I'm going to get the annoying stuff out of the way first. This book had 13, count 'em THIRTEEN, errors in it that should have been caught by the least competent of editors. This detracted significantly from my enjoyment of this book, and it's too bad, because it has some great things to say.
Here they are, just for posterity, and to get the "red ink rage" out of my system. See if you can suggest the needed corrections:
- I can't find the first one, but a word—the verb—was omitted from the sentence.
- "Gay men who actively deny their sexuality, even for a brief period of time, also usually distance themselves from anything that appeared remotely gay."
- "Even after seeing one man for well over six months,the relationship was still more like one between acquaintances."
- "When one partner refuses the other partner's bid for sex, it can start a chain of sexual withholding that has destroyed more than few gay male relationships."
- "In many some gay circles, men have given up on long-term relationships all together, instead choosing to settle for the occasional short-term hook up."
- "For example, if you were a passenger during an almost fatal car accident, you will like respond differently to a care for the rest of your life."
- "What is curious about the connect between these two different types of trauma is the commonality in basic symptoms."
- "They may hold himself responsible for having picked up the hitchhiker or the handsome boy at the gym."
- "A more subtle kind of relationship trauma is creating by being in a relationship with a man who at times is warm and caring, but once he senses that his partner is drawing closer to him emotionally, he backs off and becomes emotionally distant and removed."
- "When we don't know ourselves well or aren't practicing in noticing our feelings, the code of passion is hidden from us."
- "Over a period of a year, Danny's depression relented and for the first time in many years, and he began finding some enjoyment in life."
- "Since this the principal journey of the gay man as he moves from shame to authenticity, the attainment of integrity represents a crowning achievement."
- "Unfortunately, that practice also distances himself from others."
As I said, there is a lot of good stuff in this book. I'm going to capture a couple of the salient points.
The subtitle of this book is "Overcoming the pain of growing up gay in a straight man's world," and the author does a very good job of enumerating those things.
But perhaps more importantly, he explains, as a therapist, how some of them that might seem somewhat benign on the surface, can cause long—sometimes life-long—shame and dysfunction in our male-male relationships.
The second thing is his description of three stages to the gay man's life:
- While we are overwhelmed with shame
- While we're compensating for that shame
- When we finally recognize that shame and use it to springboard the cultivation of our authentic lives
And, finally, I want to capture the 10 lessons of Chapter 14: What Mom Didn't Know & Dad Couldn't Accept—Lessons on Being an Authentic Gay Man:
- Don't let your sexual tastes be the filter for allowing people into your life.
- Adopt a nonjudgmental stance as often as possible.
- When you have a problem with someone, speak with him/her about it first—instead of everyone else.
- It's never a bad idea to be completely honest about the facts.
- Others are often put off by perfection.
- Don't act on every emotion you feel.
- Put off having sex until you feel comfortable that you really know him.
- Actively practice accepting your body as it is right now.
- Intentionally validate those you love, but never validate the invalid.
- Whenever you encounter a relationship problem, first assess your own responsibility before blaming someone else.