Category Archives: Family

Porn and my 88-year-old Grandmother

I’ve been going through a tough time since the break-up.  But, I’m getting better.  Frankly, I just haven’t felt like writing or being creative.  I’ve been drinking too much and watching too much TV, not to mention watching too much porn.  I’ve been very lazy.  Over the last several weeks, however, I feel like I finally have turned the corner and am on a new and much improved street.

But let’s get back to what I’m sure caught your attention in the first paragraph.  Porn.  Now, I realize that I have a rather diverse, yet small, group of readers.  And I’m sure that all of you have strong feelings about this topic.  Some of you may be “disgusted” by it.  Some of you may be “confused” by it.  Some of you may have numerous online subscriptions to various porn websites.  Whatever.  There is room in this world for all of you.  And I’m not here to discuss the benefits or detriments of porn.  So please don’t turn my blog’s comment section into a porn discussion board.  Different strokes for different folks.  eh hm.

Anyway, in the interest of full disclosure, here’s my perspective.  After all, it is my blog.  I like porn, I like nudity, I like sex.  I always have.  And I treat it like I try to treat anything else in my life:  Moderation in all things.

Here’s a little history of me and porn.  It all started in 1985 when I was in 5th grade.  A friend of mine named Bret invited me to his house to show off his stash.  Evidently he had been slowly stealing Hustler magazines from his dad’s collection.  As I entered his bedroom that special day, I had no idea what awaited me.  But, I was lucky, Bret was already a porn “pro” and was able to explain to me what all the parts were and what they did.  Honestly, 24 years later, I still haven’t thanked Bret for what would be my initial lesson in sex education.  My parents were not what I would call communicative. We did not discuss problems or even really have any kind of discussions at all. Especially when it came to sex.  So I was clearly on my own.  Until Bret stepped up to the plate.  Thanks, Bret, I owe you one.

Without getting too graphic, let’s just say I learned on that very special afternoon a lot about human anatomy.  Honestly, I don’t remember much about the woman in the picture.  But I can still describe to you in full detail the man (including his feathered, bleach blond hair and 80s porn ‘stache).  It was enough to fully pique my interest.  And from that moment on, I was incredibly curious about men’s anatomy.  My imagination went wild.  Which is why I loved my new best friend…the JC Penney Catalog.  You see, the JC Penny catalog had like a 5 or 6 page spread of men in their underwear.  It was like the holy grail of soft porn.  And when my Grandma would receive her quarterly catalog, I was in underwear heaven.  It was like being allowed to visit a guy’s locker room–without the teasing and shame and threats of swirlies.

I think this model (on left) is actually Ashton Kutcher's dad...

Well, my history with porn strangely came full circle this past summer when I was home visiting my grandma.  While sitting next to my grandmother showing her pictures that I had taken at the Iowa State Fair, I inadvertently entered into a very special and very private section of pictures in iPhoto.  Shit.  Yes, that’s right.  I accidentally showed my 88-year-old grandmother gay porn. Full on, hard penis, legs spread, gay porn.  And this was G-ma’s response to seeing some random dude in all his glory: “Ohhhhhhh.”  Immediately my fingers fumbled across the keyboard, in an effort to close iPhoto, only to forward through several more naked photos. Finally, flustered and unable to stop the peep show, I just slammed the laptop shut. I took a deep breath, feeling my face burning red, and slowly slid away from G-ma.  After several minutes of painful and complete silence I simply said, “I’m kind of tired, Grandma, I think I’ll go to bed.” And that was that.

My family has mastered the art of not talking about things, at least directly.  So I called my sister the next day and told her.  It’s just how we communicate.  I’m fairly confident Grandma and I will never talk about it.  Just like we never talked about why the men’s underwear section of her JC Penney’s Catalog was always missing or left tattered.

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A semi-final word…

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have an announcement to make. I am in a relationship. It’s something really special. No, we didn’t make a mad rush to the courthouse to get married before election day. But despite the devastating outcome of California’s Prop. 8 (same-sex marriage ban), my relationship is still valid. I guarantee it is real. I’m not just pretending. Jeff is a real, live person. He and I have been together for over three years. He is a man and I am a man. We are a couple. No amendment to the state constitution can change that.

I first came out about 10 years ago. I came out to friends and family about 8 years ago. Yet, after all this time, I am amazed at how many people still don’t take it seriously. Folks, I’m gay. Sure, I went to Bible College and even “dated” a few girls, but, let me be clear: I am gay.

In reflecting over the last 16 years since I went to college, I felt like many of my friends from that time deserved to know what happened with me. After all, I spent a lot of time in college lying to myself and to them. We all deserved some honesty. Why did I leave the Church? How could I be gay? Over the last several years, I have spent a lot of time explaining myself to my friends from Bible College. For the few that actually read this blog, let me say: I’m moving on. No more apologies for past lies. No more sugar-coating things to make you more comfortable. With the passing of Prop. 8, I’m officially done. I tried to do the right thing and apologize for any hurt I may have caused. I’ve realized that you cannot always trust people to do the right thing. Now, hopefully we can trust the court system to protect us.

I realize that very few of my college friends actually live in California and couldn’t even vote on the proposition. But, many have made their feelings clear anyway. They don’t want equality. They don’t even want to validate gay relationships. They do this every time they call Jeff my “friend,” every time they suggest that I “date Jesus.” Whenever someone whispers “gay” as if it’s an inappropriate or dirty word only to say it loud and clear when they are using it to mean “stupid” or “dumb,” that is offensive.

Please understand that we will eventually have the right to marry. One day it will be considered completely normal for some people to be gay and society will not force that same part of the population to make unrealistic and devastating decisions about their sexuality at such a young age. I hope that when it happens and you feel for the 1,000th time that this country is falling apart; I hope that you remember you contributed to those struggles. I hope that you look up and see your weapon of choice, the Bible, aimed aggressively at me. Maybe then you’ll realize that you can’t make everyone see the world as you do.

Actually, I’m not asking for your acceptance or support. You don’t even need to agree with my beliefs. I’m just asking for you to cease fire. Stop attacking in the name of God, country, and, family. I can’t think of anything that would be more productive to your cause.

I should mention that some of the most supportive and loving people that I know are friends from Bible College. I am so thankful for those few. You right the wrongs with your love and kindness toward the gay community. Thank you.

Please take 6 and 1/2 minutes and watch Keith Olbermann’s eloquent, passionate, and powerful commentary on the passing of Prop. 8.

My Plea

Alright folks. I’ve been a well-behaved blogger this past month. I haven’t wanted to get all political on you. There, quite frankly, is more than enough of that already, everywhere. If you want to read about the presidential campaign, you could go to just about any website. And chances are, there is nothing that I could really say that would get you to change your mind. But, this is my blog and so I’ll write what I think. And, I have to say at least something about the election.

Please don’t vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Seriously. Don’t do it. If you are doing it because you think that Obama is a Muslim, first of all, shame on you, why would that matter? Second of all, um, get a clue, because he has repeatedly said that he is not. If you are voting for McCain because he is white and Obama is half-black, again, shame on you, why does that matter? If you are voting for McCain because you are uncomfortable with the name “Barack Obama,” I have this to say, shame on you, really? If you are going to vote for John McCain, I can’t stop you. You need to vote for the candidate who best represents how you feel on the issues. But I can say this: Please don’t do it. If you are unhappy with the direction George W. Bush has taken this country, please don’t do it. We deserve better as a country. The world deserves better from us.

Please vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Barack Obama is better for the economy.
Barack Obama is better for the future of this country.
Barack Obama is better for the equality of all people.

OBAMA Pictures, Images and Photos

That about sums it up for me. I’ve said it, and now I’m done. I’ll be back to business as usual after I say one more thing to all Californians…

Please vote NO on Prop. 8.

For Californians, Proposition 8 proposes to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. We currently enjoy this right. The state has not fallen into the ocean since marriage became legal for gays and lesbians. God did not send wrath upon the state of California. Please. Regardless of your beliefs about marriage, everyone should have the right to marry. It is wrong to say that two people do not deserve to get married because they are the same sex. Equality, folks. Gays and Lesbians getting married does not give marriage any less value. It does not tear a family apart. It allows a family to be validated. Please vote NO on Prop. 8.

Well, that’s it. That’s all your going to get out of me this election season. I had to say something. Remember to vote on November 4.

no on prop 8 Pictures, Images and Photos

Oh, Granny!

Wow. So, I have a new experience to tuck into my belt. Yesterday I was pimped out by a grandma. Not my G-ma, as you may have read about, but from an elderly passenger on the plane. It was all so subtle that I almost didn’t catch on at first.

My loyal readers know by now that I love me some old people. Kids are cute, but I’d rather have an 85 year old any day. I can’t help it. And, I usually have them huggin’ on me by the end of the flight. In fact–side story here–there once was an elderly lady who poked my ass in that “sir, I need something” sort of way. I turned and asked her if she needed anything and she replied, “Oh no, I was just checkin’.” Oh, Granny! I kept my eye on that one for sure.

But, back to the granny at hand. We had the standard exchanges. She asked me several questions about myself. We shared the normal granny hand pats and kisses on the cheeks, and then she asked, “Do you ever get out to the east coast?”

“Sure.”

“I’m from Greensboro, North Carolina, and my family is there too.”

“Is that close to Raleigh-Durham?”

“Yes. And I would like to give you this…”

This is the point at which she discreetly handed me the name and number of her grandson on a little piece of paper. Now, from previous conversations over several hours I understood that she had a “special” grandson. Of course, I speak “granny” so I know that “special” means “homosexual.” And since I also speak “Christianese,” I know that “homosexual” means “gay.” It can also be translated as “nelly queen” or “queer-o.” It just depends on the usage. Some days it really helps to be multi-lingual.

Maybe times are a-changin’. I never thought I’d see the day when a granny would try to set me up with her grandson. That final conversation happened just as she was getting off the airplane. I didn’t get the opportunity to tell her that I’m very happy with Jeff. I guess it doesn’t really matter. It was just nice to see a granny who loves her grandson so much. Maybe I’ll call my granny today.

G-ma-speak

I have written about my grandmother before. (see Social Life of My Grandma) I am fascinated by her. She’s 86. She’s sassy. She’s got a boyfriend. I want to be her when I grow up. She’s my G-ma.

One of my favorite things about G-ma is that she has her own language–or at least her own pronunciation of the English language. It’s not a “southern” thing, she lives in Iowa. It’s not an “uneducated” thing, she worked for decades in the county courthouse as a court clerk. I guess it’s just a G-ma thing. She’s old school in a trendy sort of way. She’s the real deal.

G-ma says things like, “I’m going to go to Wal-Marts and buy a digikal camera after I do the worsh.” Or, “I’ve always wanted to sit in a zacuzzi in Ha-why-ah.” Better yet, “Maybe I should take an umba-rella with me when I visit my friends in Worshington.”

Another thing I love about her is that she still has it. She told me yesterday that her doctor thinks her “real age” is 70. It made her day to find out that she had the body of a 70 year old. That means to her that she has several years of dancing left. It also makes her younger than her boyfriend who is 78.

I went home to Iowa to visit my family recently and spent a night out on the town with G-ma and her boyfriend Phil. We actually only went out for dinner at a local steak house. Phil rolled up in his mint condition 1986 Buick to pick us up. He was sporting a white shirt with the collar up and unbuttoned just a bit too far, a black leather vest, and a gold chain. His hair was slicked back and he was ready to go. I think I also detected a dousing of Old Spice. Of course, I loved him. I also loved the fact that he insisted I sit in front with G-ma and him. The car had a bench seat and held the three of us just fine with G-ma in the middle.

They took it easy (just for me) by only doing dinner. I had spent the day traveling from California and was really tired. Normally, they went out dancing at one of the various “jam sessions” held by other retirees. I couldn’t help the smile that had been on my face all night long. It was so amazing to see G-ma so active and with a gentleman such as Phil. And, they were very smoochy. At one point, later in the weekend, I came into the room to find my grandmother sitting on Phil’s lap. I think I probably giggled like a little schoolgirl. It was so cute. I want to be like that at 86.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a picture of my cute little G-ma and her stud-muffin boyfriend Phil…

Moving On.

Last month I went home to Iowa to visit my family. It was a great trip, especially since I hadn’t been home in 3 1/2 years. I spent most of the time simply catching up with everyone. Oh yeah, and scanning photos. My sister and I decided to start scanning old pictures so that we could have them in a digital format. We didn’t realize just how time consuming it would be. The nice side of this is that I now have a ton of pictures from my childhood on my computer. Pictures that I would have never had otherwise. I’ve decided to share one of my favorites with you. I believe you’ve heard me talk about my stint in sports. Now I have the photos to prove it. This picture is from 4th grade (1983).

Notice the nice glasses and the determined look on my face. I’m ready to go to the ball field, sit in the outfield, and pick dandelions. Anyway, we had a great time looking at the pictures, having a nice stroll down memory lane.

For some reason I’ve had a very serious case of writer’s block this past month. In fact, the first and second paragraphs of this post were typed about one month apart. I apologize for the gap in my posting. I’ve decided to push through and just post something without worrying if it’s just the way I want it.

Since I love to over-analyze things, you’ll be pleased to know that I have figured out my writer’s block. My trip home to Iowa was extremely cathartic for me. I hadn’t been home for so long because of my need to distance myself from my family. I needed them to see me as who I am now, not who I used to be. I needed some space and I took it–about 3 1/2 years worth. I think it was one of the best things I’ve ever done, taking space. However, going home was truly wonderful. My family and I have both changed immensely. At this point, I think we all agreed that it is simply time to move forward and allow each other to be who we are.

Moving on…so much of the reason I began to blog in the first place was purely psychological. I wanted to express in writing a lot of what I was feeling regarding my past, with a sprinkle of current “Tyler” events. After going home, I don’t feel the need to work through so much of the past anymore. I just want to move forward. So, I was stumped. No material.

Where do I go from here? Good question. I’m just going to write as it comes. I think occasionally you will see me write about my college days or childhood; but, for the most part I think this will become more current.

So, here’s to blogging again.

Oh yeah, and before I go, I wanted to share one more picture from my childhood.

I’d like to introduce you to the Wild Rose Cloggers of Marion County, Iowa, 1982. I’m the tow head in the front row. Nice bolo tie, huh?

My Girlfriend Janine

Several weeks ago Jeff and I went to Montana to visit his family. I know, I know…that is so Brokeback Mountain of us. Actually, while I can assure you that neither of us were herding any sheep, it wasn’t exactly like going on a gay cruise either.

Montana really is a beautiful state. It boasts some of the most open spaces in the country. I guess that’s why they call it “Big Sky” country. This is the second trip I have made to the “Treasure State.” The first was during the summer of 2006. It was during that first trip that I met Janine. And, I can’t talk about Janine without first saying how much I adore her. In fact, that’s how I always start out any story about Jeff’s sister, “So, I got to talk to Janine on the phone…God, I adore her…anyway…”

When Jeff and I walked off the plane in Great Falls in 2006, Janine literally vibrated. I’ve never experienced such a welcome in my life. She was so excited to see Jeff and to meet me that she stood there and giggled…and shook. Of course, I immediately fell in love. How could I not? Anyone who shakes with excitement when they see me has to be on my list of favorite people.

Part of why I love her so much is that she has cerebral palsy. I have always had a soft spot for people with disabilities. Even as a kid, some of my friends at school had special needs, and my mom started her career at the local elementary school working with children who had special needs. The other reason I adore Janine so much is because of her non-complicated view of the world. At times, she does get frustrated by her limitations and does have the occasional temper-tantrum, she also says what’s on her mind.

Here is one particular conversation we had during this last trip…

“I like your coat.”

“Thanks, Janine.”

“I like your socks.”

“Thanks, they’re just brown socks.”

“I like your jeans.”

“Thank you, Janine.”

“I like you.”

“I like you, too.”

(Be sure to envision lots of shaking and giggling throughout the conversation.)

At this point, she proceeds to tell whomever is close by that she likes me. Janine is so good for my ego.