28 August 2008

Eagerness of Youth

"A great thing about being single is that a great new relationship may be right around the corner..."
- High Council Speaker, last Sunday's sacrament meeting

Ah, yes, it's that time of year again. As I checked out at the local grocery store this evening, it began to really set in. The palpable energy of youthful vigor has returned with the students of local universities and colleges eagerly purchasing supplies and food for their new apartments and gearing up for another (or their first) semester of classes and activities and of course the bright-eyed animation of wholesome romantic interest leading to wholesome romantic make-out.

What jogged this nostalgic reflection was the almost adorably eager conversation between a fresh-looking young man and a fresh-looking young woman as he bagged her goods. Now, I've been out of college for a while but not so long that I've forgotten the beautiful rush-week energy of innocent romance mingling with pressure-cooker sexual tension. But as I watched these eager youngsters, I couldn't help but feel that I'd missed out on something in my youth by not experiencing that as most people do. Everyone has these things they feel they missed out on. For some, it might be growing up in the same place their whole youth or having family traditions. For others, it's happiness or health or other frivolities. But this one is what we're talking about now because it's my blog and I'll whine like a baby when I want to.

New semesters were exciting: meeting new roommates, going to a new ward full of fresh faces and new friendships, settling into a new apartment, going to the first classes and meeting new professors... And I kind of experienced the romantic thing. I used to joke about each year's "fresh shipment". But somehow, looking back with what I know now, what I've experienced, I realize that it was different for me. I only experienced a portion of twitterpation, not full-on twitterpation. I felt flirty with a very few girls, and that was fun. But it was never "hold me back or I'm going to do something that will land me in the bishop's office and I'm gonna like it." Um...OK, this sounds really shallow. It's not just that.

There's something so stinkin' adorable about the youthful romantic spark. The eagerness, the animation, the hearts aflutter, the bright eyes. I think most people would look with "aw" at such cute interactions, so long as their hands remain in clearly non-petting positions and they don't make suicide pacts over their newfound "love". But when I've experienced that how I imagine most people probably experience it, it's been with decidedly non-female people. I know plenty of BYU students who seem to have no qualms about same-sexing it up (at least in the shadows away from the watchful gaze of the Honor Code Gestapo), but I never felt so inclined to freely engage in twitterpative same-sex activity, even at a non-church school, due to this whole doctrinal belief conflict thing. And if I had done so, most people in my life would have looked at that with some degree of consternation, including myself. It's unnatural. It thwarts eternal destiny and causes the destruction of civilization and makes Aunt Bertha turn in her grave. Dang. That's not cute at all.

No, I didn't eagerly await each new "fresh shipment". For me, the arrival of new students meant a fresh shipment of guys, a newly energetic and virile bunch of hormonal geysers to resist casting in starring roles in my impure thoughts (which would be quickly replaced by the hymns of Zion). I quietly bit my lip day by day as I watched the fresh, tight-bodied new freshman guys throw footballs shirtless all over campus as I tried to quell this queer compulsion to admire their sweaty bods, thus avoiding the accusatory glares which would surely have shot back, while the guy next to me openly admired the beauty of the curvy girls sunning themselves in kitschy splendor, returned by flattered glances which affirmed his masculinity. Each new school year was another time to maintain complete composure when meeting really attractive, nice guys, to force myself to keep my eyes from wandering while walking past the frat houses on sweltering days, and to meet yet more great girls I knew I should be more interested in but somehow...who's the new guy over there? No, stop it: eternal companions have longer hair and more cleavage.

So if you catch me at the checkout stand looking a bit wistfully at the clean-cut, wholesome young romance budding before my eyes, now you know that it's probably just a tender appreciation for the sweet expression of young love and not some ephebophilic fantasy involving the nice young lad. ...though I make no promises if he's irresistably hot and obviously over 18. I'm just sayin'. But for your sanity, just assume it's the former, pinch me if I start to look lost in fantasy, and we'll move on pretending nothing ever happened.

Something in the Air

Sometimes, it feels like this is happening all around me. And it's a little scary. Be wary, my mohomies. It could happen to you.

27 August 2008

19 August 2008

Don't Feed Me Lines

Another beef: when I hear some people (especially of the Evergreen, JIM, Exodus, etc variety) claiming that they don't think everyone can or should "change" or get married, I really question it. What I often hear is, "No, not everyone can or should because many of them don't want it enough or aren't willing to do what it takes. Not everyone should get married because they don't want to get married, and it would be a disaster if they did so just because they're supposed to." The subtext is, "But IF someone wants it badly enough and does it for the right reasons and is willing to put the time and energy into the process, yes, they can and should diminish their homosexuality, magnify their heterosexuality, and marry and have children, thereby filling the measure of their creation."

Similar to seeing through the "tolerance" speech of gay activists, in which "tolerance" often means embracing and affirming and cheering, many also see through the tolerant rhetoric of opponents of homosexual living. There seem to be few (though I believe there ARE a few) who fully mean what they're saying and can defend it when questioned or examined.

I mean, whether you stay single or find a same-sex partner, your eternal destiny as a sealed husband and father and your covenant right to the highest order of the Celestial Kingdom are forfeit for this life, at least. You've been defeated, at least for now, by this condition which has perverted your natural affection for members of the opposite gender. When you get very technical about it, that's the doctrinally logical conclusion, isn't it?

Or is the gospel a little more nuanced and liberal than that? Can it be? Is there room for grey? And if so, how many people truly see it that way and are fully honest when they say they don't think you have to change as long as you live the gospel principles the best you can? Or how many are giving the politically correct speech to appease the masses? How many are saying it ignoring the doctrinal framework that requires the union of man and woman for greatest progress and glory, let alone the nuances that may allow for some exceptions?

Maybe it doesn't matter. But it still bugs.

So don't feed me lines to appease.

Innate and Immutable?

I have a major problem with the insistence that homosexuality is never changeable. Those who say so often entrench themselves in the stance to defend themselves and others. They think that somehow, if they insist vehemently enough that they didn't choose to be this way AND they cannot possibly be any other way, then they will be more respected, more accepted, more tolerated, more legally just. They often belittle and scorn the efforts of others to find the ability to happily function in the heterosexual lifestyle they envision as being the best long-term solution for themselves. They seem somehow threatened by the fact that there are homosexual people living apparently happily lives with their opposite-sex spouses and their children. The existence of such people somehow undermines their agenda to gain credibility and acceptance in society. They seem hellbent on discrediting those who dare to challenge and defy paradigms even while decrying the closed-minded conservativism of their supposed philosophical opponents.

I also have a major problem with the insistence that homosexuality is always changeable. Many think that because they feel a diminished drive to get it on with every person of the same sex and an increased curiosity about the opposite sex, everyone else can and should become "straight" like them. My skepticism is oozing quite deliberately here. It's because many of the people I've known who are most adamant about homosexuality being changeable are also very recently "converted" and often "backslide" or later say they weren't as converted as they thought. Others stay "converted" but are expending so much energy in their lives to maintain their hetero- functionality that most people who see what they're doing would not want to live that way at all. There may be some who claim to be completely "changed" and insist they never thought they could be either, but I've observed that most of those who so proclaim are also inextricably financially and/or religiously invested in maintaining that stance. Often, their entire reputation hinges on this unquantified insistence that they have changed from homosexual to heterosexual, something nobody can prove or disprove. I am, nevertheless, disinclined to insist they're not being truthful. I believe some of them are being quite truthful.

Look at me painting the groups in broad strokes and using "they" and "their" incessantly. It just feels that way a lot of the time. Like there's not really a middle ground, and those who sound moderate only sound so until you get to know them better, and it seems like they're just putting on facades of moderation to win more people over to their hidden extreme. Boo.

What do I think, then? Is homosexuality innate and immutable? Can a person go from homosexual to heterosexual, or vice versa? I don't know, and I frankly don't care much. I'm bored with and tired of the debate. I just think change/reorientation/conversion may be possible in at least some cases. Choices are most definitely changeable. Lifestyle is undoubtedly chosen. Attractions of a sexual or romantic nature can be directed in various ways, healthy or otherwise, and may be more fluid than many of us would care to admit, given enough desire to explore that fluidity. I mean, if some people learn to "love" farm animals, I can certainly be open to giving women a fair chance in the romantic/sexual arena. *tongue firmly in cheek*

03 August 2008

Moho Dating Site

You heard me. Saw me. Whatever. Yes, possibly my favorite Google search yet. Somebody recently found my blog by Googling "MOHO dating site," and I had a good chuckle about it. My roommate, the wise@#$ that he is, said, "Did you tell them it's called North Star?" Nice.

I can only imagine what a moho dating site would look like...and I'd rather not imagine it. Talk about awkward.

That's all.