Monday, July 24, 2017

Haircut, with a Side of Sexuality

Went and got a haircut last week.
Oh, you kid
When I went in I figured, who knows when I’ll be able to afford a haircut again? And, it’s summer. And, I’m tired of messing with my long bushy hair.
“Cut it short,” I said to Jan. “Cut it all off.”
And she did. Gave me a splendid, short haircut. I like it. It is as low maintenance as a haircut gets.
Most people liked it after the initial shock, and said it was cute. One friend did not like it. “It’s butch!” she said, meaning, too butch, but she’s getting used to it. One gay friend said, “It’s butch!” and meant it as a compliment. He thought I looked great. He suggested I might meet somebody. You never know.
While I’m flattered that someone would think I am still relationship fodder, and I won’t rule it out because as he said, you never know, I’m not really in the market. I mean, twenty-three skidoo, oh you kid and all, thanks, but I’m tired. I don’t think I’ve felt a spark since the Clinton administration. That’s when Rick got cancer the first time, and after that life became arduous, and not very sexy. If I’m in the market for anything it’s companionship and friends.
Meanwhile I’m pondering the thoughts that have been raised by reactions to my haircut. They have been interesting.
Can you tell a person’s sexual identity by looking at them? You can try, but you might get burned. The way people think of themselves and the way you think of them might not have anything in common.
I have heard that sexuality is a spectrum and most of us are somewhere on that spectrum between heterosexual and homosexual, leaning one way or the other, with some brave souls admitting they can be either/or.
Confronting the truth of your own sexuality is not required of people in our culture who identify as heterosexual. You’re expected to be heterosexual in these here parts. You get an imaginary stamp on your imaginary sex passport and go galumphing into the catastrophe of your unaware adulthood. Wahoo.
When I was in college I once saw a person on campus whom I found extremely attractive, and all my hormones went into high gear. When I realized she was a she and not a he, I was mortified, embarrassed, and ashamed – splutter splut splut.
Sometime later I saw her again, and the same sequence of feelings happened all over again. I guess she was my type.
When those feelings happened with guys, I didn’t feel embarrassed.
As an adult, in midlife, I did what I had never done as an adolescent: I considered my sexual identity. I realized that except for that woman in college, it had always been men for me. That was my track record, leaning toward the hetero side of the spectrum. So what did that make me? Boring. Just my opinion.
Considering that as we grow up in American society we are inculcated with a sick model of sexuality (I refer you to rock and roll and almost all country music lyrics, for starters), and considering that many of us are sexually abused and broken when we are young, people must have courage to take an honest look at their own sexuality. It’s a scary thing to do.
It is so scary that some people project their fears about themselves onto other people, and become homophobic. Then we have tragedies.
That’s a gross simplification, as is this whole essay, but there’s some truth in there.
I wish we could all be folded into Jesus’ loving arms, and be fixed, and healed, and whole, and unafraid.
Unfortunately, that is not how Jesus works. We are the loving arms. We must hold one another, and love each other into healing and wholeness, and live with our damn fears together because life is terrifying sometimes.
Can I get an amen?
Regarding my haircut, well, it will grow out and I’ll be back to my “explosion in a Brillo factory” look, as my father-in-law called it. For now, it is summer cool and easy.
As for me meeting someone - Rick has been gone now for three and a half years. It would be just my luck for love to rear its ugly head, but for the moment, after decades of taking care of many other people, I’m concentrating on meeting myself. And, of course, paying the property taxes.

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