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emerging sexual identity had to do with the puberty values

of developing beards and bodies, and because I was behind

in this, I began to envy/glorify/desire those masculine

symbols in others.

So I developed then, the "survival" technique of

self-repression that I'm still trying to unlearn. Lunch

conversations and gym changes and hitch-hiking jaunts had

to be handled so that the delicate balance between friend

and threat wouldn't topple me into a loneliness even more

terrible by its public exposure. Just so I could be around

the guys I liked, I attempted to talk in the right way -

using the all-purpose ''Fuck" in each sentence, picking up

on the straight jive, and the always third-person basis for

raps with friends. I wasn't good at it - it was of course a

lie, and the sharper kids could tell. That's

ho~

I first

hea~d

of a blow-job - connecting it somehow to me years before

I could figure what it meant - too afraid to ask. Desk-top

graffiti behind-the-back slanders - that was my teenage

homosexual education. And after-school stops in the porn

shops, first by surprised discovery of their very existence,

then by an every-couple-months magnetism that dragged

me in, guilty and slinking past the "Over 21" sign, facing

my

bookbag's school insignia towards the wall for

anonymity.

H

ard to take those "Eat me" taunts, the oiled-body

magazine models, or the image of the stereotype

swishy faggot and identify with any - I con–

cluded, and thought of myself for years, as unique

in

my

situation. Sometimes a friend and I would talk about

heterosexuality and I'd push my honesty far enough to be

able to say that the whole imbalance of boy-girl dating

really turned me off, and that the only kind of relationship

I'd ever want to get into would be one with the potential of

equality. But then I'd need some feedback, some reinforce–

ment, to be able to really open up, and it never came -

overtly. The vibes were often there: days in the country

together, shows in New York, overnight stays, shared

California dreamin' - the beginnings of the hippie myth got

my hopes up. Those vibes and those hopes convinced me I

was in love with my friend, and filled my fantasies with

him. But there was too much for us to break through, and

no sexual liberation mood in the air, no catalyst to really

make anything happen between us. I cried when we

graduated, seeing college life-geographical separation–

robbing the energy we needed to get together.

30

It did. Long letters were exchanged, and hundreds of

miles hitch-hiked to visit, but what didn't happen in

day-to-day contact couldn't be so easily patched up. And

the full pressure to be a man had hit my friend- Yale and

future being much more easily handled with a chick by his

side. Frustrated, I understood it then, but couldn't accept it

- couldn't because it left such a gap that was so hard to fill

with new people I'd just met after a severance of four years

ot familiar, if not understanding, faces. I had those same

high school hang-ups, the same alone-in-the-world feeling,

but now reset in a new context. I bounced through three

colleges, emotionally drowning, caring little what happened

in classroom simulations of life. Experimental education

raps were the main thing in my head but had to be

repressed the same way it had been in lunch conversations a

few years earlier. Self-awareness as a lonely homosexual was

becoming more distinct and primary, and the focus of my

energy was becoming more directed to finding some

solution.

The summer of the Stonewall riots I was on campus in

Philadelphia, devising in

my

notebooks monograms for a

guy in class I dug. In many ways he, and the closeted

relationship I had to him, resembled that high school crush.

I would walk near him between classes, my mind blanking

out for conversation starters, then tensing up whenever he

did talk.

The intensity of this self-repression had to explode, and

soon my main college activity was sitting on the lawn

reviewing

my

frustrations. I wrote a couple of naked-truth

letters to my high school friend, freaking him out maybe,

but an essential coming-out to the one person I thought I

loved. A positive response would have helped me then, but

the honesty alone had a great liberating feeling to it, that

motive