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For years I was convinced that somethings wrong with me, simply because I have always been caring and nurturing, a quality often associated with femininity or male homosexuality.
My story starts long ago, during the days of my youth. As long as I can remember, and possibly as far back as any one of my lifelong friends can recount, I have always been extremely open-minded, easy-going, accepting, caring, and nurturing. Such qualities the majority of my friends, who also happen to be female, also possess.
When I was younger, and well into my adulthood, I was the ultimate keeper of secrets; all of my friends confided in me their deepest, darkest, and scariest of secrets, their fears, and their insecurities in search of acceptance and caring. I never judged any of my friends, regardless of the things they tried to hide from the world. Instead, I maintained a completely open mind, and showed my support, love, and caring, regardless of circumstance.
Throughout grade school, summer camp, and eventually high school, I was always rejected by the girls I found attractive. The one exception was Allegra, whom I was deeply attracted to at age 16. She was my first love, and for a few years, we maintained a long distance relationship, but she was too immature to fully understand the concept of what a relationship was, and I think that her goal was simply to see how long she could keep me interested in her.
I clearly remember one summer, asking out Laura, a very good friend of mine; we had been very close friends since childhood. She declined, stating that we were too close as friends, and that she knew that I was not right for her. After sensing my disappointment, she gave me a hug and told me that some day, I would meet a woman who would be perfect for me. At the time, I thought that she was right for me, but I realize now that she and I would never have worked out if we were in a romantic relationship.
The following summer, I met Gayle, who was about the same age as me, and at the time, she was everything that I looked for in a potential romantic relationship. We were both camp counselors at summer camp, and we worked together on a regular basis in several different capacities. I remember giving her all the signs of being interested during the summer months, and I remember she was always nice and friendly, and never seemed nervous about being alone with me. After spending almost the entire summer sending out signals of being romantically interested in her, and getting no response, I finally resorted to formally asking her out.
To this day, I am still haunted by her reaction. Gayle at first was surprised that I was indeed interested in her, romantically. She said that all summer long she thought that I too might be the right type for her, but she hesitated getting involved romantically because she was convinced that men like me who were caring, sensitive, nurturing, and had feelings were homosexual, and therefore, not interested in a romantic relationship with a woman.
When I told Gayle that I was completely heterosexual, and deeply attracted to women, she was shocked. Her explanation was that men like me simply do not exist. It was at that particular time that I was convinced that somethings wrong with me.
The experiences I had with the constant rejection from the opposite sex due to my caring personality sent me into a deep depression. I questioned why women always thought of me as being not their type, or simply homosexual. In modern society, it is a common misconception that just because a man is caring, nurturing, accepting, and a good listener that he is homosexual. The truth is that while the majority of men are too caught-up in showing how masculine they are, and proving that they are, “real men”, they do everything they can to hide and/or suppress their feelings.
I know from experience that many of my homosexual male friends seem to have caring, understanding, nurturing, and supportive traits, but not all of them possess these qualities. Generalization and stereotyping of people and personality traits leads to confusion, misunderstanding, and sometimes even pain and depression. Moreover, I have noticed over the years that a lot of girls seek out boyfriends who treat them poorly, and avoid the caring, nurturing types like myself who are seeking a long-term, meaningful relationship.
I sought the advice of another very close friend of mine, named Elena. She suggested that I have a fling of sorts as a test to see if I was indeed interested in seeking a romantic relationship with a woman, even if the relationship was nothing more than a sexual experience. So, at age 20, I asked a good friend of mine for her help and advice. We were good friends, and after knowing her for a few years, I ended up losing my virginity to her. It was an experience that completely changed my outlook on life, relationships, and pretty much everything.
The header image is a stock photo. All the asides for this post are from Thought Catalog; a fantastic go-to blog I often rely on for enlightenment, entertainment, and inspiration.
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