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Dear M,

You don’t know me and perhaps, you never will. I am used to such arrangements – if you’ll allow me to indulge in a bit of disillusionment. In much the same way, I don’t know you the way I wish I could. I’ve seen you. I’ve admired you. And with enough self-deceit, I’ve grown to like you even if I’ve never talked to you. In my dreams I manage to start a small conversation, a ramble, chatter; nocturnal elations of doing what I cannot do in real life, preserved, to be remembered upon waking, reacquainted with in stretches of daydreaming.

When I say I am used to such arrangements, it comes with a distinguished self-pity. I have never managed any meaningful relationships with men. They say queer folks should never mingle with the straight boys. After all, it’s easy to see – as I have already observed – most straight men are still not disposed to socializing with gay men. When they do, it’s almost for the sake of trying to come off politically correct or in with the times. More often than not, gay men are seen by straight men as bodies with sexual roles; deviants who rebel against society and religion; stereotypes with some truths magnified and exaggerated by the propaganda of media.

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But perhaps another reason why I’ve failed to establish even the most platonic relations with other men – and perhaps the truer reason – is because I do not trust myself. Deprived of masculine approval growing up, bullied and abused by my peers in all-boys elementary school, tormented by a religion that doesn’t fully understand the nature, the cause, the situation – any kindness shown by a man to me is easily misinterpreted as romantic affection. And the last thing I would like, if I were to successfully enjoy and sustain friendship with another man, is to fall in love – to be infatuated, to be a fool, to over-examine a feeling.

Mr. M, you seem to be a kind person – smart, funny, pensive, artistic, and even God-fearing. While perhaps you value the last of the qualities I’ve attached to you, it might spell trouble to me. Men of religion, no matter how much they’ve been encouraged by the clergy to refrain from judgement, to be more compassionate – men of religion are prone to be disgusted over my kind. We have been, as the Church describes, defined as to possess an inclination which is objectively disordered. It’s not a very encouraging definition, but one which has set in stone, the near impossibility of reconciling our nature with the faith you are so devoted to.

In admiring you, I have conceded to momentary fantasies of becoming someone else, perhaps a woman, and thus becoming appealing to you. Women, such beautiful creatures, aren’t they? – so graceful, embodying such mystical powers. But even in my fantasies, I cannot trust the succession of thoughts. Maybe these irrational and impossible ideas mislead me about you. Maybe, you are an exception to the rule. Maybe, you aren’t disgusted by the idea of a fellow man liking you. Whichever the case, I must apologize for being so presumptuous.

If you asked me why I do like you even though I do not know you, it is perhaps because I am attracted to the kind I will never be, especially the kind who lives such fervent norms of piety. I am attracted to facades and usually refuse, despite exposure to a man’s interior life, to admit I am wrong. Proud, and shallow – that is how I am.

I am never going to be one of those holistic individuals with a firm devotion to God, while all the while having everything perfect and positive in his life. I am never going to be one of those men who enjoy basketball or football; I’m not one for the athletics. I’m never going to be one of those fair-scented, clean-cut, cultured, well-travelled, boy-next-door so perfectly attuned to wholesome pleasures of the world; docile to the needs and wants of their parents; incapable of swearing; friends with all the good boys and good girls; an altar boy! I am a sinner not a saint. And before you call yourself a sinner too, remember boys like you from affluent families of conservative posture are more receptive to the morals, to the universal truths, to goodness and grace from God – you don’t have to struggle with anything; and when you do, you can always afford a remedy, a confession; weeping inside mansions inside exclusive enclaves.

I am never going to be a sweet girl with a big heart and with a beautiful soul.

I’m just another middle-class, young man who happens to be gay, who happens to struggle with being gay, who happens to wish he doesn’t have to struggle with he who is, and who doesn’t have to feel guilty every time he finds himself in love.

I pray but I’m not good at it. I try to be good but I ain’t. My dull skin has been poached by my commute. What am I next to you – fair-skinned, insulated by your own car, your Zara shirts and overpriced boat shoes? Just another hopeless romantic stuck fuelled by economic class angst, hoping some few words could offer comfort when the desire for reciprocity remains only that – a desire. But then again, I don’t know you. And I am judging. And I am being presumptuous again. Love makes us all such, doesn’t it?

 

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