Potato salad flowed. Greens were served and fried chicken got piled high.
I recently spent the most glorious evening with a wonderful group of gay men. If you have never spent a good chunk of your evening in the company of adult men you have not lived.
I had forgotten the joy that comes from men being together who truly respect and love one another.
The sounds of our voices.
The resonance of our laughter and the recognition of shared experiences is a wonderful combination to witness. I have been adopted by a group of men who are committed to being loving, supportive, nurturing and welcoming and it feels "so good".
BWMT is an organization specifically created to make a space for men who enjoy men.
It is not often that men gather and things don’t quickly deteriorate into an all out grope fest with who has fuckability potential leading the way and calling the shots.
I am so enamored with this group because I consider myself a scientist. A social scientist.
I like to look at things that work and figure out why they work. It is truly the boy in me. I have the need to deconstruct, have a look and then reconstruct to my liking.
I’ve read that this is a male thing and a way in which we bond.
No matter how long I’ve known any of the members, one thing that sets tongues a wagging and can get things cracking is a discussion regarding how a couple met , what they’ve figured out and how they navigate and build their relationship.
I’m good at failing in relationships and have yet to figure out how to make them successful.
Being around men whose purpose is making relationships work and “thrive”, I find myself deliberately doing a lot more listening than talking and always floored by the simplicity and directness of how things really work.
For starters, there are no secrets to repeatedly and decidedly connecting with another human being.
You make the decision that this is the goal and then strap in to consistently refocus on this way of being. At last night’s social event of the season, I positioned myself between a couple deliberately and whipped out my interviewer’s hat and my scientific ears.
There were two things that we discussed.
The most important thing is friendship. Have I been friends with the person I’m currently sleeping with /dating/living with ? If I was not madly drawn to this person sexually is this a person I would want to have as a friend ? I did a small presentation study on this concept last Summer.
I asked persons in three different relationships: Who do you treat better , your significant other or your friends ? The responses I heard were shocking.
This was followed up with: If you treated your friends like you treated your partners would you have any friends ? NOPE. With the exception of one relationship ( clocking in at 8 years ) I never partnered with people who I would ever befriend in my daily life.
I could except bullshit, lying, stealing and double talk from boyfriends and yet, these qualities were turn offs and a great big "no no" when it came time to choose friends.
My eight year relationship was with a man I truly liked as a person.
The second point is community. This organization does not discriminate based on relationship status. Single or partnered all are welcome. This is extremely significant.
Often times, the unattached male is looked at with suspicion. The belief that single means slut and on the prowl is challenged within this group. This is an odd redistribution of power. I recognize that true power comes from linking community with individual happiness and achievement.
I pointed out during one of the evening's conversations that our world (eight year relationship) got extremely small and continued to dwindle.
The conclusion I reached after much reading and then seeing it in person was that without community, no relationship has any chance of succeeding.
While I don’t recommend modeling anything after the heterosexual community and the mention of doing so usually sends me running our of the room screaming, they have figured out the need for and belief in community.
Community allows us to have an honest look at our partners and ourselves.
Left to our own periodically microscopic view of our loved one and his or her adorable traits, we can easily slide into the world of blame, unreality and a fantasy of how things would be perfect “if he would just”...
Community gives us a place to bitch, a place to remind ourselves of our own and our partner’s greatness and a group that lovingly says “he’s being an asshole" or “knock it off your acting like an ass."
But always in the most positive way and with an abundance of love and compassion...