I grew up in a small town outside of a medium sized city in North Carolina. It was an average place I guess and I lived what I’d call a typical southern childhood. As an only child, I received a ton of attention and remember loving to receive the praise of my parents.
Gay was not a word I remember being used much when I was little – in a good or bad way. It just wasn’t used. I was well taken care of, never abused and well liked by everyone. I often became the teachers pet because of my intense desire to please. [update: after looking back I do remember being taunted some in 5th, 6th, 7th grade. There was a group of guys that called me gay and fag. I had completely blocked this out and overcompensated in some ways I think.]
There are a few things that might have been clues as a kid. I remember absolutely being in love with all things Linda Carter and Wonder Woman. I said for many years that it was because of her tight outfit and slow-motion running. But it wasn’t. My obsession spilt over into the way I ran on a soccer field- with fingers spread wide open. I think I thought it might give me special speed or something. I also remember (and I’m getting VERY vulnerable here) finding s towel and putting it on my head and pretending to BE Wonder Woman. I even did this with one of my good friends. He would be Ultra Man and I would be Wonder Woman.
I’ll tell you I am a fairly masculine gay, and I’m attracted to more masculine than not. I have not had the desire to dress up in drag yet, but who knows. I’m just learning. I do remember my parents getting on me about the way I ran on the soccer field. I was a great soccer player, so I took this to heart. I recall that being one of the first times I felt ashamed.
As I wrote that, I did have one other memory come to mind. I had a cousin growing up that I was very close to. I was at his house one night and I started coming down the stairs singing “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” in the style of Chaka Kahn. As I recall, it was on a Maybelline commercial. Roger gave me all kinds of grief about it, but my memory is that it was all in fun and didn’t stop me. Maybe I was destined to be a queen after all. Who knows? I really don’t care to do that now, but it is interesting the memories that come back.
One other that I’ll put in this post is what I’ll call “the shower”. I was EXTREMELY modiste growing up. I was an athlete and remember hating playing shirts and skins. My parents noticed this early on and I think wanted to remedy it so it wasn’t a problem later. So, my folks decided it was time for me to take a shower with my dad. There was NOTHING sexual about it. However, it was a mortifying experience. If I recall I was about waist high and spent the entire time making sure I was directly behind my dad. It didn’t help that he was uncut and I was cut. I didn’t figure all that out until I was out of High School.
I had really weird emotions when it came to girls. I know I wanted to fit in, so I figured I had to like them. Very early on, my best friends were girls and I was extremely awkward around guys. I didn’t have a girlfriend until high school, but did have my first kiss in seventh grade.
Don’t Let your kids go to all night skates – there is so much that happens at those things! I met a girl names Tara who really liked me. I can remember talking to Amy and finding out she wanted me to “couples skate” with her. I was excited about this, so I jumped at the chance and asked her. I remember being so proud skating around the rink holding hands. It was like I was proving my worth as a hormonal pre-pubescent boy.
The night progressed and we ended up in a corner. Beware the corners!!! Before I knew what was happening, Tara had me on my back, shoulders pinned and giving me sloppy wet kisses. These sloppy wet kisses would soon include some seriously deep tongue. Tonsil hockey was a term that aptly describes her technique. Needless to say, I was horrified. I broke up with her that night and never kissed using my tongue like that with a girl again. There will be more to this, but that continued on in marriage to the chagrin of my wife who loved “French kissing”.
Ok, I’m tired of writing for a while. I’ll hit a few other memories and move into High School in part three.