Saturday, June 12, 2021

Love, Victor

 


I have been watching this show on Hulu called "Love, Victor".  It's about the coming out process for a guy in high school.  For the first season Victor kept this secret to himself.  He struggled with his feelings and explored how others went through the process.  In the second season Victor has come out and has a bf.  Episode two is kind of a climactic event where he stands on a chair in the school hallway to come out to everyone and announce that he is with Benji.

His parents, especially his mom, are not comfortable with his sexuality.  When he brought Benji home for dinner she squirmed in discomfort and could barely look at them.

It's good there's a show like this to tell the story of a young gay man just coming to grips with his sexuality.  The reactions of his friends and family are an important part of the story.

The process is difficult for Victor, but it's certainly not horrible.  He is a good looking, Latino guy.   He's popular and athletic.  That makes a difference in how things play out.   A big difference.  My point is, while this show is the reality for some people, it's not reality for others.  For other, less popular people, the coming out process could go quite differently.

Another end of the spectrum might be the Tyler Clementi case.  He was the college freshman in NJ who was outed by his roommates, and subsequently jumped off the George Washington Bridge.  The reality is that he was a nerdy, violin player....certainly not captain of the football team or voted most popular senior.

I also need to point out that things are very different now than twenty or thirty years ago.  I remember the look of horror on my parents' faces when the topic of a gay person was brought up.  The acceptance is better than it was.  Better, but far from perfect.  If it was completely accepted then we wouldn't have over half the homeless street kids being LGBT refugees.

Why am I writing about this?  The contrast to my own life?  How I wish things could have been?  How different things are now?

Friday, May 21, 2021

And that means?

I had to google simp.  No idea what it meant.  But then I am kind of out of touch sometimes.

Who am I doing too much for?   Peter?  Peter is a hard working guy and a nice guy. 

This random connection to Peter really opened my eyes to life in the under $30,000 income bracket.  It's not easy.  For me, I come away with a newly refreshed cognizance of how fortunate I am.  Wow, I better not complain about anything.   I have it pretty good.

If I only associated with my circle of friends and co-workers, then I'd only be around well educated people with money.  Not serious money, but comfortable money.

I went many months last year just working.  I talked to friends on the phone, but I had no direct connection to anyone.  I'm trying to add a few local friends to my life.  How to do that is a challenge.

Things are opening up.  We are getting back to normal.  I'll soon be comfortable traveling again.  That will help.  I'm planning an Asia trip.  I think in January.  I have a friend in Malaysia and he wants to go on vacation with me.  These quasi-adventure vacations are great for putting my mind in a totally different place.

There are good things.....I just need a little more of them.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Nomadland

I just finished this movie.  Depressing?  For me yes.  However, it's a story that needs to be told because there are many people like this.

Over the years I've done a lot of thinking about happiness.  How can I be happier?  Then I watch a movie like this and wonder how could I ever not be happy?  My life is so comfortable.  I would have to really screw things up for my life to ever be not comfortable.

I come away from a movie like this and certainly feel grateful. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Therapist

 

A few months ago I was in a coffee shop.  There was a brown guy, maybe Indian, sitting against the wall.  He had on jeans with cuts in them.  I noticed his dark, hairy legs.  Hot.  Peter's legs are just like that.

I've been playing therapist lately.  Many friends have told me I am a very good listener.  I'm also good at calmly looking at situations from various perspectives.

Peter told me that sometimes he hates himself.  If his family finds out he's gay he will be forced out.  He might want to kill himself.  This is what we've been discussing.

Before you tell me that he should get professional counseling, let me tell you that he doesn't have the money for that, and he wouldn't do it anyway.  So it's good that he can talk to me.

In our talks we are trying to figure out the finances of his food business.  He needs to understand how to make a decent living at this.  He needs to make some free time for himself, and not be working 6-7 days a week.  The reality is that lots of people work 6-7 days a week to survive.  But it's not healthy.  He wants to get his own place.  Right now he's living with family for just a few hundred a month.  We've talked through this, and why it's not a good idea to leave this situation.  Not until he's financially stable.

Most importantly, we've talked about helping yourself.  Rarely are things hopeless.  You need to take action yourself to make your own situation better.

I wouldn't do this if I didn't think he was a genuinely nice guy.  He needs a break, and someone to confide in.  I need the human contact.

In my spare time I've been binge watching Ozark.  Not as good as Breaking Bad or Queen of the South, but it's good.  I got my first vaccine shot.  I don't expect to be back to anything like normal until year end.

Stay safe.   It's not over yet.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Peter


Peter was here yesterday.  He sat in the sun as we grilled burgers on my terrace.  He really is a good looking guy.  I wouldn't describe him as muscular, but he's solid.  I look at his arms....they look so powerful.

He has really opened up to me in the last month.  I am learning a lot about the challenges in his life.  Since arriving here about eight years ago with nothing, he has been working in a number of low paying jobs, just keeping his head above water.  Now he has a franchise for a small food concession.  The problem is that it's not making enough money.  He works 66 hours per week on this business.  Given that he is the entrepreneur and risk taker, I think he should be making minimum $20 per hour.  He is not.  I told him that if he brings over his records I will help him figure out how much he is making.  Step two is how to get the business to a satisfactory level of profitability.  He doesn't have a great location either.  He knows other people who have this franchise who do ok.   I'm just trying to help.

He told me that sometimes he feels so depressed about his situation that he just wants to end it all.  I'm trying to get him focused on solutions.  I'm trying to show him another perspective, and get him redirected to fixing things.  He's not an educated business person.  He just doesn't know what to do.

Compounding the complexity, he feels so much pressure to send money back to Myanmar.  $500 USD is a lot of money in Myanmar.  It's critical to his family.  The recent military coup was jarring to the country.  It hasn't affected his family yet, but eventually it will.

I've let Peter into my bubble.  Maybe that's foolish, but this small amount of human contact has been good for me.  I continue to play it safe, staying mostly at home.  Besides work, walks, bike rides and a bit of shopping are the extent of my excursions.

"Thanks so much for everything Rob," and he hugged me tight when he left.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Bending the Rules


It's now been seven months since I've been on Grindr.  I thought I'd get in better shape, get some new pictures, and reemerge when this is over.  I have been occasionally chatting with a few people on two smaller sites where I am unlikely to actually meet anyone.

Sometimes unexpected things happen.  I did start chatting with a guy on Blued.  This is an Asian site one of my Chinese friends told me about.  There are never more than three or four guys within 50 km of me.  These few guys are rarely online.

I did decide to meet one guy.  His name is Peter.  He is from Myanmar.  I've never met anyone from that country.  He has really opened up to me and he has an interesting story.  He is from a northern state where the people are Christian in this mostly Buddhist country.  This is thanks to American missionaries who descended on this area more than 100 years ago.  He told me about his childhood in a remote village.  Sometimes he went hungry.  The scariest thing these people faced was the military.  The people lived in terror of the military.  They could take from you whatever they wanted.  They could even take men from the village and force them into days or weeks of slave labor as porters.  People who didn't comply were beaten.

So at 19 years old his parents arranged for him to go to Malaysia where he had family and would be safe.  Eventually the UN Commission for Refugees took his case and helped him emigrate to the US.

Now after nearly ten years in the US he is Americanized and runs a small business.  His business is struggling in the pandemic.  He sends money back to his family in Myanmar every month and they really depend on this.   The pressure is high.

If I ran into him in the street I would think he is Indian.  But I look at his face and can tell that he probably isn't.

He showed me pictures of his family and his village.  Very good looking family.  His sister just got married, and she is a knockout.  Her wedding pictures were great -- they looked like they were taken in NYC.

Then there is the complexity of being gay.  Just not accepted in his culture.  At 33 years old, he is facing increasing questions about why he is not married.  He shared with me that he sometimes feels depressed, and is uncertain about his future.

Wow.  I feel like I have so much to be thankful for after hearing that story.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Connections


Good people are hard to find.  When you do find them, hang on.

This is something I live by.  When I meet a good person, I want to keep them in my life.  By this I mean someone who is a true and trusted friend.  Even if we don't live close by, I want to stay in touch because we will probably reconnect one day.

I have a few ex-bf's who I am still close with.  We talk regularly and occasionally meet.  Is this strange?  I think a lot of gay guys maintain contact with previous relationships.  I really value these now friendships.

Recently my bf of two years moved back to China.  His mother is very sick and he needed to be there for his family.  From the beginning of his trip my sense was that it was over for us.  I didn't think he'd come back.  He told me he was thinking about staying in China.  

The calls became less frequent.  He forgot my birthday.  That was a major red flag.  He would have freaked out if I had forgotten his birthday.  I had sent him a really nice (and expensive) hoodie, and I know he was wearing it around in China.  He was super sensitive about me maintaining contact with former relationships, and this is something we argued about.  But I'm not going to give up these close friends.  They live thousands of miles away.  He did tell me that if we broke up he would not remain in contact, and we discussed why would he take that position.  It doesn't make sense to me.  His basic argument was that you can never move on to a new relationship if you maintain contact with the old ones.

So now he's basically ghosted me.  He may reemerge, but I'm disappointed in him.

This has happened with a few other guys too over the years.  Usually guys I've has casual flings with, but we did have a connection.  I'm a good person.  A loyal and trusted friend.  Why wouldn't they want to stay in touch with me?  But it's their choice.  I guess they don't value good friends like I do.

All I can do is make effort from my side.  Try to keep people I think are good in my life.

Thinking about this from a happiness context.  Some of the relationships I've had have made me very happy.  I think back with really good memories about those time together.