Gay

Last Tango in Tinos

Friday, October 2nd, 2015 | Art, Gay, Stavros, The Dating Game, Travel | 2 Comments

Stavros, Dean & Mike, and I spent a few days on Tinos last week, one of the larger islands in the Cyclades. Tinos isn’t on the radar for many non-Greeks, and perhaps because of this, the island feels somehow less corrupted by tourism. The Venetians controlled it until 1715, long after the rest of Greece had fallen to the Turks, and a legacy of the long Venetian presence is a mixed Catholic/Greek Orthodox population and elaborately designed dovecotes that dot the entire island. There’s a thriving marble folk art industry. Every door and window on the island has a carved marble transom, each house incorporating some marble decoration or detail.

Most people make the pilgrimage to Tinos to visit the church of the Panagia Evangelistria, or Our Lady of Tinos. It was built on the spot where a miraculous icon with healing powers, thought to have been made by Luke the evangelist, was found in 1823. A few years earlier, Our Lady appeared to an elderly gentleman, telling him to wake up and dig up the icon. He told a local priest of his vision, but they both agreed that it may have been the devil in disguise, so best to proceed with caution. Mary kept appealing to this guy, disrupting his sleep to no avail. She finally moved on to a local nun who was a little more receptive to her directives, and bingo, she led some guys with shovels right to it. The icon was found the day after the creation of the modern Greek state, so Our Lady of Tinos was declared the patron saint of the emerging Greek nation, and the construction of the church was its first large architectural project.

On the feast day of the Dormition of the Virgin (August 15), penitents crawl from the port up the hill to the church on their hands and knees as a sign of devotion, many seeking to be healed in some way. There are carpeted crawl-ways leading up the hill, and, at the top, a ghoulish statue of a crawling believer with outstretched arm and no face. It really freaked me out, the statue, reminding me of the Ghost of Christmas Future, the one who finally spooked Ebenezer Scrooge into buying that Christmas goose and new legs for Tiny Tim. The icon is displayed in the church under a mound of glittering jewels. I stood in line to photograph it, everyone in front of me kissing it and praying feverishly, but when I finally got there, I just sort of stared at it, not really able to comprehend what I was looking at, a mound of shiny baubles under glass. Beyond the reproduction icons and plastic holy-water bottles of the main town, ah, the magic begins. Great food, villages unspoiled by time, dramatic landscapes, fantastic beaches, charming little museums, and people living off of and sharing the bounty of the rugged landscape.

We stayed in an apartment overlooking the bronze-age acropolis of Vryokastro. Starvos and I ascended to the top of the acropolis early one morning, to see the sunrise, and got in the way of a humpy hunter chasing a cute little bunny, who seemed annoyed to see us in what was clearly his domain, shotgun shells strewn here and there along the path, his hounds barking and howling, just like a Bugs Bunny cartoon. I like to think that we saved a bunny that day.

In Kambos is a museum devoted to the work of Costas Tsoclis, an artist who creates paintings and sculptures saturated in antiquity and nostalgia, and that often extend beyond their frames. Outside he’s created a fabulous and whimsical large-scale semi-abstract depiction of St. George slaying the dragon. Inside are several room-sized painting installations. The museum is so well designed, that even the bathroom window frames a poetic installation, a single cross leaning against a corner of the empty back courtyard, blue skies and a single cloud above. The only restaurant in town was run by a man named Stefanos, an older gentleman with a wide and toothless smile, who served up cuisine of ingredients entirely home grown, including these fantastic fried wild herb “horta” balls. We ate at his son’s restaurant in the main town a few nights later, and it was just as delicious.

Driving north across the center of the island, we turned a corner and suddenly it seemed like we were on the moon. For as far as we could see, the entire landscape was filled with giant boulders, as if someone dumped a bag of giant rocks everywhere. In the center of this tremendous cyclopean rock-scape was a quaint village, Volax, with all of its houses built into, onto or around these massive stones. An artist covered the doors of vacant houses with handwritten transcriptions of various Greek poems, giving literal dimension to the weirdly poetic experience of the village.

I climbed Mt. Exobourgo one day, site of a crumbling Venetian fortress, the administrative center of the island from the 13th to 18th centuries, while Stavros slept in the car. Standing for 500 years or so, the fortress and town inside were dismantled by the Turks in 3 days.

Pyrgos, on the north central side of the island, is one of the island’s largest villages, with several museums devoted to marble art and production. The houses and streets seem to be interconnected physically and visually, as if carved from a single block of marble. There are so many villages to tell you about, each with its own unique character, charm, and history, but enough already.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Stavros and I had decided the week before departing for Tinos to be just friends. Once on Tinos, we further decided to start seeing other people by seeing the same guy, and at the same time. His name means “sugar” in Greek, and he is as sweet as they come, a sort of furry Greek Mighty Mouse: short, muscular, carpeted in fine hairs, laughing and smiling. He’s married, to a woman, and has children, but he eagerly jumped into our four arms. He was tender, passionate, and talked to us for hours, so free with the details of his life on the island. I remember looking at Stavros across our Mighty Mouse sandwich and seeing someone different, someone I hadn’t seen before, my boyfriend being passionately engaged by someone else. I felt for a moment as if I were an intruder, but then Stavros looked into my eyes, kissed me, and suddenly I felt like we were celebrating not the end of something, but a new beginning. Remember Audrey Hepburn at the end of Roman Holiday, returning to her duties as a princess? On the plane now back to my life in San Francisco without Stavros, invoking Audrey when asked about my favorite island, I say “Tinos,” Tinos without hesitation, glassy-eyed and with memories that I’ll cherish forever.

A Day in Marathonas

Thursday, September 24th, 2015 | Art, Gay, Travel | No Comments

The boys, Stavros, and I took a little day trip to Marathonas last week, just a little northeast of Athens. It was here in 490 BC that the Persians were crushed by a considerably smaller contingent of clever Athenians. In a pivotal moment in European history, the victory proved that the young democracy could appoint the kind of political and military leadership necessary to repel such an ambitious empire while at the same time avoiding a return to tyranny, leading to the eventual rise of Classical Greek civilization and its continuing influence today.

Near the site of the battle, in Nea Makri, are the remains of a sanctuary and bath complex dedicated to the worship of Isis and other Egyptian/Hellenic gods. It was built around 160 AD by Herodes Atticus, the Roman consul of Athens and buddy of the Roman emperor and total heartthrob Hadrian. As far as I know, it’s the only such complex found in Greece. Herodes was inspired by a similar complex that Hadrian built at his villa in Tivoli, in turn modeled after an Egyptian sanctuary in Canopus on the Nile Delta.

On the site are replicas of the statues found there. The originals are located in the Archaeological Museum of Marathonas, a wonderful little museum nearby, which also includes finds from the area going back to 4,000 BC. The statues combine characteristics of Egyptian and Greek goddesses, and, as if designed for a Cecil B. DeMille epic, are very theatrical and seem oddly not of their time. One statue holds in her hands three small roses, symbols of both the Egyptian Isis and the Greek Aphrodite. Another Egyptian-looking goddess holds a sheaf of wheat, symbol of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, closely tied to the change of seasons.

A few days earlier, at the Museo Archaeologico in Athens, I had seen a statue of Antinous, Hadrian’s lover, as an Egyptian god. Antinous was associated with Osiris after he mysteriously drowned in the Nile and was deified by Hadrian. The wall label indicated that the statue was found in Marathonas, so I’m assuming it was part of the temple complex there. But Antinous was pretty much everywhere during that time. The sad obsessed Hadrian not only declared him a god after his death and commissioned thousands of humpy statues of his likeness, he also built a city on the site of his death, Antinopolis. He also identified a star in the sky as Antinous, a rosy lotus that grew along the Nile as the Antinous flower, and proposed a new constellation of Antinous being carried to heaven by an eagle (the constellation Aquila. Remember Ganymede was swept up to Olympus by Zeus, in the form of an eagle, to be the gods’ cupbearer).

Ganymede was the loveliest born of the race of mortals, and therefore
the gods caught him away to themselves, to be Zeus’ wine-pourer,
for the sake of his beauty, so he might be among the immortals.

I have such a crush on Hadrian. First of all he’s exactly my type with his big face and wavy hair and beard. Secondly he turns his boyfriends into gods. He wrote an autobiography, unfortunately lost, that I am hoping turns up someday.

But anyway, back to the little Archaeological Museum of Marathonas… in addition to the Egyptian-Hellenic god statues, there are many interesting grave stele and funeral monuments, including a herm unusual for having a penis and not a head. I’ve often wondered if one day archaeologists will find a hidden room somewhere filled with all the gentle-talia that have been hacked off of old statuary. I can imagine some modern-day Shemp opening the door and all the marbles spilling out around him in a river of white willies.

Pesca-vegie-occasional-bacon-itarian Homobots

Friday, March 21st, 2014 | Film, Friends, Gay | No Comments

Last night Dean & Mike came over for dinner. I inadvertently made exactly the same thing that I made for them when I had them over last time. In my baby-gay days, my older buddy William would have me over for lunch and always make the same thing for me, a sort of flavorless broccoli pasta and a green salad. Always. And he’d always ask excitedly how I liked the pasta, as if it were the first time for me to experience it, and I’d always find something positive to say, like “the broccoli was cooked perfectly!” I got a kick out of it, each time wondering if there would be some kind of variation. I attributed it to the onset of senility, normal for people over 45, I thought. And now I am William. The thing is, these guys are vegetarians, well, sophisticated pesca-occasional-bacon-itarians, and I’ve run through all my veggie standards, so maybe I’m seized by a lack of culinary exploration and not some nascent middle-aged senility… not quite William. I hope.

I wonder if I’ve already written a post about this?

We watched Funeral Parade of Roses, Toshio Matsumoto’s wild inversion of the Oedipus myth, set in the gay subculture of late-60s Tokyo. The fractured narrative and visceral imagery and occasional shots of the filmmaking process and interviews with the actors were simply electrifying. Nothing else is like it, well, I should say that nothing else that’s like it is terribly watchable, and certainly nothing as engaging from or about the gay community lately. Except maybe the lesbotic but more mainstream Blue is the Warmest Color, which so profoundly and intimately captured erotic awakening, and Concussion, examining the other end of the erotic timeline. The thing I love most about those two recent films is that homosexuality is incidental–no coming out stories, no suicides or conflicts over their sexuality, no tidied-up sexless made-for-primetime-viewing homobots, just real people struggling with real issues who happen to be gay. The queens in Funeral Parade of Roses put on the masks of another gender in order to simulate acceptability, and despite the artifice and posturing, seemed so sadly real, like killing one’s mother and sleeping with one’s father were not only plausible, but inevitable.

Earlier in the day a new buddy from the east came over for tea, let’s call him Bill Cosby. I had met him only earlier that morning online, and because we hit it off so swimmingly and he was leaving town the next day and I had but a teeny window of availability, I abandoned my cardinal rule of meeting in a public place where I could easily escape from, and asked Mr. Cosby up to the CocoPlex for a spot o’ tea and conversation. What a story he told me! He’s married, and to a woman(!), and has all these kids, and only came out of the closet a few months ago and is staying with his wife as they transition to whatever is to come. I admired his honesty and openness, and could sense the relief and enthusiasm he must be feeling to finally express a side of himself that’s been dormant for so long. He even blurted out that he’s a Republican. We were sitting on my back deck at the time and I quickly glanced around to make sure there were no neighbors passing by who may have heard his pronouncement, briefly fearful that my leftist credentials would be tarnished by association. I didn’t directly tell him that I’m a Prius-driving ultra-liberal socialist, but I did chastise him for supporting a fascist regime whose backward fantasy-based environmental, social and fiscal policies are going to take decades to unravel if the public ever wakes from its brainwashed tea party stupor.

Anyway, he’s sort of exactly the kind of middle-aged guy that I always went after during my halcyon twinkie days (balding, furry face, dark eyebrows, hairy forearms, yadda yadda, you all know my type) and now he’s, like, my age! I felt an instant affinity, having experienced the same thing with Bob, realizing I was drawn towards something else but not wanting to end such a beautiful relationship and eventually deciding it just wasn’t fair to anybody. He’s at the beginning of this process, and like a bad therapist, I told him what was going to happen by telling him what happened to me. A delightful man, starting a new life in middle age. Lou Grant said, “You’ve got spunk,” and so does this guy, a lot of spunk. Lou also said “I hate spunk,” but I love it, and am eager to follow this developing story.

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Naked Guys, Rosselini, White Teeth and Greek

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 | Film, Gay | 2 Comments

The Board of Supervisors here has passed legislation making it now illegal to be naked in San Francisco. Except behind closed doors, or during the seasonal bacchanalias and street fairs. The mayor has a week or so, I think, to sign or veto it, so you can still be naked for a few more days without getting in trouble. For some time now, all the guys in my neighborhood with shaved pubes, after discovering that nudity by itself was not illegal, decided to hang out in the Castro Commons in their tenny-runners and nothing else. Seeing them walking down the street naked as jaybirds with backpacks was one of the great joys of living in this neighborhood. I’m really saddened that it’s come to this, enforced tan lines. When I moved here in the early 80’s, I remember a kind of “anything goes” attitude, our diversity and uniqueness celebrated. Now it seems all about melding into a mainstream. Where have all the sissies gone?? Thank you Sylvester that there is at least a RuPaul on TV. I’ll miss the naked guys and their golden leathery shaved skin and little button peepees. And that one very talented naked plein-air painter.

I’m trying to get caught up on my film viewing. I tend to see very little in the theaters now, only those films with really loud explosions and Bruce Willis. On Fridays I read all the film reviews and then add the interesting ones to my Netflix queue. By the time the film is released on home video, I’m usually about 3-9 months behind the rest of my film-enthusiast friends, but I get to watch movies in my underwear with a glass of wine and on a 10 foot screen. My dream as a kid was to have such a screening room in my house, and the accessibility of home theater projection systems and blu-ray has made the experience possible, affordable, and negligibly different from the experience of seeing something at, say, the Opera Plaza. Here’s what I’ve seen over the last week:

Jesus Henry Christ, The Sisters, Love Crime, Norwegian Wood, Guest of Cindy Sherman, Frankenweenie (at the cineplex), Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Belle de Jour, Belle Toujours, Looper (Bruce Willis, so at the cineplex), Roma Città Aperta.

I’m still a little dazed from Rosselini’s neo-realist melodrama Roma, Città Aperta last night. First a pregnant Anna Magnani is shot dead while rushing to reach her fiancé as he’s being taken away by the Gestapo, and on the day that they are to be wed! And then, after our other hero is tortured to his death with torches and clamps and whips, the cute parish priest is tied to a chair and shot dead! Seeing Anna Magnani shot in the back was unsettling enough, but the chubby little priest… che roba brutale!

I had my teeth whitened. It lasted for a day, and then my diet of Trader Joe’s mini chocolate peanut butter cups and iced tea instantly re-yellowed them. The dentist was the only one in the office when I arrived mid-afternoon. And I was her only patient. Perhaps for the whole day? She told me cautiously that she was born “overseas,” and we hit it off instantly when I mumbled some Arabic that Nemr taught me. I was there for 3 hours. She talked the entire time, like she hadn’t talked to another person in weeks. She’d ask me a question and I’d gurgle a response. I had the feeling that she doesn’t have many patients. It really felt like the backdrop of a film, I mean the absence of employees, fellow dentists, hygienists, and patients, like if my Arab Dentist/Terrorista put me to sleep I’d wake up in a male brothel in Morocco. With white teeth, of course.

I’m starting to learn Greek. It’s all about rote memorization, as most words have nothing to do with anything I’ve heard before and seem completely disconnected from their meaning. At least now I can read stuff. At a five year-old level. I spent the better part of yesterday trying to pronounce the word for “the hotel.” It’s “το ξενοδοχείο,” pronounced like “to-xen-o-doh-cHEE-o.” It seems like way too many sounds for such a simple concept. The book that I’m using is really great, because they don’t have conjugation tables or declensions of articles, just dialogues, so you learn the language by absorption and repetition. I yearn for those days when I didn’t have to study, when my brain absorbed whatever it read. I remember once in 4th grade a student talking about studying for a test, and I was paralyzed that I didn’t know what that was or how to do it. I just seemed to grasp and remember everything. Already I’ve forgotten what that word was for hotel.

Bouncing Bronze Beach Bears

Monday, March 12th, 2012 | Gay, Travel | No Comments

Today I had the beach to myself. Until the bronze furry-bellied chubs came along. Unlike yesterday’s crowd of youthful mostly slender gays and lesbians, today’s was consistently of a more mature, girthful constitution. The first one to come along made a beeline to my spot on the beach and asked for help understanding the parking meters. I willingly assisted the portly beach enthusiast-in-distress, who ultimately settled down a few feet away, and asked for yet another favor, to slather his fuzzy back with sunscreen. Is this starting to sound like a porn movie? To dispel those sorts of expectations, I’ll tell you now that there are no Happy Endings here, this was more like a 70s soft core beach flick starring someone like Raquel Welch and Oliver Reed. I was very happy to oblige with the sunscreen, and we struck up a conversation and fell into a remarkably easy and intimate exchange as we continued applying sunscreen to subsequent limbs and expanses. He told me he was in a monogamous relationship of 22 years, visiting from New York, and that he had popped down to the beach for a quick dip in the Gulf before joining his partner for lunch. I told him of my current dating life, of my former partners, we chatted about love and fidelity, of our mutual embrace of long-term entanglements. Our enthusiastic touching and conversing about fidelity stimulated a response requiring a great deal of diversionary posturing, so in lieu of public beach infidelity, I suggested that he channel the titillation towards a wonderful evening with his partner. I recommended that he tell him that he met this hot stud on the beach who, while applying sunscreen to his back, brushed delicately but suggestively against his body, making tiny little grunting sounds, “Yeah, uh-uh,” stuff like that, but that he calmly told his molester that he was a married man and was true to his one and only. I fed him more lines of dialogue, added more muscles and super-sized appendages, and asked that he think of me when welcoming his partner’s proud and excited response, that he imagine me on the headboard, performing some dance with many veils and attendant putti.

There were about four couples who settled in around us, a convergence of coupledom each consisting of a more full-bodied furry fellow and a slightly younger slimmer paler companion. Who staged this for me?

And then this motorized Spanish galleon putted past…

A Gaggle of Gays, a Litter of Lesbians, and My Sister & Brother-in-Law

Sunday, March 11th, 2012 | Gay, Travel | 1 Comment

So today I snuck away to the beach with my sister and brother-in-law. To a beach full of bronzed thin guys in tight trunks—the gay beach. I sat next to a litter of baby lesbians, with tattoos, dyed cropped hair, either really big bazoombas or completely flat chests, baseball caps and piercings. They splashed around in the water, threw frisbees, drank beer and played that ball game with the velcro mitt.

The gaggle of gays on my left wore nothing but constrictive swimwear, and an occasional tattoo. Each bathing suit looked sewn onto each chiseled perfectly tanned body, with horizontal stripes that bulged elliptically and calculatedly. One guy’s bikini was vulgarly efficient in enhancing basketry that needed anything but enhancing. And fuscia to boot. Every time he promenaded by, that glowing protuberance commanded my attention like a fiery slow-motion fuscia comet about to crash into me. There was one guy whom I could not believe was real, with bubbly comic book super hero muscles and dark chocolate skin that didn’t reflect any sunlight, a bonbon swaddled in a flimsy yellow wrapper.

Okay, so there were the lesbians frolicking and laughing and having a blast in the water, but the gays limited their activity to slowly sauntering along the water’s edge—each one turning his head 90 degrees for one half second and checking me out as he passed. Or they would slowly sashay into the water, to just above the ankle, and stand there. Stand there, in the water. Like ikebana.

The prettiest flower on the beach, my sister Carol

The Dating Game: A Date with Judy & Señor Grant

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 | Gay, The Dating Game | 2 Comments


Let’s call him Mr. Right. Well, to distinguish him from all of my other Mr. Rights, for now, let’s call him Señor Grant. If the casting director of the Mary Tyler Moore Show had called for a softer, Hispanic version of Mr. Grant, this is the guy who would have gotten the job. He came up from LA Saturday night, and was back home only 24 hours later. We had been chatting online over the past few weeks, and he impulsively bought a plane ticket to come up for a quick visit. I was a little nervous, as I’ve never done this kind of thing before, that is, welcome a relative stranger into my home. Well, except for the one from Palestinia, who moved in. So yes, Señor Grant was the first person whom I had never actually met—and not already invited to live with me—before inviting to stay the night.

When I picked him up at the airport, he was wearing a black sweater and a black checkered button-down shirt, a black driving cap, dark jeans, and matching black eyebrows. Not just cute, but handsome, dapper. As soon as we got to my house, our lips were just sort of pulled towards each other, like big pink magnets. After an hour or so I pried him off of me and off we went to dinner at a basque restaurant, Piperade, which sadly was little more than a nice-tasting blur as I was so impatient to get back into a comfortable horizontal configuration.

Finally thus configured, we successfully prevented each other from getting any kind of sleep. When morning finally came, we watched A Date With Judy in bed on his iPad. Jane Powell, Liz Taylor, and Señor Grant’s furry white chest, an absolute perfect date.

He and I seem to be after the same things: companionship, substantial physical intimacy, engagement… He’s smart, well-traveled, a dapper dresser, with a job that provides access to the most glamorous of Hollywood, he articulates ideas that are complex and original, with squat hairy legs, those black eyebrows that drive me crazy, lips so soft that I keep puckering like a hungry fish…

“Be” and “let” are my magic new age hippy relaxation words for the day. And if anything, I’ll remember a really great day with a really great guy.

Meat Rack and Manpower

Friday, February 17th, 2012 | Film, Gay, The Dating Game | No Comments


Tonight the Major and I saw a vintage soft-core porn film at YBCA, The Meat Rack, a sort of cinéma-vérité style homage to, believe it or not, Who Killed Teddy Bear, but minus an Elaine Stritch or Sal Mineo. I don’t even think the actors were listed in the credits. Aside from some great location shooting in San Francisco, it was exactly the kind of movie that I expected someone to make in 1968, and disappointing for precisely that. All of the gay characters are retched people: a chubby cross-dresser moaning about having to pay for sex; renegade drag queens shooting porn at knifepoint…

The depictions of that underbelly of society have always annoyed me, primarily because there’s no balance, so few positive portraits. And this was by the underbelly! I’m reading a book now, Full Service, by Scotty Bowers, about his experiences as a hustler in post-WWII Los Angeles. He has sex with, arranges for his friends to have sex with, or claims to have had sex with all the usual cast of Hollywood characters (and Walter Pidgeon, which was a surprise for me). I got read the Riot Act this morning from a friend who said he was sick of these kinds of tell-all books and invasions into private life, but I disagree. I love hearing about gay people enjoying their sex lives during a time that we associate with so much repression, finding ways to express themselves within the restrictive structure of the studio system and the public condemnation of homosexuality. I think it exposes the hypocrisy of the time and normalizes gay experience.

I watched Manpower last night, starring George Raft, Edward G. Robinson, Marlene Dietrich, Eve Arden, and Alan Hale, directed by Raoul Walsh. Yes, I bet you’re thinking the same thing I thought, What a cast!, but man, what a stinker. It was interesting to see a drama centered around the men of the electric company, (“Power and Light”) which I’d never seen before—maybe this is the only one of this particular genre—but Marlene Dietrich just can’t act and Walsh unfortunately is no Von Sternberg, he gave her actual things to say, and without fuzzy closeups and smoke billowing out of her half-opened mouth. All the guys were drunks, all the dames stoic and motherly. I guess that heterosexuals, too, occasionally suffered the indignity of unsavory representation.

The Dating Game: New Revelations

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 | Gay, The Dating Game | No Comments

There was a new contestant on my Dating Game last week. Pablo. He’s like a slightly oversized munchkin, you want to just hug him. I want to emphasize that You would want to just hug him, I would want to roll him down the Yellow Brick Road and into a field of poppies and smother him with kisses. We had a great day together, first tea at Samovar, then walking out near the old Sutro Baths, then munching down the overpriced munchables at Louis’. He kissed me when he dropped me off, and I felt a really nice connection forming. Very easy-going, uncomplicated…

The next night he came over for dinner and a movie and after-the-first-date possibilities, and noticed a picture of my Foreign Correspondent. “Hey, do you know Blah Blah?” I answered yes, and immediately felt it coming, the moment I’d warned my Foreign Correspondent about during my several edicts of General Amnesty issued after the discovery of each successive indiscretion, the ones he wouldn’t tell me about and whom I warned him would eventually pop up. I felt no validation in having my long-held suspicions confirmed—yet again—just a profound sense of disappointment. I had tried so hard to create an atmosphere where honesty could flower, so sensitive to his issues and needs… but my own needs just kind of discarded. I couldn’t hide my disappointment. Plus Pablo and I had just watched the world end. In The Rapture, Mimi Rogers’ faith—and, let’s admit it, slight impatience to get to heaven—lead her to kill her child (who keeps begging, annoyingly, to go to heaven anyway, Pleeeeease mommy!). By the time He does come around—and it’s just like in the Bible, with the Four Horsemen and trumpets and stuff—after she’s killed her child and lost her husband (David Duchovny, in a senseless office killing), she’s so shaken by what she’s been put through, that she says No to God. She just couldn’t be with someone who could do that to her. The film ends with her alone, in darkness… forever.

I would have tried to work it out with God, told him how his behavior made me feel, see if he could change. We’d be friends for a while, but every once in a while I’d succumb to that deep voice and let him have his way with me, then we’d fall back into old patterns, Listen, God, I really just want to be friends, then he’d beg me over and over and over to stay and not leave him, that he could change, just give him once more chance…

So Pablo left, and then sent me a message saying he looked forward to being my platonic friend. This kind of annoyed me, that he couldn’t relate to what I was feeling, seeing red flags instead of potential. But what can you do? He feels what he feels. I suppose this told me more about him than I could have learned talking to him: that intimacy, real intimacy, that is, sharing what’s really going on, isn’t something that he can relate to or seems to be particularly interested in.

Giancarlo restored my faith in men in general, briefly, the following weekend, with a fabulous lunch at Camino, then a tour of the Julia Morgan-designed Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. The columbarium is bathed in a rich golden Pre-Raphaelite light, the architecture a delightful early-modernist take on gothic themes, arrayed in a multi-level labyrinth, each room landscaped with flowers and babbling fountains. Giancarlo is a sweet man, really a treat to be around, but I can’t tell yet if there’s any heat there. He has adopted a visual style reminiscent of another time, a style that unfortunately for me conjures an image of the emasculated middle-aged man of early 60s TV sitcoms—more Ward Cleaver than Don Draper.

The Major is still around. I’ve made it clear that I’d like to just be friends, but every time we’re together I have so much fun and just want to have sex with him. In the movie of my life, we’d probably end up together. But we’d only have to spend 120 minutes together. Not being able to share Antonioni or Fassbinder with him makes it hard to imagine any real life-partner compatibility. I mean, he walked out on The Romantic Englishwoman—that kind of guy. I am very glad to have him in my life, though, as the corner that he occupies is a very sunny happy place to visit.

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