Oct 30, 2014

Fall 2002: The Gay Psychic Angel

October 2002, around Halloween: I was teaching Sociology of Religion at Florida Atlantic University, and I invited representatives from various religious groups to speak to the class: Pentecostal, Eastern Orthodox, Buddhist, Muslim, Neo-Pagan.  For the New Age, I contacted the Center for Spiritual Living in Fort Lauderdale, and they sent me Raphael.

At least, I assumed that's why he and a friend appeared at my house one evening, and said "Hi, I'm Raphael, and this is Jordan. You called for us?"

I stood in the doorway, speechless, stunned.  Raphael  was a Cute Young Thing, in his twenties, a few inches shorter than me, with a nondescript physique but a face I can only describe as angelic: bright, shining, ever-smiling, mesmerizing.  I can't find any pictures of men that even approach his brilliance.  Jordan was a Cute Young Thing, too, but I can't remember what he looked like.

Finally I managed to stammer, "Hi...hi, nice to meet you."  I held out my hand.  Only Jordan shook it.

I invited them into the house and offered them sodas.  Raphael asked for his with a straw.

Then I noticed that his arms were hanging down limply from his shoulders.  They were paralyzed!

Jordan chose an easy chair and buried himself in a Tom Clancy novel.  Raphael began talking, I assumed about the tenets of his religion.  It was standard New Age stuff --  matter is an illusion; all of life is spirit; we have lived many times before.  But I was fascinated.

"Was I gay in all of my past lives?" I asked, surprised that I had come out so easily.

"Probably not. We're all gay, straight, male, female.  But we're surrounded by the same people in every life, Want me to check?"


"Press my hand against your Svadhishthana Chakra -- your abdomen."

I lifted up my shirt, took his hand -- surprisingly, it was warm, not cold -- and pressed it flat against my abs.  "This guy just wants to feel me up," I thought.

"No, that would be the Muladhara Chakra," Raphael said with a bright laugh.  "Your crotch."

Had he just read my mind?

"I see you as an old man," he continued.  "Very old, wearing overalls.  You are fascinated by a new invention."  He paused.  "Um...called a magic lantern.  I never heard of that -- do  you know what it is?"

"Early films in the 1890s were called Magic Lantern Shows," I said, shocked.  But then my inner skeptic kicked in.  There were posters from old movies on the wall -- obviously he surmised that I was a movie buff in this life.

I didn't care.  Raphael was the hottest guy I had ever seen!  I couldn't take my eyes off him.  I had to get him alone, away from the stern, Tom Clancy-reading Jordan.  "Can you read my future, too?"

"Yes, but for that, I need to touch an object of yours, something that you've handled often."

"Sure...um...let's go into the bedroom, and I'll find something."

We went into the bedroom, and I pressed Raphael's hand around the Kensington Runestone that I got in Alexandria, Minnesota when I was a kid.  "I see that you travel quite a bit," Raphael said.  "I've never been outside the country."

"Someday I'll take you to Paris," I said.  Then I felt my face burning.  I had said too much.

"You're going to Paris yourself in a few months, I see."

"Yeah, every year if I can."

"You'll get an opportunity there.  A job offer, maybe. But don't take it."

"Are you kidding?  I'd give anything to live in Europe!"

"No, you won't be happy there.  We need you here in America."

"We?"  It was time to make my move!  I carefully removed the Kensington Runestone from his hand, then wrapped my arm around him and kissed him.

It was a warm, innocent kiss, like they show on first dates on tv.  But it didn't stay innocent.  I became more aggressive, pressing our bodies together, pressing my hand against his crotch, unbuttoning his shirt...

His body stiffened, and he pulled his face away. "Wait, wait," he murmured.  "It's too soon."

"Oh...sorry," I said, heavily embarrassed.  "I thought..."

"It's ok."  I helped him button his shirt back up.   "We'll see each other again.  Let me give you my phone number.  Do you have a piece of paper?"

I put a scrap of paper on the desk, and watched while he took a pen in his mouth and deftly wrote down the number.

Then he kissed me again, briefly, and yelled out to Jordan that it was time to go.

Alone in the house, staring at the phone number, I started thinking.

1. I was interested in the paranormal, but did I really want to date a professional psychic?

2. Raphael's arms didn't work.  He must do things with his mouth and his feet, with Jordan as supplemental assistance.  I tried to imagine how he dressed, ate, brushed his teeth, went to the bathroom.  And as the boyfriend, the supplemental assistance would be my job.

I didn't call the next day.  Or the next.  Or the next.  The phone number stayed on my desk, staring up at me.

On Sunday, I planned to go to the services at the Center for Spiritual Living and surprise Raphael.  But I lost my nerve.

The phone number stayed on my desk for a long time.  Then one day it was gone.  Maybe it evaporated.

It's been 12 years, and I'm still kicking myself for letting the Psychic get away.

Well, maybe in my next life.

By the way:

1. Raphael was right: a few months later, in Europe, I met a guy at the Horseman's Club who invited me to stay.  Except it was a small town in the Netherlands, not Paris.

2. I didn't realize it until later, but Yuri was in his room the whole time, and he didn't hear a thing.

3. In the Catholic Church, the archangel Raphael is the patron of the handicapped.  His feast day is October 24th.  Just before Halloween.

See also: The Gay Monk and the Homophobic Demon.

Oct 29, 2014

Is it Racist to Have a Type?

I've met many white guys who say things like "I'm not at all racist, I'm just not into Black men sexually."  Or Asians, or Hispanics, or Native Americans...

When I look surprised, they continue: "It's a taste, not a statement of social status.  If you're not into fat guys or guys with small endowments, or guys with beards, it doesn't mean you don't want to hang out with them, or be their friends, or that you think they're inferior socially -- just the bedroom is off limits.   They don't turn you on."

Ok, is liking your men thin, or big beneath the belt, or clean shaven the same thing as liking them white?

Not at all.

Let's say you are not attracted to dark skin.  You like your men pale.

It's never a set-in-stone rule.  Everyone is open to exceptions with the right guy.  I am not at all into blonds or redheads -- except when I am.

I like them big, muscular, bodybuilders, or husky or fat.  But I've been with skinny.

Even if, for some crazy reason, you have a set-in-stone rule -- only pale guys can ever get through your bedroom door  -- is every Black, Asian, and Hispanic guy automatically disqualified?

Of course not.  Many People of Color have relatively light skin, and many Caucasians are quite dark, either naturally, or through tanning beds. Spot the Caucasian in the photos below:

Actually, there aren't any significant physical traits shared by every member of any racial groups.  That's a myth.  No matter what configuration of skin, hair, and eye color you find attractive, there will be some white, Black, Asian, and Hispanic guys with it.  Why block them out?

So what, exactly, are you not attracted to?

1. An Image in Your Head.  Let's say you're "not attracted" to Asian guys.  The image in your head is probably of a very specific Asian guy: short, thin, smooth-skinned, beardless, under-endowed, sort of feminine.  You're forgetting about the many Asian men who are tall, muscular, chunky, kind of hairy, and aggressively masculine.  Why cut yourself off from an entire population based on a stereotype?

2. Social Status.  Sociology tells us that we are attracted to markers of social position, wealth, prestige, and power.  Institutional racism means that "whiteness" is valued, and markers of racial difference devalued.  Juries are more likely to convict black defendants than white defendants charged with exactly the same crime.  Students give black professors lower course evaluations than white professors.  And in the bedroom, you want to ally yourself with someone of a "high" social status.

People of Color often report that white guys who date them expect to be dominant, "in charge" of the relationship, as fitting their "higher" social status.

3. Culture.  Racial minorities have developed distinctive subcultures, with their own distinctive foods, costumes, vocabulary, music, and social norms. Group members differ in their participation, but the culture is always out there.  Maybe you're worried about trying to fit into a culture that you don't know well.

4. Family.  Many of my relatives practice "subconscious" racism, the little things that signify social exclusion, such as subconsciously rolling up the car windows when we enter a black neighborhood.  My father is a little more consciously racist.  When I date Black, Asian, and Hispanic guys, I always think very carefully about how to bring up the subject.  Maybe you're thinking "I'm not into that group" because you fear your family's disapproval.

So you're not attracted to negative stereotypes, markers of low social status, a different culture, and your family's disapproval.  Gee, it sounds almost like what you had to go through to acknowledge your attraction to men in the first place,

12 Shirtless Halloween Costumes

Many Halloween parties, parades, and festivals require costumes.  But what can you do if you don't have the money for a fancy store-bought costume, and can't sew?

It's easy to improvise with clothing you already have around the house, or a few props from the hardware store.

Don't worry if the end result looks a little amateurish -- if you're not wearing a shirt, no one will be paying much attention to your costume anyway.

1. What could be easier than boxer underwear, with a twin-sized unfitted sheet tied around your neck for a cape?  It's good for being Conan the Barbarian, an ancient Greek philosopher, or a Roman centurion (make a helmet out of a paper bag reinforced with tape).

2. Draw a big letter Z on the cape to become Zorro (sword optional).

3. For Disney's Aladdin, you need white pants, tied with a rope instead of a belt, house slippers, and a leather vest.  Toy monkey can be taped to your shoulder.

4. To be a cowboy, you'll need jeans, a belt with a large buckle, boots (snow boots are fine), and a cowboy hat.

5. Add a plaid shirt, and substitute a baseball cap, and you're a farmboy (don't try it in the Midwest).

6. You can easily stencil a Superman logo onto a plain blue t-shirt, but you might have to do something with your hair.

7. Another easy superhero is Aquaman, who wears red shorts and green boots.

8. Tarzan's loincloth can be improvised with an old pair of brown pants ragged-cut in front and back.  Be sure to wear regular underwear, too.

9. Most people doing the Rocky Horror think of Rocky, who wears only gold lame shorts.

10.  But if you don't have a Rocky physique, you can do an easy Brad with white briefs (extremely well packed) and horn-rimmed glasses.

11. A white handkerchief, a black bow tie, black dress slacks, and you're a Chippendale Dancer.  For added effect, wear a white shirt pre-cut and sewn up so it can easily be ripped off.

12. It's never too early to get into the spirit of Christmas, and you can evoke Santa Claus without wearing the whole ensemble.  Black boots, red shorts,  and a Santa Claus hat are more than enough.