What constitutes attraction? I’m a confirmed heterosexual who thinks women are the “bees knees.” Not all woman, mind you, but that’s a topic for a blog post in an alternate universe. This piece is prompted by an inexplicable attraction to a same sex individual and I can’t shake it.
Same sex attraction is foreign to my being, although I can understand how it works for others. Same sex couples are just couples who love each other. They have similar interpersonal relationships issues, positive and negative, like any couple. The issue for them is how others perceive and receive their relationship.
In the old days, my old days, the fifty’s and early sixties, most same sex relationships were hidden in plain sight except in certain communities. Being “gay,” fifty plus years later has greater acceptance in most wester societies and within many cultures. In Canadian society, same sex couples and marriages are now both common and accepted.
When I began my teaching career, I partnered with a great fellow called, RA. That was forty years ago. In hindsight, and with an increased sensitivity and understanding of the “gay” milieu, I might have picked up on his signals. His hair was always perfectly coifed and his clothing well coordinated. He often kept me engaged in conversations after the students were gone for the day and occasionally related stories about sexual interactions between colleagues. He was always attentive to whatever I had to say.
Forty years later, while talking to another colleague from that era, I discovered my teaching partner, RA, was, and is gay. I learned he had left his wife and children for a same sex lover. More astonishing than that, she revealed that at the time when RA and I worked together, he had a “hankering” for me. Once RA told me, there were among my colleagues, one or more who would like to get into my pants. Now I know he was the colleague. I was rather flattered to find out I was an object of his desires. I find Ego to be weird thing. Being sexually attractive to another is always flattering, I guess.
The point of this blog is not that someone was attracted to me, but that I felt a strong attraction for male, a close friend, and my superior. Every time I was in the man’s presence I had an urge to kiss him on the lips. Even as I write this blog entry, I feel the same sense of attraction, the same little weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had never been attracted to another male before him or since.
I’m a confirmed heterosexual, and recognize that same feeling, that little gnawing sensation, relative to attractions to a few different women over the years, but never a man. I’m neither disturbed nor ambivalent to my attraction, but I complete understand same sex attraction and so I felt comfortable writing an extensive lesbian sequence in Girl with the Rose Tattoo.
I included one heterosexual rape sequence, a heterosexual seduction, and extensive lesbian seduction. I all these fictional situations, I wanted to explore the use and abuse of power in sexual relationships, and to a lesser extent, the idea that gender identity is separate from sexual or romantic orientation.
If you read Girl with the Rose Tattoo, I would appreciate your reflections on this aspect of my novel.