kicked out of the bar. Thanks, Jim Beam!

PS. As I‘ve said many times, I don't like pot but I think it should be completely legal. Just please, stop talking to me about it! I‘m also now a big fan of CBD. I‘ve been using CBD oil daily for about a year now and it‘s made a huge difference in my life. I noticed after about a month that I was sleeping better and was much less depressed and irritable. I don‘t hobble around my apartment in pain from a herniated disc every morning as I did before I started using it. That discomfort is completely gone! I was really skeptical but I‘m a convert. And there is nothing  resembling a pot high when I use it. I recommend it highly. YMMV, of course!

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Today’s Photo


Marginal Way, Portland, ME. (Click on the photo for a closer look!)

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A (very long) Christmas Story

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Not Up My Alley

I had to go to Boston for the day because I had a couple of medical appointments. My second appointment was cancelled, so I had a lot of time to fill before my 11PM train home to Portland. I had already planned to see a film and then have dinner with some friends. Both things were fun but it was a really nutty day otherwise! (And the movie wasn't technically "fun," I guess.) You can skip down five or six paragraphs for the more crazy, gay stuff if you want.

After my morning appointment I walked across the Longfellow Bridge to Cambridge and sat in a Starbucks near MIT to caffeinate for the movie. (I had to get up at 5:30AM to catch the train. That's extremely early for me, so I was pretty fucking tired. Also, I had to fast for eight hours. Ugh.) I thought I’d pay my phone bill while I sat at Starbuck’s wasting time but my debit card was declined. Declined with a Verizon phone representative. Declined on their app. Declined on their web site. I had a large direct deposit just that morning and I was puzzled. I called my bank and was referred to the Fraud Department. The Fraud Department!! It turns out it was nothing serious, though. They unblocked my card and I paid my bill. Still, I was kind of humiliated that I had to do all of this inside, on the phone, in a crowded coffee shop full of MIT geniuses, because it was pouring rain outside. But as my friend Karen said “They didn't even notice you, they all have Asperger's anyway.” She was probably right. Having to do this in front of people, I'm sure, kept me from screaming at the bank, too, and who knows how that would have ended. Not well. I think I’m counting a blessing or something like that.

Since I was away from Portland, of course, I had all of my hook-up apps running. I'm of a certain age which somewhat limits my audience, so I have to really put it out there, if I want to see any action at all—and I do want to see action. I got a message on Growlr just before I left for the theater.

Misanthrope 3

Innocuous enough, right? Just wait…

I got to the Kendall Square Cinema and attempted to buy a senior ticket. Card declined again! I like to get to the movies early, so I had time. I called the bank again. I was referred to the Fraud Department again. They said I had used my card too many times in quick succession. I said that it was declined the first time! She had nothing to say. We finally figured it out. Because I had used the card multiple times in Cambridge and not Portland, their system flagged the card as stolen. OK. Will I have to go through this every time I go out of town? I hope not! Anyway, they unblocked the card again. I bought my ticket and a belly-busting Coke Zero. There were no more bank problems that day.

The film Son of Saul was really great. It's not a lot of laughs, that’s for sure, but it’s gripping. The cinematography is so striking and beautiful. It's a haunting, depressing, visually rigorous film. Absolutely perfect for me! Cinematographer Mátyás Erdély also shot the depressing BBC series Southcliffe which is totally worth three plus hours of your time. “Southcliffe” was Director Sean Durkin’s follow-up to the stunning Martha Marcy May Marlene.” I could go on down this rabbit hole of film associations but I’ll spare you. Just look up Sean Durkin and Mátyás Erdély and you’ll thank me.

I went back to the same Starbuck’s after the film, to meet my friend Paul. He drove us to Harvard Square to meet his partner Benny for beer and dinner at Charlie’s Kitchen. I like Charlie’s because the have my favorite beer, Steel Rail from Berkshire Brewing. Once again I made the mistake of starting my first beer before the food arrived. I felt really trashed halfway through my first beer. I should have known better but I always, always forget. I’m old. Oh well. We ate and talked and afterwards they gave me a ride to The Alley Bar. I had fun but I was kind of useless during dinner.

I can't say I really like The Alley. I met a really attractive guy there a few times for fun sex a while back. I also had one of the worst experiences—of any kind—of my entire life there, causing me to miss a good friend’s wedding. I’m still sad about it.  You never fucking know. Anyway, the downstairs was kind of boarded up and only the upstairs was open. I’d never been upstairs. It had obviously just been remodeled from the anonymous gay bar kit. Gross. There are less seats than there were at the downstairs bar and no service bar area, so it's more difficult to get a god damned drink. Finally, I got a beer and took a seat at an upholstered bench that seemed to be far, far away from the bar. The seat next to me was empty, or so I thought. Unfortunately, the guy had only taken a bathroom break. He was really something.

He sat down and said hello. I responded in kind. He desperately wanted to talk to me about Donald Trump! I declined, saying that I don’t talk politics to strangers—or even friends, most of the time! He said “Yeah but…” I declined again, still politely. He tried again. I just got up, said “No, really. I mean it,” and walked away. He was completely baffled. I found a café table far, far away from him. I realize as I’m writing this that maybe he had a joke that he was saving up for someone new. I don’t care.

Now, while I was trying to not talk to this weirdo, an older man with a silver pony tail who was being very social around the bar was trying really hard to catch my eye. I was trying really hard to avoid his eye. I only had a short time in town and I was on a mission to get laid. Otherwise, I might have been more social. Maybe. Maybe not. Anyway, I got another message on Growlr.

Misanthrope 2

It was Terry!


That's him, there, on the left. I can’t even tell you how angry I get when someone who’s not my friend says “my friend,” It’s so condescending. Those same people always seem to address me as “Frankie.” No. Go away.

My feeling, thinking about it later is that my rejection of the Donald Trump guy got around this very cliquey bar at lightning speed, probably before I even walked across the room and found another place to sit! Now, I’ll completely cop to being misanthrope. A proud misanthrope, even. This asshole had no reason to say so, though. Why? Because I didn't want to engage with him? Oh, please. Get. Over. Yourself. Mary.

At my new seat, I was joined by a latino (should that be Latino?)  guy who was extremely friendly. Again, I wasn't particularly interested in chatting with him. I’m not much of a small talker to begin with and, if I sit at a bar chatting with someone, my chances of getting laid drop immediately to near zero. I don't think I could have not looked at him any harder or stared into my phone any harder. He just. Didn't. Get. It. Finally, I said that I’d better go. He remembered that my train wan't until 11PM! Of course he did. Christ. I said, “No, really. I should go.” I was in hell.

I went downstairs and stopped near the door to check my phone. Latino guy passed me on his way out and waved. Whew! I went back upstairs. Terry, who had undone his pony tail, continued to swan around the bar. I couldn’t help feeling he was doing at least some of it for my benefit.

I finally left the bar around 9:30 to walk to the train station. It wasn't a long walk but leaving and spending some time at North Station was definitely preferable to being in this place any longer. Ten minutes before my ETD I got another message from the indefatigable, and obviously obsessed Terry.

Misanthrope 4

I was already on the train, still drunk. The train was full of either Celtics or Bruins fans (I can’t tell) and I couldn't sleep. It seemed like an endless ride. My cab driver in Portland was adorable, though! Thanks A.S.A.P Taxi!

Maybe the next trip will be more productive. Probably not, though. Sigh.

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Old Skool

Sunday night I had sex with a trucker in his sleeper, parked behind Walmart. It was great, of course. Thanks, Growlr! Details to follow…

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I put a spell on you

Psycho!I commented Towleroad that, while I do have some sympathy for him, Daniel Pierce appeared to be provoking his family into a fight for the camera. I also said I was bothered that so many commenters werepainting Christians and people from the South with such a broad brush. Since I have both Christian and Southern friends, I find this offensive. Yesterday, I got this hilarious Facebook message from Martin Stevenson in Atlantic City:


Listen here you vile BIBLE THUMPING, self hating OLD AS DIRT, apologetic Christian cult following piece of dirt. You blame a gay boy who comes out to his family and say he was itching for a fight in the same breath you demand respect for your VILE CHRISTIANITY (that you pretend to not be a part of)….DIE OF CANCER you Christian mother fucker. We will call you Christian FILTH out on your homophobia every fucking chance we get. EVERY chance we get we'll hold you Christians accountable for MURDERING our gay community throughout history. You bible deserves to be burned. KNOW THAT. and know the gay community will be galvanized standing together supporting this gay boy and ALL gay youth. We will call out your Christian faith EVERY SINGLE opportunity we get. Btw, you're not very smart posting your actual pics attached to your endorsing of homophobia and excusing of vile Christianity. all your pics will be taken and a screenshot of your homophobia will be plastered ALL over the internet, so that anytime someone does a google search of you, it will be seen.

You Christian gays deserve the most painful form of cancer for using the gay community for your needs but belittling us during our time of need. And then you wonder why the collective gay community hates you bastards with a passion. As for you, and bashing a gay youth, and defending Christianity, your reputation needs to be hammered and exposed….and it will be.

I replied "Pardon? I'm an atheist. Please."

Oh back peddle much? You're a little too old to not take accountability for your disgusting commentary. A young gay man on video gets rejected, verbally assaulted and physically harassed by his own family who shame him to hell …s scenario played out every day across our country and instead of showing sympathy and empathy for the gay man, you FAULT HIM for his frustration and more over, the only comment you contribute in the towleroad thread is taking issue with things said about scum bag Christians. You are a farce who is being exposed on multiple gay forums. In fact, I've taken the entire day just to create a website and screenshots of your picture and name next to your homophobic commentary shaming a rejected gay youth. Funny how the gay community has to apologize for words we said regarding Christians, because according to you that's so taboo and hurtful, but yet a old war horse creep like you overlooks the horrible actions by the Christian family toward their gay son. You need to iron out your internalized homophobia, old man. You're wayyyy too old to be wrestling with so much self hate issues.

The gay community, our collective gay voices, our gay activism is not going anywhere. And we will consistently be HOLDING YOUR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS ACCOUNTABLE FOR A LIFETIME OF LEGISLATIVE & SOCIETLA HOMOPHOBIA stemmed directly from their organized religion. If you think you'll guilt trip the galvanized gay community in speaking out and speaking up against the multitude of wrongs your church crowd has enacted toward gay people (including that gay child) you have another thing coming!

"Ooh! This is exciting! BTW, what form of cancer should I die from?"

I would say colon….slow, painful and agonizing. And trust & believe, some of us do spells ….I've already sent the energy your way. Enjoy the chemo

You deserve every ounce of pain gay youth endure in the face of rejection from homophobic family….but you deserve it ten fold, and you'll get yours. Trust in that.

At the moment I and a few of my friends are a little too preoccupied trying to send a mass email to all your friends with a screenshot of your comment in relation to that story. You want to paint yourself as some pillar for gays in Maine to show off and be a poser, but behind your friends back, your true colors are exposed and should be exposed even further. Only a pathetic, narcissistic, sociopath, old, ugly as dirt monster sides with a homophobic family, shames a gay child for not behaving "appropriately" over a traumatic incident and then goes on a rant about the RANCID, HEINOUS, REVOLTING Christian church and how we gays need to stop making sweeping generalizations against it. Mother fucker, we gays are forcing Christian shop owners to close shop left & right with hundreds of lawsuits…and our crusade is JUST begin. Tell your Christian family and friends to sleep with one eye open, because we gays are not fucking around anymore. Christians are and will always be public enemy number one!

"Can I have a link, please?? I want to reblog it!"

Reblog? like your cryptic voyeuristic blog devoted to illegally stealing photos of shirtless gay men on dating sites and reposting it with overtly creepy hastags? Btw that's already been reported to law enforcement coupled with a few of those guys being notified on grindr as well. Enjoy the lawsuits. Reposting photos from people's personal profiles on various sites is illegal and something you agreed to in the terms & agreement for grindr. You're going down Frank. Next time you fuck with the gay community, know some of us play dirty and fight vicious. Now you know. This is just round 1.

"Bring it. I love lunacy!"

Look no further than a mirror grandpa, because any COCK SUCKER who gets his ass on a gay blog and throws ahissy fit over words expressed about Christian-Cunts but then turns around and trivializes the horrific actions by Christian-Cunts toward a gay child is the epitome of lunatic.

28 Christian based businesses forced to close shop in the U.S…this year alone. All thanks in part to lawsuits foisted upon them by the gay community. Kills a piece of you inside, doesn't it Frankie? I can smell the cancer cells growing. Go pray about it

I stopped responding.

awww where'd you go old Frankie? Frankie freaking the fuck out, perhaps? Aww, go pray about it in that BUYBULL (oops, I mean bible) of yours. You know, the trite book written by men to control the masses, rape innocent victims, kill people and in which finally society is rejecting it now more than ever. Welcome to our gay forums where the first rule of thumb is constant and consistent joyous bashing of Christianity and organized religion. Enjoy the ride!

And finally…

LOL at your "blog"…it's as creepy as you being a cat lover. Btw, the whole world hates cats. Except for creepy, loner old dudes with terrible social skills, most of us find your ugly cat to be a smelly flea ball that really ought to be slaughtered in Asian countries. Only use and purpose those ugly evil creatures serve. As for your blog….all two visitors must be so proud of it.

I don't even know what to say.

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Taking a break

I'll be taking about a week off from posting. My computer's in the shop and posting from my phone is a real PITA. See you soon!

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Tantrum No. 2

This actually happened before the one I wrote about previously but whatever…

In March of 2010 Derek and I spent a weekend in Provincetown. I used to live there and he had never been there for more than a few hours, so I figured it would be fun. It was. For a while.

It was during the “shoulder season,” so there was no event that weekend that I remember. We stayed from Friday until Sunday at The Chicago House.

Most of the weekend is a blur because we drank. We drank a lot. We were at the A-House on Friday night, I think, during Bingo at The Little Bar. We won a couple of cards and ended up drinking for free!

I believe we spent Saturday evening drinking at the A-House disco. It was pretty empty when we got there but it was relatively busy later in the night. We also went to The Vault.

Walking back to our guest house, I took out my iPhone to show Derek a scene from a porn film, just a second, really, that I find funny. What a mistake.

A qualifier: In my experience, most gay men have porn of some kind or another on their smartphones. I used to have more, not a lot of movies but some photos. I'd been downloading dirty pictures from the internet for more than a decade before I met Derek, so I had quite a collection by then. Derek had one of his “episodes” when I showed one of the photos to a mutual friend in a bar one afternoon. He just could’t believe I would do that in front of him (as everyone else in the group, partnered or not, was doing at that moment!). He found it insulting. This attitude was, I thought at the time, fallout from being married to a woman for ten years and his Mormon background. He often said things like "Margie and I would never do that," comparing our relationship with his former heterosexual one. Me, I think gay and straight relationships are fundamentally different. He obviously didn’t agree with me. I eventually deleted most of the minuscule amount of porn on my phone. I moved what I’d collected on my computer to an external drive, and I didn't acquire any more while we were together. Still, there were many future arguments during which he insisted that I delete all of it, claiming I was obsessed with porn. He often checked to see if there was anything new on that drive. I am not kidding.

Anyway, when I found the one second of footage on my phone, Derek started screaming at me on the street beside Town Hall. I was shocked. I know: stupid me! First of all, I couldn’t figure out what on earth he was so angry about. Once I did, I told him that I refused to have this argument—or any argument, really—on the street in Provincetown. Neither would I have it back at the guest house. Once again, I found myself as half of “that couple,” like so many vacationers I saw while I lived in P-Town. (I lived above a lesbian karaoke bar, so this was almost a nightly occurrence during the season.) It was humiliating. Drunk as I was, I had enough of my wits to just keep quiet.

Back in our room Derek tried to continue arguing. I refused to raise my voice. He started packing his bags and said he was going home. There was a lot of clichéd door-slamming drama. I figured I could just take the bus home on Sunday and told him it might be best if he just left. I certainly wasn’t going anywhere. I can just imagine what it would be like trapped in a car with him driving drunk for eight hours. No thanks!

He eventually returned to the room, trying to apologize. I just wanted to sleep, still refusing to have an argument while I was drunk.

We left as soon as we woke up in the morning. I was hoping to avoid the owner and the other guests, knowing that they must have heard some of the chaos. Of course, they were all sitting around the kitchen table. I quickly apologized and we got out of there. I was mortified.

Most of the ride home was quiet. I’m sure we talked it out eventually but I don’t really remember how it happened.

Sunday happened to be my friend Mike’s birthday. Since he lives on The Cape, we were supposed to stop by and see him on the way home to Philly. The atmosphere between Derek and I that morning was so toxic, that I just couldn’t put anyone in the position of having to deal with it. We didn’t stop and, unfortunately, I didn’t call. I still feel terrible about it and I am still apologizing.

Here is the offending one second of footage. What I think is funny is the look on the man’s face when the guy on the left ejaculates. Really. One second of footage caused all of this drama.


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Standpipe Park

Standpipe Park

This is the incredible view from Standpipe Park on North Street in Portland Maine. Click on the pic (and click again!) for a much closer look!

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Tantrum No. 1

Before I continue with the short summary of my demented life with Derek, and since I keep referring to his abusive behavior, I thought I’d post about one of his Childish tantrums. It’s a particularly bad one, one of the worst, about 16 months into our life together.

It’s “No. 1” because it’s the first one I’m writing about, certainly not the first one chronologically, or the last. I wish. There were so many.

In July of 2010, two weeks after I made the irreversible decision to give up my housing subsidy and move in with Derek, we went to Hillside, the gay campground in NE Pennsylvania, to check out Bear Weekend. It was sold out, so we got a hotel room relatively close by and bought day passes for the campground. There were some people we knew there and we stayed on the grounds most of the day, leaving to get some dinner and take a nap. For the most part, we had a great time and there were a lot of really good-looking men. Since it was a Saturday, there were parties all over the grounds and we wandered from place to place, hanging out and talking to people.

We drank all day. And I mean all day.

After dark a lot of the men go down to the “disco” to continue drinking and socializing. It seems to me there were several hundred guys there. There were only a few inside on the dance floor, so almost all of the men were outside.

To get to the bathroom, we had to walk though a large covered area, open on three sides, with picnic tables. After one of his piss breaks Derek sat back down and told me there was a man naked, on all-fours on one of of the tables with an open can of Crisco® next to him! (Bear Weekend is one of several weekends during which Hillside’s nudity and public sex policy is “relaxed.”) He appeared to find it amusing, and I said “Oh really? Let’s go look!” We walked up to the bench and had a look. I then I retreated to the wall to see if anything was going to happen.

Something happened alright…in Derek’s head.

He picked up the can of Crisco®, threw it at my feet, and screamed “This is what you really want!!”

[Long-time readers of this blog (all two of you!) know that I was very into fisting for some years. I hadn’t done it for a long while, even before I met Derek, and I’d told him numerous times, truthfully, that I didn’t care if I ever did it again. It was something I enjoyed, and it certainly brought the men to the yard, so it was good to have on my sexual menu at the time. I was still on the Handball List, an email list for guys into fisting. The list was mostly dead, with only one or two messages a week, and I read it because I was amused by the obsessiveness of some of the men on the list. They’re a strange group. The fact that I was ever into it remained a bug in Derek’s brain. In fact, my entire sexual past, including and this blog in particular, bothered him. He wanted me to delete and my ten-year collection of dirty pictures completely. ("None of those guys look like me!" I'm not even kidding. ) I refused. I always replied that I wasn’t ashamed of my sexual history and I wouldn’t hide it.]

Anyway, I was utterly shocked when the Crisco® came flying my way. (And I do appreciate how totally hilarious this is. It’s, in a way, a funny story to tell.) Despite being quite drunk, I kept my wits and went back to where we had been sitting. Derek was relentless. He insisted that I was still into fisting and, somehow, this fantasy of his was a reflection of my feelings about him—in a negative way, of course. He got louder and louder. I was mortified. He kept going on about the Handball List in a ridiculous, accusatory way, demanding that I unsubscribe.

Public scenes are something that I won’t tolerate. I just will not be that couple,” so I told Derek I was leaving. He dangled the car keys in my face. Really. I didn’t care; I’d walk if I had to. He followed me through the crowd, still screaming like a lunatic.

Someone must have called Security because we were approached and asked to leave. "Oh, believe me, I’m leaving!”

"Oh great," I thought. “Now we’ll never be allowed back.Wonderful.

There was more drama when we got to the car and he wouldn’t let me in at first. I didn’t say a word. It seemed pointless. When we got back to the hotel, I went right to bed. He eventually gave up yelling and left the room. There was a lot of door slamming. I know he eventually came to bed but he said nothing, thankfully.

It was a long, long drive back to Philly in the morning.

In the car Derek couldn’t apologize enough. He told me he had talked to his brother in Los Angeles on the phone when he left our room the night before and got some sensible advice. Jeremy said that it was senseless to hold my past against me. The past has already happened and there was nothing that could be done about it. (Doh! No shit. I guess this wasn’t already obvious to him.)

I started talking on the way home. I reminded Derek of his promise to do something about his insane outbursts. I certainly wouldn’t have agreed to give up my housing subsidy without that assurance. Now, less than two weeks later, he did it again. I didn’t know what to do. I felt foolish for even thinking he could do it. I couldn’t even cry; I was just so terribly angry.

Ultimately, we agreed that Derek would stop drinking and I would, too, to support him. (As I've said before on this blog, I had previously been sober for 20 years. As much as I loved drinking, I could do it again. Piece of cake. And it was…for me.) He promised to return to therapy and go to AA. I knew that simply being sober wouldn’t fix this. The behavior would eventually return if he didn’t try to deal with it. And boy, did it ever!

Things between us were “good” for a bit but they slowly got really unbearable again once we'd been in Maine for a while. By then my options were terribly limited. After all, I had left my entire life behind to follow him there.

I’ll document the long, horrible decline in future posts. Thinking about all of this again is not easy but I’m hoping it helps get the last several years of living with insanity out of my system. We’ll see, I guess.


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It’s the pits

John Derek

It’s entirely possible that my attraction to men’s arm pits (and maybe chest hair and beards as well) can be traced back to this scene of John Derek in "The Ten Commandments.”  My love of hairy forearms is surely a result of my endless hours examining the Men’s Underwear section of the Sears catalogue.  Click on John (and click again!) for a closer look!

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I feel like a fool (Part 1)

I gave up a comfortable—for me—life in Philly and left all of my friends behind three years ago to move to Maine with the man I loved because he wanted to live near his kids. I later realized he was an abusive drug addict. He moved to Los Angeles and I’m still in Maine, so broke that I can’t afford to move back home. I gave up everything and I got royally screwed.

That’s the summary. Read on if you want the whole story.

My ex-partner, Derek, and I parted ways eight months ago. I posted a while ago that I was terribly angry and that I was going to help work out my feelings by writing about them. I’ve been putting that off because I couldn’t figure out where to even begin. I can’t hesitate anymore.

I’m still angry today. Shocking, no? Almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day, there is something to remind me of the huge mistake I made when I got involved in this abusive relationship. Of course, I didn't realize at the time that it was going to be such a nightmare. Who does? But I kick myself now for not being  paying more attention to the signs. More details about that at a later time, though. (Alcohol and drugs were involved and that’s really a story for another day.) This post is about what my life was like before and what it's like now. The differences between those two times of my life and the daily struggles I have today sometimes bring me to tears.

So…Five years ago I had been single for almost a decade, and totally happy with that situation. During that time I lived in a couple of places and had finally settled back in Philly. I’m on disability (COPD & AIDS) and I have a limited income (SSDI with a little freelance design work). I struggled for a while but, after waiting two years,  I got a housing subsidy  through the City’s AIDS Activities Coordinating Office. My rent on an OK but good-size apartment in West Philly was $213(!). My life was not ideal by anyone’s standards but I was pretty comfortable and I scaled my life to fit my budget. I was pretty content. Considering.

The subsidy had a lot of rules that were really easy for me to follow: pay  the rent on time, submit receipts for utilities to my Mazzoni Center housing manager (which meant paying those on time, too!), don't do illegal drugs in the house, don’t have a roommate. Simple.

Then I met Derek. It had been a long time since I felt that way about anyone. I pursued him furiously and he didn't resist. He is an ex-Mormon who had been married for ten years, had only been out for a short time, and he had four pre-teen sons who lived in Maine with their mother. (Yes, I know. Doh!)

We dated for a couple of months. Derek had only lived in Philly for a short while because his company had been moving him around. At the time he had an insane roommate who was obsessed with him and eventually we made the decision that he needed to get out of there. He got a sublet near my apartment but basically stayed at my place.  Eventually, we wanted to move to move to a place of our own where we could live together without my breaking any subsidy rules. (I certainly didn't need that headache.)

After a lot of discussion, we decided that I’d give up my precious subsidy and we’d get a place together. It was a huge decision for me—not just cohabiting but, especially, giving up the subsidy for which I had waited a long, long time. It was a big step. If I ever needed the subsidy again, I’d go back to the bottom of the list! Derek promised to stop drinking. His emotional abuse  was really only evident to me when he was drunk, so that promise was a crucial part of my decision.

It’d be easier financially with  two of us. His employer would pay for some stuff, too, since he worked from home when he wasn’t traveling.

We got a place in South Philly in August 2010. Things seemed to be working. We were having less sex after a year and a half together which is normal—especially since we weren’t drunk every night anymore—but, again, that's another post for another day. We got a couple of cats.

After only two months in our new apartment Derek said that he thought he should live closer to his children! In Maine! It was a long, long drive to visit them in the town where they lived outside of Bangor and at least one of them was exhibiting some behavioral problems relating to Derek’s being gay. (Derek always called it “the gay thing” which infuriated me but I kept my mouth shut about it.) Again, after lots of discussion, I agreed. After all, I heard his oldest screaming “You left us to be gay!” into the phone a few times! In retrospect, I think he was hoping I’d refuse, but I thought I was being a supportive partner. We decided that Portland was the closest acceptable place we could live. It’s a great town and had an airport with flights that worked for his job. We visited for a weekend and found a great place at a reasonable price.

We moved north.

(To be continued…if you’re interested, or even if you’e not!)

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