The July issue of Instinct Magazine (on newsstands only, not online) includes a piece titled “Meet The World’s Most Boring Homo,” by Parker Ray. It opens:
For the fourth Friday night in a row, Jack (not his real name) is curled up on his IKEAfied couch, in his apartment in a non-gay part of San Francisco, and just about to watch a New Release from Blockbuster. It’s a movie he’ll probably forget about the next day when he wakes up early — around eight a.m. — to take his dog, Theo, for a walk in the park just a few blocks over.
Jack is 30 and has made several changes over the past year — examining his life, looking beyond his assumptions and stereotypes about being gay, spending time alone, seeing a therapist.
Later in the article, Ray notes:
There were actually quite a few guys we could have included in this piece, most of them over 30, but some who had reached a “gay scene saturation point” by the ripe ol’ age of 27. They have all had some main things in common:
- They’ve bailed on many of their “party” pals, … finding people who would rather start their Saturdays at seven a.m. instead of getting home at that time…
- …[They] spend time with themselves … Jack took up painting … He also got a dog … and he takes a Spanish class … “I want to build a better ‘me,'” he says.
- Finally, this new wave of “boring homos” now have goals that extend beyond what they’ll be doing for the next three-day holiday weekend…
Jack’s story echoes themes from many ex-gay testimonies.
- He had defined much of his life on the basis of his orientation in his twenties, thriving on high-energy partying and competitive style-consciousness.
- He dabbled in relationship-play that proved inconducive to relationship-building.
- Some of his friends have been baffled by his change. “[E]very time I talked with one of my so-called friends about worrying about being by myself, their only suggestion was that I needed to get out more.”
- He’s finding it helpful to make new friends with whom he has common interests.
- He describes the changes in his life as a process, not an instantaneous conversion.
- Self-reflection is bringing his choices more in sync with his values and long-term goals.
In a broader sense, Jack’s story isn’t about his orientation at all. It’s simply about life. All of us are destined to reach points where we examine what is working and what is not. My grandparents did that when they uprooted themselves in the prime of their careers in order to live a more relaxed life. My mother sold her house, quit the teaching job, and went to Europe one summer after most of us kids were out of the nest. She spent that fall starting over, rebuilding the life she wanted in small steps.
Ex-gays often have genuine stories to tell, as well, about awakening to lives that no longer worked for them. It’s great to hear about folks figuring out what fits them better and making peace with themselves.
The challenge arises from those who choose to generalize their experience, proclaiming that their path is the right one for all gays and lesbians.
Conscious choices in the context of well-examined lives are a good thing, period. I respect folks who are willing to do the work of making peace with themselves. The labels — gay, ex-gay, straight, post-gay — may play roles in our individual processes, but they really don’t matter in the end.
As Jack says:
I went to Europe [for my summer vacation] and started to catch up on culture and living that I’d been missing out on. I’m getting to a point where, if I was a guy sizing me up for a relationship, I’d totally date myself.
Sounds like a pretty fine place to be.