Bless my moho heart, it looks for love in all the wrong places. No, I'm not talking about seedy bars or sweaty nightclubs. Many of the kinds of traits and qualities I look for in crushables aren't necessarily discernible on a dance floor or in dimly lit smelly places. No, I crush on the "good guys". "Good guys? What's the problem with that?" you ask? I shall tell you: the problem is that the "good guys" I meet are typically active LDS guys, attractive, sometimes straight, and even when they aren't so very straight, they're bound and determined to live a church-centric lifestyle, meaning no same-sex funny business. That's all well and good. I mean, I'm not looking for that either. Stop raising your eyebrow at me. I'm not. I want "safety" unless/until I ever decide to be open to a "real" romantic relationship (not the kind where you're friends and crushing but it can't go anywhere so it gets all messy...maybe I'll post more about those later). The troubling part comes when I think, "What if I were looking? Would I find someone at all, considering the 'good LDS guys' wouldn't be an option? Or might my tastes change? Am I capable of being interested in anyone who's not a 'good LDS guy' and therefore completely unavailable?"
I also sometimes wonder, "What if I never decide to be open to a 'real' same-sex relationship and never meet a girl I'm interested in? Will I never allow romance in my life? Is nothing better than occasional, messy somethings?" Then I quickly shove that last wholly unhelpful, speculative thought aside as the nasty troublemaker it is. Back to the point...
You see, I know a girl in Utah who has similar questions. Having become basically agnostic, she's not so into the whole "church" thing anymore, so she has been dating outside of the church. A "good LDS guy" generally wouldn't want an apostate former-LDS girl. But as with many formerly LDS agnostic folks, this does not mean she wishes to revel in all manner of debauchery while bitterly scorning the church and all it stands for. She meets people through a variety of avenues, but she is struggling to find good guys outside of religious communities who aren't garishly self-absorbed, selfish, obnoxiously bitter towards the church, or otherwise primarily interested in sex and substance abuse. So she's tempted to go to church just so she can find someone who has retained some kind of moral foundation and selfless perspective but may be doubtful as she is about the whole "one true church" thing or maybe even the whole "God" thing.
In a way, I think I can identify with her dilemma because I, too, don't know where I'd meet someone, particularly a guy, if it weren't within LDS circles. And it wouldn't be, because if I were at that point, I certainly wouldn't want to waste my time messing around with conflicted LDS guys. How ironically twisted.
I know, intellectually, there are good, principled people outside of the LDS church and even outside of religion (I've always thought that if I weren't LDS, I don't know where my spiritual home, if any, would be). But finding them appears to be tricky (maybe the Unitarian Universalists or the American Humanist Association?). And finding gay ones seems even less probable. I mean, there's seemingly so much working against guys who are looking for stable, committed, long-term (e.g. longer than two years) relationships with other guys (and yes, I've talked to former-LDS and never-LDS gay guys about this who have observed the same). While I don't accept the notion that gay men are incapable of truly long-term, committed, monogamous relationships, as some seem to believe, those who practice such do seem to be a small minority. Whether that's a symptom of the emotional deficits purportedly causing homosexuality or the result of years of social stigma and cultural reinforcement is largely irrelevant: it's still seemingly rare! Gay society as a whole seems to have accepted "open relationships" as a normal, "healthy" form of committed relationship. Pardon me and my lack of sexual liberation, but I think an "open relationship" is generally a lazy, self-serving excuse for a relationship, but that's another post for another time (I have a lot of those).
Without any expectation of marriage and family, and until they start realizing they're too old to be hot stuff anymore, many guys seem more interested in getting around than getting intimate. Get a bunch of horny, young dudes dating among each other, and who's going to say, "Hey, you're not getting any of this without monogamous commitment, pal"? 'Cause there are thousands of hotter, younger, more sexually experienced dudes out there willing to just "have fun" and move on. Are the only guys who aren't uber-sluts simply too unattractive to pull it off? No, I suppose not because I'm told I'm not an ug-mo and I've never been an uber-slut, to my knowledge. So I guess they're out there, but the guys with the principles and standards I find attractive seem to be mostly in the church, where I wouldn't have any interest in finding them and dragging them away to the fiery depths of mohell. Nevertheless, while it's easier to eschew or set aside some objects of attraction with whom I suspect I don't share all that many values, it's a little harder to push away my crush on the really good, genuine guy in the ward.
And then you have the mohos bound to live moholy lives who "make mistakes" here and there before recommitting themselves to ultraconservativism (yay for repeated repentance!). I have a formerly LDS gay friend who once marveled at how much more action the "good LDS mohos" were getting than he, an out-and-looking gay guy got. I would assume most people looking for an actual relationship are not interested in being one of the moholy rollers' "slip-ups". Though I must admit every once in a while, I've met someone and thought, "Dang, I wouldn't mind slipping up with you." Oh, the unhealthy contortions of a moho's mind! But I don't really want that. I mean, who would ever want to knowingly get into a situation which is bound to end in an explosion of angst?
Some guys may be into the whole "flirt to convert (to living contrary to church policy)" thing, but I wouldn't be, for a couple of reasons:
Gosh, realizing the dead-endedness almost takes the fun out of crushy, flirty relationships with non-sexual benefits between active LDS guys.
Fortunately for me, I'm not on the market or looking for a relationship (despite desiring that kind of intimacy someday), so most of this is not entirely relevant. Perhaps that's why my moheart seems firmly locked right now except for occasionally crushing on these "safe" boys who will obviously not return the feelings. Or maybe I just am into guys who aren't into me. That'd be a sad indicator of my self-esteem. Or maybe I'm just afraid of a real relationship in general, so I focus on people who are certain to offer only passing fancies.
So here I am in this funky place, where I've had enough pseudo-romances to know I don't want to do that again anytime soon and have learned ways to avoid it (though I acknowledge it could still sneak up on me somehow, as it has in the past), but I'm also not wanting a "real" romance with anyone of either sex for various reasons. Yet even though I am not on the market, that doesn't mean I don't at least partly desire that kind of companionship, so my ol' heart just goes on crushing on these seemingly really good guys who are either straight or otherwise untouchable, and I get disappointed when I find out they have a girlfriend, even though I know I wouldn't want to pursue anything unless both of us were ready to really date and pursue the possibility of a relationship anyway. Go fig.
You might think, "You've questioned this a lot more than I would expect from someone who's totally sure what they want from life and who is committed to living church standards." And you'd probably be right. But there are other reasons for these questions, and when it comes right down to it, to stay in the church only because you believe a relationship of the sort you want would be highly unlikely anyway seems a rather half-hearted and hollow discipleship to me. When I see others questioning along these lines, I want to tell them a decision to pursue or be open to a same-sex romance shouldn't hinge on whether or not it's possible to find someone (a fairly flimsy hinge and decidedly beside the point) but on whether it's what you truly believe is the right thing to do. Not kept in check, questions such as these I've posed serve only as a distraction from the more important, central questions which I think require a touch more soul-searching than, "Gosh, is Mr. Right even out there, and how could I find him?"