Cary Ross killed himself with a shotgun at his home out by Indian Hill. He was 17. He was my good friend in grade school when he lived across the alley. We lived on Forest Ave, and I would cross Forest Avenue, go through the Tuttles' yard, cross that alley, through O'Rourkes' yard, and over to Cary's house.
His mom, Betty, and my mom were pretty good friends. Anyway, Cary was gay from the gate -- talk about wired from birth! This kid was SO very interested in everyone's penis, and this was when we were 11-years-old and the only fun thing we did with our dicks was make yellow patterns in the snow... But Cary was different, we kind of laughed at him, but nobody really cared. Otherwise we had Boy Scout camping and ice-skating after school -- just regular kid stuff.
Fast forward. Cary's family moved out to Indian Hill, then he went to the public high school and the rest of us went to Catholic high school. We didn't see him much, but we heard things about who he was spending time with and it didn't sound good. It didn't sound bad either -- but strange. So he killed himself, and what I remember most was the look on Mrs. Ross's face at the funeral.
Second gay experience, but not chronological. So if a gay barber gives you a haircut and you don't mind, does that make you gay?
No, its doesn't mean you're gay, it just means you don't mind.
In 1997 I was living in Zimbabwe, in Bulawayo the regional capital of Matebeleland, a city of 500,000 people -- all black, but with maybe 5,000 white people here and there. I used to walk down the street, hundreds of people, all black, and I would look around -- I'm the only white guy!.... But I got used to it and no one molested me.
After I'm living in Bulawayo for a while I need to get a hair cut, and this is a problem because you can say anything you want about black people, but they have different hair -- totally different hair and I was not going to chance it -- having a black barber touch my head.
So I asked around, with a direct question, "Where do the white guys go to get their hair cut?" Well, everybody knew where that shop was, so I went over to get my hair cut by a white man, and he was gay. You know, like the way you can tell these things, telling me about his interests in theater and pornography, and just general demeanor. This is not a problem, except I thought there's hardly any white men in Zimbabwe, and far fewer gay white men, so this barber probably has about three friends in the whole town.
Third gay story. Bastrop Texas, a small town in central Texas, the summer of 1986. I was working as a reporter for the Bastrop Advertiser, the local newspaper. My boss was Jack Fraser. He was gay. Bob, the business manager at the paper, was his partner.
Everybody in Bastrop knew Jack and Bob were gay. This was the heyday of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, so it was all right as long as nobody said anything about. Also Jack did not live in Bastrop, but lived in the next town over, closer to Austin. Bob maintained a separate, probably fictional, residence in that same town, but it was likely that they actually lived together.
The Bastrop Advertiser was one of the best newspapers in Texas. Jack Fraser was a hard-hitting, outspoken liberal and he took on all the powers that be in that very conservative small town. Fearless, I called him. But he had a very courteous manner about him, so some outraged reader would storm into the office, and Jack would hear him out but hold his ground, and so he was respected.
But far worse than being liberal, and even worse than being gay, Jack and Bob came from California. Can you imagine that, two gay guys from California, with liberal politics, move to a small town in Texas, buy the newspaper, make a good living, and nobody really cared. Except, you know, not talking about it.--
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Alan: In general... The stronger the heterosexual drive, the stupider the male thus afflicted.