Sometimes the Gay Community Is Hardest On Itself

I am gay; no secret. I’m out to my family, friends, in my community where I live and volunteer, and where I work. I consider myself a masculine gay man. My voice sounds like any other adult male. I carry myself that way. I wear boots (always) and prefer jeans, t-shirts, and when it’s cooler, wearing leather. I ride a motorcycle. I build things. But I don’t care for sports … or women (sexually), though I have many female friends.

There are other gay men who behave differently from me. That’s fine; everyone is different. Some are more effeminate sounding. Some dress in fine suits and are clothes horses. Some like dancing and partying late into the night. Some are single, and some are not.

I am among the latter — as it says in my intro on this blog (to the right), I am monogamously partnered. I don’t hide the fact that I am partnered, and that I love my man (and he loves me).

But I have to say, sometimes the Gay Community, as ever it may be defined, is very hard on itself. There are some gay people who ridicule other gay guys for their looks, appearance, interests (fetish or otherwise), and behavior.

There are times when I have been subject to what may be defined as “hate speech” or “ignorant speech” from some men who are heterosexual. I do not often think of myself as a minority, but as a gay man, I am. So the discrimination and negativity directed at what other people do not understand and/or fear happens sometimes. I deal with it. But that’s one reason why my partner and I choose to live where we do, because our community, county, and state is generally more accepting and tolerant (compared with states such as Virginia where my partner once lived.)

But what seriously puzzles me is how hateful and catty the gay community can be. For example, I received an email the other day from a gay guy who likes boots but apparently, for whatever reason, doesn’t like me. I don’t even know the guy, but he took it upon himself to insult me. Well, as I have often said, “sticks and stones….”

Then I heard some gay guys making fun of another gay man because he wasn’t out. Yet they themselves live part-way in the closet.

Then there are the gay guys who have a partner, but then post photos of themselves and write with sexual innuendo implying … whatever … but to me, it is unfaithfulness. But because I don’t want to go down the road of being judgmental as some have been toward me, I have let it go. They do what they do, and I talk about my partner a lot. So be it. To each his own.

But there’s no need for gay people to attack other gay people through rude email messages, posts on internet forums, or talking behind backs (as word eventually gets back to the person being talked about) and spreading gossip or rumors. Some of these guys need to get a life. They may think they have a life, but if they have to resort to being rude and negative, then they have more growing up to do.

If the Gay Community expects heterosexual people to be fair, just, and let them live a decent life, then we must hold ourselves to the same standard.

John F. Kennedy said, “…civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof.”

It Felt Weird

Today is the Harley Owner’s Group’s “Million Mile Monday” where members are encouraged to ride — and ride alot — then enter their mileage on-line so that HOG can demonstrate how many miles members rode in one day. My chapter is sponsoring an exceptionally long ride today. Because I was out of the office almost all last week on travel, I couldn’t take a day off today for fun. Plus, riding over 400 miles in a day is not something I realistically can handle. My bike could handle it fine. My body could not. I know my limits. Plus, after a weekend of skydiving and floor laying, I am sore in places of my body that I didn’t know I had!

As I rolled my Harley out of the garage, I was seriously debating contributing some more miles than my usual daily ride in recognition of HOG’s MMM by riding to work. I usually ride to the local Metro station and hop on the train to get to work. Metro has reopened the entire red line, which I use, and thus I would be able to get to work using it. However… I among many still have residual uncomfortable feelings about Metro’s safety. But I also know that now more than ever, they are being exceptionally careful.

So I sat on my bike out in the driveway, watching the sun rise, and was having this big debate with myself. Do I want to try to find a place to park in the city? Would it be safe? Am I willing to deal with the traffic hassles, especially on my return commute? Should I show Metro support, and return to using it right away? Should I confront my anxiety head-on and return to my usual routine?

Well, I did the latter… and rode to the station, parked the bike, locked it up six ways from Sunday, covered it, and then walked to the platform.

I would say there were the usual number of riders. But none in the first car. I got on the second car, which was a 1,000-series train — the most notorious for being the oldest and least safe in the fleet. I began debating again, deciding whether I should switch cars, when that familiar recorded voice declared, “step back, doors are closing!” I took a seat, and began to read the daily free rag to see what the Resnubrikans were railing about today. (One of the daily free rags is ultra-conservative. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what they’re saying.)

The train slowly crawled out of the station, and moved more slow than usual down the tracks. I was facing forward, and could see that there were no passengers in the first car. Throughout the trip, I didn’t see anyone get on the first car.

As the train passed by the location where the wreck occurred a week ago today, it stopped, then crawled ever-so-slowly through the area, then picked up a little more speed and continued on its way.

I arrived safely at Union Station. But I have to admit that it felt weird. Should I have ridden the bike to work? Well, I made a different choice: face up to my apprehensions and try to return to my usual routine. So HOG will get only five miles from me for MMM today. That’s okay, I’m sure many others will make up much more of the difference.

Life is short: face your fears.

Both Work and Fun

Whenever possible, I at least try to build in a little “fun time” between “work time” on my busy weekends. So you are looking five hours’ progress on the project to lay hardwood flooring in our upstairs hallway. I started at 5am yesterday morning, and by 10, I was done with that project for the day.

I was drenched in sweat, so I took a shower. As I was drying myself, my best friend “AZ” called, and we chatted for a while about something important going on in his life. After completing the call, I changed into breeches with Dehner patrol boots — why not? I kinda like how they look together. I hopped on my Harley and went to visit with my aunt, then went to the grocery store to pick up a few things for one of her neighbors. Dropping off the items with a smile, I got back on the bike and rode home.

I got to thinking as I was riding along that no one anywhere said a think about the boots and breeches. Not my aunt, not her neighbors, and no one in the grocery store. (Though there was a guy following me in the store who had his eye on my boots, but didn’t say anything and didn’t follow me out of the store.)

When I got home, I realized that I had about an hour before my partner would return from his brief trip to visit his mother, so I created a fun little video and posted it on YouTube, which you can see below.

Life is short: have a little fun when the work is done!

Jumped at the Chance to Play Hookey

Yesterday, I was busy catching up on things at home after being gone almost a week on business travel. My partner is away visiting his mother, so I was tempted on such a sunny, beautiful day, to get out on my Harley and ride. Alas, my aunt required some attention, another elderly couple needed a cabinet repaired, and my usual Saturday routine of grocery shopping with the ladies wasn’t to be missed.

I got home about noon, and thought that the rest of the day would be spent working on our hallway renovation project. I promised my partner I would do that. So I got out all of the tools and materials, and began the job. Then the phone rang.

A buddy was calling saying that he was in a real spot. I had sold him my old parachute and he was getting it ready to go skydiving with some mutual friends, but something wasn’t right with my old ‘chute. He had worked himself up into a dither. He so desperately wanted to go skydiving, but if something were wrong with the ‘chute, then he would not be able to go. He sounded so disappointed and frustrated.

“You know that ‘chute better than anyone. Can you fix it?”

I still wasn’t sure quite what was wrong, but he sounded so desperate, I just had to go help. I decided to bring him my own parachute, so that if I weren’t able to get his ‘chute fixed, he could still go skydiving. I hopped on my Harley (a-ha! what an excuse to ride!) and boogeyed over to the airport. There was my friend. He had the parachute all laid out on the grass.

He jumped up and ran over to me. “I can’t pack it! It won’t pack!” he shrieked. This guy is a nice man, but he does get a tad excitable. Turns out that he had it all backwards. Some of the ‘chute lines were tangled. We straightened them out and ensured each was free, and began to fold it. What I liked most about my old ‘chute is that it practically folded itself. I wrapped the static line loosely along the top of the pack, then closed it with the pin, and voi-la, it was all ready. Nothing was wrong with it; my buddy simply had forgotten how to pack it. (Can’t say that spending eight hours of training on the matter helped him that much, but that’s quite another story.)

The rest of the guys showed up, and the pilot said those magic words, “hey, we’ve got an open spot, wanna come?”

Well, I do have all that work to do back home…


I couldn’t resist. Hmmm, for some reason, I was already dressed in BDUs and jump boots. But honestly, that’s what I put on to do work on the floor! Really! God’s truth! (My partner would never believe me, because I usually wear old cruddy jeans and my Station Boots to do renovation work.)

We jumped three times yesterday afternoon. We didn’t go very high — just about 8,000 feet for each jump. High enough to see the surrounding area, but not so high as to spend all afternoon in freefall (LOL).

Today, I promise: I will work on that hallway project which must show significant progress before my partner arrives home about 2:00. (And either call me honest or a glutton for punishment, but I plan to tell my partner about the Saturday diversion, even if he won’t be happy).

Life is short: have fun!

Traveling with Dirty Engineer Boots

Photo of my boots courtesy of Bamaboy

I flew home from Alabama yesterday. I decided to wear the Chippewa Engineer Boots that I “played” in during my visit with Bamaboy. Because it was so blasted hot, even though the boots got a bit wet, they dried quickly. The dust created a fine “dirty” patina on the boots, which attracted some attention.

One of the staff at the hotel asked me as I was leaving, “do you work construction?” She was obviously staring at my boots. I just smiled and said, “yeah, sometimes.”

When I got to the airport, Bama came by to give me something I had forgotten and left in his truck (I swear, if my head weren’t screwed on, it would fall off.) He also noticed the boots and gave me a compliment. LOL!

As I went through airport security, two ramp agents also were going through behind me. They both watched me take off my 17″ Chippewa Engineers, put them in a plastic tray and send them through the x-ray. On the other end, I sat down to put them on. They both sat next to me to tie their work boots and each said, “nice boots!” These are the non-steel toe variety, which are light on the feet and feel great.

As I walked down the hall, a shoe-shine guy looked at my boots and said, “I can clean those up for you! Have a seat.” I politely declined by saying, “Man, I like ’em this way!”

I wandered down to the gate, and caught up on the news on the TV. An older gentleman sat down next to me. He looked at my boots, then at me, and said, “do you ride a bike?” We talked for a while about motorcycle riding. Turns out he was a motorcycle racing team member back in the day. I enjoyed our conversation — initiated by the boots.

I boarded the small regional jet, and actually slept all the way to Charlotte. The connection was quick; no waiting. I read a book on the way home to BWI. While I was waiting for the parking shuttle at my home airport, a guy walked up to me and said, “man, those boots are cool! What kind are they?” I had a short but pleasant chat.

Dirty boots seem to get a lot of attention. It’s what guys wear!

See the full gallery of photos from our visit on my website, here.

Life is short: wear your boots!


Bamaboy’s Chips, left; BHD’s Chips, right

Greetings from Alabama. The meeting I helped to lead ended mid-day yesterday, and after that, I hung out with a buddy who goes by the screen name “Bamaboy.” Yep, that’s right: the real, the honest-to-goodness muddy-booted photo genius himself. I have had the great pleasure of getting to know him and developing a fond friendship.

Bama must have read my previous blog post about how I get lost easily. He sent me a hand-drawn map, showing the precise route from the airport to the hotel where I am staying, as well as the conference facility where my meeting was held. He offered and followed through in very tangible ways to make my visit enjoyable.

We had a nice lunch, and talked about a lot of things. We share similar outlooks on life and what’s important: honesty, integrity, commitment to family, and loyalty to friends.

After lunch, we went on a mud-hunt. All we could find was dust! The places where Bama thought there might be mud were all dried up due to lack of rain and very hot temperatures drying the soil.

So we splashed up some water and got some dust on the boots in dried-up mud spots while laughing a lot. Bama is a great guy with a wicked-funny sense of humor. I truly enjoyed our visit, even though the mud wasn’t around. The company is what mattered most. I very much appreciate his time, friendship, and fun. How truly wonderful it was to have had the pleasure of enjoying his southern charm and hospitality.

Life is short: combine business and pleasure when you can!

Photo by Bamaboy of BHD kickin’ up a splash

Home Renovation: Phase I Update

Last weekend was busy, as usual. I haven’t shown yet the most recent progress on the flooring project of our upstairs hallway. Here it is!

We are making slow but steady progress. The flooring goes down fairly easily. The only hitch I have run into is that occasionally a board must be nailed into place (to keep it from sliding) and the cheap Chinese-made nails I am using bend while being hammered into place.

Hammer? Whazzat? Don’t you use a nail gun?

Sure, I have a nail gun — a pretty good one, as a matter of fact. It nailed our house together. But it’s big, cumbersome, and heavy. If I have to nail one finishing nail every now-and-then, I will use a hammer instead of getting that big bulky thing out, making all that noise, etc.

The progress is slowed on our renovation work due to my partner’s health issues (resolved now) and some travel that takes me away for a few days. But it will get done… steady and surely.

Life is short: do your own renovations!

Welcome to My Blog, Wesco

Apparently a search tool triggered a visit to this blog by someone at the West Coast Shoe Company of Scappoose, Oregon, USA. The visit was from my tongue-in-cheek post about people who add an apostrophe to a singular word to make it plural, as in “I have ten pairs of Wescos” (note, no apostrophe, I can’t do it.)

Ten pairs, say you? Wow… that’s alot. (Check ’em out). Yep, I have had some of them for 30 years, and some were acquired much more recently. They are rugged as a rock, and hold up to all sorts of wear and tear. But that’s how the boots are advertised, and live up to their reputation as the “boots that can take the gaff.” Sure can.

I do not wear my Wesco boots during the hot and humid days of summer. Just won’t work. They are made of the thickest leather and my later Wescos are all leather lined. That just makes the boots too heavy and hot to wear during typical Washington summers.

But I do wear those boots often while riding my Harley in the Autumn, Winter, and Spring. The boots present a commanding appearance, work exceptionally well for motorcycling, and are comfortable. I should mention that all of my Wescos since my first few pairs are made custom to my size. That’s really the only way to get tall Wesco boots to fit right, and then be worth the investment.

Would I get any more Wesco boots? Probably not … I mean, really, ten pairs is enough. But would I sell any? Well, maybe. I’m thinkin’ about it… I have two pairs that just don’t fit me any more, and they may find a better home with someone else.

Meanwhile, I welcome visitors from the West Coast Shoe Company, and commend the hard-working Bootmakers of the company for their fine craftsmanship. It is one of those rare companies where its reputation lives up to its product, each and every time.

Life is short: enjoy your Wescos!

We’re Okay

(Photo source: wtop news)

Many around the world have heard that Washington’s Metro subway system had a horrible crash, which occurred on Monday, June 22, at 5:02pm local time. As of the time I am writing this blog post, it has been reported that nine people have died, with dozens more who were seriously injured. We do not know anyone among those who died or were injured, but our hearts and prayers go to them and their loved-ones.

I have received a number of telephone calls and emails from family and friends checking on me and my partner. Both of us are regular Metro red line users for our daily commutes to and from the city from our home in Maryland.

I was on the red line about an hour before the crash happened. My partner was about a half-hour behind me. It should be noted that the crash happened in the opposite direction from our travel.

We’re fine. Thanks much to my buddies from the BOL Board who, in particular, have been checking in. Despite some of the drama queens who inhabit that Board, most of the guys who use it are caring, thoughtful, gentlemen.

Our commutes today will be different — mine will be to an airport where I will begin a business trip down south. I dropped my partner off at the Metro station on the opposite side of the red line loop, which they say is running. They are still investigating the crash, and have closed the Metro red line in the crash area, which is between the station we ordinarily use and downtown.

I am deeply appreciative for the calls from my close friends and my siblings. I also am thankful for all the email — even from people who I have not had the pleasure of meeting in person yet. Goes to show that there are a lot of great people out there, who think of others and express their concern in thoughtful ways. That’s what life is all about: demonstrating that you care.

Life is short: show those you love that you love them.

Bad Biker Boots

In the old style of ’50s bad-a** bikers who wore engineer boots, those are the boots I chose to wear yesterday when I led a short motorcycle ride. These are my old and very comfy 17″ Chippewa Engineer boots. I have had them for over a decade. They have been through mud, crud, and have come back for more.

I wore them with jeans over. I don’t always wear jeans inside my boots. Actually, when I wear traditional blue jeans, I wear them over whatever boots I choose to wear that day. If I want to wear boots outside my clothing, then I choose a pair of breeches, such as what motorcops wear, and pull on tall cop boots over them.

Yesterday’s ride on Maryland’s backroads and byways was organized for some of us who just wanted to get out for a little bit, orient new riders to the process of safe group riding, and have some fun. The weather was pleasant (and thank goodness the clouds didn’t tinkle through the ride, though it was sprinkling at dawn). Riding with your buddies is a great way to relax, and after this past week I sure needed it!

Life is short: ride and have fun!