Some down-low men live what I call half-lives. Half in the straight world. Half in the gay world.
And really not doing either one well.
Case in point is Preacher Man, the down-low, married minister who lives in my city. I was working from home yesterday and we met up on Federal Hill for lunch, enjoying the early Fall weather, salad, blackened shrimp and pulled pork BBQ on the outside patio.
The conversation was good but took a slightly weird turn.
“I have to find a new husband,” he said.
“Oh, wow, what’s going on with your boyfriend,” I asked.
Let me explain. Preacher Man gets fucked by several men but has a long-term boyfriend he refers to as his “husband.” Preacher Man married a woman but tries to spend as much time with his husband as he can.
To me it’s crazy. It’s like living a half-life. The ministry and the beautiful church wife are the front — one half of his life. But behind the scenes he has another shadow, half-life.
But that shadow life is ending. His husband has had a series of strokes and has to move in with relatives. I can’t remember whether it was one of his children or a niece or nephew.
Preacher Man, if he was legally married to his husband, of course would care for him through his illness. However since they are not legally married, and have a secret relationship, all Preacher Man can do is fade into the background, unrecognized and unseen.
“I’m trying to find a man in the same situation that I’m in — married but gay,” Preacher Man said.
I tried to be sympathetic but inside I was thinking, “Wow, he is ready to move on already. That’s quick.”
“Well, I’m sure if you put an advertisement on Craigslist or Adam4Adam and say exactly what you want and you will find someone,” I suggested.
A sad, rueful smile crossed Preacher Man’s handsome, square-jawed brown face.
“I’m an old queen now. Who will want me?”