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"When the Ride Stops, It's Where It Started"

The Chicago Tribune recently featured an article by Richard Asa about being "young" and trying to re-enter the dating scene after the death of a partner/spouse. I put "young" in quotation marks because the author would seem to define it as someone in their 20s and 30s. Apparently, 40-somethings on up are placed into some sort of  "it gets better" category for loss. Here's a salient excerpt from the article:
It's not that the grief is less for older widows and widowers, but most of them have decades of fond memories. People widowed at a younger age are looking at a blank slate where future plans once existed. It can change you.
I sometimes wonder if the supposition is correct, that older folks are better able to adapt to the loss of a spouse/partner, than their younger counterparts. Sometimes, the longer you're in a relationship, the more used to a life shared with someone, is the more wrenching it is to lose that person. I will also take this moment to make an admittedly stereotypical generalization, which is that women seem to take loss better than men. There could be all sorts of reasons for this. That's a topic for another day.

I remember my late, great paternal grandmother Callie Mae. She married my grandfather, Oscar, in 1926 (the family will correct me if I have the year wrong). Oscar passed away in 1961, making them married roughly 35 years. In the average life of a human being, that's a fairly long time (it certainly was for Oscar). But my grandmother lived to be just one week shy of 101, which means that almost 66 years of her life were spent without a husband (she never remarried). When you look at it in that context, the necessity of a spouse/partner in one's life takes on a different light.

What I think is clear is that the loss of a life partner is devastating at any age, and requires a major adjustment for the person left behind. I'm not sure it is fair or accurate to assume that it's easier for one age group than another. Whenever such an event happens, life for those remaining person is altered forever. Of that, there is no doubt.


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If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …


"Step out from the mask you stand behind Fearful lost and blind Time to take the time The pressure’s on you Hide away, hide away No tomorrow, just today"
- Brilliant, Ultravox
Today was National Coming Out Day, so of course it gives some pause for reflection on my own coming out story. It was in April 1993, my junior year of high school (go Chargers!). In the six years of writing this blog, I have alluded to how I came out, but never really delved into the intricacies of how it came about. What better day to do so than today?
My first (small) indications of homosexuality manifested in grade school. While in first grade, I thought a fifth grader looked cute. In fifth grade, I would stare, longingly, at a boy in class, until he caught me looking at him. There were some infatuations with boys in middle school, and a first sexual experience during freshman year of high school. Everything up to that point had been, for the most part, based in the physical realm. I liked the way certain…