Boys Honest Doubt
Posted 21 June 2010 - 03:44 PM
Now I accept that children are sometimes attracted to adults. I accept that sometimes a boy almost falls in love with a man he really admires. But I also don't think he would declare himself. First of all, there is a fear of rejection. Secondly, it would diminish his standing with his peer group. Thirdly, they know that a relationship either platonic or erotic would not work, so they don't seduce the adult.
There are children who try to seduce adults. I have witnessed it often enough. At this point the boy is playing a game. It is a tease. At this point the boy has a liking of or addiction to sexual situations. Inside they are laughing at the adult. They think the man is a fool, fair game for a tease. They also know that it is the man and not they who get into trouble. These young people certainly are not friends. They will take advantage of the adult whenever they can.
There are also children who will seek friendship with an adult because of their dysfunctional families. They have parents who are only too keen to palm their children off for a couple of hours without caring about the consequences. They are also the first to cry foul the moment anything goes wrong.
I also find it hard to accept that a man can be integrated into a group of boys. Surely, don't they resent having an adult hanging around? Surely don't they go to discotechs and the like to get away from adult company?
I would certainly be interested to hear any answers people have to this sceptic, but in the mean time I am scared of boys and of their parents.
Posted 21 June 2010 - 07:55 PM
I relate to you here exactly. When I started exploring my BL side, this was the first thing on my mind: surely no boy could ever be interested in an adult the way an adult is interested in a boy; surely everyone lusts after a younger partner (the trophy wife, the toyboy) but that lust is always wrong, because surely nobody desires an older partner, they just tolerate it for other reasons; therefore for an adult to desire a boy is always wrong, because no boy desires an adult.
But it turns out that we are all different. Some of us long for a younger partner, some long for an older partner. Some are top, some are bottom, there's no shame in it. Some long to be dominant, some long to be taken care of and taken on adventures by a leading partner. Some are more stereotypically masculine, some are more stereotypically feminine. Some preteens want nothing more than to be the out-of-school equivalent of teacher's pet. Some teens want nothing more than to capture a hot older guy, their own private hunk, or accomplished lover or intellectual, to take them places and show them stuff (literal and metaphorical). The emotional side is often there, right there, it's far more common than I imagined; I even realised, when I considered it carefully, that there are aspects of it in my own boyhood. And for some, there is a sensual side as well, that would love to sit close for hours, to hug for a while, maybe more. I have chatted with many who experienced some of that in childhood, and look back on it with nothing but utter delight. And yes, I can usually tell the histories from the fantasies. I was a highly sexually active child myself (from early preteen years, though always with other boys my own age), so I know what rings true and what doesn't.
It took years for me to accept all this. I devoured BL boards as places to do research, to find all this out until I was convinced! Because my big problem was exactly yours: believing that a minor can never be such a thing as a "young friend" and that being BL was therefore entirely a curse and in no way a blessing. Finding that the opposite was true - that many had had delightfully positive experiences as loved boys (not to deny that some experienced the contrary) - was one early hugely important step in recovering my self-esteem and in coming to believe, eventually, that being BL is a holy vocation, albeit one that will never be expressed sexually in our contemporary western society, because it would burden the boy with a lifetime of fighting our current society's prejudices in order to recover his own self-esteem.
My next trauma was accepting that it's OK for relationships to be asymmetrical. 1970s feminism, with its insistence on complete symmetry in all relationships (lesbianism the only logical solution, heterosexuality tolerated as long as men are feminised and women are on top), has a lot to answer for. But most relationships are not symmetrical, and the people in them are perfectly happy with that. They are equal - equal self-esteem, equal happiness, equal love, equal give-and-take - but not symmetrical.
A boy/YF will not "declare himself". Guys don't talk about their feelings. And an AF/YF relationship is a guy thing. Neither party "declares himself" until the relationship is very well established. If ever! It's a friendship thing. Friendships aren't "declared", they just develop. And it's a guy thing. No soppy declarations required.
A lot of boys don't give a damn about their peer group, despite what you may have seen. They just keep their heads down. It's not as if they're going to shout out the fact. Being an outsider is kind of beyond cool.
Seduction is rarely the nature of the AF/YF bond, in either direction. It's friendship first. And usually, these days, friendship last as well.
You are exactly right about a certain kind of boy!
A friend of a friend was an incredibly horny teen, and as an underage teen would attempt to seduce every guy he met, as well as cruising for complete strangers. He reckoned if he really went for it he had a 90% success rate with everyone except teachers, where the success rate dropped to 50% - because teachers had seen it all before and knew to stay well away.
But these are not the boys who become YFs.
That's why nothing must go wrong.
As the older party, the AF has all the responsibilities and absolutely no rights.
As the younger party, the YF has all the rights and none of the responsibilities.
That's part of the asymmetry. It's a wonderful, challenging, immensely rewarding vocation.
You're exactly right. Adults are to provide venues, beer, money and transport, and to be humoured only so far as is absolutely necessary in order to extract those essentials. But one or two of the boys might decide you're worth a sensible guy-to-guy conversation at some point during the evening. Just don't expect any of them to admit it to each other. They might, if they don't give a damn, and like to show off the fact. But don't expect it. That is, don't expect them to admit it to each other. But do expect it to happen. Eventually.
Yes, boys are scary. So are adults. So is love. So is God.
Welcome to the longest road.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 01:06 PM
I think it would be easier for you to get to know me if I was to mention the various boys that have been significant in my life. I do not think of any of them as friends. I also want to state that nothing illegal happened. I made many mistakes but I made them honestly.
Craig was 13 when I first met him. I was a new teacher. Craig was already "openly gay" and had a "boyfriend" called Michael who was in the same class. Of course, this meant absolutely nothing. Most of the boys in the school claimed to be gay or bisexual. If you believed what they said, you'd think they had to be gay to get in. Clearly it was bravado.
Craig was a "boy's boy". Good at sport and socially popular. He was also a scout. He was about average height for his age, broad, stocky. I couldn't help noticing he had big thighs. Craig had dark cropped hair. Michael was about the same height, slim and rather lacking in self-confidence. He hid behind Craig, hoping that Craig's popularity would pass onto him.
Both Craig and Michael were manipulative. They were always badgering me for merits. Craig often went up onto the stage to receive awards for collecting endless merits from teachers. They gave them to him in order to "buy" his good behaviour. They probably converted into money at home.
At first Craig was hostile to me. He was easily distracted, perhaps underchallenged and could be disruptive. Craig noted that I was watching him closely in class. In one lesson he called, "Why are you looking at me? I have done nothing wrong". I walked over to him and whispered in his ear,
"If boys are doing something they shouldn't I stare at them because it is less disruptive than telling them but don't assume that just because I am looking at you that I think you've done something wrong". At that point Craig gave a very broad smile from ear to ear.
When Craig next handed his homework in, I noticed that his exercise book was decorated with mathematical symbols. From that point on he became much more affectionate, often greeting me in the corridor enthusiastically whilst waving his arms. I couldn't understand his change in attitude. The disruption in class did not end. Craig and Michael became much more "intimate" as a couple. They sat together in class often holding hands, stroking each others' thighs and cuddling. I had to separate them because this was distracting for other boys in the class.
I made Craig sit at the front, right in front of me. One day he said to me, "I think you should know, sir. I am not the only homosexual in this class. There is Philip, Michael and Christopher". My problems with Craig did not end there. One day after school, at about 4 pm, I walked past the school rugby fields (I was taking a short cut). There was a rugby practice going on. Suddenly, led by Craig, the boys stopped playing rugby, ran over to the touch line and shouted, "Hello, sir" and waved. I felt SO embarrassed. I wanted the world to eat me up.
I also remember Craig watching me swimming and I remember a non-uniform day in the summer, when I rather foolishly wore shorts and a t-shirt. Craig, in similar attire said, "Oh sir, you look positively stunning".
There was one particular incident with Craig that really unnerved me. In those days my lessons were uninspired. I would stand up talk for fifteen minutes, set an exercise and mark books whilst the boys were working. It was in one of these "working periods" that Craig raised his hand and said, "Sir, please will you mark my work".
"Yes", I foolishly replied.
Craig got out of his seat, walked across the room to my desk and stood inappropriately close to me. He almost sat on top of me. I jumped straight back to prevent an inappropriate situation from occurring. From that day on, Craig was not allowed to get out of his seat.
There are other stories I could tell you about Craig, but I think I have told you sufficient in order for you to guage Craig's character and why it was that I became very confused; desparate in fact. I had other bad experiences with other boys which I will mention on other occasions; not in chronological or priority order. I'll tell you the stories as they come. But I think you can see that Craig was no friend of mine and that friendship wouldn't have been possible in any case.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 03:10 PM
Now, getting back to potential humiliation, I have to really watch it that my teen young friend doesn't embarrass me. He isn't gay but, for example, he'd gladly have me pretend to be a parent and sign for things that his parents won't allow. You could call him manipulative, but, you know, he is and he isn't. What best fits is the old saying, 'yes, he's trying - at times, very trying.' He has no idea why he shouldn't get some cliched bleeding heart emblem tattooed on his arm and it's part of his ideal world that he should be allowed this, so who better to fetch it for him than an ideal guy like me (haha)? So I just have to let him down gently and be another crappy un-permissive adult sometimes. But it doesn't embarrass me. Though, he's always thinking, you know, so he has managed to pull a fast one and embarrass me at times. Then again, it's not that hard to embarrass him back, lol. But as I was thinking the other day when he was letting off a deadly choke-hold on my windpipe while saying, 'oops, don't want to hurt you,' there's no question he loves me. It's different. How that all fits into the concept of love?? - it reminds me of the verses about speaking in tongues. It may be beyond comprehension, so the Lord needs to find someone to interpret it to you.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 04:49 PM
I think I'm less sympathetic to Craig than Christiaan is!
I think Craig knew exactly what he was doing!
He sounds like a sweet boy in many ways, but was clearly using his teen(gay)boy charms to his own manipulative advantage, and you were just a plaything in some crazy, half-baked teenage game.
He was never going to be your lover or even your friend.
A few years ago, I would have been just as terrified in his presence as you were.
Now, I'd just have gone with the flow, enjoyed the attention, and occasionally reasserted roles (in this case teacher-pupil) with a bit of a public (or private) dressing down - followed up by something positive to show that there's no grudge.
But I would *really* have enjoyed the attention. Just played it for the love of the moment, and the love of the sparkle in his mischievous eyes.
One of the very first tiny steps I made, my hand being metaphorically held by an online BL friend, was daring even to look at boys, and enjoy it, without feeling guilty. It was wonderful! Just allowing myself to go to the mall or the town centre and look at their beauty and grace without punishing myself for it. I just beamed happiness for days. Some things really are that simple.
Maybe if you had your time over, you could have enjoyed the whole Craig thing, without any risk to anybody of it overstepping the mark or becoming emotionally searing. Just everybody enjoying the ride.
On that basis, knowing him would have been an absolute delight. Manipulative, dangerous, immature, no lover or friend, but delightful, a boy, made in the image of God, and full of boyish fun, full of crazy, half-baked, testosterone-riddled teenage boyish fun. Keep your distance, keep your objectivity ... and adore the beautiful madness of boys.
Of course that all seems utterly improbable right now. I cringe with embarrassment when I think back to some of my own utterly incompetent attempts to interact with boys before I'd learned to remember that they're boys, and I'm not. You can't be a mate like a pretend boy, but you can enjoy the view, and sometimes, you can build some crazy kind of mutually enjoyable ... something or other. Call it a friendship. As asymmetrical as heterosexuality, or more!
Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:01 PM
I was interested in your account of your YF. It seems to me that at some point you have to be an authority figure. I can't see how authority and friendship go together. As it happens I do have the glossalia. Is that what you had in mind when speaking of tongues?
Whilst I am at the computer I will mention Christopher. He was in the same class as Craig and Michael. When I first met Christopher he was shy and unassuming. He was slim with longish mousy coloured hair. He was a little embarassed of his Dad because he was not educated and had a habit of saying embarassing things at parents' evening. The day before parents' evening Christopher took me aside and asked me to be kind to his Dad.
It was in the Summer Term when Craig was already being a nuisance that Christopher made his mark. One day in class, Christopher rolled up his trousers into shorts. Another boy pointed this out.
I quipped, "Perhaps he is auditioning for 'Just William'". There were fits of laughter in the class (the boys often told me I'd be better employed as a stand-up comedian). 'Just William' became a nick-name for Christopher and in lessons he and eight others, including Craig, Michael and Philip rolled their trousers into shorts. Things came to a head with Christopher in one lesson when at the end he invited me to an opera. I declined.
"Why not?" he protested, "I'm good looking enough for you".
At which point, he ran out of the classroom. He came back a few minutes later with his head in hands full of shame. He apologised to me for being so silly.
I said, "Christopher, if you had said that to a teacher thirty years ago, you would have got a stick across your back side. We don't use corporal punishment today but that does not make the matter any less serious. Now go."
Now around the same time I rather foolishly volunteered to go into the stocks and have wet sponges thrown at me to raise money for charity. Well, it was a popular event. It even got onto the school web site and into the local newspaper. Even more foolishly I wore a white t-shirt and white shorts (I often wore whites for badminton) and of course whites become transparent when they are wet. Well it will not surprise that Craig and Michael came as a couple as indeed did Philip. Anyway as soon as he was able to see through my shorts Philip shouted out, "He's wearing blue pants!"
It was an embarrassing situation but I accept full responsibility for it. I was naive. I don't think I realised the extent to which they were on heat.
Still, I am older and wiser now and trust that the friends I have found on here will help me to mature and be a close friend to Joshua.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:26 PM
It is fundamental to friendships between adults and boys that the adults are adults and the boys ... aren't. The adults have responsibility, and yes, with that, authority. Sometimes that authority is formalized. Other times it is just another name for responsibility. Adults are adults, and boys are boys.
It sounds as though, like me, you have to switch out of the idea popular since the 1970s that the only legitimate relationship is a relationship between equals so equal that you cannot tell the two people apart. Reality is not like that. For anyone.
A sound, godly, healthy YF relationship is hugely rewarding for both parties. When it is sound, godly and healthy, neither party is using the other, and both are involved in a process of give and take where both get out of the relationship far more than they put in. Isn't that the way with all good relationships?
The responsibility on the older partner is to resist the ancient instinct to dominate the relationship and the modern instinct to withdraw in fear. But all relationships contain complex responsibilities like that. The YF relationship is some crazy complex combination of paternal, sensual, responsible and mutual that used to need no name: think back to the pre-modern era of village life and it was the relationship of every adult with every young person.
I guess I only discovered the wonderful potential and reality as I allowed myself to have my first faltering conversations with boys on their own terms: respectful, treating them as equal in dignity and worth, walking away from my past fears and allowing the boy to set the agenda ... and without trying to be a boy myself.
Posted 22 June 2010 - 06:56 PM
With your class, you clearly combined personal charisma at a level that I have never had to deal with (being a rather ordinary looking chap myself and never the object of boyish eros as far as I know), with a shy formality that, in combination with your witty lines, gave you inadvertent theatrical clown skills at a level that was too high to handle. Anyone can have their underwear show through their shorts, but it's only funny if the person seems to be mortified by it -- "oooh noooo!". Yet, if they are REALLY, hideously mortified by it, it's no longer funny, except to people who are unusually cruel. Unfortunately, I suspect your embarrassment seemed to be the backbone of an ingenious Charlie Chaplin character you were playing, and I bet the boys would mostly be staggered to know that your life was really torn apart by the experience. I am going out on a limb here, and Christopher may think I'm being way too kind, but I think the boys seemed more cruel than they were because they thought that at some level, you were in on the joke. You thought you were being taken for a fool, and actually you were being taken for a genius/fool.
I suppose you've seen the pinched discomfort of Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, when sexual topics come up. As one websitesays "Frank was easily shocked and immensely naïve - any slightly risqué comment or action getting in response a startled "oooh" and a strained expression. He could find a homosexual advance in the most innocent of deeds."
Unfortunately, combined with your other comic skills, your discomfort about boylove probably cast you in the direction of this sort of character in the classroom.
I bet you're very warmly remembered.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 08:20 AM
Perhaps, in the right school, and with the right age group (preteen?), you could go back and start again with the confidence to make it work for you as well as for the boys?
It reminds me of a story I heard of a newly qualified young teacher who - disastrously - tried to be cool-with-the-kids (waist length hair, trying-too-hard-to-be-trendy clothes). They laughed at him the moment he walked in the room. He thought he'd hit rock bottom when, only one week in, one of the boys responded to his instructions (loudly, in front of the whole class) with a calm and sneering "F**k off, sir."
The beginning of the recovery was that night, when, having laid awake for half the night, he realised ... "he called me sir!". It's all about the different role of adult and youth.
In response to one of your earlier comments, I've actually been thinking more about the nature of friendship. And shocking as it may seem, I actually don't think adults today have friendships. Seriously. They have neighbours. They have work colleagues. They have people who go to the same voluntary groups as them. But all these people are defined by those descriptions, and the relationship is entirely dependent on those descriptions. These are not friendships. Not like we have in childhood.
The only 'friend' in an adult's life with anything like the intensity of childhood friendship is a live-in long-term sexual partner.
Or a YF. Seriously. Rediscover friendship, with the intensity of childhood.
And while some BLs do have individual intimate YF relationships, there's something of that beauty and fulfilment in working with boys in any context (statutory or voluntary), as long as you get to work with the same boys long term and build up a positive working relationship, rather than just seeing a procession of them each once only.
I guess my overall reflection is that you were actually damn close to being an absolutely brilliant (fulfilled boyloving) teacher, but your fear of your own sexuality, and possibly a (suppressed but apparent) desire to be amongst them as one of them rather than distinctly different from them (the non-uniform-day outfit, the wet sponges drama), together made it all fall apart. Perhaps, in the right school, you could go back and start again with the confidence to make it work for you as well as for the boys...
Posted 23 June 2010 - 10:43 AM
Thank you Christiaan and Christopher for your thoughtful comments. Both of you have shown why I was an inappropriate teacher. I have drawn out radically different responses in you. Now I know that everyone is different but people who draw out such different perspectives are difficult to work with.
I certainly agree that most adults don't have friends (except perhaps their husband/wife/partner) and are rather frightened of friendship.
Posted 23 June 2010 - 01:03 PM
Meanwhile, one of my local buddies (also non-BL and quite str8) is a retired teacher who was very dedicated and competent -- but was overjoyed to early-retire and get out, especially since his last year was marked by a struggle (successful) to remove a malicious inappropriate-touching charge from his record (a girl got mad at him about some discipline and took revenge. Then she relented and withdrew the charge, but by that time the authorities were still going to keep a record of the charge in my friend's file for years to come).
Come to think of it, of the teachers and former teachers I know personally, only one doesn't (or didn't) find it a hellish job. And those folks don't even have attraction to minors to deal with at the same time as everything else.
Posted 24 June 2010 - 11:45 AM
Posted 06 July 2010 - 10:29 AM
I am also puzzled as to how anyone can be comfortable as a boy (or girl) lover. I am reminded of Toby at this point. This is a few years after the business with Craig and his entourage. Toby was 12 when I first met him. He was a fairly classical underachiever. He arrived late for lessons with Nathan who was his unseparable friend. I don't think they were gay, but they were close. They had been drawn together because they both had dysfunctional families and were effective at giving one another mutual support. Toby was adept at work avoidance strategies. Anyway one day I asked Toby to stay behind after class to explain why he hadn't completed his homework. It transpired that Toby's home life was hideous and doing his homework was actually the least of his worries.
His mother was a drug addict and spent time in a rehabilitation centre. He was passed around from relative to relative who would be his guardian on a fixed term contract. I discovered that Toby frequently overslept and came to school without breakfast. Toby is also the only boy I've known to have received free school meals (lack of parental income) and attended an independent school (grandparents' wealth).
I bought him an alarm clock and insisted he ate breakfast (which was toast because he couldn't cook anything else). Anyway the embarrassing point came one day when I called the register. When I got to Toby, instead of answering "yes, sir" he answered "I love you, sir". I was shocked and exclaimed "Toby!!!".
"Oh, sorry sir", he apologised rather awkwardly. I felt as though I wanted the world to eat me up. In schools it does not matter what the rights or wrongs of a situation like that are, a teacher cannot get into a situation like this. If it happens they must go at the earliest opportunity.
Posted 06 July 2010 - 01:22 PM
"Thank you, Toby, I really appreciate it. You know as a teacher there's only so far I can go to help out, but in my own small way I really do hope to give you a better day whenever I can. We'll only know each other a few months, and there are lots of rules that define what we can and can't do, but we can still make it good."
I do think it's easier to do this if you don't need to worry about your own emotions getting involved in an overly powerful way. But this is where I find the Lord is very helpful - I get all my equanimity from him. My heart does a flip-flop when a lovable boy likes me, to be sure, but part of my mind is as serene as a windless lake. And I operate out of that part when I need to.
Posted 13 July 2010 - 04:54 PM
This is more than just a compliment -- but it is exactly like something that straight teachers (drop the straight, let's just say all teachers) get all the time, from boys and girls alike, whether male or female. Emotions run high, especially with good, popular teachers. Boys and girls alike get crushes on their teachers, both male and female. Teachers feel sexual stirrings towards their students all the time - in high school and in primary school, where the imminent (read 'current') romantic desirability of pupils is openly (and thoroughly unprofessionally) discussed amongst off-duty teachers.
Most have experienced all this so often that they know how to deal with it emotionally; even know how to enjoy the complement or beauty to its full without crossing any professional boundaries in terms of their actual words or behaviour. Being so self-consciously minor-attracted may be unusual, being knowing when pupils are utterly adorable, with genuine "future" (ahem current) high romantic/sexual potential is totally normal. You were just jumpy and self-conscious. You were not in any way unusual.
"Thank you, Toby, I really appreciate it. You know as a teacher there's only so far I can go to help out, but in my own small way I really do hope to give you a better day whenever I can. We'll only know each other a few months, and there are lots of rules that define what we can and can't do, but we can still make it good."
Lol I'm afraid that is totally, totally unprofessional in the current UK climate! Adam-John's instinctive reply was actually far more appropriate. Something the length of CX's sermonette would be more appropriate after a fourth offense, in private, with less of the "I really appreciate it", and more of the "I'm your teacher, you can't say things like that."
lol whoever said parents were the arbiters of what makes a good teacher?
Seriously though, whoever said parents were the arbiters of what makes a good teacher? Since I was a school pupil myself I've considered the very idea preposterous. Parents are no more the best designers of educational practice than they are of medical or legal or plumbing or electrical practice: that's why we have professionals, who know their profession.
As for love in the classroom ... well, there's supposed to be love everywhere, according to the teaching of Joshua, n'est pas?
Far from "boyloving teacher" being a contradiction, to me it is one of the most natural things in the world. You're not gonna touch, you're not gonna favour your favourites, that would be unprofessional, but you are gonna care about those kids more than the average Jo (or many of their parents), and that makes you a far better teacher than most - one of the very best.
I see being a boylover as a vocation. A divine vocation. A divine gift. A divine calling. Joshy says, serve my brothers. We say, "Yes please! Here am I! Send me!"
Posted 14 July 2010 - 08:55 AM
Thank you for your kindness, your evangelistic zeal and forensic professionalism.
Who decides that parents are the best arbiters of educational practice? UK Governments over the last 30 years! They also think that patients are the best arbiters of meducal practice. I am also sure that politicians will make us all top lawyers and ace plumbers if the pretence garners our vote.
Yes I was and still am very jumpy about boy love. I am afraid that I did favour my favourites without knowing I was doing it. I would have been better to have created a more democratic regime, making greater use of student feedback but to do so would have been completely at odds with the authoritarian regime in which I was operating. As for parents, many of them think they are absolutely right in all things. It is part of the British culture that "the customer is always right" and parents saw themselves not the boys as consumers.
Joshua wouldn't survive in a British school either.
Posted 20 March 2011 - 03:27 AM
This relationship had nothing whatsoever to do with sex or erotic situations, and everything to do with trust and love and intimacy. Sure, I was attracted to him (emotionally, always; and physically, until he started puberty, at 14); he was a lovely boy, slim, athletic, blond-haired and blue-eyed, with a gentle nature and a tender vulnerability; I found him beautiful inside and out. But the emotional and spiritual connection we developed was independent of any sexual desire I might have had (and which he certainly did not).
The attraction I feel for young boys serves best, in my estimation, to open the door for my interest in them as people in their own right, thinking feeling beings deserving of compassion and great respect. I "came out" as "gay" when I was 9, and as a boylover when I was 15 (and remained "out" for the next 12 years, until my son was born; I am, now that my son is 16, and is well-aware of my orientation, becoming more open - I have never denied my orientation, however), and I acted as an editor for the child-rights/child liberation newsletters put out by Project TRUTH (as well as becoming the then-youngest-ever member of NAMBLA) before I turned 16, and so you can see that I had a good grasp on my sexuality (as well as a certain grasp of my social responsibility) from a very young age, and never had to undergo the period of questioning myself which many boylovers go through. I also took my responsibilities as a boylover seriously even as a teenager, although I had to go through a great deal of development to get to the point at which I was able to accept that platonic relationships, in present-day society, were best for not only my loved boys, but for me myself (I formally acknowledged this when I was 19).
I met Shawn when he was 12, and we very quickly developed a strong bond, calling each other "best friends" within the first few weeks (this in itself is a long story; perhaps I will share it sometime). His friends easily accepted me as a part of their group; in fact, I met Shawn through mutual friends; I have always had an easy time relating to kids and I am often accepted as almost being one of them. Our mutual friends seemed to accept -and even envy- our best-friendship. Adults, too, seemed to accept our relationship as mutually beneficial, and even -in a sense- as ideal. I am sure that there were people who questioned the nature of the relationship, but we were never inconvenienced or molested because of it. Perhaps this was due to the strong support I had from Shawn's parents, and the closeness of the group of parents to which the kids in our group of friends belonged. I remember a reaction once, at a party, which might have been evidence of dark thoughts from a friend's parent: we were sitting in a large armchair, and Shawn had fallen asleep while I was playing with his hair. I noticed that the father of the host was looking at us speculatively; I grinned at him and said, "I'm allowed; I'm his best friend," -with more than a touch of pride. -And that was that. We went on to discuss other things, as Shawn slept, secure and peaceful, in my arms.
During our best-friendship, Shawn was a wonderful friend, giving me support, companionship, love, and (non-sexual) physical intimacy; he and I did almost everything together. I was deeply trusted by his parents, and carried a statement signed by them saying that I was in loco parentis to Shawn, allowed to pick him up from school, keep him out late, and make medical decisions upon his behalf, among other things. Shawn's father once said to me "I really appreciate all you've done for Shawn... of course, you know that if he was a girl, I'd have to kill you!" -I have always wondered exactly what he meant by that.
Shawn also helped me with my son, who spent the time from 2-6 years old seeing Shawn daily; Shawn accompanied us to the park, played with him like a brother, and taught him how to climb trees and how to do gymnastics and so forth. Sometimes, when Shawn spent the night, or when I spent the night at Shawn's house, my son would cuddle up with us and we would all sleep together, in the same bed. -My son was raised with the "family bed", and usually slept in the same bed with me, until he was 12 or 13; he still sleeps in my bed, occasionally, at 16. Shawn's dad was also the first person to let my son, when he was 2, "drive" his car, sitting in his lap and steering. I think this fact, that Shawn was such an integral part of my son's early life, was important to my son accepting me as a boylover. My son could see that I genuinely loved Shawn (among the other loved boys/young fiends of mine whom he has known) and would never act against his well-being. Recently I asked my son if he thought it was "odd that [his] daddy has what amounts to a serious crush on a 12-year-old" (my current young friend Kipp) -and he said, "of course not!"
I consider myself blessed by having a son who is so understanding and who sees my "quirk of attraction" as being a positive, or at worst, a neutral, thing... but he has seen my love for these boys in action, and has known all but one of the loved boys in my life since he was born. And of course, Shawn was -and is- a blessing.
Shawn and I are, as I said, still friends, although we have grown apart during the years. That is a long story, and perhaps I will tell it sometime, but for now I will just say that for the time between his 12th and 16th years he was the best friend I have ever had. The loyalty, devotion, and emotional (as well as the physical) intimacy he gave me, as well as the privilege of being allowed to be intimate friends with him, was all a part of one of the most profoundly satisfying relationships I have ever had, matched only by the love between my son and myself.
I had to laugh when I read about the "teacher who tried too hard"... as I myself have waist-length hair and treat kids as equals. Of course, I have never held a "position of 'authority'" over kids, either, except in teaching the children's liturgy ("Sunday school") in my "brick-and-mortar" church, and in certain other volunteer positions. I find that "exercising 'authority'" in these cases is as simple as engaging the kids attention and getting them to want to be a part of the group activity, and -sometimes- to want to please me (although I am not sure that this is strictly ethical). I am not at all sure that this would work in a regular school! -But then, I could never be a part of a system which I consider terribly unethical and immoral, which contributes greatly to the systematic oppression of children, such as the school system.
As for the comments about the general tone of society and -especially- school in the UK, all I can say is that I am glad I do not live there, and supremely glad that my son was not subjected to school in such an oppressive, crushing atmosphere (I home-schooled him for a few years, at his request, until injuries he sustained in a car accident made it necessary for him to attend a "brick-and-mortar" school). I reacted to ChristiaanX's proposed possible statement to Toby with a nod and a thought of "that's just exactly right". To hear that it might possibly be considered "unprofessional" is somewhat horrifying to me. -Those poor kids! And as for the parents considering themselves the "consumers" of schooling, that is only natural in a society in which children are considered chattel property. I think that we must move toward a society in which children are seen as people in their own right, deserving not only of welfare rights, but of liberty rights, as well. I thought this as a child, and my position has not changed one bit. I always thought of myself being a father as an opportunity to be the partner -the "junior" partner!- in helping a unique individual grow into full responsibility for himself. -And my son credits me with being a wonderful, and respectful, father. He recently told me that, while he was growing up, I was always his best friend. -So responsibility for a child, respect for that child, and love for that child are not necessarily mutually exclusive. They are, in fact, in my opinion, mutually reinforcing.
-And, as I said, kids can make wonderful friends.
Posted 20 March 2011 - 09:29 PM
So-called children are, as you say, people first of all, and fascinating, unique individuals, every one of them.
Welcome, Fix, to the church of Joshy, where the boy takes the lead.