Snapshot: Two Friendly Servicemen (for Bob Young)

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    Let me say, first, that i know nothing of these two fellows, and do not know what their relationship was. They seem quite friendly. Isn't that enough?

    But allow me, if you will, to use this occasion for a bit of personal reminiscence. As a boy, and as a young man, I got hit on a lot, or at least a fair amount, by other men. I'd like to think that was because I was at least a little bit good-looking, but I'll let other people be the judge. Oftentimes, those encounters were less than pleasant. It was often dark, late at night, in a park, or at the bus station, or i was hitch-hiking. Alone. Perhaps vulnerable (perhaps more exposed than I knew, or care to think about now). I was determined to reject such advances (which sometimes were crudely expressed), but I didn't understand why they were directed at me. I don't think my response was ever inappropriate or overtly homophobic, but i won't say the encounters weren't very troubling. Why were other men attracted to me, I wondered? Why, when what i wanted was (well, there's a word for it), why weren't girls, of all shapes and sizes, throwing themselves at my feet, and making themselves completely available. I had a girlfriend, a very pretty, bright, industrious young thing, but she was, ahem, incompletely available.

    But anyway, I would say that my repressed homophobia persisted well into adulthood. It only began to wane when I learned that one of my very good friends was rather flagrantly, and vocally, bisexual, and i met other people, men mostly, who were gay, out, and rather likeable fellows. In a word, like everybody else.

    So now, at this point in my life, i feel like i've arrived at a place much closer to where God intended me to be. Tolerant. Accepting. Nay, Celebrating. Love is love, folks, as somebody said on here the other day. If your hearts are not completely open, open them a little wider. We all can do that.

    I am so glad that I bought this photograph. I've had it for a long time. I guess I was just waiting for the right time to post it. The one guy looks like that actor on Spin and Marty, if you remember that long ago Disney serial from the Mickey Mouse Club.

    cheers. johnny

    fivedollarmilkshakes, Randy Heinitz, and 10 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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    1. bootpainter 74 months ago | reply

      John Van Noate generalizing is seldom helpful, no matter who we're talking about, agreed.You are "objecting", and yet I don't think I read any accusation as being levelled at you.
      Final comment (from me at any rate) on subject of homosexuality, and prevalence of same: a long time ago, a gay man said to me"only the good-looking guys think this city is' full of homosexuals'..the ugly ones just don't think there are any gay men in Edinburgh!"

    2. Mrs Inman [deleted] 74 months ago | reply

      I always enjoy listening to those who are not try to analyze those who are.

    3. bootpainter 74 months ago | reply

      Mrs Inman I wouldn't have the temerity to try to analyze anyone. That statement hold true for artists and no doubt all manner of other subdivisions of the human race, as much as it holds true for sexual politics, no?

    4. Mrs Inman [deleted] 74 months ago | reply

      bootpainter Very true. The saying about walking a mile in someone else's shoes is something we all should think about more often.

    5. bootpainter 74 months ago | reply

      Mrs Inman As long as nobody wants me to walk in high heels for longer than a few short steps..the last time I did, I fell over and I think maybe cracked a rib..(you are allowed to laugh.)

    6. Mrs Inman [deleted] 74 months ago | reply

      bootpainter I'm glad you didn't break an ankle. Truth be told...I would have laughed...under my breath to be polite though. ^_^

    7. bootpainter 74 months ago | reply

      I didn't fall in the cracking-an-ankle way..I fell over in a breaking-my-fall-with -my -ribcage way.It was indoors, so it could have been worse. I laughed myself, because it was my own stupid fault.
      Your politeness is appreciated ; )

    8. boobob92 74 months ago | reply

      Thank you, John, for sharing this photo! I’ve been out all day and it was wonderful to log-on to flickr when I got home and find it waiting for me. Thanks, also, for the candid, insightful, and honest post accompanying the image.

      Bob Young

    9. mrwaterslide 74 months ago | reply

      Bob Young gave me great pleasure to write this. Rita glad you not talking about me. i think i'll make myself a cup of cocoa. if i can just get to the kitchen in my highheels without breaking an ankle. Mrs Inman and bootpainter/

    10. sctatepdx 74 months ago | reply

      I don't remember ever feeling that homosexuality was wrong. My two best friends in high school and the following years were gay. One of them was Lance Loud, who some of you might remember from the 12 part series, An American Family, which aired on PBS in 1973. It's often said that Lance was the first person to come out on television, but everybody who knew Lance was completely aware years earlier, as he was very open about it. The other was Kristian Hoffman, an artist and musician. Here is a link to a video by Kristian and Rufus Wainwright about Matthew Shepard who was tortured and murdered for being gay. Lance and Kristian taught me so very much and were huge influences in my life and opened my mind to many new ideas.

    11. Typhanie 74 months ago | reply

      I'm fortunate not to have the kinds of looks required to be hit on all the time, but I've heard some horror stories from friends. Sounds like it would not be pleasant, no matter the gender. Especially if you are in a situation where you are particularly vulnerable, or the person was particularly persistent/crude.

      I don't even know how you hitchhiked. I can't even imagine it, considering how dangerous it is. (Also, it's been illegal as long as I've known what hitchhiking was.)

    12. mrwaterslide 74 months ago | reply

      most of the men on my mother's side of the family, her brothers, hitch-hiked. my stepbrothers had cars. but i never really thought anything about it. my girlfriend went to school in Athens, Ohio, which was a hard place to get to from where I lived, hitch-hiking, but i went down there several times. i had read In Cold Blood, literally the instant it showed up in the mail box (we subscribed to The New Yorker, and, if I remember correctly, it arrived at our house on Saturday afternoons). I knew, even then, that because there had been this incident of violence in my family, that i was gruesomely attracted to that story of violence. But Dick and Perry (funny, and grotesque that I remember those murderers by their first names) were hitch-hikers who planned to kill (I wonder if that scene in that book (they are picked up by some black guy, and are going to kill him, but something happens to spare him) was inspiration for the Coen Brothers in "No Country For Old Men," and the character of Anton Chigurh), and I was a rather benign hitch-hiker. I wasn't going to kill anybody. I was scared a few times, but that was part of the deal. The great stories I heard (like the salesman who told me that he put 300,000 miles on his last car, all road miles, kept the car in good condition, and then, when he sold it, reversed the odomotor, took a hundred thousand miles off, and sold it as a car with 200,000 miles) more than made up for any fears I might have had. I learned a great deal about people, hitchhiking. It was a risk, but it paid rich dividends. It is sad that now it is a risk one can not take, because of the laws, and because so few people will pick you up.

    13. bootpainter 74 months ago | reply

      John Van Noate Typhanie Richmond I hitchhiked in France when I was in my late teens.Now, I would have my blood run cold if either of my kids hitchhiked..

    14. Typhanie 74 months ago | reply

      I have been known to stop and pick people up if they are next to a broken down car, or if I have someone else in my car with me. I tend to just pick up women, though, unless my brother is with me. It's exercising a little caution. But usually the people I stop for look like they really need help, not just hoofing it to the store or something.

    15. bootpainter 74 months ago | reply

      Once I was working as an au pair for a (creepy , now I think of it) couple of Opticians, who lived with their two massive dogs,(no kids) in a big detached house, on a hill above the motorway.Late one night.. there was a knock at the door.the dogs were going nuts.I was told to answer the door, and it was a lone woman, whose car radiator had boiled dry..she had climbed a very steep embankment from the motorway, seeing the lights of the house.She was dressed for an evening out.This is before mobile phones existed..She asked if I could fill a bottle with water for her, so she could get her car started again.I would have happily helped... but just then my "boss" shouted downstairs for me to tell her to go away, they were fed up with drivers whose cars had broken down bothering them. I quit the job not long after, and got the bus back to my parents' house.Horrid people.

    16. Typhanie 74 months ago | reply

      bootpainter They wouldn't let you fill a bottle of water for her? Man that's cold!

      Wait, how did the au pair gig work with no kids?

    17. bootpainter 74 months ago | reply

      I walked the dogs twice daily..and did housework.I house -sat and granny- sat (his mother)when they went on holiday.They were two of the people I'd start with if they were still alive when I embark on my (imaginary) slaughter of "people who ought to be put down."
      Really, though,I suspect they must surely be long gone, just looking at the arithmetic.
      They proved conclusively that wealth alone does not make people happy.

    18. Typhanie 74 months ago | reply

      Does not sound like a fun job.

    19. bootpainter 74 months ago | reply

      You live and learn...mainly which jobs to avoid.

    20. riki 86 - staying after all. you lot are too nice [deleted] 73 months ago | reply

      your stories are the best, John. good een.

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