“I’m attracted to men too,” said Fr. S. in the confessional when I told him about my problem. He wasn’t fooling me. He’s not the kind of man you would even wonder about. Not that men with SSA are never virile; I’m plenty virile. (And if you disagree I’ll punch you in the head.) But he was clearly making some kind of Point.
“If I see a man who’s confident and strong,” he said, “I want to be around him. I want to be with him and be like him.” Yeah, but you don’t want to jump in bed with him, I wanted to say. But I took the point. It’s easy for a man with SSA to think that he’s completely different from other men, different all the way down to the core. But it’s not true.
Telling Sal about my SSA a few days ago was a strange experience, and I’m still processing it. A small part of me1 was hoping that he’d say, “Me too.” It’s a good thing he didn’t. But the reason I thought he might was because he, clearly, is a lover of men — forms deep bonds with men, like I do, and expresses his love with words and touch.
My suspicions, though, are telling. When I was a teenager and still coming to terms with the whole thing, I remember seeing two of my friends with their arms around each other’s shoulders, and wondering if they might be gay. In my mind, affection between men (especially physical affection) meant there was something sexual.2 I guess I still haven’t shaken the idea.
Knowing that it’s not true in Sal’s case, though, is a help. If he can feel as strongly as he does about me without wanting anything besides friendship, then there’s nothing wrong with the way I feel about him, either, and I don’t have to give it up.
Although, judging by the size of his name in the tag cloud, which isn’t even his real name for Pete’s sake, I might have to post about something else once in a while.