Well, I certainly owe everyone an enormous apology and a thorough explanation. First of all, it is really touching an unexpected to find this thread here. You have no idea how much so. It is so normal for me to feel outcast that to feel welcome is an unproven sensation.
Like everyone, my life has gone through enormous changes as I have gotten older. Most of the biggest ones are attributable to meeting my partner (9 years ago) and settling down (or what passes for settling down if you are a peripatetic freak-show like me).
Years ago I had my own internet service / bbs that I am absolutely certain none of you will remember at all. I started it in 1994 and it was called BOSS. The idea was to be an online community for leathermen, women, and transgender folks.
This was an incredible undertaking that taught me the technology biz from the bottom up (no pun intended). I literally remember installing a T1 terminus in the office that was multiplexed into 24 phone lines that went into a bank of modems (because that is what you did). I had to bully the people at Pac Bell into letting ME into the substation to configure the line because no one knew how to do it. I didn't know either and just kept reading the manual and punching buttons till it worked (aren't you glad I didn't choose a career in nuclear energy, doh).
BOSS was a wonderful and terrible experience, bittersweet really. On some level it did work. It was a beautiful piece of design (not done by moi so I ain't braggin) and it gave voice to lots of interesting discussion.
Of course, it was a hole of cash and it cost me, and the others involved in this dream, dearly. No one made a profit.
In the end I sat long nights in front of my computer working on BOSS, administering it alone, and living between the office and the gym (at the time the office was on Huntley drive in West Hollywood and the Athletic Club was about a block and a half away up Santa Monica - my commute to the gym was a 2 minute walk).
BOSS finally moved to New York where it slept on the couch in the offices of NYC NET (you won't remember that one either I wager). It finally did break even and that was enough to declare it a non-tragic event whereupon I pulled the plug and stumbled back into the world of daylight and the living.
Fast forward to 2008. I found Real Jock by accident. Living in Italy my partner and I are fairly isolated. That is good for my work because it lets me concentrate, think, write, and generally futz. However, I have an open wound were the company of Gay men used to be (as if that has all been amputated).
Over the years I have tried so hard to salve that wound online without finding the faintest echo. I suppose like everyone else (or maybe I project) I have trolled the available "sites" and ended up depressed that grunting pigs in rut (for however sexy they may be) is what passes for a sense of community online.
It was by accident that I discovered RJ thinking that it might give me ideas, inspiration, and moral support in my weight loss (I lost 44.2 kilos by the way, or roughly 97 pounds).
What I didn't expect at all to find where the forums, and even less, the people. There are some tremendous people here, the kind I always dreamed that BOSS would inspire and attract.
Essentially I am an honest guy. I won't say I am 100% transparent but it is a goal. Gradually on RJ I have gone through my own coming out process, progressively exposing aspects of my "personality" that I worried might gather scorn from people about whose opinions I actually value.
The thing that threw me for a loop was the "Was Hitler Gay" thread. I suddenly found myself living the dissonance that I experienced all those many years ago when I had to manage assorted fruits and nuts as the admin and sysop of BOSS.
I felt dearly for the protagonist, an obviously troubled person, and knew that I cannot do anything at all about it. However, I just kept posting, trying to make reason out of rubbish.
Then I had the "bright" idea that the cure for negativity is to counterbalance it with something positive. I thought that I would post some of my poetry, something intensely personal to me, in hopes that others might do the same. I invited some of the really fantastic people here (like McGay) to do the same.
I posted three of my poems and I signed them with my real name. That was a real coming out moment for me. I felt, how can I put my soul up on a page (virtual or not) and use a nom de plume? These are mine and I want it to be known that the come from me.
After that, someone, quite correctly, pointed out that he wouldn't use his full name and it just came crashing down on top of me. I thought f--k, he is absolutely right. This is the INTERNET, it is the same site where a sad, lonely, and potentially psychotic human being is ventilating his rage against himself and others. I thought, what are you doing, you have a husband, two dogs, a career, clients, friends, charities, and an army of people who depend upon you for their livelihood. I thought, you cannot allow yourself the luxury of bulls--t like this that might endanger people who care about you.
At that point I felt an overwhelming urge to cancel myself out of existence here and that turned out to hit me on a day when I was already feeling unwell, so I just ran with it.
Hopefully there is something of value in this long explanation. Surely I don't have the measure of things down very well. It is in my nature to be extreme.
Again, my apologies to my friends here. It must be obvious that all friendships exist in relation to a larger world filled with assorted dangers (real and only imagined). For that friendship has its value, has its oasis effect.
With kindest regards,