What I Want

July 3, 2008

Published in the January 1, 2008 edition of QSaltLake.

“Why yes, yes, I am. And I hope you are, too.” At least, that’s what I wish my response would have been when someone said, “Oh, you’re one of those picky bitches, aren’t you?” Sometimes people ask what my type is or why I’m single. “Why” questions, in general, are often self-defeating. As for what I look for in a guy, well, that one is simply a difficult question. Let me explain: Imagine that each letter of the alphabet is a character trait, physical feature, life goal or direction, etc. You have to realize that nobody is going to be every letter of the alphabet to you. Some people might be letters G-M, which happen to be what you’re looking for physically, but they may be missing letters A-F, which are all the positive character traits you want in a partner. Any person could be any combination of what you’re seeking. But which letters of your ideal relationship are most important to you and which can you live without? 

Life is about compromise, balance and work: What do you compromise on? How do you maintain balance? And how much work are you willing to put forth in any one aspect of your existence? 

I have to be honest, when it comes to gay relationships, I haven’t seen too much that I really want to emulate. That doesn’t necessarily say anything negative about the gay relationships I’ve encountered and become familiar with, they’re just not the kind of relationship I hope to be in someday. It doesn’t mean they’re bad or not as good as what I want, they’re just different from what I’m seeking. I feel that knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want. 

When I was a young Mormon boy, I dreamed of getting married and having a family, although I never spent too much time imagining my wife – that was one detail I left rather fuzzy. When I came out, I reevaluated the dreams and desires my religious upbringing had instilled in me. I asked myself what I really wanted for my life and what I felt was really possible in my future. 

One of the conclusions I came to was that I do want children. Not because God commanded that we should multiply and replenish the earth, but because I think I’d be a good dad. Also, I feel having children is an unparalleled human experience that anyone is lucky to have. 

I also decided that I still want a committed, monogamous relationship. Not because society frowns on less traditional relationships. But because everything I’ve learned from observation, personal experience and formal education on the subject leads me to believe that this is the type of relationship that will bring me the most happiness and fulfillment. Also, I don’t share well. 

Some of the most difficult things for me to verbalize are what I’m attracted to physically. But I can tell you this: I look at the chiseled, hairless, model type of man the same way I used to look at the cadavers in my college anatomy class. They’re interesting, sometimes you want to lean in for a better look, and they can make you marvel at the human form, but I don’t want to touch them. 

I believe that if I pull myself together and get my life on track, that if I take care of myself, then I will in turn be able to recognize someone who also loved himself enough, and valued his life enough, to have done the same. Someone with whom I can live happily ever after because we worked for our happily ever after every day we were together, and a good number of our days before we met. 

And what if I never meet a person with whom I can live happily ever after? Well, I’ll still be in a good place, because either way I found myself first. 

But I’m not telling you any of this because I think you actually care what I want. I’m telling you this because I know what it feels like to wonder if you will ever find what you want. It’s a discouraging thing to know that and be unable to find it, especially when so many of the people around you don’t seem to have the same problem. I shared what I want and have not yet found, because I believe that every human being seeks validation for his or her feelings – validation that is often found when realizing that others have felt what you’re feeling, feared what you fear, and found joy despite it all.

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