Thursday, November 10, 2005

Attraction

This seems to be the theme of the day within my little blog network, so now that it's on my mind too, I'll go ahead and continue the trend.

Outside of my involvement with ex-gay ministries, I've never had a place in any of my Christian circles where I could talk honestly about my attractions. And even within ex-gay contexts, you only talk about your attractions so that you can psychoanalyze them and uncover your underlying brokenness (apparently homosexuals are nothing more than walking bundles of pathological dysfunction). Any feelings I experience for another guy, according to the literature, are all rooted in either envy or narcissism, and can never amount to anything deeper than base lust.

It was quite a surprise then, as I began honestly examining myself, to discover that my attractions ran far deeper than mere surface impressions, and that ultimately I was drawn to the whole person and not just to his looks or to particular traits that I envied.

One of the common ex-gay myths is that once you start to get to know a guy, any physical attraction you feel for him will fade away. Sure, it works sometimes, just as a heterosexual guy will sometimes find that there's no spark beneath the initial 'zing' that he felt for that pretty girl at the other end of the bar. Other times, though, getting to know a guy only intensifies my feelings for him. Looking back over my life I can think of several instances where getting to know an attractive guy only made me fall in love with him all the more. And I can think of several other times where I developed an attraction to a friend I hadn't initially thought of in that way.

Not that I would have ever in a million years told them, of course. Even with my straight friends that I'm not attracted to, talking about those feelings in more than the broadest and vaguest terms is simply out of the question.

At work there's a guy who can turn me into a puddle with a single glance. Our offices are far enough apart that we don't cross paths very often (a fact that leaves me with very mixed feelings), but I thought he was incredibly cute even before I found out what a nice guy he is. Whenever we do cross paths he's always friendly, and when he smiles at me my heart practically bursts from wanting to tell him just how beautiful I think he is.

Of course, even if there were a reasonable chance that he would take that revelation well, there are some things you simply don't say in the workplace regardless of your orientation. Out of respect for him I never let my thoughts about him turn to fantasy of any sort, but all the same I find myself putting off errands that would take me too close to his office.

I suppose it's asking too much to expect that most churches will ever become safe havens where people can talk honestly about such unspeakable things. But hope springs eternal all the same...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my God. Can it be? Josh has finally found a couple minutes to look over your blog! So much you have shared-little overwhelmed. I will say I identify a lot with what you've shared on this blog. I have seen attractions come and go, even very presently, in the group that we are both part of-and even outside of that. I'm not that worried about them-and usually press into those attractions to find what there is. Not really intense attractions... And I've thought also...what would I do if a man expressed romantic intentions to ME? I have already discussed with you where I stand on this issue for me personally...but it sure makes me wonder. Would I comprimise my decision? Don't know. Lot's of questions... I get you...sorry if I'm not responding too well, just sharing out of what's first in my heart. You have my affection and friendship, Josh

Mark said...

There are churches where that's possible. Just sayin'

I used to be of the mind that if I got to know someone, the attraction would go away.

Then I fell in love with someone and had an affair behind my wife's back. Kinda blew that strategy for good.

E said...

There are churches where that's possible. Just sayin'

Yes, but very few of them are evangelical, unless you count emergent/postmodern congregations - and even there you have to proceed with some caution.

Mark said...

Don't I know it. I'm in one of those and it *is* an interesting journey.

Liadan said...

I can sympathize with the ambivalence over the attraction thing. I currently have a mad crush on a girl I know is both straight and taken, and while seeing her or talking to her makes me happy, it's depressing at the same time.

I also find it difficult to discuss my attractions to either my male or female friends; the female (largely straight) friends can sympathize with the emotional abstractions but not the physical side, with straight male friends being the exact opposite. Ultimately I'd like to find gay or bi female friends just to TALK to, but then there's *that* possibility. Y'just can't win.