February 14, 2006

Fighting for the Rebound

For my English 630 class (Race and Sexuality in 20th Century American Literature) we're reading Bharati Mukherjee, who I find to be somewhat overrated, but whatever. I guess stories about sexually confused recent immigrants struggling with the "American" dream don't really do much for me. At any rate, one of the short stories is called "Fighting for the Rebound," and I guess the project of the piece, other than the middle class white man falling for the recent Indian imigrant narrative, is that after a certain age, everyone becomes the sum of their former (romantic) relationships. Not just who he is in his current relationship, but his whole life.

I'm single and it's Valentine's day. No real suprises, there. But I thought I'd follow Mukerjee's project, and see if I can identify the ways in which former relationships have influenced me, and what ex-boyfriends have taught me about myself. If I were a different sort of person, I would put this as the beginnings of a meme, but I won't, but if you want you're more than likely to follow this conceit.

Peter was my first boyfriend, and I found out just how clingy of a person I can be (though I like to think that all guys are like that with their first real relationship, especially if they've just come out). Also, just how much my self-worth is tied to relationships, and how I can blur the line between old-fashioned values and contemporary gay dating world and not feel guilty about anything. He was around when I came out to my family, and helped me construct my gay self as perceived by others, and to be less... secretive around my friends. Well, not secretive, but to realize just how much of my self is dictated by my sexual orientation, and that while my friends knew, it was ok to talk about it.

Heart taught me how easily I can be manipulated, and how much of myself I'm willing to give up for the other guy. Turns out, it's a lot. (It's not very comforting, knowing that you make someone a good abused wife someday.) It wasn't all bad, though, as Heart made me feel the most comfortable about my body (Toby's not the only twentysomething gay blogger with Body Dysmorphic Disorder).

Billy made me realize that I definitely don't suffer fools gladly, no matter how cute they are. He also brought me to my first gay bar and into the world of gay drama (his, not mine), both of which I quickly learned get too boring and repetitive for my tastes. I've also developed a more lassez-faire attitude towards other people's relationship through my interactions with Billy.

DPB and CoolKid taught me that I jump head over heels into infatuation way too easily, growing too comfortable on the first few dates, and getting too close too soon, scaring guys off. (That's what happened wth DPB, and what I'm pretty sure happened with CoolKid.)

Sure, there have been others, guys with whom I've gone on a date or two, or guys on whom I've had major crushes, and those crushes are what got me into trying beer for the first time, auditioning (and starring in) the school play my senior year (even though I was in a play at the local college at the same time) and just how much I'm willing to reveal of myself to guys online. But these are the few guys who you might remember.

I suppose a better, more encompassing view would be that we are the sum of all our relationships, familial, romantic, platonic, business, scholastic, et all. But that would take too long, and as it is, this is getting awfully deep, and I use that word in the "I'm a freshman in college and I'm taking a philosophy class and now my brain is blown and I feel the need to misuse the vocabulary in every single conversation I have and explain it to my friends using Matrix references because I feel much smarter than everyone else now that I'm taking this class."

Not that I'm thinking of anyone in particular when I write that. Certainly not my roommate's girlfriend (not the roommate/girlfriend of yesterday's post, but a different roommate). Definitely not her.

Maybe I should post a pic of some cute guys who are about to kiss.

Aaaahhh. That's a much better way to end a Valentine's Day post.
Here lies a most ridiculous raw youth, indulging himself in the literary graces that he once vowed to eschew. Now he just rocks out.