My 25th Anniversary

Michael FranksI think I just figured out why I’m in such a nostalgic mood these days. It’s simple, really, and I wonder why it didn’t occur to me sooner.

Exactly 25 years ago this week, a series of events yanked me out of the closet. I was 16, only turning 17 two months later.

Living on the Inside (mp3, 5.3 MB, 5:39)
Sombre as it may seem, this song from Tiger in the Rain is the anthem of my coming out. I can still remember listening to it over and over and over 25 years ago. I remember aspiring for the comfortable mood that song inspired in me.

Sanpuko (mp3, 4.0 MB, 5:39)
This one is also from Tiger in the Rain, and I remember spending many evenings in 1982 at Crackers in Moncton with The Quad or ‘Nique. (Bonjour, mon amie!) That’s when I started drinking coffee. And that’s where we first heard Michael Franks.

After that, Michael Franks followed me everywhere. With the South American ladies visiting Halifax in 1990…
Anthony’s Song (mp3, 4.8 MB, 5:05)
The Lady Wants to Know (mp3, 4.4 MB, 4:44)

…at my fantastic Morris Street bachelor apartment… (this one, ironically, reminds me of a remarkably warm late-October morning after a very inconsequential trick with the knitting sailor)
How I Remember You (mp3, 5.3 MB, 5:11)

…and at Fort Needham…
Abandoned Garden (mp3, 6.3 MB, 5:24)

…forever endearing to the summer person that I am…
Dragonfly Summer (mp3, 4.7 MB, 5:03)

…and bringing a smile through a bit of frivolity.
When Blackbirds Fly (mp3, 3.1 MB, 3:17)

Twenty-five years… Wow! How did that happen?

There Goes the Neighbourhood, Take 2!

Much to my chagrin, my cute neighbour is moving out today. There was a (false) fire alarm last Sunday afternoon and we had a little chat while we were standing outside the building, and that’s when he told me he would be moving on the 15th.

I have to confess I did a little prying to find out if he was shaking up. You’ll recall my wishful thinking that perhaps his (female) ex had become his ex because he’d switched teams. The reason I even ventured to think that is because of a long conversation we had in the hallway early this winter. It’s not that he displayed any stereotypical signs of “fagginess,” but at the same time he didn’t display any stereotypical signs of the hetero male. Moreover, what set off my gaydar was the way he laughed at my little comments during our conversation. Despite what people at my day job think, I’m no comedian. But my often-time blunt observations on people and things had him in stitches — propping-against-the-wall stitches. And that set off my gaydar because, in my experience, guys who laugh that hard at my jokes are concealing a kind of nervousness borne of an attraction.

But that theory went out the window this spring. Spectacularly. And loudly.

He has a new girlfriend. I don’t know her name, and to me she kind of looks like his ex — by no means ugly, but nothing particularly outstanding, either. Except that she’s a Screamer.

Cute neighbour’s bedroom is on the other side of the wall behind my desk. I’m sure anyone who’s lived in an apartment building has at least once heard their neighbours “going at it.” At first I thought the throws of passion were coming from upstairs or downstairs, since normally that’s how sound travels in this building. But then I realized they were coming from cute neighbour’s. And then, after about a good 10 minutes, I could hear him becoming very verbal, too, culminating with a triumphant crescendo of “Yes …Yesss…… YEESSSSSS!”

I hate to admit it, but by that point, I had a semi.

I Certainly Never Meant THAT!

Brian posted a rant yesterday about a site advocating serosorting as a means of preventing further HIV infections. Understandably, Brian’s pissed.

Some HIV positive guys only link together with other HIV positive guys. There is nothing wrong with that, but to pretend that this is some wave of the future of HIV prevention by attempting to ghettoize something that you cannot contain in a ghetto, is complete folly (to be nice). There is no nice little line that you can draw between “us and them” when it comes to preventing risk of transmission.

Someone left a long comment on Brian’s post to say that he “completely disagree[s]” with him on this point and concludes by asking him, “[I]s it really a festering resentment about the HIV-negative guys who reject guys who are poz?” Once again, as happened with Jeff and his article I called a misfire, critics are coming out to proffer pseudo psychoanalyses in an attempt to explain the author’s motivations. The only thing I’ll grant the commentor is that Brian’s posts can be abrasive at times, but he does warn everyone who enters his blog that “You are entering my mind, it’s not always pretty!”

Logically, if serodiscordant sexual contacts were to end immediately, there wouldn’t be new cases of transmission to “neggies.” But this is not only unlikely to happen; it’s also a division that shouldn’t happen. As Brian writes, clearly “stupidity falls on both sides of the sero-spectrum.” This advocating of serosorting coming from someone who’s poz is proof, as it is a position that [a] absolves everyone from taking responsibility for themselves and [b] could encourage a throwback to the hysteria of the early- and mid-’80s when some people feared that a handshake or breathing the same air could cause someone to seroconvert. To me, the notion of serosorting is as odious and has echoes of ethnic cleansing, which surely no one in his or her right mind would advocate.

Then and Now …Whatever: Take 2

Funny that Brian just posted an editorial from fab on roughly the topic I wrote about in my last post. It does not address specifically the motives for barebacking, aside, perhaps, that it’s “mechanically” better for some guys. However, interesting is the mention that being seen as slutty holds a stigma that can make one less desirable and so on.

Well, for the record, I guess I can count myself among the lucky ones: condoms do not induce any “problems of performance” on my part. It may also be generational for me in that I became sexually active just around the time that HIV/AIDS was identified and condoms, short of abstinence, were tauted as the best protection, so they have always been something with which I’ve had to be inventive so that they don’t become an obstruction to fun. Yes, I consider myself lucky that, for me, they’re as automatic as putting on my seatbelt when I sit in a car.

I still can’t comprehend how some guys figure that if they contract HIV, they plan to simply say, “Oh well, I’ll just go on the drugs the rest of my life.” I mean, thank gawd those damn drugs exist, but since when are we suppose to take so lightly the thought of going on chimotherapy? Then again, I should confess that I dislike the thought of taking any medication. One time, I didn’t bother get one for antibiotics filled since I figured it was useless and alarmist, and, some 5 years later, I don’t think I’m worse off for not having taken the prescription. But setting aside my personal aversion to prescription drugs, I still say that the effects of antiretrovirals is one picnic I’d rather avoid.