By Rob Moore
When I saw Phillip two years ago during my visit to the speck on the map where he and I grew up, I sensed a longing from him that I couldn’t quite identify. He seemed like he wanted to linger yet he didn’t seem comfortable about that, either. I felt there was some type of sexual undercurrent happening but he left the gathering before I could clearly discern anything. Besides, we homosexuals always want to think every good-looker is secretly on our team, right?
I got word that Phillip had taken his own life this week. Given certain details of a less-than-joyous life at home for him, I started to consider that perhaps I hadn’t been completely off base after all.
Life pointed out in a few ways this past week that it would serve to delve further into sexual concepts connected with Mars, currently slowing toward a retrograde phase that begins April 17. And I suppose just in case life hadn’t made its message clear, along comes Eric in his Planet Waves TV segment and graphically shows us that masculine Mars has a clitoris. The insight Eric offers is that there’s an aspect of female in the male, male in the female, and in so many ways we are one and the same.
I think that pinpoints a truth that many are waking up to and demonstrating unabashedly. Unfortunately, a great many who need this wider view are trying their hardest to stay asleep, it would seem. And it’s not doing their emotional wellbeing any favors. With this Mars retrograde, though, we’ll all be inclined — to one degree or another — to go back over key aspects of our own inner landscapes. Some real pressure-relieving freedom could well be imminent.
It is not my intent to make Phillip’s tragically ill-informed choices the central focus of this post today. I do, though, want to consider some of the misunderstood feelings I strongly suspect were at play. Feelings — or perhaps more accurately ‘impulses’ — which I am discovering more and more men, in particular, are experiencing.
My meeting with Phillip two years ago was kind of a rare thing and it might not be amiss to call it ‘special’. As I’m essentially the town’s weird uncle who moved away, never married and is almost certainly a homo, I’m generally met with a level of circumspection by those with whom I once shared a close connection. There was a tinge of that with Phillip; but what I perceived more than anything was along the lines of, “Oh, wow. Somebody I can just be myself with. Somebody who’s not expecting anything from me. Whew.”
What I felt from that point is something I have felt from other straight and/or married men with increasing frequency in the last few years: A pull to either hug or hold or touch in some way. This is not so much a sexual pull as a calling out for pure and simple masculine energy and presence. In a way, there’s something more powerful than sex going on because it goes right to the vulnerable emotional center. A center that in men is still very typically closed off and rarely attended to. And just for the record, a split second man-hug or a chest-bump between bros does not address the deep and abiding nature of this need in question.
For quite some time I have been part of a deeper dynamic of this sort with a guy I see frequently. It went as far as a brief discussion about the nature of our connection but all indications point to fear as this guy’s current response of choice. From what I’ve been able to put together, he recently ran to Vegas to marry a girl he’d been seeing. If that was an attempt to prevent himself from having feelings towards me or other males, it doesn’t appear to have worked. I continue to feel that emotional pull between us quite regularly.
The women I have been close with have demonstrated a far greater willingness to embrace this sort of nurturing among themselves. Although they may be enthusiastically into penis, they seem to be able to connect physically — as opposed to sexually — with close female friends. This can be as mild as extended holding after having a heart-to-heart on the sofa, or as involved as touching and caressing during a sleepover.
One of the ways life further pointed me towards this discussion this week involved an awkward yet serendipitous fumbling of the TV remote that landed me on the new channel Viceland from Spike Jonze. I was instantly captivated by Ellen Page who, for me, possesses such a grounding presence. She and her co-host Ian Daniel (for whom I also have a soft spot) were visiting Tokyo, Japan, for their series ‘Gaycation’ about global LGBTQ culture.
They were interviewing the owner of a successful business that rents out individuals to LGBTQ people who need someone to pass as their heterosexual friend or partner for family and work-related gatherings. That this business is highly successful speaks volumes about the level of acceptance in Japan. But I think even more telling is the fact that during the interview, the LGBTQ customers weren’t even referred to as ‘in the closet’. It was presented more like ‘just the way it is’ for them.
Although on other parts of the globe we’re ever-so-slowly increasing our acceptance, it’s still a world where fear runs pretty damn rampant around any sexual or gender identity that isn’t ‘straight’ down the middle. It’s understandable to me, therefore, that males who want to fit the traditional stereotype of ‘man’ would have deep inner conflict with enmeshing their emotional and physical needs with another male. Even when sex is nowhere in the equation.
Not a fan of anything even kind of connected with the Kardashians, I was extremely skeptical of the motivation of Bruce Jenner to become Caitlin Jenner. Sorry, but I really suspected it may well be a last-ditch effort at grabbing the spotlight somehow. Besides, with the financial backing to pay for 50 makeup artists and 150 stylists, if so desired, Tom Selleck could pull off an evening gown and look quite good his own damn self.
But then I came to see how Caitlin has not sought to discard the soul essence of Bruce. More than trying to emanate ‘woman’, Caitlin seems more interested in emanating authenticity. At minimum, Caitlin has handled this transition with dignity.
I throw the Caitlin thing into the ring because — although about as far as the pendulum swings when it come to males embracing their feminine aspects — this has definitely been a consciousness-shifting event. It may be more accurate to say it’s its own consciousness-shifting vortex. Literally armies of transsexuals came before Caitlin Jenner but none of them were an Olympic-medaled hero hailed by testosterone-fueled men the world over.
This is the pinnacle of male embracing his female side. This is Mars with a clit spread-eagle before God and man. Straight man who plays football and spits on the sidewalk and likes sex with clits.
Sure, men as a whole have softened quite a bit the last couple of decades. I think, though, that we are undergoing changes that make a strong case for accelerated growth. In this case, accelerated acceptance. Not just of others but of what’s beginning to be revealed inside ourselves. How much easier is it to work with the universe than against? Not much of a contest, really.
Change of this sort is no small feat. There are numerous layers of reconsidering, reprioritizing and unlearning that require our full credence. Even if Phillip had yielded to some kind of prolonged hug or some kind of letting go into the man who stood before him two years ago, it is not likely that would have resolved such needs in him forevermore. Depending on his psychological outlook, it may have even caused greater conflict for him.
But if perceived as a gratifying experience, I feel it would have likely made it clear to Phillip that room needed to be made in his life to fill this void. For a small-town straight guy with a wife and kids, I can understand how unrealistic that seems. But that’s only because we haven’t exactly allowed this sort of dynamic to be real for us yet. It’s happening, though. I’ve been feeling it.