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Alternative Love Stories

Gay Love Stories

by Philip

I don't find much to blog about. I guess that's because after years of being out to family I am on the other side of the turmoil and now not much new is happening. I guess that's the way things should be but talking about ordinary things makes for boring blog reading. So instead I read other gay blogs and advise freely about what to do so that someday soon the bloggers can talk about the turmoil and drama in the past tense like I do. But there are still a few surprises left and that's what this post is about.

In the last few years I have fallen out of the habit of reading. I used to love reading. Now I just collect books. My daughter absolutely refuses to buy me any more books until I start reading the ones I have. It makes no sense to keep buying books when I never read so now I even limit myself to browsing bookstores (which I love to do) and buying books for others. But I'm always checking out the gay section of the bookstore (if it has one). This can be a sort of depressing task since new releases of gay books are few and far between; a pattern started after an explosion of gay titles in the late 80's and early 90's. Now most of the new releases have 'erotica' in the title.

That is why I was surprised to come across a new genre that has been around since at least 2005. That is gay love stories written for and by gay/bi men. Now lesbians have long had romantic novels and love stories but I had never seen one written by men, gay/bi or straight. So out of curiosity I bought an anthology of gay love stories. I then spent a delightful evening reading about men in romantic situations. It was such a guilty pleasure. First, I was amused by how here this was suppose to be about love and most of the writers seem to be only able to talk about love through the context of sex. It was like having to read between the lines. Why do men, gay/bi or straight, have so much trouble articulating feelings? And why did most of the authors write about such an intimate subject in the third person liking they were gods looking down on mere mortals? I wondered if the lack of closeness was a cultural instead of gender thing. Maybe the editor selected the stories based on what he thought the audience (gay/bi men) would like and he thought his readers would be turned off by too much emotion and not enough sex. Anyway, most of the stories were fun and a few thoroughly enjoyable.

So for Christmas this year I asked for gay love stories.

And this is where the surprise comes in. I felt uncomfortable asking for this particular genre. First, I felt the need to make sure my wife was not made uncomfortable by my reading about gay romance. I explained how unromantically, is that a word, most of these stories are. By her reaction, I realized there was no need for me to be concerned. Next I worried that my son would feel uncomfortable paying for books with titles like "Best Gay Love Stories of 2009". Much, much to my surprise...he could have cared less. I picked out the books then considering the titles asked him if he would prefer I pay for the books and he could reimburse me later. He just shrugged off my concerns and I watched him pay for the books without hesitation. As I stood waiting in line with my purchases, I watched my son talking and joking with the cashier and remembered how I felt like I was having a heart attack the first time I bought a gay book thirty-some years ago before my son was even born.



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