Monday, August 15, 2011

The Men in my Life

I love men.  All sorts of men.  I don't always understand them.  But I like them.  Alot.

I grew up with two brothers and one sister.  My older sister, whether she was threatened by my arrival, or we simply had clashing personalities from the beginning, teased and tormented me most of the time.  We've never been close.  My two brothers, however - one 6 years older and one just a couple of years younger - were my solace.  My younger brother, Neil, and I played cars and Barbies together.  My older brother taught me so much and often sought me out when he needed a sympathetic ear.  They are busy with their own lives now - Neil in Toronto and Ian here in Ottawa.  But I know they are there if I need them and we do get together for family functions a few times a year.  They are both so supportive of my writing and so proud that I've become a published author.  They are wonderful uncles to my kids.

My dear husband, Greg, was actually Neil's best friend from the age of four.  Over the years I observed how loyal and trustworthy he was in that relationship, which influenced my feelings for him much later.  He is such a wonderful father and husband - I don't know what I would do without him.  And the best part is, he is still able to make me laugh so hard I almost pee my pants.  He is a passionate and thoughtful lover, and also willing to change things up a bit when I'm feeling adventurous :)  He has no hang-ups and I've been able to get over some of mine with his help.  When I was diagnosed with MS a few years ago, he was so strong and positive about my future and continues to be my rock whenever I feel down about the situation.  I love him to death.

Then there's my dad.  At seventy-five, he is more energetic than many thirty year-olds.  He works out at the gym regularly, walks everywhere, volunteers at a place that refurbishes used wheelchairs and other mobility devices, travels to England (his birthplace) at least once a year.  He still gets excited about learning new things and is constantly taking up new hobbies.  He is a fantastic 'Grampy' to my two kids, sharing his fascination with science and nature.

I am also very lucky to have, not one, not two, but five gay male friends.  There are Morgan and Richard, whom I spoke of in my first post; Brian and his partner, Yves, and my friend Terry.  I met Morgan and Brian at Algonquin College when I was twenty-six and enrolled in the Dramatic Scriptwriting Program.  Brian soon started showing up at outings with his handsome 'friend', Yves.  They have been together ever since.  Many years later (after marriage to a wonderful woman and the arrival of two gorgeous children) my friend Morgan came out and moved in with Richard.  Richard also has two children from a previous marriage and he and Morgan are devoted fathers.  Richard and I have similar personalities and share a somewhat lewd sense of humour ;). This past winter, I 'met' Terry Cyr, a gay man who creates wonderful photographic art in Missoula Montana, through Facebook.  Terry has been so open and enthusiastic about my writing.  His artwork continues to astonish me.  My kids, husband and I have a standing invitation to visit him and his partner, Glen, in Missoula.

These five gay men are some of the kindest, most sympathetic people I have the privilege to know.  They are straightforward and honest.  They are warm and loving.  They are energetic and funny.  The best part is that I can be close with them, have intimate conversations, even flirt a little, with no worry that I'm compromising my marriage.  Yes, I find all of these men sexy and fun to talk with.  But the flirting and innuendos will always be just that.  It's difficult, as a happily married woman, to be friends with straight men.  It they are single and attractive, I worry that I'm sending the wrong signals by flirting occasionally.  If they are the husbands of my girlfriends, I have to be careful not to overstep that invisible line where innocent flirting becomes something else.

So here's to my brothers, my husband, my dad, and my wonderful gay friends.  May you continue to share your masculine perspectives and sweet natures with me and my children for a very, very long time.

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