Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Real Life- A Personal Matter

Although the main 'theme' of my blog has been commenting on classic films, an incident occured I feel compelled to write about. I was at the local university library last night, and a young man I’d seen there on Sunday started to peruse books in my general area. I looked over at him, then after a while, he looked at me directly and asked, “Have you looked at enough books,” attempting to make a connection. Not fully thinking of the context of his statement, and hoping to start a conversation, I very warmly answered, “Yes, I really like this section.” He immediately looked down and said, “Oh, you do like this section?” When I answered in the affirmative, he quickly and nervously said, “I’m sorry,” and departed fast, before I had to time stop him. Although I’m fairly inexperienced trying to talk to other guys without first having made their general acquaintance, I clearly recognized the fear that drove this young man away when he felt, via the general nature of my response, I might not be fully reciprocating his attraction- it’s the same fear I and any gay man has to deal with in life- putting yourself out there, then facing the fear of rejection, or worse (a personal example: I only recently told a former co-worker I’ve been very fond of for eight or nine months how I felt about him- the closet was poison all those months and, especially after I left the job, fear of losing any contact with him kept me from breaking through the silence. I’m glad I finally opened up- better late than never- but, ironically, as he's moved out of the area, I may have lost the chance of any type of relationship with him because I didn’t open up sooner and try to establish a stronger bond).

I hope I see the young man from the library again; if nothing else, I want to tell him I admire his courage in opening up to me, and let him know he should never apologize for reaching out to another man. He didn't know it, but he tossed a lifeline to me at a time I’ve been very alone, and I hope to gain the opportunity to throw it back to him, as he may have been alone somewhere last night, thinking he'd "messed up" in reaching out to me.

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