The other night I watched the movie Shortbus again for the umpteenth time. If you have not seen it, do your self a favor and watch it. Watch it alone, with a loved one, with friends. John Camron (Headwig) did an amazing job exploring sex on many levels without making a “dirty movie”. One scene in particular brings tears to my eyes (ok I tear up during Kodak commercials).
The scene involves’ James, a former street hustler, having a conversation with a professional female dominatrix. He admits part of the allure of hustling is that “its’ the only time I knew what I was truly worth.” I remember that very same feeling. Honestly, it was good.
I went to catholic schools grade 1 through 8. When I transferred to a public high school I was advanced a year and skipped my freshman year. I had a lot of sexual experimentation by then (yes I was an alter boy). But in high school I encountered a new dilemma. My teachers in grade school (the nuns) did not hit on me. Hit me yes, but not on me. I had for the first time a teacher hit on me on a regular basis but still demanding that I not only complete and hand in all projects on time, but it also appeared that he would single me out for more criticism. This did not seem right. Especially since he gave lousy head.
He was not attractive in the least to me. Actually resembling Tony Orlando 15 years out of his prime still struggling to fit in long outgrown clothes. Yes polyester stretches, but it was never meant to stretch that much. He was considered the “ladies man” always flirting with the girls in class. When ever I came in for extra help, his hand usually ended up on my shoulder, lap or butt. I guess he assumed my repeated trips for extra help were driven by a crush. The truth is that it was driven by the reality that I was not use to getting average grades.
The sexual part of the relationship was driven by him performing orally and progressed to me lending him a hand to finish things up. It just seamed to me that he started treating me differently in class. Almost relishing being able to embarrassing me publicly. No surprise, but that annoyed me.
Now I could have withheld favors from him, a trick some women learn at an early age. I chose a different route. I kept a highly incriminating note he sent me in a safe place at the house. I then approached him and told him that I was not going to do the final project that semester and I was going to get an A in the class. If it does not happen that way I would go to the Principle, or worse, my father, and explain our “relationship” to him. It worked and I learned the power of the penis! On top of that I cut him off totally. I didn’t need to give it away anymore which was great. Two of the most important things I learned from this was that it possible to get really bad head, Second, that I could use sex to get my way. From here on out – quid pro quo.
It is not that I am ashamed of what I did and continued to do. It is a part of who I am today. I am not necessarily proud of all of it. One of the problems of growing up gay at that time was that there were no role models. Paul Lynde? Liberace? I knew I wasn’t like them. All the gay men I knew or met were married with children and living a lie. There were no long term relationships. Most important there was no internet or books on the topic. It seemed to me that sex and sexuality were separate from love. It took years for me to get past that.
The few men I met and “dated” saw me as more of a trophy than an equal or partner. I owe a great deal to Ed who finally got me over that past.