I can’t remember if I ever told this story here on the MS forums before – I am guessing I did not – since I am not exactly proud of it. But if I did – it was so long ago that many wouldn't have seen it anyway. I am writing it now as a word doc and may not post it but need to get it out and work on it some more.
It was Jude’s post, “Did I prostitute myself?” that brought it to the fore. While I do not think he did, just reading that question triggered a flashback of this event and the feelings of confusion and fear and inner conflict. And I feel like I tried to do just that. If it didn’t go as planned – does it still count? Am I guilty of the intention – if not the execution? still confused about it.
I must have been about 22 or 23. I had been married for a year or so. We had been quite happy in most areas of life – no fights, enjoying being together – but not the satisfying sex life that I had hoped for.
I had always felt insecure in my identity – had been treated as if I were not masculine enough and called queer and all kinds of other insults – by step-dad, peers and older guys. I was not aware at this time of all the abuse that had taken place in my childhood by multiple perps. As a college student and young adult, I had been hit on by guys repeatedly. I always felt fear, revulsion, but also fascination and curiosity about what might happen if I let it. Most of all I wondered what it was that made me a magnet for this kind of attention. I didn’t feel like I was very good-looking. That made me think that there must be “something” about me that was an invisible signal to others – who must know something that I didn’t. I knew that I felt some kind of attraction to other guys – but wasn’t sure if it was a need for friendship and acceptance, an aesthetic appreciation of a good-looking face and/or body related to my artistic nature, or an actual sexual drive stemming from an orientation that I had not yet identified.
One time my wife was away and I decided to find out for sure, once and for all. I decided to put myself out there – present myself as a male hooker - and see what might happen. (This sounds weird – but despite having been abused multiple times from 5 to 15 – which I did not remember at that time - I was very naďve about sex.) I had no idea what might happen – but thought I was ready for it.
I looked younger than I was – always got asked for ID – even for years after that. I was boyish looking with a slender build - 5’7” and 120 lbs with a 30-in waist. I dressed to look the part – my tightest jeans, faded in just the right places, a cool pair of athletic shoes, a black fishnet T-shirt that accentuated what muscle definition I had, and a leather jacket. I wore my hair longer then, and rather than having it well-styled as I usually did, I tousled it to look more edgy.
Then I went to the part of town where the gay bars and theatres were. I was scared but excited. I took a position where I knew I would be noticed – and waited... and waited... and waited. And nothing happened. I might as well have been invisible. After more than half an hour, I went into a theatre, loitered around for a while, bought a ticket, and got a seat. No one approached me. The movie was “educational” to say the least. After the movie was finished, I hung out around the entrance for a while – still no bites. Next I went to an adult book shop, browsed and lingered in the gay section for what seemed like forever, and ended up with nothing but a magazine to take home.
I had very mixed feelings about the whole event. In one way, I was disappointed. I felt like I must not have been attractive enough for anyone to want me. But I was also very relieved – there was the fear of the unknown – and nothing bad had happened - and I now know it could have turned out very badly. It wasn’t a total resolution in the sense that it settled all my self-doubts – but it did put my biggest insecurity to rest – that I had some kind of mark that made me instantly identifiable as gay. After all – no one had taken the bait – so I must not be giving out the vibe.
I was able to move on with married life and try to make it work better – with a bit more success – though I still had a long way to go. But later the dysfunction got even worse – and the SSA returned with a vengeance – just before the whole flood of memories started inundating me.
I told my T this story – and he said that it was as if my guardian angels were protecting me. (of course – that raises the question of why they didn’t intervene in any of the other earlier events?!) At the time, I did take it as a sign from God that this was not the direction for me to go. I think I was approaching it as sort of a litmus test – and I got what I thought was a pretty clear answer. So at least that area of indecision was no longer an issue for me at the time.
It was another 12 years or so before the memories started to emerge. At last I knew where the confusion and insecurities and mixed feelings had come from – why I had felt the urge to be used sexually and to try to act like a whore. And it is only now that I realize I was trying to re-abuse myself as a way of reenacting some of the early abuse scenarios – and either explore what had happened as a way of repeating history to figure it out – or to re-gain control of the situation and try to change the outcome. At least now I know why I felt compelled to go there.
guess i am telling it all now because they say confession is good for the soul. still not sure how to think about my innocence or guilt...
"That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. . . What will your verse be?" Robin Williams as John Keating in "Dead Poets Society"