Chapter 16. Mad, mad love 1972 5
My next lover was the extreme sport of loving. Over a four-year period, I mated, broke up, and reunited with Gavin at least twenty times. In the year 2002 we met again. Gavin was a single and haggard 53, ravaged by AIDS. I was a single old man.
He asked: "Why can't we be partners again?" Not likely! It took the best efforts of my friends to cure me of this obsession. Here I include only a tiny fraction of my journal record.
October 28. Dancing at the Manatee disco, I met an enchanting 23-year-old, Gavin. I got his phone number.
October 29. I met Gavin and we walked up St. George St. As I started to cross the university campus, a van made a fast turn to beat pedestrians into the crosswalk, and hit me on the hip. I was thrown fifteen feet. A cabbie stopped to ask if he should call the police.
"No, I'm OK," I groaned. I wasn't going to let an accident spoil this date. We came back to my house and I soaked in a warm bath. Gavin sat beside me, stripped to his underwear. What a luscious body! Blond, slim, smooth, svelte and foxy.
October 30. After an hour of soaking I recovered enough to get a fire going in the fireplace, and have sex. Gavin is a natural bottom; his ass just won't stop. Sensational sex is a great anodyne.
November 5. There's a massive blue-black bruise on my hip, but Scott, my doctor, thinks there's no lasting damage. Were I a seer, how should I interpret this omen for a new relationship? Gavin will move in next week.
November 11. Oliver, my ex, phoned and asked to come back. I may be capricious, but Oliver outdoes me. "Sorry, Oliver, you admitted you'd found someone new who meets your needs. So have I."
November 14. Gavin is my most carnal relationship ever, totally lecherous. I'm drawn to his French-Canadian flesh like an iron filing to a giant magnet. The down side: he has no job.
Christmas. Gavin and I spent the Eve in a lavish sexual scenario, beginning with dinner in the nude, followed by wild sex. Unlike most effeminate gay men I've fucked, Gavin knows he is sexy, and is not the least ashamed. Now I'm off to a comfortably familiar evening with the McIntoshes.
January 8. Having a lover gives me more warmth in the classroom. I agree with educator Neil Postman (Teaching as a Subversive Activity ) that the credential for teaching should not be a certificate from an education faculty, but a letter renewed each term signed by an adult willing to attest that s/he loves the teacher.
January 13. An encouraging moment I overheard two students talking about me, unaware of my nearness: "I really like that course; he's so patient. Oh, excuse me, we were just talking about you, but it was good."
March 1. Gavin and I agreed that ours will be an open marriage, and he seems to be adjusting well. I came home late, after excellent sex at The Library. Gavin woke like a lost child, whispered "I love you" and returned to slumber. This morning I baked a cake with John Loves Gavin on it.
March 4. I was wrong about Gavin: he's been nursing repressed anger since I went to the baths. First he tried "tit for tat" by staying out overnight himself, and when I didn't show the jealousy he hoped for, he stayed out again. Today we agreed on some "ground rules:"
1. No guy to be tricked with more than twice a month.
2. Two days with each other between any two tricks.
3. Maximum two tricks a week.
4. Each can stay out overnight or have a trick here only once a month.
5. Don't critically comment on each other's tricks.
March 5. I gave another TV interview this morning about my theory of love. The kids came to watch. The interviewer, Norm Perry, made light of the scientific study of love. I must establish technical legitimacy quickly in future programmes.
March 6. What bliss! Last night Gavin brought home a friend of his, Hendrik, a spectacular Dutchman very much my type. We all got naked in front of the TV set, to watch the rebroadcast of my interview. Both said I smile and laugh appealingly and explain my theory well. After the broadcast we enjoyed a supreme threesome.
March 10. I'm taking some Gestalt therapy. Today I'm supposed to list the ways I feel guilt and resentment. (In Gestalt these are the opposite sides of the same coin).
1. I faked three "interviews" in my thesis, after interviewees failed to show up. My anger at them, my guilt about fudging data.
2. I've broken commitments to several lovers, angry that they did not live up to my expectations.
3. I feel guilt about not fathering Ruth and Peter well enough, because I'm still angry over my own childhood.
4. I feel guilt about not putting enough preparation into lectures, because I resent indifferent students.
5. I feel guilt about playing sexual games with tricks, because I resent the unreliability of many gays.
6. I feel guilt about being conceited, because I resent having to live with few friends and many fools.
March 23. The great time of testing has arrived in my teaching career. A tenure committee has been appointed, with Bob James as convener. If I don't get tenure I must seek work at another university. "Up or out" they say. It's a stroke of luck to have Bob in charge he likes me.
May 1. Bob James says there's lots of opposition to me in the tenure committee. Our very pro-American chair, Lorie Tarshis, says: "Lee will get tenure over my dead body." He abhors my teaching experiments, my Canadianization battle, my appearances on TV and in the press.
May 15. Bob called: only three of the eleven assistant professors being considered, will get tenure but I am one of them! I nearly wept with gratitude. Bob is a loyal ally. It is essential to have one ally at these hearings, who can keep replying to one's enemies and critics: "Yes, but" and bring the talk back to the candidate's good points.
June 5. I berated Gavin for giving me trifling emotional support while I waited for the tenure decision. He responded with a poem: "The grand motions of the planets must resolve around a centre. The sun without planets would be a lonely king indeed. I love you as my Sun Lover."
June 23. This weekend we visited Camp Three Arrows, my first visit in five years, and played volleyball, swam, canoed. En route home we visited Bob Miller at his renovated mill in Hillsburg.
June 24. In Island , Huxley says we must first realize who we think we are, and then stop thinking and be what we are, joining the two persons inside us into the "One, not two" of maturity. Am I still two, unjoined?
July 3. I am paradoxically lonely inside a love relationship. Moustakas in Love and Loneliness : "There are times when I realize I'm all I've got."
July 4. Ruth and Peter are with me for the month. We are camping near Peterborough. Oh my children, how much I enjoy your company!
August 24. My fortieth birthday. If wishes were lovers, I would wish: A guy between 28 and 35, a teacher or writer who has his summers free. His hair blond or fair, his body smooth and slim. An Anglo-Saxon face with a firm jaw, and lips not too thin. His body lightly muscled; no pot belly. Circumcised, with firm round buns. An overall masculine mood, motion, stance, and voice, but a feminine gentleness. A nonsmoker. (Gavin smokes and it's damned annoying).
My ideal lover is sensuous, tactile, highly sexed, uninhibited, and versatile. He has a college education, enjoys reading, is a good conversationalist. He is capable of abstract thought. He has a mature, balanced, stable emotional temperament. He is efficient, and copes well with a variety of situations. He has political and social interests, as well as interest in the arts, some sciences, religion, travel, philosophy, history, archeology, architecture, music, theatre and dance. He enjoys a range of social occasions from camping outdoors to dinner parties.
He is a relativist and a pluralist in his approach to life. He is open and honest, dependable, and financially responsible. He is spiritual without being sectarian. He is able to enjoy an open marriage but also able to commit himself to a long term relationship. He understands love to be friendship, trust, companionship, rather than possession or demands.
He enjoys his work, but is not a work addict. He has a strong career sense, yet places love before career. He has socialistic leanings, and is not anxious to get rich. He is neat and enjoys a pleasant home without being house-proud or fussy. He likes children and can relate well to mine.
Such a long list of wishes! Should I settle for someone who is less than my desires (and all the men I've met thus far are less) or should I go on looking, making-do for the present with tricks, or should I find someone who comes close enough, and do the Pygmalion thing, moulding him? (I've hidden this carefully; Gavin would go ballistic if he read it).
August 26. Gavin escalated a minor dispute today into a full-scale conflict, culminating in a shrill: “I’m going to move out!” When I mocked: “Go ahead, ” he changed his mind, and began to throw things at me. I ran next door, to sit on the porch of a neighbour, chatting, hoping Gavin would calm down. On my return he threw a glass at me. I tried to drag him out of the house. He rained blows on me.
I ran to my neighbour, and asked him to call the police. When I told Gavin, he refused to believe me: "How can you do this?" The police arrived. Gavin tried to play "innocent victim" while I stayed calm and professional. An officer asked Gavin if he had a lease. "No."
"Then you're a guest and you'll have to go." I offered to pay for a hotel room for the night.
Gavin took his own sweet time packing. I stayed on the porch. Every few minutes he came to shout at me. Two hours passed. Finally he took his suitcases and left. Writing this down is helping to calm my nerves.
Ye gods, he's back, shouting that he will sleep in the garden.
Later: The evening was filled with much banging on locked doors and windows, and much crying. Eventually Gavin left. I realize with shock how vulnerable I am. I have much more to lose in property and status than Gavin does.
August 28. Tonight at the Quest bar, Gavin approached in humility and pleaded: "Can we talk?" Gavin is irresistible. I'll see him tomorrow.
August 29. I met Gavin, and after much discussion about his temper, malingering and mendacity, let him move back in.
August 31. Today Gavin got violently angry. I fled to my bedroom and barred the door with a dresser. He nearly managed to get in.
September 1. Gavin has promised he'll get work soon, and contribute more to the care of the house. When I got home tonight a letter greeted me: "I've cleaned the house, and gone downtown to the Quest; join me there. Note how much my typing has improved. I love you, because you are deserving of my love."
September 5. A Playboy panel notes an important difference between a marriage which is committed, but also open to the enjoyment of other people when they come along, and a marriage which involves regular, systematic searching for outside sex partners. The latter, the panel argues, is not a marriage at all, and will not endure. It is a convenient arrangement to live together while seeking satisfaction elsewhere. The partners are not meeting enough of each others needs, if they have to buttress the relationship with outsiders.
September 7. Again at this evening's dinner I'm reminded how poorly Gavin fits in with my friends Paul, Ray, Bob Miller. After they left, Gavin again threatened to move out. I threw up my hands: "Please do!"
September 10. I will always seek some kind of power , for power, in Berne's phrase, is the slogan of my life script. Perhaps the kind of power can change? I could seek wealth (start speculating) or fame (publish more) but neither has much appeal to me. The power I would really enjoy possessing is charm, a gracious manner.
September 18. I've been reading Berne's What do you say after you say hello? My life script: not to have a close, continuing relationship with anyone. Source - childhood rejection, never being adopted, being threatened with "We'll send you back" - which I now use on others: "Satisfy me or I'll send you away.”
September 23. A letter from Gavin, who finally has a job, and is living with a friend: "Have you given me a real chance as a mate?" he begs.
October 14. Gavin has moved back in. He promises to try harder to control his temper.
October 24. I casually remarked to George Hislop, leader of the Community Homophile organization, that I was glad my lover is volunteering on Monday nights. George puzzled: "Who is that?" He has no knowledge of Gavin. Prodigious perfidy!
I confronted Gavin and he admits he does not volunteer; he just pretended to "please me." He's gone out faithfully every Monday night and visited a friend. And he admitted he has no work he goes to the library to read. then comes home "tired." I'll let him stay as a housemate, for he has nowhere to move and no money, but he cannot consider me a lover.
October 27. The children are fine; Ruth is lively and bright, but Peter remains a mystery. I wonder what he really feels happy or frustrated? He seems to lack Ruth's drive, but he is also more gentle and considerate.
December 10. After another angry eruption, Gavin has moved out again.. Resist with all my strength any temptation to give in to loneliness and ask him back.
December 19. A card from Gavin, saying how much he loves me. I invited him to come and stay the night. He actually stayed two, flew off the handle again, and has returned to his place. Jean came for lunch. We discussed her life. There are no boyfriends in it.
December 24. I’m preparing a biography for New Press to promote my book. It includes this daring statement: "Since my divorce I have gone on looking for a lifemate. I've tried both females and males , and I've experienced every kind of love in my spectrum."
I also admit: "Now in my early forties, I must still fight the manic undertow that is the heritage of my lonely childhood. I still find myself irrationally obsessed with physical beauty.”
Bob Miller, Paul Bennett, and his new lover John B were here for dinner; a pleasant and nostalgic occasion. It is good to have loyal friends.
Christmas Day. One full turn of fortune's wheel since this journal book began. Such a long, tortuous road. Now to John and Anna's for "Christmas Fifteen" that many years since we began having Christmas together. How grateful I am for this anchor in a storm-tossed life.
December 28. Last night I met the famous theologian Gregory Baum and writer Denis Altman, and also Greg L, an American PhD student in child psychology. He is 25 years old, bright, blonde, slim. But what is the use? Greg is American, just starting his career, and worst of all, attracted to men younger than himself.
December 30. Franz has bought a house only a block from here again wanting to be close to me.
January 1. My friend Barbara calculates the annual zodiac for the Toronto Star. She says Virgo ""tends to burn the candle at both ends but is the sign most likely to succeed in 1974, in romance and personal relationships." Does she have me in mind?
January 3. Robert Wolfe, the minister newly arrived in town to establish a branch of the MCC (gay church), visited me for lunch. He impresses me as an able, self-sacrificing guy with high ideals. The Toronto MCC is a mere handful of people.
January 7. Gavin has sent me a note "plagued by pangs of loneliness and regret." He is now in therapy, going to the YMCA to work out, and decorating his apartment. He invites me over for dinner, "nothing more."
January 8. Over dinner, Gavin launched into a report of how great his life is, claiming he has four affairs going. We did not have sex.
January 11. My emotions would kill an ordinary person. I'm barely holding on. [In 1993 I would see Derek Jarman's movie Wittgenstein. The great philosopher, a man deeply troubled by his homosexuality, is literally blown over by a wind of emotion].
January 12. The children are here and I’m trying very hard to be really with them. But my soul languishes.
January 15. I saw Gavin at the Manatee last night and was immediately overwhelmed by desire. We sat down, wept, talked, danced, and went back to his place, where we fucked, and agreed to meet again. This morning I left flowers at his door!
My Virgo horoscope advises: " You are threatened with becoming a prisoner of love. It is best for you to pull in reins and examine what you want, and what you are getting." Is some astrologer wise to me?
January 18. Perhaps Gavin is the "mad half" of me. Zorba the Greek proclaimed that we "need a little madness" in our life.
January 28. Bob Wolfe has been sleeping on someone's couch. I've invited him to move in to my basement bedroom, free, until the church can afford to pay him. He even has his own bathroom down there.
Valentine’s Day. Tonight Fate offered me an opportunity I could not resist. Judy LaMarsh, former cabinet minister, hosts a talk-show on TVO. Her theme today was love, and I was her guest. Not many calls came in. Filling time, Judy asked me my own type. I said "eros: slim, smooth-skinned, blond." She remarked: "That's odd; you could be describing a woman or a man.” There it was the chance to go public. I jumped: "I am describing a man. I happen to be gay."
The phone board lit up with calls, and they were still coming in after the programme ended. Judy was taken aback, but handled it well. I came home elated and jittery about what will await me in college tomorrow.
February 15. "Saw you on TV last night" was the only sort of reference my colleagues made no direct discussion. Perhaps students don't watch educational TV; none made a comment.
Weekend Magazine gave my lovestyle theory national coverage.
March 26. Joan Sutton, columnist with the Toronto Sun, has published a flattering interview of me, with a great photo. She calls me a "male Ann Landers" because my Colours of Love draws many letters from wounded lovers. She goes on: "John Lee predicts an end to marriage as we know it. We can't expect one person to meet all our needs... We need one central relationship to act as a string, on which we can hang other beads... one relationship which will maintain continuity and provide security in old age, and satellite relationships that come and go, fulfilling our needs to give different expressions to love in one life..."
April 5. Bob Wolfe’s heartening presence at breakfast each morning has provided me with vital emotional support. As a way of thanking him, I organized an MCC seminar on "Difficulties of building gay relationships." We held it at Quaker Meeting House. Twenty-seven men attended. We began with my presentation on lovestyles. After lunch, Barbara Silverberg explained “open marriage.” She and Dr. Silverberg are the leading advocates in Toronto.
April 22. Would you believe Gavin and I are on again? And off again! Last Sunday, on my way to Quaker meeting, I dropped a breaking-off letter at his flat, because of a bellicose phone call on Saturday. But he was at Meeting. We reconciled, and saw each other again on Thursday. But Saturday night at the gay dance, he got drunk and began to avoid me. I walked out. He followed to kick my car door: "Goodbye for good."
April 26. New York. I'm visiting Chris Larkin. His new feature film, A very natural thing , is an exciting first a movie that treats gay love like any heterosexual romance. His ex, Tim, came round for a visit, and I tried to bed him, but no luck.
April 30. Little Rock, Arkansas. I'm here for the Grove Family Conference, a prestigious academic gathering. It was worth meeting Greg L. after all he arranged for me to be invited to present a paper. I flew down from New York with him, and we're staying in the same room. We've even attempted sex, but it was hopeless he's not turned on by men older than himself. (Just like me!)
May 2. What astounding luck! On the plane back to New York I sat next to Carol Tavris, editor of Psychology Today magazine. She was fascinated with my theory of love and promised to publish it in the United States. My Toronto publisher has had no success in finding an American agent.
May 7. I've published an article on love in our Quaker magazine, The Canadian Friend. The Epistle of John 1 tells us that God (i.e. love) is perfected in us. Can he be saying that God is not perfect, not complete, but is becoming through our loving? This accords with George Fox's idea that the work of the Holy Spirit is still unfolding.
May 17. My good friend, Prof. Harry Nishio, today gave me useful background on what happened in the tenure hearings last year. Tenure usually includes promotion to associate professor. Last year the three of us granted tenure were not promoted. The other two have made angry noises, and will be promoted this July. Harry urges me to fight for promotion too. I don't care much about titles, but he insists that failure to get promoted will do me great damage later.
May 19. I phoned Irving Zeitlin, chair of the department. He argues that I should wait until next year to ask for promotion, and in the meantime "publish a few refereed articles." Those are magic words in academe mere books are no longer considered significant. Harry has urged me to "keep fighting."
June 21. Irving Zeitlin was insultingly patronising: " I realize you're very intelligent" he japed, "but your work on love is light weight." When he saw I was resolute, and would take legal action, he agreed to my promotion. He was puzzled by my hair: I recently bleached it to a blondish brown, but I merely joked: "I've been spending a lot of time in the sun, in Arkansas"
June 30. My son's latest school report: "Peter is a bright sophisticated boy who makes important contributions to class, and works well on independent projects."
July 15. The summer month's visit by Ruth and Peter gives me an opportunity to note their personal growth in detail. Ruth has become a typical teenage girl - moody, a little shrill, easily upset, argumentative, very concerned about her appearance (but sloppy in her room).
Peter is becoming more open about his thoughts and feelings. He is willing to share confidences. He reads a great deal. He often gives in to Ruth and is more ready to compromise. Peter volunteers himself more, shows a more generous spirit. He has done a fair bit of painting and work on my house at $1 an hour.
Both relate well to my friends, for example with Greg when we drove down to Ithaca (and visited the Corning glass museum) and with Chris when we visited NYC.
July 31. Goodbye Gavin! Tonight, I dearly hope, was my last effort. Fear, not love, has motivated me to continue with him. Fear of lonely aging. Yet when I'm with Gavin I am still alone. He cannot share my ideas or my deepest feelings.
August 1. Today when they left, Ruth and Peter gave me a deeply moving letter I shall always cherish, telling me how much they enjoyed the month with me. I wept. To know that I have not failed as a father is supremely important.
August 5. Oh dear, I couldn't resist Gavin's pleas to return, and I've agreed he can move back in September, "if all goes well."
My colleagues put my journalist experience to good use at the World Sociology Congress (shown: first page of daily press clippings).
The first Gay Day in Toronto.
Posing for a reporter, at the International Sociology
August 10. The International Sociology Congress is in Toronto this year. I'm on the five-member Local Arrangements committee, and designed our letterhead. It shows a space view of earth. I'm in charge of public relations with the media, and also responsible for organizing all entertainment for delegates.
I've organized a Hart House pub with musical entertainment, theatre tours to Shaw and Stratford, and a festival of films. I’ve also produced a city guide for delegates. For the first time, an ISA congress includes a guide to gay places. I have also brought Chris' Natural Thing to the film festival. I'm being very public.
August 17. A committee including Clarence Barnes and myself organized a Gay Days event in Queen's Park this weekend, and a dance. [This eventually grew into an annual Gay Pride Day].
September 13. Gavin has barely moved back in, and now we're at each other's throats. He insulted both my intellectuality (over dinner at Kingsley F's), and my moral crusading. He calls me a gay Joan of Arc over the Kyper immigration case, in which I devised the civil-disobedience strategy that defeated immigration authorities.
October 1. Principal Campbell has accurately detected the well of anger in me. He says of my conduct at college meetings: "You always have a blow ready." Wow, what an insight!
October 3. The October issue of Psychology Today features my Styles of Loving on the front cover, with a colour design of men and women in a circle, an article on how I measured love, a self-test, and a chart for assessing your own style of love.
October 6. Can I believe such good luck? Is it possible that slim, sweet Gary still likes me, years after we broke off? We ran into each other at an MCC service, and he came back for the night, and will date me again. Gary works hard and has completed optometrist training. He's done very well for himself.
I'm really grateful for Robert Wolfe's presence in the house. He has been a stabilizing influence during this hectic year.
October 15. Alas, Gary has been going to MCC because he's becoming religious, and doubtful about the morality of being gay. He intends to become a monk! [I met Gary again 25 years later. He eventually left the monastery and returned to gay life, but at fifty he was fat and garrulous].
October 24. I realized, as I got into my car after classes, that I got through the day without a single anxious thought about lovers.
November 10. Good grief I'm having sex with Gavin again. He has agreed to joint sessions of counselling with Bob Wolfe.
November 19. Principal Campbell has sent me a belated note of congratulation on the success of my love book, and on my promotion: "You add a special brand of colour to the campus which I personally appreciate very much."
December 18. After a successful session with Bob Wolfe, Gavin and I bought identical rings to celebrate our reunion.
Christmas. As always, dinner with the McIntoshes.
New Year's Eve: The children have left after a visit here. I feel a deep sadness, realizing that they are growing up. Ruth is already an independent young woman. Gavin came over to help make sandwiches for a party tomorrow. We'll greet the New Year with a 17- year-old bottle of port by the fire.
New Year's Day. Gavin and I made a commitment as lovers, among these friends: Bob Wolfe, Scott R (my physician), Les H from the college, Chris N, Kingsley F, Jerry Moldenhauer of Glad Day Book store, and Gavin's friends John C and Jeff.
January 27. I'm on a committee of the SCM Book Room, arbitrating conflict between Bob Miller and an employee: "Statements by the two parties are so divergent they hardly seem about the same events, thus credibility is an issue. Both parties accept legitimacy of the committee, both agree there is no formal probationary procedure, and both agree there is no formal warning procedure. We recommend this should change, if business at the store is to be fairly conducted and favourable to the SCM reputation. We give the benefit of the doubt to the employee."
[This event foreshadowed the organization of staff into a union. The store's founders, Bob Miller, Paul Warner, Carole Vine and others, refused to negotiate with the union. The issue was "founding partners." versus "worker control." The former had sacrificed enormously over the years to build a store; the latter were mostly hired to do the joe-jobs. Rose Falkenheim, Vince Goring and myself were asked to mediate the dispute, lest everyone's assets be wasted on legal battles. We proposed a settlement which allowed Bob and his supporters to leave with a share of the capital, to establish their own business, The Bob Miller Book Store, a couple of blocks from the SCM. The SCM bookstore soon collapsed].
February 1. When I arrived home today I found Gavin in the kitchen chatting casually with a stranger. He asked if I was Prof. John Lee, and handed me a summons. Scientology is suing me for half a million dollars. Gavin invited this guy in without asking what he was there for!
February 3. With David Russell of the Government Archives I searched the records of the Healing Arts commission, but found no Scientology material. Very strange it has disappeared!
February 5. The Legal Branch of the Ontario government assures me the government will cover my costs in the suit, since I was doing the work for a royal commission. He warned me to safeguard the documents I still have. I put them in a bank deposit box. "In the meantime do not write or say anything about Scientology. They will probably let the suit die. They just want to shut up their critics." [Scientology tried to revive the suit in 1978 but failed, and I followed the lawyers' advice, never writing about Scientology again].
February 10. Zev Barbu, my supervisor at Sussex, is offering me a position as Reader in an exchange which would bring him to Toronto for a year. But Barbu would cost more than me, and my enemy Lorie Tarshis refuses to find the extra money for Barbu. I've decided to give up on this one. I can't fight on all fronts!
But I’m going ahead, in tandem with Prof. Dennis Magill, to push Canadianization of sociology departments. The next step will be Canada-wide backing by our national professional association. Tarshis is livid he graduated from an American college. Prof. Sev Isajiw (also pro- Yankee) has called me a racist. They see no irony, much less injustice, in Canadian departments where American grads dominate. I am the only Canadian sociologist in my college!
February 11. My dear Quaker friend John Pocock is dead. How I loved his and Nancy’s insistence that it is our duty to “comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.”
March 25. Is he good company? My physician, Scott, asked this about Gavin. No, I sighed.
March 26. Gavin took a swing at me, in the Quest. He was banned from the bar for a month.
April 3. Gavin is history. I have disposed of the ring. The whole weekend was a series of pleadings and reversals, shouting, weeping. I've been jerked around so much I don't know which way is north.
Choose a partner who will reinforce the qualities I want more of in myself !
April 10. Gavin called: he is ready to unconditionally surrender. "Just ask me to jump and all I'll say is How high? "
April 11. That didn't last long: I told him I was going to manage his money, put him on an allowance and pay back his debts, just like an old-fashioned husband with a dependent wife. He walked out.
April 14. Gordon (from 1970) was here for a pleasant visit and I realize how I cherish good friendship. He says I'm a serious person, not superficial or playful about life, and must find a serious partner.
April 30. Another attempt with Gavin. I arranged for both of us to meet with Robert Wolfe. Gavin gave his word he would try again in small steps. The first step is "just to be nice to each other for a week." This lasted three days then he demanded sex. "No, we're just being nice for a week," I rebutted. He marched off: "Go to hell."
May 4. After learning how a Gay Academic Union works in NYC, I invited Barry Adam, Steve Murray and Jim Quixley to my house, and we agreed to form a GAU at the University of Toronto.
May 20. Clarence Barnes, an acquaintance for years, has decided to be the first lecturer in Engineering to go public, and has joined the GAU.
May 21. My chairman and enemy, Lorie Tarshis, has sent me a letter reeking with animosity: "I find your research is of poor quality." He also condemns my teaching methods (based on first-hand project research rather than library essays). How he hates me!
May 27. I worry too much. As I plant flowers, my mind is marshalling arguments against Tarshis, instead of enjoying the pleasures of the garden.
June 6. This weekend is dedicated to a Gestalt conference. After I give a talk on "gay love and liberation" I'll join small groups on rational emotive therapy, personal growth, and one by Dr. Frank Sommers on growth through sex.
Here's my "Gestalt inventory": at 5, lonely and abandoned; at 10, skinny but bright, at 15, lonely, religious and bright. At 20, bright, clean cut, activist. At 25, becoming a leader; at 30, changing and searching. Today: lonely, unfulfilled, but with many accomplishments.
Goals for the rest of my life: Find a lover, become an established author, be a good parent, stay healthy and young, own a fine home, be a good teacher. Major personality goals: authenticity, serenity. [At age 70, this paragraph brings joy and sadness. I achieved all these goals for a time at least, but am now alone].
June 6 . Last night at the Manatee I was asked to dance by a gorgeous Scandinavian, who came home with me. He's just a tourist here, and we will never meet again. Ah, these brief moments of paradise.
June 13. At a gay disco last night, a guy named Danny came over to my table and gave me his phone number. I invited him to dinner tonight. We cuddled and kissed by the fire. He is smooth, but alas, matchstick thin and plain of face.
June 15. Danny came over for sex, and it worked. He seems to have much that I'm looking for. He was an A student, graduated in art history; very candid and articulate. He has known he is gay since age 12 but has waited until now to come out. We are already making plans for the summer.
Blessed Hermes, I'm cured of Gavin at last. [This is the first time I mention Hermes in my journal; he soon became my household deity].
June 25. Life is good. Danny and I are becoming friends. He is even-tempered, open, sensible, self-aware, and self-assured. The down side is his body much too thin.
July 5. Peter is taking summer courses to keep himself busy on his own for the first time in July. Ruth is spending July in Florida with a girlfriend, but will be back to spend August as usual with Peter and me.
August 24. Chicago. My forty-first birthday. I'm having a marvellous time with Ruth and Peter. We drove round Lake Superior, camping along the way. Now we’re returning via the American side.
Their birthday card thrills me with happiness. There is a vertical line, THE GREATEST DAD, through the text: This Has bEen a great August. Granting a few fights occuRred, but Everything Always worked ouT. Everlasting iS The memory of this granD And pleasanD month. (Just a little cheating on the last letter).
August 28. It is time for me to own my own home, but my resources are limited. My present income after taxes: $1080 a month, of which $200 goes to Jean for the kids. But I do have a few thousand dollars in advances on books. I figure I could put down about $10,000 and take a mortgage of perhaps $40,000. Not a lot for a house!
August 29. Danny has proved to be a good friend, reliable, trustworthy, kind, generous, sensible, competent, intelligent, artistic. We are divided only by stubborn facts of the body: a lack of physical attraction on my part, and he is not a "sexy" man.
September 7. The first independent confirmation of my theory of lovestyles has been published, by a Professor Thomas Lasswell at UCLA, using a California sample. A Brazilian, Carol Lloyd, is translating my love theory into Portuguese to do a survey on love there. [ These would be the first of more than 100 validations in at least fourteen countries].
September 17. A fabulous autumn day, warm, sunny, the air rich with the fragrance of autumn flowers and slowly dying leaves, the garden still thriving with tomatoes, cabbage, celery, mint, and Michaelmas daisies. I am growing more serene.
Danny and I see each other once a week now. I am not proud of myself I should have been more restrained until certain the sex would work. At least I didn't get his hopes up the way I did with Gordon.
September 20. At a GAU meeting I've met a library grad student, Bob W. He is slim, fair, smooth, handsome, well shaped, politically active, with good aesthetic tastes. Alas, he prefers to live alone.
Hallowe'en. What a week! Tuesday evening I gave a publicly gay lecture at Loreen Snider's class on Deviance. Wednesday Bob W and I saw two Chekhov plays; things are going well with him. Thursday was the banquet for John Damien, Doug Wilson, and Leonard Matlovich from the USA. I also had dinner with Matlovich on Sunday. He is quite a soldier emotional, dramatic, with simple poetic speech. He even shed tears.
I'm doing a series of lectures at the Faculty of Medicine, helping student doctors prepare themselves for gay patients. Also, each week this autumn I'm teaching a Continuing Education night class, The Gay Experience, offered to people in the "helping professions" who deal with gay clients.
November 7. Giving and taking: Some of my lovers gave me more than I gave them. I am indebted to Franz and Gordon they lost by falling in love with me, to my regret and shame. Danny and I came out about even. The years with Gavin are too muddled to tally up.
November 12. I've been house-hunting in the Danforth area, where old houses are large and cheap.
November 16. My children: what a great source of joy. Ruth has become a lovely, lively, self-assured near-16, working part time, liking her free school, very close and warm with me. She wants to live with me sometime. Peter is building a train set here, with complex plans and considerable carpentry skill.
November 26. Self-oppression: I "apologized" in class, when challenged about the appropriateness of mentioning my lover. I asked the student defensively: "When did I say that?" instead of proudly: "Why not?
December 17. I'm honoured to be chosen public spokesperson of the Canadian Sociology Association (CSAA) on the issue of Canadianization of faculties.
The entire contents of this website Autobiography are Copywright by John Alan Lee.
Viewers may reproduce one hard copy without advance permission from the author,
for personal use, not for commercial purposes.