Attentive readers will recall that a psychiatrist I consulted once, at 32 (because my, uh, attending psychotherapist wasn’t an MD, and unable to write me a prescription for Elavil), speculated that my depression owed to self-deception regarding my sexuality. He’d taken one look at me (this was in my traffic-stopping) days and decided I must in fact be gay. There was a good chance he was trying to hit on me, and also a pretty good chabce he wasn’t. I’m famous for being unable to tell. I went home to my long-suffering girlfriend and fucked her like Superman. How gay does that look, pal?
I think I might have had crushes on other boys as a child and adolescent, or maybe it was just that I so desperately wanted to be cool and athletic and self-assured — everything I was not. I never let on, and God knows those crushes, if crushes they were, barely nudged the needle in comparison to those I had on girls.
The guy who “discovered” me as a writer, and who went on to be the wise older brother I’d never had, and confidant, dear friend, and, after the breakup of my first serious adult relationship, saver of my life (he talked me down off the proverbial ledge) turned out to have been gay, and, I suspect a little bit in love with me. He had the grace never actually to say so.
The homosexual agenda (he said with tongue in cheek) became an ever more prominent feature of modern American life. Major (that is, adult) Girlfriend 2, pissed off at me for having had an (heterosexual!) affair, took to spending her nights at discos with gay friends. I, unspeakably, called her a fag hag. Shame on me.
I might have been stopping traffic, but gay men couldn’t have been less interested. Not a single one ever tried to lower the boom on me in those years. Women friends speculated that it was because I subtly exuded heterosexuality. I got a good (inward) laugh out of that. It actually wasn’t until 1985 that I first got propositioned — by the very good (and very handsome, as in early Clint Eastwood) friend who (with his wife) had taken me in after the breakup of my first marriage. I graciously declined. I’d thought we were out chasing skirts.
As noted, I was a product of my culture. In my benighted youth, I made and laughed at "fag" jokes. I like to imagine, though, that I made up for that a little bit when I interviewed Tweety Bird Loc for the famous unpublished gangsta rap piece I wrote for Playboy in 1992. Tweety was gigantic and scary, but at the moment I got wind of his being homophobic too, I got to my feet, and declared, “Interview over. I don’t talk to bigots.” He glowered at me and of course inferred that I must be gay myself, an inference of which I refused to disabuse him. If his slightly less benighted manager hadn’t calmed him down, I might not have survived to crow about my rare display of courage.