Chapter 18. At long last, love
The happiest of human conditions, after good health, is mutual love. Happy love is more fortunate than wealth, fame or power. In the summer of 1977, comfortably established in my own house, I turned my full attention to one great obsession: The Search for my beloved.
June 8. Steve and Terry are moving back to the United States at summer’s end. This may be the last time I can leave Logan in the care of trustworthy friends, so I'm going to Europe, alone.
How difficult it is to get the poison of addictive love out of my system. I keep ruminating about Gavin and Nelson. Sociobiologists say that the brain produces a special hormone when we are in love, and our cells plead for it when we fall out of love.
June 19. Ruth and Peter helped me to build stairs to the attic. We had a merry time; all the way up in one afternoon! . It was a tricky job, with a 90-degree turn two-thirds of the way up, and a platform at the top.
June 21. A night of beauty from the past! Jonathan, a lovely 19-year-old Englishman who sometimes had sex with me in Brighton, recognized me at the bar. He’s an airline steward now, and happened to be here on layover. He has a lover in London.
June 21. My brother David is seriously ill, but he's in total denial and refuses to go into hospital. His wife Helen is exhausted with working full-time while caring for him.
June 27. This weekend included a successful salon for the GAU here at Logan, and a new date, Laurier B, a 20-year old male nurse from Ottawa, bright and attractive. We danced, came home for sex until 7 AM, and spent the afternoon at Kew Beach. He left this morning but promised to return in two weeks. We shall see.
June 28. Last night at the Quest I met Adam, (not his real name), a medical intern, a Capricorn, my physical type, excellent conversationalist, and interested enough to dance close.
I called him as soon as I got home, and spent a sleepless night. At 8 AM this morning I took some roses from the garden and a copy of Colours of Love to his place, and drove him to work, before attending Quaker Meeting. I told Adam that I’m looking for a partner, not just an affair.
“I’m not ready to be serious with anyone,” Adam demurred in a kindly voice, “but I'm really flattered.” He has never had sex with a man.
July 1. Canada Day. A delightful dinner date with Adam helped me disenchant myself. On second sight he’s not so cute and he’s very Catholic (eg. anti-abortion). He is goodnatured, and I hope I’ll meet him again. [Not for ten years: Adam left Toronto. When he returned, we met again and he became my physician].
July 3. I spent my time at Quaker Meeting meditating on the question: How can I find my true love? I left with a new determination to use every possible means.
July 4. (Canada Day holiday). Today I tried a new venue for my Search: the gay beach at Hanlan’s Point. It was a good choice hundreds of men were enjoying the sun. I chatted up several guys of “my type” without effect, and kept strolling among the blankets. Then I saw him.
A slender, completely smooth blond lay asleep on his blanket. I boldly sat beside him and tried to rouse him into conversation. He grunted a few words, and rolled back to sleep.
I cruised the beach for half an hour and returned. He was still drowsy, and after mumbling “I had a late night” he returned to slumber. Again I wandered, and seeing nothing comparable to my sleeping prince, made a third attempt: “Hi, my name is John. What’s yours?”
He sat up, puzzled by this importunate stranger: “Who are you, anyway?”
We talked until the sun waned, mostly about religion, of all things. His name is Dane (not his real name) and he’s a practicing Jehovah’s Witness! As he gathered his blanket, I prepared to ask “What are you doing this evening?” when he asked me that exact question.
“Nothing at all I’d like to spend it with you.”
“OK, I’m invited to a dinner party; the host said I could bring a friend.”
After the party Dane reluctantly accepted a ride back to his apartment, and even more hesitantly, allowed me in. Alcohol, drowsiness, or whatever else was my ally, helped me persuade him to let me stay the night. Once we were in bed, skin-on-skin blazed with magic, and we had a ravishing good fuck.
This morning when I left, he promised to meet me again tonight!
July 8. I’ve spent a rapturous week. Dane is as dumbfounded as I am. When I asked “What made you invite a pest to the dinner party?” he admitted that the host was a guy he’d recently dumped: “Grant is still in love with me, and I thought if I showed up with someone new, he’d realize our affair is over.” Dane had definitely not intended to spend the night with me. Now we are seeing each other every day!
July 12. A stunning weekend with Dane. We are wonderfully compatible sexually, and I enjoy his company. He is bonding quickly with my son.
[Peter remarked, years later, that he found Dane "more like a teenager than an adult" a peer rather than his parent's partner].
Dane and I danced on Friday. Saturday we saw Star Wars, then came back here for superlative sex. Sunday he joined me for Quaker meeting, biked to the Spearhead picnic, then visited Ruth, who was charming. We finished at City TV where I was interviewed about the Don Jail (where I’ve been serving as a Quaker volunteer). When he departed for work this morning Dane left a poem which affirmed that he is already in love with me.
July 19. Another large gap in my journal. Denis de Rougemont says “Happy love has no history” and he may be right how can I recount such bliss?
July 25. Intoxicating days and nights with Dane: the Shaw Festival, dinner with Steve and Terry, and our first bondage scenario. After reading my draft of the S/M chapter of Getting Sex , Dane is hot to expand his horizons. It’s a great pleasure that he has such a pliable personality, without being subservient.
July 27. It’s time for a sober assessment. Dane is on the way to being my best ever but I worry about his religious views. He doesn't quite believe the earth is flat, but the next thing to it Earth is only 6000 years old!
His world is a narrow place. He has not read widely and has no books in his home. He takes no part in politics, gay or otherwise. He has no knowledge or liking of classical music or the fine arts and rarely goes to the theatre.
July 31. A fierce, slashing storm with tumultuous rain forced us home from the beach today, so we acted a scenario with him strung up to the rafters. Dane is exceedingly mouldable and delights in sexual play. We’ve dated for a month without a cross word, despite great differences over religion, politics, science and the arts.
August 1. Today we visited the museum. Dane proffered an hilarious explanation of fossil dinosaurs: “They’re the bones of animals that didn’t survive the Flood.” When we reached the fossil fish, I asked “What about these? They could swim. Why are they extinct?”
I think he will eventually give up the homophobic Witnesses because he enjoys gay sex so much. But if he gives up his religion, will he keep his decent character, or, like many gay men, become a mindless consumer who believes in nothing but fashion, shopping, and parties?
August 7. More exhilarating times with Dane. Frisky disco dancing, the art gallery, biking, reading poetry aloud. Never an angry moment. Tomorrow I leave for my solo trip to Europe.
Brief portions of my letters from Europe to Dane.
First letter: It will be a week before a letter arrives from England; I am sending this from Toronto airport, to encourage you to write me. Incipit vita nuova. (My new life begins with you).
Second letter. Hi. I’ve arrived in Brighton. Gowan looks young and cheerful, but he’s faithful to Nicky; I must be content with warm hugging.
Third letter. I'm bushed! Working for a living, doing many radio and TV spots on a book tour for Lovestyles, but I can claim this part of the trip against taxes.
Fourth letter. Athens. Thanks to the air controllers’ strike I arrived too late to look for a good hotel. I took a dump at $8 a night. It stank of piss. Now I’m sitting in the lobby of a better hotel, waiting to get into a room.
Fifth letter. Athens is a maze even for cab drivers. It took inquiries of six cabbies and eight pedestrians to get me to the gay bar last night. The only gay bar, for tourists. The government hates gays but wants dollars.
Sixth letter. Darling: what a wonder is man. The Acropolis sums it all. Perfect geometry in stones. Ianus, a Greek I met at the bar, showed up as promised. His parents wanted him home by dinner so he couldn't return to my hotel. He is quite lovely as Greeks go, but few of them are blond. How I yearn for your arms, your kiss, your ass. I wonder who's kissing you now?
The Agora, Stoa, and Parthenon are all I dreamed they would be; the footstones of my gods. As I bestrode their ancient haunts I thanked them for leading me to you.
Seventh letter. Last night I ate in a roof-top restaurant with a glorious view of the Acropolis. I fantasized you across my solitary table. Someday I hope we can both be here.
Eighth letter. Happy birthday to me! Today I made my pilgrimage to Delphi. We bussed four hours north through hot, dry country, a roller-coaster of narrow, winding roads with sheer drops to valleys below. Rows of memorial crosses to traffic victims stand guard at many of the sharp curves.
Finally, the village of Delphi. Steep, gray-green slope of Mount Parnassus above, a wild chasm beneath. Perched mid-mountain, ruins of the 2600-year-old temple. I entered the pilgrim’s Sacred Way of ancient stones, a question for the oracle on my lips. "Have I found the love I seek?"
The ancient oracle was always ambivalent. Themistocles asked if Greece could defeat Persia and was told to "trust the wooden walls." This might mean fortifications of the city, but he decided it meant ships. He based his strategy on naval attack, and won.
Well, the oracle can still speak! Dane, my dearest, it hasn't rained in southern Greece since April. The countryside is parched. Imminent water rationing is the talk of Athens. As our bus approached the village of Delphi our guide remarked incredulously that heavy clouds were forming. Once afoot, I climbed the Sacred Path, perhaps the sole believer in Olympus present here today. I solemnly washed my hands in the only water available for purification a bucket being used by workmen to refit some errant paving stones.
As I entered the temple ruins, scattered drops became a downpour. Arms akimbo to the sky, I sang praises to the gods still living here. Other tourists, running for cover, must have thought me mad. Soaked through, I descended the temple steps to seek shelter. The rain ceased immediately. When our bus left an hour later, the air was again hot and dry.
But what is the oracle’s message? Is rain a favourable omen, the waters of your love on my parched ground, or is it sadness? Are you just rain on my parade? Is it "singing in the rain" or "into each life some rain must fall?"
Ninth letter. Heraklion, Crete. Today I flew to this enchanting island with impressive ruins and exquisite art of 4,500 years ago. How I adore the temple frescoes of wasp-waisted young men!
Tenth letter. Sofia, Bulgaria, a city of one million subdued people with few cars, cafes or billboards, not even the propaganda kind. Jeans are rare, and never skintight as in Athens. There’s a strong sense of history here the malls are decorated with stone ruins and ancient relics.
Eleventh letter. Istanbul, Turkey. 7.30 AM. Good morning, love. My hotel room is palatial. A huge tub; a wide balcony overlooking the Bosphorus River. I’m told it's not safe to walk the streets at night. Also I heard a rumour there is cholera in Turkey.
9.30 AM No mail from you! I trust the fault is with the Turkish postal service, not your delay in writing.
Twelfth letter. Naples, Italy. I had a rude welcome, being ordered to visit a health office, due to fear of Turkey’s cholera. The only reason I'm here is to see Pompeii.
On the bus I sat next an Englishman: "Aren't you brave to travel alone for so long,” he applauded: "You must enjoy your own company." Not nearly enough; I wish you were here.
The Amalfi coast is a breathtaking seacoast road, with hundreds of curves, steep drops, houses clinging to cliffs, orange and lemon groves, terraced vineyards and the emerald green sea.
Pompeii has astonishing ruins. Vast enough to get lost in (I did). Such sights! Carriage ruts in the streets, the worn fountain used more on the right than left hand; the frescoes, especially the pornography; the mosaics; the municipal baths, the atrium gardens, the sex room for slaves. I ignored the rules and secretly gathered small stones for my rock collection, as I did at the Agora, Delphi, and the Minoan temple.
This morning I went to the local Health unit. Imagine an interview with no common language and no interpreter. Yet all is well; they will not quarantine me for the usual thirty days. This lonely travel has taught me one good thing: I still have a bounty of youthful energy.
September 2. Europe's air controllers are still on strike. After sitting in a plane for six hours on the tarmac at Rome, I made an urgent prayer to Hermes: "Please don't let the pilot announce again that we must deplane."
Suddenly the pilot spoke: "We've been cleared for take-off, but not on our original route." Instead of flying directly to NYC, we would land to refuel at Montreal.
Later: Dear Hermes, that suited me perfectly. I was the only Canadian passenger, and I pleaded with the flight officer to let me off at Montreal. I had only carry-on luggage, and deplaning was easily arranged.
September 5. I rode a bus through the night, arriving home a day early. I greeted Steve and Terry then drove to Dane's apartment to surprise him. He was at work. I got into his bed. Imagine his astonishment when he found me there! Coming home to a beloved is the best homecoming of all.
September 7. We've spent an idyllic weekend together. Dane's only letter to me dated August 19 and sent to Turkey to be "held for August 26" has been returned by the hotel. Among other things, Dane wrote: Today's headline: Dane misses John a young man claimed he'd walk to Europe if his lover did not return home soon.... He played classical music to remind himself of me (he has little taste for it).
Dane surprised me with a quote from Alex Comfort’s Joy of Sex, which I gave him to read: “Love begins below the navel and works its way up. It doesn't have a hope of lasting until it reaches the heart. But once love moves beyond the heart and gets between the ears, the condition is fatal, for we experience the ultimate vulnerability, the sharing of self.”
September 12. Steve leaves for Tucson in a few days, the culmination of 15 months of genial and creative friendship. But the gods are with me again. Dane is giving his landlord notice. He’s moving here into Steve’s flat. He still wants “his own space.”
September 16. Today I faced Professor David Gauthier on Pierre Berton’s Great Debate TV programme, on the issue of permitting gay teachers in the classroom. I lost the audience vote, not by much, probably because I'm not as fast in my thinking as David. I'm not a brilliant intellect, just a jack of all trades who has worked very hard.
October 21. I’ve completed two weeks’ work constructing a “dungeon” playroom in the basement of Logan. The room once used for coal storage has field stone walls, an earthen floor, exposed ceiling beams, and no window. Perfect atmosphere! I obtained enough lengths of used waterpipe from a scrap dealer, to sink into the floor in a row, midway across the room, thus creating a “cell” on one side, and a “sheriff’s office” on the other. I’ve added various sex toys. [Again my life repeats itself but this “rec room” has a slightly different purpose than Oakwood Avenue 35 years before!]
November 20. A fabulous night: Dane served dinner in the nude and we enjoyed a dungeon scene of surpassing pleasure.
November 30. Dane is on midnight shift and I go to bed alone, after whiling away the evening on a 3000-piece Breughel jigsaw puzzle. Sad news: Paul Bennett and John are breaking up after ten years.
A portion of Weekend Magazine: a two-age portrait of 21 publicly gay Canadians in 1977. I’m under the arrow.
December 17. Dane is proud of me: Weekend Magazine has "Gay in the Seventies" as cover-page theme, with leading activists portrayed, myself included.
January 22. Last night we went to the Roman Baths; it was Dane's first time. We each enjoyed a stranger then fucked each other. Dane is adapting well to open marriage.
February 12. Dane is taking a solo holiday for a week in Mexico. I’ll join him for Reading Week. I was originally looking forward to a week of 'freedom' but I'm lonely and thinking of him instead.
Poor Paul is bereft at the loss of John. He is terrified of having to search for a new lover at 50. I took him out to a few bars to encourage him.
February 17. We're home from a week on Cozumel Island, Mexico. It was Dane's kind of vacation: idle hours on a beach, hotel meals, shopping. We had a relaxed time, with no arguments, but I was bored, and glad to come home. The one highlight for me was a flight in a small plane to Chichen Itza, a Mayan site of imposing temples and ball courts.
March 5. My son is visiting overnight. For the first time in years he teases me a lot, aided by Dane. It's good that Peter feels free to josh me, but what subterranean anger is Dane venting?
March 18. We all celebrated Ruth's 18th birthday this week with a warm and cheerful dinner. Also this week Dane and I drove to the university in Guelph to jointly explain “open marriage” to the campus gay group. Dane is becoming comfortable with a public role as a gay man.
March 21. Spring! We celebrated with a game of "missing chocolates." He hides a box of chocolates, and we start sex. I try to compel him to reveal the hiding spot by a mixture of stimulations, both erotic and disciplinary. He can send me on wild-goose chases to delay orgasm or gain respite from a spanking. When he ejaculates, or reveals the location of the chocolates, the game is over.
April 15. I presented my brief to the Commission on the Young Child, immediately following a noxious Salvation Army brief homophobic and anti-permissive.
April 21. As I sit by the Franklin fireplace I ask: Who am I?. I am a man. I like being male, competent, assertive.
2. I am a professor. I like having authority, recognized expertise, and I love the lifestyle, being my own boss, having lots of free time.
3. I am a father. Peter and Ruth are anchors in a turbulent gay life.
4. I am a public and militant gay man.
5. I am very sexual: intense, promiscuous, imaginative.
6. I am an Outsider. I am not at home in the world.
7. I need a codependant. I do not like living alone, but I am very picky.
8. I am an intellectual with many interests.
9. I am a mechanically skilled person; I can even renovate.
10. I am the most interesting person in my life. (And not modest!)
May 10. Today Getting Sex was launched at Glad Day Bookstore. Dane brought flowers and champagne. Sales were good. Yesterday I had a great lunch with the editor, Julie Beddoes, at Les Copains. I slipped a cute bus-boy my phone number. He called later, and came over for a threesome. Another fantasy fulfilled.
May 21. The Globe and Mail has published the first review of Getting Sex.. It is very positive, written by gay film reviewer Jay Scott. He begins : "Hang an Inflammable sign on this one. What our society needs is an adequate and reliable supply of satisfying, convenient, risk-free casual sex, University of Toronto sociologist John Alan Lee writes: "Conventional people think that sex for its own sake, sex for pleasure, is an evil thing. There is no point in such people reading any further "
“Let's forge ahead, shall we?” Scott asks. "The fundamental axiom of this book is that no social barriers should prevent any two or more persons from voluntarily enjoying each other's body or each others' bodies."
“Many people, Lee tells us, are not getting it with the regularity and variety they desire.” Scott says I've covered ground already well covered by Hooker and Tripp and Money, but my chapter on "the sexual use of discos is a first and the chapter on sadomasochism is the best I've read anywhere. In essence, Getting Sex is a good-news book, an antidote to a poisonous preoccupation."
May 24. This weekend a group of academics and professionals gathered to formally establish The Centre for Human Freedom and Sexuality. Among the founders are Dr. Frank Sommers (psychiatrist, met at a Gestalt weekend), Professor Johanna Stuckey of York University (a fellow graduate from University College, 1956), my friend Clarence Barnes, and myself. We are dedicating ourselves to propagation of more positive attitudes to sexual pleasure.
June 4. Dane and I partied at Dennis's last night and brought home Pierre T, whom I first met in Montreal five years ago. We had a wild scene in our dungeon. First I mastered the two as slaves, and after I went to bed, Dane continued with Pierre all night long!
June 5. Dane was asked at the party: "How can you live with John Lee?" because of the outrageously louche stance of my new book. Dane feels he is often seen as my lover rather than as his own person. He has ordered a T-shirt. It asks: "John who?"
June 6. Getting Sex is attracting lots of flak from the self-righteous. Today a letter arrived from the Minister of Education, attaching letters from the public complaining that a man with my views should not be allowed to corrupt young people.
June 30. My enemy Tarshis is history. Ron Blair has taken over as chair. Already a good friend, he revealed that Tarshis systematically kept my salary below the average of other faculty with similar performance. It was the only way Tarshis could vent his hate. Ron is giving me a big catch-up increase.
July 3. One year since I met Dane. We attended Quaker Meeting, in recognition of my meditation there last year. Then we canoed to the beach where we met, for a picnic of strawberries, champagne, and hashish. We returned home for great sex, slept to 10 pm, then dined out and went dancing. Dane gave 'us' fine bedsheets (with an Egyptian motif) and gave me a beautiful attaché case in Caribou leather.
July 13. Why don't I have a really close friend who could become the executor of my will? I have a marvellous lover, a kind ex-wife, some good friends, but no best friend since Steve left. In the coming months I must search for such a friend. Dane, alas, is not enough of an intellectual peer to be my best friend. Johanna reminds me: "He's a very ordinary man."
Fortunately Johanna is no ordinary woman. We are both Virgos, born within a week of each other, and within one hundred miles of each other. Jo is as much an intellectual as I am; some of our areas of interest overlap (history, the arts) and others vary (her ancient goddess studies, my modern sociology). Jo is a big woman physically too. She has never married. Straight, but very gay-positive. I think of her as a classic “earth mother” type, and our similar stars suggest we may become close friends, even soulmates.
July 24. Tonight Dane and I had a productive discussion of power. I conceded that I like to control my house and its decor, except Dane's upper living room. I control garden and car, and I dominate our entertainment choices. Most of our guests are my friends. (Dane has few friends). I dominate in sex. Obviously Dane controls his work, his choice of tricks and friends, and his vacations alone. He claims he is not unhappy about this imbalance but I realize it cannot remain a longterm policy.
August 7. Ted Mann and I have signed a contract to do a book on the RCMP and its dirty tricks (The RCMP versus the People ).
August 19. A biblical thunderstorm drew us to the back door to watch; now the sky is clear again. Long rays of setting sun glint on the golden marigolds. At moments like these, with classical music, garden, and Dane's company, all seems perfect.
September 21. The Varsity student newspaper published my guest editorial: "Gay faculty should come out." I argue that "campus closets are still crowded, and it's been a lonely liberation for the handful of profs who are public."
"I don't think it's my right to out colleagues, but I hope this editorial makes a few of you angry and/or ashamed enough to smoulder. When the smoke in your closet gets too thick, come on out!"
October 21. I'm almost "high" on the success of the weekend conference of the Centre for Human Freedom and Sexuality. John Money was our feature speaker. I organized the slide show and the display of erotic art and books. It's great fun working with people like Frank Sommers and Johanna. Two hundred people attended.
I've taped a Peanuts cartoon to my bathroom mirror. Lucy notes that life has its peaks and valleys so there must be one day in life that is happier than all the others. What if I've already had it?
November 4. Today we biked in the Moore Park ravine. Our eyes were beguiled by numinous colour. As we sat by a laughing brook, I contemplated the wonder of it all. I'm having frequent peak experiences.
November 6. Unbelievable! Today a social worker formerly with the CAS called me, after hearing me on the radio as a gay spokesperson. We met at a Yonge Street cafe, where he gave his reason for contacting me: he wanted my advice on how he might find a young lover. I could barely contain my indignation.
Generally the feedback I get from my media appearances is more welcome. One closeted gay man told me today: "You're the best representative of gay people in Toronto."
November 8. My son is causing Jean some concern because of his lack of socializing with women she is afraid he might become gay. I reminded Jean that Peter is no problem at all, compared with any other teenage boy.
November 28. My son and I spent the day in my carpentry workshop. We talked easily and intimately. He is a real friend, not merely a son. Whatever natural anger he felt from his parents' divorce seems to have subsided.
December 3. It seems I'm not missed by Dane, who has not phoned from NYC. I don't have a way of reaching him. Fate has compensated: I've met Rory, a 4th-year fine arts student. He's a short, sweet-faced, lilting pixie, with the most adorable toffee buns. We've enjoyed three evenings together. Rory is exquisite sex, a perfect eros match for me: talented and compliant. He has a problem of self esteem, resulting in excessive use of alcohol, and he is very poor.
He would make a good housemate for Dane and me. I miss living in a group or quasi-family. Rory could help us create a splendid "menage."
December 4. Dane claims he was kept fully occupied in NYC. He reports that a wealthy New Yorker offered him an apartment, if he would stay there. I don't think Dane missed me all the time he was away.
However, he absolutely rejects any notion of Rory moving in. He considers Rory a dangerous rival. Rory, aware of our open marriage, casually remarked: "You and Dane won't be together for the rest of your life." That gave me pause, because he is quite right, statistically speaking. Few open marriages last a lifetime. It is flattering that Rory would like to replace Dane, but a bird in my hand for more than a year, is a safer choice.
Dane is only 25 and may well be gone when he's 30 or 40. I must preserve the capacity to return to the Search someday, if Dane leaves me. Even to write this down has forced a deep sigh from my heart.
January 4. Our New Year's featured a bizarre conspiracy. The party host paid a young man in advance to "come on strong" with me. This youth was exactly "my type." He would persuade me to go home with him. There he would dump me. Our host hoped Dane would be so annoyed that we would break up.
This plot was "Hate John Lee week" condensed, as only malicious gay men could, into one night's malice. Some acquaintances truly resent our blissful marriage. I don't underrate my sex appeal, but the young man's come-on was suspiciously ardent. When I shared my doubts with a trusted friend, he admitted hearing rumours of a plot. Our host confessed, trying to laugh it off as "Just a joke. We would have told you if you'd fallen for it." Dane and I walked out.
January 10. The Varsity, in a front page headline, calls me "the most vocal homosexual at the university." The Provost refers to me as "the professor who writes too much for the Globe and Mail. " A smug putdown.
January 27. Sometimes Dane's compliance amazes me. Tonight he wore a “slave collar” to the bar, for the first time.
This week I invited the anti-gay evangelist Ken Campbell to speak to my Intro Soc class. It was a good way of proving that I am not one-sided in my teaching. The CBC has interviewed me on the need for courage to be openly gay. I emphasized that it's part of Tillich's "courage to be."
February 2. Today I appeared in court, together with Dane and several neighbours, to accuse a neighbour who refuses to control his dog. The Humane Society declined to help, but we nailed him under the Noise Control bylaw. He got "$75 or two days in jail!"
February 3. My old public relations instincts surfaced again; I called the Globe and Mail with my "man bites dog" story and they actually carried the item on page one!
February 5. At a local NDP function I chatted with Tommy Douglas what a charismatic man! He autographed a Douglas Tartan necktie and it was auctioned to raise election funds. I made the winning bid! I will wear it proudly.
February 10. Just home after taking Dane to the airport for a week in California. I will join him next Sunday.
February 12. I had Jean and her parents over for dinner; they've been a solid anchor in my life for twenty years.
Dane’s “report card” on our open marriage.
February 17. Dane has mailed me a "report card" on our relationship. He rates me: "affectionate, communicative, appreciative, considerate, with a great sense of humour, and very compatible sexually, intellectually and socially." No bad grades he must be missing me this time.
March 5. Back from California. I met Dane in Los Angeles and we drove north to Pismo Beach under an awe-inspiring sunset. Next day we took the Old Spanish ocean road, slept at Big Sur in a lodge with a fireplace, and visited Hearst Castle. Carmel has hardly changed since I saw it with Chris Larkin in 1965. We enjoyed San Francisco, saw Steve, the bars, the Dresden art show, the Academy and Aquarium.
But it was nice to get home, where Rory looked after the house for us. Again I suggested to Dane that Rory move in. Dane was vehement: "Rory is in love with you; he's just waiting in the wings until I make a pratfall."
March 14. Classes will soon be over. My energy over the past school year is impressive. I've created a book at least 500 pages of typing, with 570 footnotes. To research it, I read at least 150 books, thousands of newspaper articles, and hundreds of "secret" RCMP documents. Ted Mann did most of the interviewing but little of the writing.
I've written two academic articles and got them accepted. I've organized the Centre's conference, acted as Treasurer, conducted all the audio-visual work, as well as some publicity and program work. I've given numerous talks on TV, plus guest lectures, and played an active role in the GAU. And of course, taught three courses at the college. My rare mention of teaching shows how easily it comes to me now.
I've attended operas, concerts, films, numerous plays, and visited art galleries and the museum. I've entertained guests, visited bars and discos many times, had lots of sex and fun, and spent a week in California, five days in New Orleans, and three in Montreal. Wow, what a life!
March 29. John McIntosh is dead of a massive heart attack. He was a truly superlative father-in-law. I've always been welcome in his home, even after I divorced his daughter and became gay.
April 1. Dane and I drove to Buffalo for a dinner party with Professor Larry Ross, his wife, and gay friends. At a Sunday brunch I talked to 60 men about safe S/M.
April 9. We're back from a weekend in Detroit, where I spoke to the "First Sunday Group" of mostly closeted gay businessmen on Getting Sex . I let their adulation go to my head; I casually remarked that our open marriage was proof that I am not emotionally dependent on Dane. This was dishonest and smart-alecky, and wounded Dane.
[I wonder why I was insistent on open marriage? My rationale was that I could hold a gorgeous younger man only by giving him lots of sexual freedom during "the best years of his life." But perhaps I was keeping my options open. Dane was not my ideal partner (not an intellectual peer). Perhaps I shared J. R. Ackerly's ill-fated notion of "The search for the Ideal Friend"].
April 12. Dane left a note for me to find when I woke: "You are the most beautiful compliment nature has bestowed on mankind. Let the gods be proud of their work."
In 2003 no one would dare hold a conference on children’s sexuality. My paper was published in Enfance et Sexualité, 1980.
The bouquet Dane had waiting for me at my Vancouver hotel.
Dane playing with his new puppy, Delphi.
Camping with Dane.
A worksheet from the evaluation Dane and I made of our marriage. (See my article, “Can we talk?” in my list of publications).
My newspaper experience, which began as a child, was still proving useful. I edited this Newsletter.
The Toronto Sun was not amused by our gay sit-in at the Attorney General’s office.
Our outside supporters leafletted the gay bars.
Gowan visited us in 1979.
May 2. Dane, the closeted Jehovah Witness I met in 1977, today gave a gay lib talk to a Jewish high school and seems to have done very well.
May 14. This weekend we canoed on the lake, to the end of Leslie Street Spit; four hours in quiet foggy warmth with a wispy view of the city. We also held the annual GAU salon at Logan, with excellent performances.
Dane has given me a note: "You asked of me, after sex, if it was good, did I enjoy it? Oh my love. There are no words. My feelings go far beyond heaven's reach."
May 16. Last night we had wild sex , with Dane in ice skates, suspended upside down from the beams. He left a note this morning about "going to work with one hell of a grin on my face. "
June 24. Vancouver. I'm on a book tour promoting RCMP Versus the People. This is an exhilarating experience days full of radio phone-in shows, TV appearances, newspaper interviews. Dane arranged a bouquet of flowers to greet me in every hotel room all the way to Vancouver!
June 29. Dane has been wanting a dog. Today I bought a honey-coloured cocker spaniel for his birthday. We named it Delphi, in honour of my oracle.
July 24. A half-dozen gay men met at Logan today to plan a sit-in at the office of the Attorney General. We want him, as political chief of the justice system, to drop the charges against a gay teacher accused of running a bawdy house simply by inviting men to his own home for sex; and to place no further charges that circumvent the 1969 criminal code legalizing consenting gay sex. Also, to end the attempt to overthrow the jury's acquittal of the Body Politic by appealing the case; to return the membership list of the NDP gay caucus, to order a public inquiry into anti-gay activity of the Toronto police, and to arrange a meeting at which he would receive representatives of the gay community.
We've set a date for our training session. Participants so far are Ken Hancock, Harvey Hamburg, Don Barlowe, Clarence Barnes, Ed Fontaine and myself. We planned the scenario: we will hold out for three days. If stopped at the lobby, we will sit there. We will wear suits and ties, and carry brief cases containing food, water and sleeping bags. We will need to role-play relations with the guards, going limp, holding in knots. We have yet to decide what level of criminal charges each of us is willing to face.
August 5. Dane and I are annoyed with each other over walking and house-training the dog: He seethes: "You're home all day; you do it." I say "But you wanted a dog." We've hardly touched each other all week.
August 12. An evaluation of our marriage: Dane and I are using the metaperspective method of R. D. Laing and the Schwartz and Blumstein questionnaire, to try to iron out incompatibilities in our marriage over our clashing cultural tastes in music, theatre and even vacations. [Later I would perfect the metaperspective method, have it tested by therapists, and publish it in Gay Midlife and Aging ].
What I like about Dane: he has a decent character, is reliable, sexy, affectionate, and copes well with my 'need to lead.' What I dislike: he is stubborn (he may need to be, in response to my dominance), he snores and refuses to do anything about it, won't take responsibility for his dog, undervalues rituals such as birthdays, and is too thin (his ribs show).
What Dane likes about me: intelligent, devoted to good causes, sexy, masculine, and brave. Dislikes “John does not cuddle enough, is not jealous enough, is too dominant, and prefers gardens to dogs.”
August 18. Intending participants of the sit-in spent the day at Quaker Meeting House including the outside support group, built around Dane and Rev. Brent Hawkes, the new minister of the MCC (replacing Bob Wolfe). We role-played getting into the office, handling any physical force used against us, preparation of press releases, and so on. Exciting stuff.
MY 46th BIRTHDAY. A wonderful week! Monday at 9 AM we entered the offices of the Attorney General of Ontario. It seems we were expected a mole inside our group. Ken prudently led us into a side office of secretaries. Refusing to budge, we negotiated our way to the waiting room of the Deputy AG where we managed to camp for three days. TV reporters covered us daily (as prearranged).
At office closing time we were ordered to leave or be charged with trespassing, but when we refused, OPP guards were posted. Television clip: "As the night wore on, the protesters played bridge with reporters, ate sandwiches and canned drinks they had packed, and stretched out on sleeping bags."
On our second day the AG staff tried to prevent us from talking to the press and our outside supporters, but we managed to get out a note saying "we will maintain our position here; our food supplies are quite adequate, and our morale is high." After this hit the news, the Deputy AG met with us while no media were around, and promised that if we left, AG Roy McMurtry would meet with us at a later time. But he would not agree now, "under threat."
Our street support grew after distribution of a leaflet in gay bars, with a cartoon theme that tackled head-on any objection by conservative gays that our sit-in was too radical: "Are we rocking your boat? or all we all in the same boat?"
Wednesday at noon our outside supporters sent in a "delegation" headed by Brent Hawkes, to "ask" us to leave, and we "reluctantly agreed" after “discussing” it. (Of course this was all arranged in advance). We departed singing "We shall overcome" and emerged from the elevators at the street level, to cheers and tears. We walked to a local TV station to appear on a talk show hosted by viciously anti-gay Claire Hoy. He argues we are not a legitimate minority group, but depraved people. He scornfully labelled our sit-in a "mince in."
Many people at the college let me know of their support, and people at Dane's office talked about it. I'm very proud that Dane took time off to orchestrate the street support.
Dane has given me a card: "Living with you is my happiness. I agree with your life views and goals, and respect your courage and honourable way of living." Wonderful words from a former Witness!
September 3. Killarney. Gowan has arrived from England, and the three of us are camping at this wilderness park. I'm the only experienced paddler, and apparently the only one strong enough to portage a canoe (at age 46, with 25- and 35-year-old companions!)
September 9. Dane and Gowan went out to cruise the bars, and Dane brought home a small-plane pilot. Today the three of them are flying over Niagara Falls! I'm glad to be alone for the day, to start work on a CBC program for Max Allen's Ideas series: Ceremonies of the Eighties.
September 10. I'm back from a splendid conference in Montreal, on Children and Society, where I presented a very controversial paper, Three Paradigms of Childhood. I met the famed sex educator, Mary Calderone, for a long chat over dinner. I also picked up a great trick at the bar. Meanwhile Dane had a good time here he flew to Rochester with his new pilot pal.
September 14. Dane gave me a card today, affirming his support of open marriage. It reads: "It is not important how long we care for each other, it is enough that we have each other. The path of days has brought me to your door for a while anyway." [It occurs to me years later, at age 70, that Dane wanted an open marriage as much as I did, because he never intended our relationship to last a lifetime].
September 18. Delphi just won't be housebroken. She began by favouring me because Dane neglected her and I'm around so much of the time. Dane became jealous, and insisted on feeding her; now she is defiant with me. I'm getting really angry about stepping in her shit around the house. Dane just came in as I write this, with a peace offering of Turtles (candy).
September 28. Brent Hawkes has asked me to take over as chair of the Right to Privacy Committee (RTPC, a campaign to defend the gay baths from police raids). I've asked Don Barlowe to join the executive too.
October 1 Last canoe trip of the year. Heavy fog on the lake, no wind. We deliberately lost ourselves in the fog on the bay, which is safe enough. An eerie experience! Tonight we saw Freedom of the City. About to die, a character says "I realize that life has always eluded me I never really penetrated even one experience." I'm grateful that's not true for me.
October 14. Tonight I had to chair an ideological war at the RTPC general meeting: "legalists" (in favour of letting the lawyers do the work) versus zappers (like myself, in favour of nonviolent civil disobedience).
Dane is now involved with gay lib too in the Toronto Area Gay (TAG) phone line service. He's helping to organize a fund-raising dance.
October 22. Having failed to get RTPC backing for direct action, veterans of the AG sit-in are now organizing a "kiss in" at the Ontario Legislature. Today I got our press releases into the mail.
October 29. Before entering the Assembly, twelve gay men walked the Legislative corridors holding hands, while TV cameras rolled. However, cowards began to fall out, and when the time came to sit in the front row of the public gallery, there were only four of us left. We kissed in the sight of the elected members below us, and the media loved it.
November 30. Rev. Ken Campbell, the anti-gay preacher, appeared at my Intro class again. He sent me a letter of thanks "for your gracious hospitality. We share the same basic attitudes of a rebel with a cause."
December 16. My brother is dying of Huntington's chorea. Signs of nerve damage appeared years ago but diagnosis was difficult because David and I have no family history. His wife, Helen, has forced him into permanent hospital care. She called the police when he refused to go.
December 26. I visited my brother David today. I sat for an hour before he recognized me and spoke. He is terribly emaciated, makes hissing sounds, jerks his limbs involuntarily. His huge dark eyes shine blankly out of a gaunt bearded face. At the end he did look closely at me and I felt there was some communication. How horrifying it is to die slowly.
December 31. A sudden impulse: while Dane took the dog for a walk, I knocked out the wall I constructed in 1976, separating my first floor flat from the staircase to the upper floors. A wonderful new spaciousness now floods Logan House and it feels quite grand to come down the staircase. Let the walls come down between us in the coming year!
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