Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
- George Santayana, The Life of Reason
Many people who know me say that I'm too caught up in ancient history (in the proverbial sense). I trot out the ghost stories from my past and deconstruct them, over and over again.
While I concede that excessive wading into the waters downstream from the bridge can be limiting, I don't think it's unreasonable to stop every once in a while and look back at what has transpired. You are, in large part, a bundle of your past experiences.
In 1994, I moved to Toronto for school. I was finally out of the closet (mostly), in good shape, and feeling really good about the future. I especially enjoyed being 24 and having my "fresh meat" status at the local gay bars. I had just registered for my courses in the week after Labour Day, and when Friday came around, I headed out to Colby's--one of the best gay clubs in the city. There, I met Kevin. He was dark-haired, a few years older, and a really nice guy. I found him attractive (the Irish/Italian mix always did it for me) and we went back to my place. I had only been living there for five days.
Over the next couple of weeks, Kevin and I went out a few more times--including a date to see The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in the theatre. We also slept together a few more times. I grew bored; I practically chomped at the bit to get out and see what other men awaited me. I continued to go out and pick up, and eventually I stopped being in contact with Kevin.
The man-parade continued all through that fall and winter, fueled by lots of partying and booze. Some of the details are foggy. I can remember a promising start with a Greek guy I met at the gym. How it finished is anyone's guess. One night, I brought home a young Polish guy named Svilen--and came to the next morning as I heard him unbolting my door to leave. My foray into blonde territory happened at a bath house in the early hours of Valentine's Day 1995--surprising how that one didn't work out, despite a few subsequent dates.
There were sometimes two or three men in a week. In my mind, I was young, attractive, and doing--relatively safely--what gay men did. I was the personification of delayed gay adolescence. But it began to wear thin. Like getting hungry an hour after eating cheap Chinese take-out, I started to notice that I was looking forward to the next encounter not long after finally finding my socks on some guy's bedroom floor. I was confident it wasn't a sexual addiction, but I realized I had some growing up to do. So when Kevin got in touch, I began seeing him again.
It didn't last.
To this day, I can't remember how it ended. Was there a lack of chemistry, or was I just not giving him a chance? If I hadn't been so young and stupid--and scared--maybe I'd have ended up in a loving, committed relationship, and maybe I'd have never embarked down another path. Were all the notches on my bedpost worth throwing someone away? What kind of a person is so lacking in self-esteem that they proudly recall the three Woody's bartenders among the notches?
In the latter part of the '90s, I would occasionally run into Kevin's best friend Mark. I would always ask how he was doing. Once, I shared my regret with Mark, and asked him to relay it to Kevin.
The last I heard, Kevin was living in Vancouver with his partner. I truly hope he's happy, and knows how sorry I am for hurting him.