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Falling in Love Again

By Perry Brass

pbrass2.jpg - 8.21 K Author Perry Brass explains how a shot from Cupid's arrow changed his life An unexpected, completely disarming thing happened to me for the first time in ten years in the last months of the twentieth century. It happened so fast that it literally took my breath away, but then it had also happened that way ten years earlier.

Then I had moved with my partner into a cold, isolating, small town in suburban Connecticut. It was a situation of almost continuous misery for me— I am not a suburban person by any standards; I can barely drive a car—and another man stepped into my life and I realized I was in the middle of an emotional storm that I had no control over. I'd fallen in love; I mean really fallen. It just simply happened, and then it was there with me.

Suddenly this other man had come into my life, and my whole level of adrenaline, of engagement with life, changed. I felt years younger. Lighter. For a while almost dizzy with happiness. He would drive his car up to our small house, step into the living room, and I thought I would have to be scraped off the ceiling. I became both impossibly happy and at the same time so volatile that at any moment I would fall apart uncontrollably.

I would break into tears, nose-dive into depression, and then come out of that manic with anxious energy, completely set apart from everything around me. My partner started to suspect that something was going on, as we started to do this separate dance that people do in these situations.

In the beginning I hid it from him, then I couldn't hide it anymore and it became a kind of open secret between us. To make matters more extreme, my partner was also going through an emotional crisis: the recent death of his father. He was still very depressed over this, so that like any other "suburban wife" I now found myself alone yet living with someone else.

Soon every moment without this other man, I'll call him "Ed" (I have fictionalized all the names in this piece) became like a punishment, while Ed merely looked on, part distant spectator, part active participant, flattered that I ("a published writer") had fallen for him ("I like your intensity," he said to me. "You're not like other people out here.").

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Then at other times he became bored, peevish, impatient. He was not really sure how to take this sudden explosion of feelings for him. At times he became out-of-control angry; he was also involved with someone, a younger man who was attractive, very self-centered, possessive, spoiled, and manipulative; their relationship was always either teetering on the rocks or just about to be.

Ed told me that he'd like to have an "adult" relationship with me—that is, one strictly between the two of us, outside of his demanding, on-again-off-again one with Bill, his younger boyfriend; but constant pressure from Bill quickly blew the lid off that pot. We had that classic problem of one man being in love with another, who is not in love with him, but is simply attracted, somewhat involved, curious; though with a lack of that basic "chemistry."

"Chemistry" seemed to be the term for this: I was caught in spiraling rounds of elation, depression, sleeplessness, and sheer craziness. Finally, a few weeks later, all the adrenaline gone, I went into an emotional collapse. I felt like I was sleepwalking through my own funeral. I described it later in a poem as being like a "somnambulist in Hell."

I had experienced being in love as a younger man in my twenties, but in my forties this seemed very different. It was more intense, more volatile than anything I had known before, even though in actual time all of this took place in only a few months. Quickly enough, this storm, this hurricane of feelings, blew up in my face. Bill went into a sullen fit of jealousy. Ed became terrified that he'd end up in this isolated suburban setting with no one at all. It was over.

But wasn't. It took me about a year to come out of it. A year of tidal flows of depression and emptiness, even while living with someone whom I did love. Ed moved — all the way to Canada, and I didn't see him again.

There was a total break. No good-byes; no letters; nothing. Then a year later, I got a letter from him, the first connection I'd had with him since our break up. The letter apologized for his behavior. He and Bill had split up very soon after our we did. He acknowledged that he had been awful to me, but, as he put it, "Under those circumstances, it was the best I could do."

He was thinking about moving back to suburban Connecticut, but, as far as I was concerned, it was too late. I had put too much effort into forgetting about him, about recovering from this maelstrom of feelings that had picked me up and tossed me about: I was now fairly happy. I was working hard, putting out books. It was enough.

I was myself, and not this person who had become an occupied territory, one of the walking wounded, wounded by love itself. It's an experience much like being in prison: when you're in, you know it. You can empathize with anyone who's ever been there. Then it's over and it's like someone else went through it. It's difficult to even recollect what it was like. It's as foreign to you as going through adolescence all over again: you look at kids and you wonder, was I ever like that?

Although we think of falling in love in two categories—mutual love, which seems so magical and wonderful; and unrequited love which can be so brutal—I'm starting to see that the same thing is going on in both situations. Love brings about an amazing awakening of your senses, all of them, with someone else having the key—and the power—to turn them on, or produce a real crash.

sunsetcouple.jpg - 4.63 K Falling in love obsesses us. It is one of the last vestiges of pure magic left in our world. It's like skydiving into your own psyche. And going through it, especially at this point in middle age, I start to realize that this one of the real dangerous periods in anyone's life.

Your feelings are producing a civil war inside you, and only a great deal of "formatting," or emotional preparation, something that most of us lack, can resolve all these warring elements of elation, depression, happiness, insecurity, and anxiety, unleashed all at once.

When you wade into these dangerous waters, it's important to know that there is some lifeline attached to you. Sometimes that can consist of friends who've been through this; other times, just someone physically close enough to catch you when the tide becomes too rough.

How people ever get through it amazes me. Heterosexuals negotiate it, I believe, on pure "patterning." They still have some working patterns of courtship, approaching closeness, and then full scale intimacy, although none of this is a guarantee when you're dealing with the profound urgencies of the human heart. All of love is rife with explosions: heterosexual, homosexual, or anyplace in-between. It's an emotional and even physical minefield waiting for you.

In my twenties, I knew several young men who had killed themselves from broken hearts. I'd been close to one of them, but not, unfortunately, close enough. At that point, it seemed impossible for me to imagine how anyone could do something like that. I'd been hurt before, but love then was offered to me so often—at least in a physical, sexual way—that it seemed like there was an endless tide of it. I could get bounced around, but there was always another pair of arms to grab me.

I had never entered into one of those blind alleys of love where you suddenly find yourself literally up against the wall of your own innermost fears and torments: a place where you've put yourself totally on the line, and rejection — when you're so far out there in that emotional no-man's land — is too terrifying even to look at.

But you do imagine it. The thought of it wakes you up at three o' clock in the morning; makes you lose you weight; makes you become a stranger to yourself. You feel like some kind of crippled organ donor, crawling around, looking for your own heart.

So: that was ten years ago. It would never happen again, I said. Now I was happy. No longer isolated in suburban Connecticut. My work was doing wonderfully. I hadn't fallen in love since then. A few close calls, maybe, but nothing that rang all those bells, that sent my pulse racing through me like a team of wild mustangs.

I had forgotten all of that. Then, again, like in some kind of unaccountable dream, another man appeared in my life. This one started out as a "fan," writing me letters. He wanted to meet me, have dinner with me. He'd enjoyed my books. They had meant so much to him. I'd had this experience before. For the most part it had been pleasant, really enjoyable. It's one of the perks of having a more public life, even the more public "inner" life of a writer.

brassbook.gif - 19.20 K The first letter arrived in the winter many months before I got to meet him. I put it off; I had too much work to do. My book How to Survive Your Own Gay Life had come out and I got a lot of wonderful mail from it. The book struck a chord with many readers. They wrote to me how much it meant to them. They were mostly older men, but some were younger. This man, Pete, was my age, in his early fifties and, strangely enough, was only recently coming out.

A "late bloomer," he was still living with his wife when he wrote me that first letter. But he was anticipating a separation from her, leading to his own apartment, and then a divorce. It was quite a story, but I felt uneasy about it. I had been "out" for thirty-something years and involved with the gay movement through most of it.

Dealing with someone who's kept his two feet in the closet all that time made me nervous. The fears and insecurities of such closeted men migrate to you. Still, it has become the province of many gay writers to take on a kind of role as "ambassadors" from the somewhat brighter "gay world" to the murkier land of those "just coming out."

I had received several letters of this sort, but Pete's letters had a real intensity to them, like he was burning to know something that he thought I could tell him. He especially wanted to thank me for "everything your work has meant to me" in his coming out process. At a certain point when my work slowed down, I called him . . . his wife answered the phone.

I thought: uh oh, what have I got myself into? I left a dry, professional message. "Tell him Perry Brass called," and left my phone number. It turned out that Pete was in Europe, and I got a card from him, thanking me for the call, but did not hear anything else from him for several months.

I thought maybe he had just chickened out. It's one thing to write an openly gay writer a fan letter, and another still to meet him. I was nervous, too. I had no guidelines for going from the very "out" writer to becoming involved, in any way, with the almost always difficult situation of a married gay man, still living with his wife and kids.

Then in August, I got an unexpected email from him. He was now out on his own, with an apartment. He asked me not to give up on him. How about dinner? I called him and we arranged to meet in the Village. I told my partner that I was going to meet a fan: very professional; fairly ordinary. I had done this before. I don't have zillions of fans — I'm not Armistead Maupin — but at a certain point, you start to realize that who you are as a writer becomes more interesting to people than who (or what) you are as a person.

Just as people in their minds "write" the stories they read, they also want to "read" me as a blank sheet of paper, waiting for their own scribblings. People, in short, want to tell me their stories. After all, that is the job of writers, to care about other people's stories; but for the most part, except for my own books, they are not terribly interested in mine.

So, we met. And I found him unexpectedly attractive. Instead of the clunky, schlumpy, suburban PTA daddy I thought I'd find, I found him quite . . . amazing, youthful, athletic, beautifully put together. At a certain point we were walking down the street and he put his hand casually on my shoulder and this sweet current of pleasure ran through me.

He had told me in his letter that he had only a "sincere fan's" interest in me; he did not want me even to think of this as a "date." He was aware that I lived with a partner — people who read my books usually are — but I did not mention my partner at all. I wanted this meeting to be only between the two of us.

He started talking to me about his own dating, who was he seeing — most of it pretty disastrous, with younger men who could not see his own charms. I decided that I had to be the august writer, listen to him as he rattled on to me — he had a tremendous desire to tell me "everything" about himself, but I'd experienced that many times before.

sunsethugs.jpg - 5.80 K Fortunately, I have an almost total delight in listening to people, just watching the words come out of their mouths, especially if I find the mouth enjoyable, too. It's almost a vice of mine; one of my erotic fantasies is lying in bed with a man and having him talk to me like he's never spoken to anyone before. Totally candid, frank, warm. Allen Ginsberg called this form of free expression "heart talk," and I believe in it. It is probably the deepest and most authentic talk men do with each other. It's past all the usual sports b.s., office b.s., status b.s. When it happens, it takes on a tremendous sexual power. It is what so many gay men desperately seek, but in our age of shallow, commercialized erotic imagery, they bury this desire deeper and deeper.

My partner has said several times that I wasted a lot of my talent by not becoming a therapist. Ever since I was a small precocious boy in the South (the last hold-out, I believe, of real conversation in America), people — usually adults — liked to talk to me. They would tell me secrets they'd never tell other children. I became, by instinct, well practiced at keeping them.

At the end of our first meeting, Pete brought out several copies of my books and asked me to sign them. I thought: Oh my God, I'll never see him again. The next day, I wrote him a thank you letter for the dinner and included with it a copy of a new poem I had written. I did not hear from him for a couple of weeks. I do recognize a problem that some people have with writers: they feel they must write something "literary" to us; they become choked up. I became stupidly busy again and thought of him only as a fan. He would come and go in my life, maybe attend my readings. It was a nice thought. I did not want to put any more energy or feelings into it.

It became almost a game: I was not supposed to be real with him, only cooly professional. A lawyer himself, he had a preppy, Ivy League lawyer's way of writing, full of pep and enthusiasm, but devoid of real hints of deeper feelings. A few emails flew between us, but nothing jelled for several months.

Then, from again out in the suburbs where he lived, he invited me to an event. A big night at the opera. The Met. A wonderful, glamorous evening, and afterwards, in order not to have to drive back late, he spent the night in our guest room. Since the guest room's next to our bathroom, Pete and I undressed at the same time.

Suddenly I looked at him, stripped down to his underbriefs, and I said, "You're really beautiful." He blushed. The next day, after my partner had left for work, I decided that something indeed had happened . . . . A real, uncontainable desire to seduce him had taken over me.

sunsetbirds.jpg - 5.75 K I kissed him good-bye and we ended up kissing for forty minutes, with our clothes in a pile on the floor. I couldn't control anymore what was going on inside me: something had cracked open there; and I felt as if I had taken half of my emotional components, individually, out of me and had handed them to him. Or, somehow, had he, without even thinking, managed to sneak them away? There I was, the writer of stories, stark naked in the middle of one; except this one was, at least to me, very real.

While kissing him, I suddenly thought about Lawrence of Arabia, T.E. Lawrence, one of my favorite "historical characters," the man whom Winston Churchill called "The man of Destiny." Lawrence was a true "character." Self-invented, secretive, masochistic, very fey. Hardly revealing anything of himself until the most climactic moment. Pete, this emotionally curtained man who had come into my life, suddenly reminded me of Lawrence: he seemed to offer me some unbidden juncture with a destiny. My own. And there we were, at that climactic moment: It was right in front of me. I was, as we used to say, "blown away."

I could barely contain myself. A short time later, he had to leave — business meetings; and as I watched him go out the stairs to his car, I felt like every bell and every cell inside me were ringing. They were all lobbing my adrenaline back and forth like crazy competing volleyball teams. I was smiling so hard that I thought my lips would crack.

I decided that whatever was going to happen here, I had to be able to do this. I would, despite everything.

Despite my home situation. Despite the fact that Pete had only a few weeks earlier started seeing someone else — this time, an older, but very possessive man, named Richard. I emailed him, trying to be as off-the-cuff as I could: "Well, it seems like we've passed a very interesting bend in the road."

He wrote me back how pleased he was. He'd been thinking about me; I'd become a fantasy object for him as well. He wanted to be one of my "holy tricks," a term I used in How to Survive. I was, he said, "hot." There was only one problem. Richard, the new man in his life, would not be happy about this. But Pete, swept after decades of stifling heterosexuality into this new game of gay love, was sure he could "work it out." And if he had to, he assured me, he would even break off with Richard if Richard became "too possessive."

As for me, I was trying hard to deny that I had fallen in love with him. Simply enough, I had forgotten what "falling in love" meant. The fact is, the term is literal: you really do "fall." Suddenly, you're in a heap all over the place. You feel as if you've taken your heart out and given it to someone else. But the problem is, if this particular "someone" doesn't work out, how do you get it back?

The ancients had it right: Cupid does shoot his arrow at you, and it does hit: Directly in the chest. And strangely enough, the arrow really doesn't hurt you until you try to wrench it out. It's then that you realize how much blood and muscle and your very self you are going to lose, when that splintery shaft of wood clears you.

I was afraid I was going to scare him. How could I tell him that from someone who was a fan in my life, he had gone to becoming almost the center of it . . . overnight. It was nuts. I was sure it wasn't happening to me. This was an aberration. It seemed even psychotic.

I began to have all the tell-tale symptoms again: the sleepless nights, getting up at three in the morning; no hunger at all (I ended up losing ten pounds); the abject, almost unnamable fear that says this is not going to work. Also the unspeakable happiness of being around him. Listening to his tense, tinny voice on the phone; reading and rereading his emails, as stilted, as full of embarrassing legalese as they were.

All the songs kept coming back, like they had ten years ago. "Some Enchanted Evening." "Walk on By." Everything from Rachmoninoff to "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I've Got Love in My Tummy!" Dozens of songs. Now they all meant something. They made me realize that I was now part of that mass of the human race that does this: that yearns for love, that spins all of its dream around it. And not just love in the comfy, domestic sense. No, not that. But love, passionate, overwhelming. Wagnerian. Tsunami tidal waves of love.

The songs described what I was going through. I kept thinking: Does everyone do this? Is this what life's really about? You're either in love, want to be in love, or totally scared to death of the specter of it . . . the dark side of love that reveals your own feelings of rejection, childhood misery, unworthiness.

Infinite numbers of people I suspected spend their whole lives trying to deny the helplessness I felt: the feeling that my own happiness was now in the hands of a man who had admitted that, emotionally, he had been marooned, cold . . . somewhere at the age of twenty.

He had gone from being a fan to this man I was in love with. I'd had fans before, but . . . do other writers do this? I kept wanting to call my writer friends and ask, "Have you ever fallen in love with a fan? Did it work? What happens when they figure out you're human? You're not just their "fan-tasy," but you're breathing, hungering, real.

Of course, a lot of my books are fantasies. They are "hot," and (I'm sure that in some readers they have produced an interesting image of me — enticing, maybe, but not exactly what I am.) Felice Picano once told me, "Fans ask me, are you as hot as your books? I always say sure!" Like many writers, I'm basically shy. But, again, like some of my readers, I become lost in my own fantasies; the stories that I write become too real for me also.

One main theme: suddenly you meet "this man" who can turn your whole life around; and you know it. Almost instantly. The meeting itself is filled with energy. Reams of intimate information are exchanged quickly between you. That "information" of your own bodies, your desires, your wills. You don't meet this kind of man through a yuppy "dating service," but through desire itself. Desire has become the medium of your meeting. You may have nothing in common, but suddenly . . . there he is and that distance between your genitals, your heart, and your brain has melted.

You might as well then just stick the fucking arrow into your heart, and give him the feathered part to hold onto: he's got you.

I thought about Picasso, famous for turning young girls who came to him as starry-eyed admirers into much-painted mistresses. He needed them. He sucked the life glow out of them, this most literary of painters: the painter whose every stroke, every needle-sharp etching line, was a story. He told this story over and over again — the painter in complete thrall of the muse, the goddess, the subject.

The new, "P.C." approach to Picasso is to hate him for this purely human feeling. "Picasso, Creator and Destroyer," the title of Ariana Huffington's pompously huffy book, referred to his "abusive" relationships with women. But having the courage to create — and don't fool yourself, it takes huge courage to do that — also means having a rage to love.

And often enough, this love is not going to be within the currently fashionable, "monogamous" model. Often enough, it runs right out of your control. It becomes like a computer virus: it eats you and the more you try to escape it, the farther it gets down into you.

I kept most of my feelings inside, when I saw Pete in the city in public places. I was dazed by him. He was delighted and flattered. He basked in the attention I was giving him, my own stumbling humbleness before him. He invited me repeatedly to come out and spend the night with him. He cleared a place in his schedule. He called me the morning I was to go out and told me how much he'd been looking forward to it. By this time, he was literally cannibalizing my heart: he could have it. I was passing it to him on a napkin. As the song says, "All of me, why don't you take all of me?"

sunsethandhold.jpg - 4.69 K I rode out on the train to the suburban town where he lived and spent the night. It was like dreaming. It was all whipped cream and emeralds. I had not spent a night like that — of what I would describe as "soul-sucking sex" — with someone I was so in love with in twenty years. My feelings raced out of me. If naked, as they say, "is the best disguise," then the sheer transparency of me was something no amount of nakedness or blankets could cover.

The next morning, he, as we used to say, "freaked out." He was not ready. I felt as if I had walked out as far as I could on that great, long, ocean pier of emotions we all have — the that's erected over every nightmare and risk; I had gone all the way out . . . and tried to take him with me; and now he was running back as fast as he could in pure fear.

"We can't do this again," he announced to me out of the blue. "I will not permit it. I will never allow it to happen again."

Although Pete had planned this visit and looked forward to it, his "new, unexpected feelings" for Richard, as he told me, would never allow a repeat of this. He was ready at that moment to jettison me from his life. I was still out there at the very edge of that pier, and now he had come back to drown me. To toss me right in.

I capitulated. I told him I would take things on whatever terms he offered; I would leave them all open to him. I took the commuter train back, trying hard not to throw up. I felt as if I had been kicked in the head. I barely remember returning to the city. The city, in freezing cold, was falling all over me.

In the next several days, I went through a full cycle of feelings — misery, fury, rock hard depression. I cursed his shallowness, his dependency on others, his corporate lifestyle. I took long walks. I wanted to stop being in love. I decided then to pull together every bit of the courage I had. I dialed the phone and called him.

I was honest: I said how angry I was; how hurt. I didn't want to see him again. Ever. I would offer him nothing. He started to make a low, barely audible sobbing sound. He wanted to be "friends, just friends"—what I called the "consolation prize" in the famous Gay Lottery. I was too hurt now; I wanted to forget about him, or at least try.

I wrote him the most explosive enraged letter I'd ever written anyone. I felt better. The anger seemed medicinal; a sure cure for my depression. Didn't the shrinks say that depression is just squashed-down anger? I released the anger. I thought I was "cured." Then, several days later, I realized . . . I was still in love with him.

Inside me, nothing had budged. There was still that deflated, empty feeling in every vein in my body. No sleep. No hunger. By nature, weren't poets supposed to shoot themselves at this point? The days started to last about fifty hours.

Why couldn't I get rid of this? He still had all these pieces of me in his pocket and I wanted them back. Trying to pull that arrow out of my heart was killing me. When I tried to pull, my whole heart came with it. He still had it.

I had to do something to keep from going crazy. Again I steeled myself and called him. I would give him my friendship, I promised him. I'd give him anything. Everything. He was delighted. "We'll have a platonic relationship," he agreed. "It's the only way this will work."

I spoke to several of my friends. They all had the same advice: I had to either drop this man, or he'd kill me. "He's pure poison," one said. He changed his story constantly; he'd never been involved with a man before, so how would he know what to do? If Richard were now controlling him, it made perfect sense: wasn't that what "real" gay relationships were like?

I tried to make him see that perhaps going from a 20-odd-year marriage to hasty monogamy might be a mistake. He admitted he loved me. He was even somewhat "in love" with me, or at least the writer in me. But that was miles away from being "really" in love with me. He also admitted he was still attracted to me. He "got hard" when I was around, and for Richard's sake he had to "work hard against" this attraction all the time.

I felt like a monkey in a gunny sack. The more I tried to tear my way out of it, the more trapped I became. I kept asking myself the same question, how did this ever happen? I went from being happy, satisfied . . . to being blown apart in love.

Ever the professonal, Pete tried to "micro-manage" what might or might not happen between us, using a "careerist" template. He laid it out in several carefully plotted emails. I felt as if I were now simply an "option" that he was negotiating in an office situation, something he could bring in in the back pages of a contract.

I used to have this theory that gay men were like paramecium. Paramecium are these little one-celled creatures. In the middle of the cell they have these potent but tiny parts of themselves — what actually processes their energy — called the "mitochondrion." To extend their lives, paramecium swap mitochondrion back and forth all the time. Well, I had given Pete my mitochondrion . . . but got nothing back in return.

He still had it.

Finally, in the shower, after a particularly difficult day, I had this epiphany: instead of hating being in love with Pete and trying desperately to reject it, I would embrace this love. In other words, I'd start to like this "poison," or whatever chemical it was, that was now controlling me. There had to be some chemical; it had to be hormonal. It couldn't simply be psychological. I couldn't shake it. No matter how I diced and sliced it, I was still back at square one: in love with Pete.

I would have to surrender myself to it: not easy for me. I had never done anything like this, to surrender my own self, my own volition, to a man who had almost no idea what I was going through. At some point, he told me, when he and Richard had "worked out their relationship, I don't know when this will be, I can promise you nothing really, Perry. But then I'd like to entertain the idea of a 'parallel' sexual relationship with you. That would delight me. But the whole thing would have to be up to Richard. I would have to gain his permission first."

I felt like an office temp: "We may have a position open for you, Mr. Brass, but don't count on it. The two principals involved have to decide this next important career move for you."

I was stuck now between fury and my own humiliating desolation. Hearing from him, his emails all in convoluted legalese, his phone conversations, were unbearable. The only thing worse was not hearing from him. I kept a journal of what was going on, reread it, tried to make sense of it. I hoped that at some point, I could work my way out of this maze of emotional torment.

I kept wondering: do straights go through this? Is this why they shoot their girlfriends and women poison their husbands? Is this falling in love business what runs the world? All the songs, the fashions, the clothes, the whole industry of attraction that we are now addicted to — does it all basically come down to what I was feeling? Total insecurity? Fear, anxiety, and pain?

I would love to give this story a nice little Barbara Cartland ending. Yes, Pete (with Richard's blessing) decided that a mature, "adult," satisfying relationship with me would be "delightful." My partner acquiesced to it, after all it did not really threaten him. (There was no way in hell I was going to live in the suburbs again, especially with a corporate lawyer.) And we all lived happily ever after.

We didn't.

I finally realized that the only way to stop this merry-go-round was to jump off it. I was now at a point where the only thing running through me — and holding that bloody arrow in — was pure rage. I saw Pete one last time and at the end we both knew it was over.

In a very lawyerly way, he offered to shake my hand. "I'm sorry," he said, "that I've inconvenienced you so." He had actually looked forward to this whole machinery working out: to placing me in his life exactly where he'd wanted me. It was sad. As he walked out, he looked nakedly deflated, suddenly every bit his own age and even older.

I shook my head. The whole thing still puzzles me. How had it happened? Maybe Romeo and Juliet understood it, but they were teenagers — certainly not in their fifties — but even better, Shakespeare must have. Because he was Romeo and Juliet. But, despite Hollywood and the Academy Awards, I know that his own love life was not nearly so glittering as theirs. He was a writer, like I am, but who did he really fall in love with? Romeo, Juliet, or some forbidden bit of William Shakespeare himself, waiting in the dark?
Perry Brass's newest book is Angel Lust, an erotic novel of time travel. He can be reached at His book How to Survive Your Own Gay Life, An Adult Guide to Sex, Love, and Relationships was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Gay and Lesbian Religion and Spirituality. The experience of falling in love has certainly taught him, as he suspected, that surviving your own gay life is a continuing process.

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