Love's Gay Fool. Autobiography of John Alan Lee.


Chapter 20. Breakup and renewal. 1982-85


January 1. Today Ruth and her boyfriend visited. Ruth pretended the long break between us never happened. She certainly didn't want to talk about it. For a woman of 22, Ruth remains startlingly childlike in gesture and voice .

January 6. Dane's salary has been raised to $27,000 a year, realizing one of his goals: to earn as many thousands as his age. Rancoured by his parents' treatment of him as the dumb son, he finally feels he has proved them wrong. Now Dane is openly musing about accepting a promotion outside Toronto. I must keep in mind that few relationships, gay or nongay, last a lifetime.

January 15. We've ordered two sibling puppies from a breeder of English cockers (“water spaniels”). This breed loves woods and water, and should be good for camping. They are reputed to be bright, loyal, and merry dogs, full of energy.

January 18. Today I was invited to present my theory of lovestyles to a Washington meeting of the American Psychological Association. However, I would get only 10-15 minutes on a panel. Why make a two-day trip for that? Honour and glory? Piffle. I declined with thanks.

January 22. Dane's mood has improved: "My life is as near perfect as I can imagine." We held a cocktail party for the Gay Community Appeal and raised $1400 while having a good time. Dane and I each had a trick for the party and the night. Mine was Darrell, and he was great fun.

February 10. I heard Ralph Nader speak tonight, and chatted with him later. It was a rousing, hardhitting speech, but in private he is a quiet, modest man.

March 1. Dane, home from Key West, reports only four free dinners this year; his sex appeal is dropping. He actually sent me a card admitting he missed me. He knows he takes my love for granted, but claims "You're always with me in spirit." I'm not good at this "spirit" stuff. I need physical presence.

At college, classes are going well, and I'm giving extra lectures in Women's Studies. I've organized an El Salvador committee and arranged for M.P. Dan Heap to speak.

March 3. Bob James tells me "everyone agrees" that my lectures to Women's Studies were considered the best by any guest speaker.

Our new English Cocker puppies, Night and Noire.

March 9. Our new dogs are a boxful of laughs. The kitchen is alive with yelps and cries. One hides in a cardboard box and the other attacks, then climbs inside, until the box is overturned. Endless energy. Neither injures the other, but they are constantly envious, and each must get exactly the same treatment. They switch bowls every minute, to make sure the other is getting no better food. The first signs of housebreaking have emerged --they stick to the papers, avoiding the bare floor. Dane chose the female dog and calls her Noire. I call the male Night -- recalling the spaniel who died in my arms when I was a boy.

March 12. Mike, a 21-year-old of godlike beauty, came over on Saturday night for a threesome. We took hash and acted out a Steelmill scene from his fantasies of summer work. He was sexy and theatrical.

March 20. Peter and his new girlfriend, Brenda, are visiting us for a week. Peter is looking well, but having a tough time at school. Meanwhile I'm encouraged by being asked to mediate a departmental dispute: "You're perceived as fair and caring, and not identified with any faction in the department" Exactly what I want to be.

March 25. Dane is jubilant about getting a $3000 raise, bringing him to $30,000 a year. His news gave me an opening to discuss his share of house expenses. After two days of talks, he finally recognized how heavily I subsidize his lifestyle through my capital invested in the house. He conceded his share of monthly costs should become $600, and mine drop to $750, given the comparative size of our incomes. He actually admitted that his shelter cost wouldn't rent a decent bachelor apartment.

May 2. I went to Rory's place for dinner. He was out, and returned late, drunk and looking like a tattered waif. He'd spent the afternoon at a bordello chatting with a friend who works as a prostitute. I tried to sober him with hot coffee, and got him to a restaurant, but all he would order was more booze.

He's been unemployed for weeks and -- too proud to ask for welfare -- has been going hungry. At 27, he’s still angry beyond words at his father, at his lack of vocation, and lack of success in life. He took no joy from my efforts to shore up his self-esteem by reminding him of his outstanding beauty. I put him to bed and left.

May 5. Dane is angry at my "three-year affair with Rory" though I've seen Rory only a dozen times. I haven't realized how insecure Dane is, since he rarely shows me his deep feelings and I have to pry him open with an emotional crowbar.

May 12. The garden is a carnival of daffodils and tulips of all hues, even black; violets from Logan, trilliums, forsythia, bleeding heart, yellow sedum on the wall, and the plum tree in bloom. Birds of many kinds abound. Our puppies gambol on the grass and are learning to stay off the planted areas.

June 20. We canoed to the islands today, after I helped Dane practice parking for his driving licence. Tonight we watched Lost Horizon, a film in which the goal of life is simple: BE KIND.

June 30. Dane and I have difficulty finding mutual friends. He chooses airheads who are no rival to his (lack of) intellect. He tolerates my friends but likes only one, Johanna. That's because she makes small talk at his level. Idle chatter drives me up a wall.

July 2. At 9 AM I began work on an article for the new Canadian Encyclopaedia. I'm thrilled to be asked, for it will be the first general encyclopaedia article ever to take a gay-positive view. Four drafts later it was 3.30 and I was done. After I mailed it, I reread my copy, and found it so good I wondered if I wrote it. There really is a Muse. [The editors accepted it unchanged and it was reprinted in subsequent editions].

July 3. This journal book opened with our move to Kairos. Now it closes with our fifth anniversary. I'm staying off alcohol this evening, to be especially gracious as we welcome guests -- a few close friends and my son -- for an exchange of rings. We promised if we lasted five years we would do this. Dane finally refers to us as a marriage.

July 22. The liberation of gays is grinding to a halt. A young gay man tells me: "You need a hard shell around your ego to go to bars these days." Gay men have invented "attitude."

I was never an ambitious academic; chair of Academic Affairs was as high as I got in the administration.

We were winded in (trapped by high winds) for two days at one Pukaskwa campsite.

We misread a map and got lost, heading up the wrong creek; eventually it became too shallow to paddle.

The dogs had to jump out of the canoe when we turned around. Night landed in mud, but loved the adventure.

August 9. Ruth came for a visit and did her best to reconcile, with flowers and a birthday card. We went canoeing. I'm deeply disappointed by her life now: three days a week as a waitress in the cult's vegetarian restaurant, and three days in their cleaning shop. Such a waste of talent. I steered clear of any talk about her beliefs and she avoided any negative comment about my sexuality. In short, we did not communicate at all. The thing I resent most is that the cult has made her into a doll-child.

Dane says: “You should be glad: Ruth is living among her friends, and is doing what she wants with her life.” But I reply: “She is not becoming a self-aware, self-fulfilling person, moving toward the wisdom of which she is capable.”

August 15. Peter is hitch-hiking across Europe. He writes from Rome: "You were right about meeting people to travel with; of four weeks I've been on the continent I've spent perhaps three days alone." Sometimes he’s slept in train stations, and even in palace gardens, when not able to stay over with a new friend. He has paid for accommodation only 14 nights so far. How like my youthful travels!

September 1. Dane has actually saved some money this year, and is adding $6000 to our annual prepayment on the mortgage. Finally he acknowledges -- in the manner most meaningful for him (dollars!) that this is our home, not my house with him as a tenant.

September 20. Peter’s back at school and this weekend I helped him paint and wallpaper his new digs, a nice reversal of the many times he’s helped me.

October 14. I've made a unique proposal: the college should respond to Canada’s unemployment crisis by offering free courses to unemployed workers. I've recruited support from my college allies, but my enemies are eager to defeat the idea. Some arguments are nonsense: "Offering free courses would prove that professors have too much free time. Having unemployed workers around would tarnish the college image." The clever ones try to look concerned for workers: "Free courses would jeopardize the insurance status of workers, who must remain available for work." I checked this with the government: "That's ridiculous. Of course workers can improve their abilities."

As for cost, there will be none. All we need is the use of a phone number the unemployed can call. Volunteers will mail out the info packages. There are already spare rooms in the college, heated and empty. I will arrange radio and TV coverage. It's a human interest story and will be quickly picked up. The trade union movement will publicize it. This programme will make the college look good. It's an opportunity to show that we are not just entrepreneurs selling education for a price.

October 26. I've joined the Sierra Club, and the chairman has asked me to run in elections for the Board of Directors. [I was elected, with more votes than any other candidate].

November 4. Dane and I enjoyed a choice scenario tonight. We have different sensory experiences of sex. He enjoys rough stimulation I find uncomfortable or even painful. Dane focusses on smell, while I'm all about sight and touch (which is a kind of sight, since eyes are evolutionary refinements of sensitive skin, and I use my fingers as a sculptor, to "see" shapes). Dane has little imagination for new scenes or toys. I've invented and built every device in our dungeon. One thing we agree on: we both wildly enjoy our sex.

November 27. In a metaperspective exercise today, {see my article, Can we talk? Can we really talk?) neither of us correctly guessed what is going on in the other's head. For example, Dane considers himself more cuddly these days, while in my perception, we hardly cuddled at all in the past month. The burden of Dane’s self-perspective is a weak (and passive-aggressive) ego. Dane growled: "I hate being such an ordinary person.

December 10. For three days I've been too weak with flu to leave my bed, but this morning I went to the college, and spoke with great feeling about free lectures for the unemployed. Only one colleague spoke strongly in my support. The rest remained silent -- I intimidated them into ceasing their selfish, petty objections. The vote carried in my favour!

December 21. Is this going to be a rotten Christmas? Dane fired a sudden salvo across the dinner table yet slept like a baby. After five years, it is easy to forget how fragile is our federation.


January 4. Three nights this week Dane promised to be home for dinner, and in each case came home much later, without a call and without apology. I complained: "It's not only rude, it's a form of lying to say you'll be home, and not do so." He grimly defied: "There's no reason I should do something just because I said I would. Your attitude is old-fashioned.”

February 10. Casablanca, Morocco. Dane and I are here for a Reading Week vacation. It seems a good compromise -- sun and heat for him, foreign adventure for me.

March 18. Dane claims he's too distraught about his career to join a voluntary group. He doesn't agree that helping others less fortunate would put his problems in perspective. He's done no community service since he left TAG two years ago. And he won't even wash the dishes at home ("servant work -- get a dishwasher!").

March 28. Today the college honoured me with the Campbell Award for service beyond the call of duty -- my many volunteer activities, especially organizing the unemployed program. It came as a total surprise. In accepting, I joked that I've spent my life fighting institutions and the award would not distract me.

April 11. Jean gave Peter a first-rate party for his 21st birthday, and made Dane as warmly welcome as myself. Canadian Forum magazine has accepted an article about the sociological insights of my travels in Morocco.

May 1. Dane’s job will become superfluous when his company merges into Petro Canada. I'm urging him to take a golden handshake rather than a new job in Petro Canada. He’s never seen Europe. It will be a testing time for our relationship, but a good education for him.

June 20. The garden was in optimum state for our Sierra garden-party fundraiser tonight. Fifty came. Such undreamed-of Fate, climbing from the nadir of society to this divine paradise of Kairos .

July 16. Peter is hitch-hiking across Canada. He found a job in three hours, in Banff. "The job should give me just enough money to travel for a year." Peter is a resourceful lad.

July 17. I'm enjoying art classes on the island. I canoe over to Wards Island for painting instruction each day.

August 6. Tonight we spent an auspicious evening with Johanna, who is now my best friend. When we told her about Dane’s plan to travel Europe this autumn, she warmly assured me: “You won’t be lonely -- I’ll phone you every day and we’ll go to plays often.”

August 9. It's important to remember that Epicurus did not teach hedonism, but a calculus of pleasure enjoyed quietly and in moderation, with no pleasure taken that might shut out some other desired joy.

August 24. My fiftieth birthday party was sui generis. Clarence made a banner with Happy 110010 --digital for 50. Johanna, Bob and Lois James, and other friends were here. Jean could not be here but sent a card. My son sent a great letter. Here's his description of a climb in the rain, alone on Whistler mountain: "Placing my pack in a sheltered rock hollow, my stroll begins, with compass and “topo” map in my pockets. Twenty minutes later the slope has increased from 15 to 30 degrees yet there are still scrub and clumps of grass to hold the skreet together. Then the clumps separate, and I imagine the slate roof at Logan without nails. The rain seemed to slow, until I finally realized it was SNOW.

"I am cold and wet. I'm on an island of stable skeet, with a rock face in front, and 15 feet of loose skeet on the side before glass clumps appear to stabilize it again. I attempt a crossing on a river of flat rocks at an angle well over 45 degrees. My precarious passage brings me to the narrowest crossing toward the top, only fifty feet away."

"I squat on a ledge and begin the five minute operation of removing my cold wet socks to wear on my extra feet -- my hands. My 150 pounds is spread over 100 square inches of leg and hand and still the rock slides. All I want now is to get down in one piece. Two hours later, in dry clothes, my legs begin shaking uncontrollably. Love, Peter."

One of my oil paintings. "Spoken for" by Stephen Murray after I die.

September 7. Dane and I are back from two indescribably exciting weeks in the north, at Pukaskwa and Quetico. On Lake Superior we faced waves so high that when we dropped into troughs, we could not see over the next crest. Through the next week we had many adventures -- nearly crashing on undersurface reef one day, being wind-trapped on an island for two days. We fought cross-swells and fierce gusts, and worried about sheer cliffs: we would never have been able to swim ashore if we dumped.

We got up one morning at 4 AM to set out by moonlight, just to avoid the higher winds that come with the rising sun. One campsite was an isolated beach of unparalleled splendour. We gathered such a hoard of blueberries I was able to render them to a gallon of syrup from which to make wine.

On to Quetico! Twice we got lost. We survived bizarre storms provided by nature, and those generated by our angry altercations. But there were also refreshing swims, and an ineffable waterfalls. The dogs were great travel companions. Thank Hermes for a wildly risky but safe trip!

September 12. Dane has left for his adventure in Europe. I planted cedars by the arbour in memory of this eventful day.

September 26. From Dane's letters: It's ironic: with little else to do during the day, he claims to be visiting art galleries, which he gave short shrift in Toronto. Will his trip improve his cultural insight?

October 14. Amsterdam: “There are flowers everywhere and I bought a large boucay (I tried) of irises for my room... Do you miss me? Sorry for the poor writing." Copenhagen: “I have almost worn out your photograph, jerking off. Please send a nice one.”

October 20. Dane writes that when he heard my voice on the phone he wanted to cry. "Thank you for your encouragement to keep going, and the idea of spending an afternoon in a church. I tried, and it helped; the music relaxed me."

October 24. Berlin: "I want to thank you, John, for persuading me to take this trip, and to keep going. It has been a real turning point for me."

My son Peter is now in mainland China. I'm rather proud of the way he's retracing some of my young adventures.

November 7. Dane writes: "After hearing your cheerful voice today, I felt much better. I'm having wonderful times, but every time I hear your voice I get homesick."

November 12. This morning Dane gave me the happy surprise of an unexpected call from Florence.

November 13. Dane's letter from Venice: "I'll be home soon, my dear. I love you and yes, I need you. Be happy."

November 15. Dane just called from Rome; he says he'll be home in two weeks. He complains that no one but me has written him: "I've written all my friends four times, but no replies. That hurts."

November 20. Though I had projects planned to keep me busy into December, I speeded up, completing everything for his anticipated return. I even made a big WELCOME HOME sign for our lobby. Imagine my distress when he called from Zurich to say he is staying longer, having such a good time with a new trick that he walked past phone booths without thinking to call me as promised. He may not arrive until the 20th of December. A whole month! I must be more careful about allowing myself to depend on this man.

November 27. Dane is with Gowan in Brighton. We talked, and I did not hide my need. I think I have persuaded him to come home.

December 2. It's midnight. I'm waiting for a call from Dane, who should be arriving at the Toronto bus depot any moment now.

December 12. Ten days' absence from this journal -- ten days of joy at Dane's return, with an ecstatic reunion at the bus station, and the peace of sleeping together again.

Peter has been in China for weeks without a word, and finally writes: "I am on a night train from Xian to ? (unreadable) sitting on a hard wooden seat beside a British friend, with lots of food, a bottle of cherry brandy, and a warm feeling inside."

December 19. I've inspired another first: the entire 36 students in my Sociology of Education course have boycotted their final exam. Under the leadership of several bright and mature women, the class arrived at the exam room, signed in, but refused to write. They're taking seriously the approach I discussed in class -- that examinations are not a good measure of learning. Such a demonstration has never happened before in this university, even in the glorious Sixties.

I was thrilled. Soon after, I went to the college Xmas party and ran into Dean Krashinsky- the same one who opposed my Unemployed project -- and told him. He was furious, and assured me the students would be punished.

December 20. Jean and Ruth came over for dinner, followed by a slide show of Dane's trip. It was a delightful evening until he speculated out loud: "If I don't find a job soon I may go back to Europe. There's lots of goodlooking men there."

Brazen betrayal! I withdrew from conversation. Jean noticed my sullen silence. After our guests left I protested vehemently: “I will not continue to help you financially while you’re unemployed, if all you can think about is going back to cute men in Europe.”

December 21. Dane apologized for last night's speculation; at least he's learning to say "sorry," instead of pouting for days.


The great year of Orwell begins fittingly for me; Chairman Bryan has sent me a scathing reprimand. He scorches the student boycott as a "whim" and implies that I engineered the whole thing. What an insult to the students, who did something noble and original. With my inspiration, yes, but not my assistance. I have a splendid cause to fight; I just hope the students can hold solid under the onslaught of vengeful bureaucrats. Some colleagues have shown their loyalty both to me and student action.

January 10. Mayhem! Academic Affairs spent three hours on the boycotting students and still couldn't agree. Dean Krashinsky poured scorn on my defence of the students: "An inspiring but irrelevant speech;" yet his motions were defeated!

My students are hanging strong. Most attended the meeting. It was their first experience in observing academics at work in committee. It's a testimony to their courage that they have not bowed to threats about delaying their graduation.

Using suggestions from colleagues, I started my argument with the famous Yale experiments on submission to authoritarian behaviour, and ended with the holocaust as proof of what happens when people merely obey orders. The Dean, Jewish in background, objected angrily to "trivialization" of the holocaust, but he clammed up when I rejoined: "Sir, you forget that many thousands of my people (homosexuals) also perished in the ovens." [ Some weeks later he came round to my office to apologize: "I hope you bear no ill feelings"].

Of course I don't consider my motives saintly; each of us acts out of personal interest. It suits me to be militant. I like the attention and I am willing to pay the cost in social rejection.

January 19. I spent delightful hours with Rory tonight -- I tied him to the stair-post and fucked him silly. He loved it.

February 3. The students need big guns on their side; I’ve called the Law Reform Union of militant lawyers. They will defend the students pro bono . I informed the Dean, and assured him that I will take the fight public by going to the media.

February 4. Ivory tower bureaucrats hate nothing more than an open fight. A compromise has been reached. The students have been awarded a pass mark for the course, but not a percentile grade.

February 7. The Varsity has published an editorial: "Professor John Lee has been teaching a course on education for years, every year outlining the illicit power relationships of formal education, and encouraging challenge. Every year his students have swallowed the information, walked through the course and spit up a remixed version on the final examination. This year, some of the students took Professor Lee to heart and boycotted the final. They convinced the whole class to follow, breaking the usual rules of etiquette: Get your degree without making trouble. These students are courageous people and deserve your support."

February 8. Dane is edgy after a month with no job offers. His lack of formal educational credentials is a hindrance, but the main reason is that we're in recession; there are not a lot of job openings.

Ruth called to say she is getting married. I'm delighted, even though it will be a great expense for me.

February 10. Ruth called to "clarify" her announcement: Dane will not be invited to the wedding. I immediately replied that Dane is the most important person in my life and where he is not welcome, I will not go.

February 15. THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE: The first time I was summoned was in 1941, age 8. I was "patriotically" organizing pupils to spy on teachers. Fortunately everyone laughed. Since beginning to teach, I've been repeatedly called to The Principal's Office: complaints about me at Trent; the fuss over going public -- and even more so, public about S/M; the brouhaha over hiring Canadians, and the media attacks on failsafe education. Today it was the student boycott. Principal Joan Foley is again getting heat from higher echelons: nail John Lee.

February 16. Ruth called to say that she and Marcel "accept" my decision not to be at the wedding. Ruth made it clear at last, that it's not only Marcel's family who refuse to invite Dane, but Ruth herself. She warned that I am "living in sin."

April 1. The first glorious day of spring! My garden is a bejewelled paradise, a haven in a mad world. Bob Miller and Paul were here for dinner and bridge. Friends for thirty years!

May 23. Joan Foley has issued her "Report on the events surrounding the final examination in Soc B24F." She interviewed 18 of the 36 students, and was unable to find any student who blamed me for the boycott. "Students volunteered positive comments about the course as a whole and about Professor Lee as a teacher. "

June 9. Dane has work at last, after six months, and more than 600 applications mailed out. He deserves success; he went down to the research library many mornings to look up suitable companies, and spent afternoons on his new Macintosh computer sending out letters.

Ruth’s reply to my letter

of June 14

June 14. Ruth has sent me a kind card for Father's Day; "I still love you as my father." I replied: "If you know me, much less love me, you know I am a very happy gay person, that Dane is as much family to me as any other person, and because he spends more time with me, is my closest relative. I hardly know the Ruth that was; the progressive, feminist, liberated woman, educated, active in good causes, a leader at school. To be honest, we are strangers now to each other."

June 18. I'm having a great time working on Dane's computer. My electric typewriter is history. I was nervous the first day, and Dane kept assuring: "You can't break it; so don't worry."

June 27. Benjamin Britten's Death in Venice is the most effulgent stage production I've ever seen. I wish I had tickets to see it again, but they’re sold out. The director is rumoured to have auditioned 200 performers to choose Tadzio; the winner is surely the loveliest young man I've ever seen, simply awesome. How I share poor Aschenback's longing! Oh beauty! I anguish over lovely human flesh, sweet flowers, stirring art and music. I hope that death comes before beauty passes out of my life.

July 9. Birds fill our garden with song, and flash the colour of wings as they fly, especially cardinals and orioles. A flock of swallows loop far above us. The lake shimmers beyond the dappled green trees.

July 13. Dane has been angry all week -- not coming home for dinner, leaving without a goodbye. Today I asked: "What have I done to deserve this?" I kept the house going and paid for while he was away, and the six months he looked for work. I pay for our mutual entertainment, because that's the only way he'll go to theatre and ballet.

Tonight we got into a shouting match. His face went taut and stony, his hands lashed about. I blasted that he was playing stupid mind games, going around in a snit instead of saying whatever was bothering him. Finally he realized I was really angry. He'd never before seen me lose my temper and shout like that. He started talking seriously.

July 15. I left Dane a detailed letter asking him to set aside at least an hour for talking, this weekend. Here it is in part, with Dane's scrawled comments in parentheses:

"Our recent problems are not about whatever trifle sets things off; there is some underlying malaise in our life. (I Agree). I feel you are either angry about something (Dane scratched that out) or simply indifferent to my feelings (he left that standing). I feel pessimistic about our future. I've been extremely considerate to you, with strong morale and financial support (I agree), and in return I often get resentment instead of appreciation. (Dane scratched this last clause out).

At our discussion I want to hear your side of the following picture.

                                                      Your contribution    mine

capital investment 6000*              94,000*

monthly expenses                               450             900

food costs shared                               1/3                     2/3

garden costs                                        0                       100%

garden labour                             less than 25%            the rest

food preserving                              0                       100%

meal preparation                         perhaps one third?    the rest

housekeeping                                  NEED I GO ON ?

Our monthly expenses contain no return for capital investment. You lose the annual interest on your $6000, but I lose interest on $94,000. If we sell, you get your share of any inflationary gain, not on investment, but on monthly expenses -- in other words, a one third share, not 6% for you compared to 94% for me, even though it is my capital that makes our home possible.” Dane scrawled beside this: "If you want to live at the level I can afford, let's do so."

July 17. We had our talk, with Dane icily defensive and reluctant to concede any point. He did admit that he would not welcome any reduction in our lifestyle, which I subsidize. I conceded that I'd rather tolerate a marriage far from perfect, than face the prospect of starting over. Yet I am alone, even though married. I already know what it's like to be old and alone.

August 8. Dane and I are back on track, and he is helping with my party for NDP election workers. It softens his mood that I've agreed to pay him by the hour for using his computer. He’ll quickly recoup his costs.

August 9. Two hundred people, including thirty media people, crowded our home and garden last night. Ed Broadbent paid a fifteen-minute visit, delivering a speech in support of the local candidate, Neil Young. Broadbent told us this was his first time to be hosted by a gay couple.

August 24. Oddly enough, I'm feeling wonderful at fifty-one. I slept in the tent last night, in our woods at the bottom of the garden. The wind rustled in the spruces, and I enjoyed cheerful dreams. Before retiring, I sat on the deck rapt by the green-black silence, munching on my birthday present to myself: a dark chocolate bar. The dogs nuzzled up to me, taking the edge off loneliness. Dane was not here.

September 13. We have a Chinese guest, Diao, billeted here by CUSO. He is a teacher in an exchange program, and provides us with much information about modern China.

September 25. We're home from a canoe jaunt on the Black River. I love the long stretches of dark water where coloured leaves float, while bright trees arch overhead. On the final rapids we ran the rushing water, dumped harmlessly, and had a good laugh.

September 29. Somehow Dane and I got talking about Death tonight, a topic he prefers to avoid. For our dungeon scenario, he dressed as Death. I tried to make Death surrender to me, by fucking long and hard, but his ass wouldn't quit. Finally I came. "You can't defeat Death," he grinned.

October 26. Dane has left me a pencilled note. I quote it almost in entirety, as one of the most comprehensive statements of his feelings about our marriage. I've rectified the grammar and spelling..

"John, ask yourself: 'Why do I continue to live with Dane? ' Is it so you won't be alone, because you are. I cried tonight because I'll never be the lover you are looking for. I cried because I love you and I can't be your true friend in life. Keep looking, he's still out there and someday fate will step aside for you.

"You have settled for less than you need or want. I have gotten much more than I dreamed of. I don't cry for me, but for you. I'm 35th or 36th in your quest for a true soulmate. If you give up and stay with me, what an unhappy man you will be. I don't fit your intellectual world. Your lover must be both bright and beautiful. Why are you taking seconds?

"You love my body but desperately want to upgrade (computer talk) my mind. Did you really think Europe would do it?"



Gavin has written a New Year's greeting: "I still think of you, with fondness and respect." He'd like to have dinner.

January 12. At the GAU, a local playwright defined gay sensibility : "the love of beauty and wit, combined with a certain boredom for life and a sense of missed opportunities. Sometimes, a general malaise about life." In short, gay life is not so gay.

February 9. Today I bought a 26-inch TV. Until now, TV has not been an ingredient of my life.

March 10. Home again from four great days in NYC, which cost me only $700, including Dane's air fare. He would not have gone otherwise -- not because he is poor, but because he'd rather spend on business lunches and fine clothes. We saw Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the park with George and visited art galleries and two gay bars: Eagle's Nest and Rounds.

The latter is a high-class hustler bar with well-spoken and becoming young men who accost older men in confident conversational style. They eventually get round to their price ($100 an hour). How civilized!

March 23. Written in tears: Dane and I have just had the worst fight of our eight years.. He stormed out the door with a frosty: "I don't know when I'll be back, if ever."

It all started when I reminded him that he still hadn't done his share of housecleaning for the week. His room is a shambles of dirty clothes lying about. He promptly counter-attacked with a volley of accusations that I use my money to manipulate him by paying for our theatre outings, and vacations like New York. I eliminate his best argument: "I can't afford to." After eight years we still have not become friends with common values and shared activities we both enjoy. Aside from sex, there are few things we do together, unless I pay and make the arrangements.

When he grabbed his coat to leave, I tried to physically prevent him; I've never struggled with him like that before. I was weeping, begging him not to go.

He's right. I am bent on controlling our outings together. I can't imagine sharing the shallow social life he chooses with his money. Well, I'm not in control now. Nothing I do will bring him back, until he decides out of love that he wants to come back. I can only wait.

March 24. Today we were to have twenty friends here for a Spring Solstice party. Instead the morning has been chaos, anguish, and some redeeming friendship. Dane did not return. In tearful voice I called friends to cancel the party. I went to Quaker meeting, which was helpful. A Friend gave ministry about loneliness and strength. Johanna called to make sure I'm OK. She was very supportive.

March 25. Dane returned late last night, and we were able to talk a little. His bottom line: "I'm losing control over my life." He is thirty, and realizes he'll "never be a big wheel." At work there is little room for advancement. There are few job openings elsewhere. His cruising life has collapsed; he is no longer young and pretty.

This morning I slipped into his bed, and he allowed me to hold him. When he turned to hold me, I wept, and told him I was frightened for us. "I'm scared too,” he whispered. "Loving you is my biggest problem."

April 2. Dane has been extra-nice recently, doing his best to mend our battered marriage. Such ambivalence!

April 14. Today I asked Dane what financial benefits he recognizes by living with me. He admitted very low shelter cost and subsidies near 100% for entertainment and travel. But instead of expressing gratitude, he hissed: "I resent being in your debt,” then added: "The bottom line for me is: Do I want to live in John Lee's world?"

I instantly agreed: "Yes, that is the bottom line, because I certainly don't want to live in your world. What was it, before you came into mine? A world without serious books: your apartment contained only religious tracts. A world without art, or fine music in the air. A world without politics or public concerns. The world of a Jehovah's Witness."

April 18. DON'T PUSH THE RIVER. There is no rush for Dane to decide which world to live in.

April 21. Dane has chosen my world. He’s back in a stable and congenial mood -- like a volcano that needs to blow off every few years, then settle into tranquillity.

May 5. Today I went into my old "bulldozer mode" in the garden. The result is a very bad back. I sometimes mistreat this faithful old donkey of a body which has served so well, in such good health for half a century.

One of my more provocative articles for the magazine Canadian Forum

June 4. Wow! After years of conflict, Dane has finally grasped the concept of opportunity cost, and agreed that from now on, our shares of capital in the house should earn interest at the rate of 5% per annum, not compounded. We will include this cost as if it were external, like taxes.

June 6. Today I held a garden party for my academic "allies," my favourite people at the college. Most are not sociologists.

Canada Day. Killarney. Dane and I begin our ninth year together. We're enjoying three days in the wilderness. The weather is superb, the bugs few. We climbed quartz hills to Teardrop Lake, a deep glacial basin rarely visited by humans (there's no trail).

July 3. Peter and his new girl-friend, Pippa, had a good time minding Kairos. They are still here; I slept in the garden cabin. Think of the people who have slept in our bed -- Jean, various students and friends, tricks and threesomes, my son and his girlfriend, and even visitors from China.

July 19. The annual merit review letter from Rorke Bryan parodies me as a publicity hunter. I’ve considered a response, but why bother? He decided to be generous with money, thus purchasing his opportunity to say what he thinks about me.

July 24. Today I organized a lunch meeting with Mike Bunce, Joan Grusec, Jane Abray, and Helen Rosenthal, to found an Amnesty Group at the college. Mike will chair if I do most of the work. (I'm much too controversial to be front man).

August 23. Dane and I played very public gay roles at the Sierra Club cruise on the Trillium in Toronto bay. We danced together among all the heterosexual couples. There were other gay men there -- but they are all in the closet.

August 24. Dane astonished me with a birthday card, annotated: "No card can say how happy I am to be able to share your birthday. May your gods continue to grace your life."

September 1. This is the anniversary date of my mortgage. I've been paying off the capital as fast as I can -- $20,000 so far, plus Dane's $6000 contribution in 1982. It's a very good sign that this year he is contributing $7,000 more. He'll get 5% interest on that, out of our house expenses, but Dane is finally treating the house as if ours, not mine.

September 8. We're home from an unparalleled week of canoeing in Temagami. We enjoyed dramatic skies, a thrilling crossing of Devil's Bay, charming winding rivers, a mysterious lake crossing in early morning fog, a sunny, sandy beach, excellent campsites, light portages. No accidents and no arguments.

October 23. This has been an exciting week. I put a lot of work into the Sierra Club Woodshock conference on forestry, and it was more successful than I expected. (The name was my idea -- a play on Woodstock in the Sixties). I also enjoyed excellent conversations with David Suzuki, Farley Mowat, and legendary canoeist Bill Mason.

November 7. Today I refused to stand for promotion to full professor, for the third year in a row. I love to quote Plato's parable of the cave: "And if they were in the habit of awarding honours to each other, do you suppose he would envy them these honours?"

November 14. The Male Couple argues that collaboration is the big problem of the fourth phase - years 6 to 10 - of a gay marriage, and it is certainly our problem. We don't collaborate, we divide. I do the dishes; Dane does the cleaning, I keep the back garden, he the front. I shop one week, he the next, I cook one meal, he another. Canoeing is one of the few things we do in tandem, constrained by the very nature of a canoe.

December 27. We got through the holidays by ignoring all the Xmas crap, having a mini-vacation with a couple of bar nights, and working on Dane's bedroom, painting and wallpapering. This is the sort of collaboration we should do more often.


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