Friday, November 26, 2010

My Drama-Filled Thanksgiving

Hi blog. I know it's been a while. I haven't done much self-reflecting lately, but recent events require it.

I left Philly to spend Thanksgiving with my mentor, JG. He lives near Lincoln Park in DC. I was excited to get out of Philadelphia for a while to experience my favorite city. I had worked in DC in the summer of 2009 and fell in love with the city – the neighborhoods, the architecture, the professional culture, and the monuments – bliss lol. Once I arrived, JG abruptly informed me that his "husband" would be joining us. Husband? Wait? HOLD UP? JG and I haven't been as close as we were in the past, so I had no idea about this "husband".

I rode the Mega Bus down to DC Tuesday night. JG picked me up, and we headed out to pick up his "husband" Kenny. Now JG is educated, Ivy League and HBCU graduate. He has worked in government for the past 8 years, and now makes a handsome salary working as a point person on important national level projects. Career wise he has done very well for himself. Now Kenny … JG met Kenny in Atlanta in 2008, they had had some hard times then, and I assumed that JG had let him go. I was shocked to find out that not only had JG continued to date Kenny, but Kenny also moved up to DC. They weren't living together, yet they had built a relationship together. Kenny is from Florida, and works at Best Buy (no shade against people that those words describe, that is literally EVERYTHING I know about Kenny). My first impression of him was that he had been through something. You know when you meet some people and they just appear shell-shocked? Well Kenny appeared far gone. Frankly, I was surprised and disappointed that JG was dating HIM. In a later discussion, he told me "back2life, I'm tired. I have spent my adult life working HARD to get to where I am. And nobody ever notices. I want somebody for myself." Well, who am I to judge?

So Wednesday went well, JG started cooking for tomorrow's dinner that night. Thanksgiving morning, apparently they had had an argument, and I could sense a lot of tension between JG and Kenny. JG had texted me to talk to Kenny, who then proceeded to try and leave. I talked to Kenny, not to reason with him, but just small talk to ease the tension, and it did. They finished the rest of the cooking for the day, and we ate with a pretty good vibe between all. After we were all sufficiently full, JG, still somewhat mad at Kenny, was going to drop him off at home, and come back. When he returned, he had this look of despair and trouble in his face.

Kenny and JG got into altercation in the car, with Kenny attempting to open the passenger door and go out into traffic. James wanted Kenny to get out, but not like that. He managed to keep him in the car until he rode up to his house. They continued to argue and Kenny then put his finger in JG's face and said he wasn't leaving the car. JG then opens the passenger door and grabs Kenny by the throat demanding that he leave the car, and Kenny obliged him. I heard this story through tears as JG struggled to tell me how their relationship had been his emotional hell over the past two years. For him, Kenny continually complained of his miserable new DC life and seemed unable to find any direction or "fresh start" here. JG was tired. He had yet to break into the socially stratified DC scene, particularly for black gay men. His loneliness and sense of low self-worth compelled him (in his words) to tolerate Kenny, neglecting work and other personal goals to attempt to attend to his needs. He didn't tell me the full story, but I understood that my initial misgivings about Kenny were not unfounded.

Later that night, I was downstairs at JG's house watching "The Beyonce Experience," and there was a ring at the door, then loud knocks. Kenny, in a rage, angrily demanded that JG "bring his faggot ass outside. Be a man ..." and loads more I dare not repeat. JG is on the phone talking to … somebody and I am now started to get scared. Then Kenny runs to the side of the house and is banging on the kitchen window. At this point, I'm freaked out, I put my shoes on, grab my coat. I'm texting SIXTYNINE at this time, and he's like "Get out of there," which I do consider, but I did not want to leave JG in such a pass (although, I admittedly would not be much help from a fighting stand point) Then Kenny strangely walks off down the street. At this point, I'm confused, nervous, and I agree with JG that he should call the police. Strangely enough, Kenny returns and starts banging on the door again, and the cops arrive in time to ward him off. The officer takes JG's information, and she gives him a big hug and says "you are worth more than this."

To keep it short: JG made a BAD choice. I understand that he has worked hard in his career to get to this point, but he finds himself lacking in the social life department (as I often find myself). Kenny, although unmatched to JG in aspiration and background, helped JG fulfill a void in his life – a boo. So many gay men are in search of the elusive boo. We want him to be the internet ideal, you know, like those likely straight models whose pictures we all swoon over online or those boys when know from work, school or just around that seem to have it all. Although JG is older than me, I don't think he has left this ideal behind yet. And I think he fell so far from what he wanted and deserved that he settled for someone that, education and background aside, was a socially and mentally deficient person. Kenny knew that JG was his superior in more ways than one, and JG did too. How you can date somebody for a year and not trust to bring them in your own house is beyond me, but JG DID.

I haven't fully analyzed what happened here, but I do know that JG provides a good example for me on what not to do. JG is an awesome guy in my opinion, and it was painful for me to see him go through this traumatic situation and break down and cry before the police and myself. I hope it doesn't come to that for me. I aspire to have fulfilling, honest relationships with people that are mentally stable and trustworthy. I just have yet to find many examples of well-adjusted older gay men … particularly BLACK gay men.


  1. And it will take some more digging for you to find some because there aren't very many well adjusted black gay men out there. JG sounds like every other person I've come across who's willing to sacrifice their own happiness in order to have someone (or at least to say that they do). A lot of people would rather be miserable than be alone. It's a good assessment to look at him as what NOT to do. But its tough when a lot of what you come across looks like that. It is true though that a lot of us are looking for the perfect men we see pictures of because they really do exist. But rather than pay attention to the red flags along the way, we rationalize and often normalize their bad behavior. Good men are out there, yes, but they often to end up with OTHER good men.

  2. This is so sad, and indeed we can all hope that we don't find ourselves in such a place as your pal.

    I hope he gets better.

  3. Word, my dude. Keep in mind that there are stable men out there, they are just seldom heard from of heard of. I like how you said that your friend is still holding on to the internet ideal of a man, and that's not reality. We (me, you, and others) often feel like we may never get that exclusivity with the right guy, so we may settle for whomever gives us a nice compliment. I've been there, but I realized that when your intentions come a from a genuine place, you'll know the right guy when he comes along.

    Aside from what you homies may say about him, especially if he doesn't meet that internet ideal, as long as he's good for you, that's all that matters. You never want to get in something that's always an emotional tug of war. It's cute and thrilling at first - because of the makeups - but after a while, your focus will shift. Upliftment and love are the key things needed. You should be able to exist independently as far as achieving desired goals, but come together in that time of love and support.

    I want this, but it's a process. Dude, I could've been boo'd up wit some ThugBait wannabe, but that's not my style nor my goal for true love. Never go for broke when you're down. I hate that happened to your friend, but as cliche' as it is, self love's gotta be there before he tries to attain coexisting type of intimate love.

    Glad you posted . . .

  4. I've met many men like your friend and it is SO sad that weren't able to find balance in their lives...I hope he finds someone wonderful to share his life with.