Where boys could hold hands, and live together in a house when they grew up.
Where same-sex desire was possible.
My list included Australia, Belgium, the Philippines, India, and Finland, plus some countries that seem rather strange today.
Like Saudi Arabia, where my boyfriend Dan and I planned an escape in junior high.
Why did I start thinking of a small, homophobic country in southeastern Europe as a "good place?" It's something of a mystery. But I can think of a few reasons:
2. The language, which looked like nothing I had ever seen before, full of secret potential:
English: I want to see your sausage.
Albanian: Unë dua të shoh suxhuk tuaj.
3. One day our Preacher screamed about another sign of the coming of the Antichrist: Albania had become the first country in the world to declare itself officially atheist. Sounded like a good challenge for a future missionary.
5. Once we drove into Chicago to the Museum of Science and Industry, and afterwards we walked through Jackson Park where a lot of people were sitting on the grass, watching a folkdance. A cute boy with his shirt off, sitting on a blanket by himself, smiled at me.
"Albanian Festival," Dad read from the sign. We didn't stay -- folk dancing was forbidden to Nazarenes --but forty years later, I still remember that boy's smile.
It's all about the beefcake.
See also: Gypsy Boys.