known orchestra leader and about my career goals as a budding artist. He seemed to care
about me and listened without censure to my confessions of public shyness and insecurity
regarding my looks, body shape and weight. He even sent me to Meryl Norman for skin
treatments. He ordered for me in restaurants to ensure I was eating healthy foods and in
proportions that would help me lose weight. Soon, he was selecting clothing that would
flatter my figure and coloring.
In other words, Alan slowly gained control of my life. I depended upon his gentle
candor and relaxed way of facing the world and didn’t object. I wanted—needed—
someone to care enough to shower me with the attention I had craved all my life. I was
twenty-one and ready for “a steady” date.
If I knew then what I know today, I would have recognized this wasn’t a healthy
relationship for me. It took away the need for me to make my own decisions. But, I felt
safe with Alan, and safety while in the company of a handsome man was essential. Besides,
I received verbal and tacit approval from family members and friends, who were already
thinking of wedding bells.
Over the next three years of off and on dating, Alan and I became close friends; then
he began to court me with flowers and more personal attention. He hugged and kissed me,
tenderly, not passionately. All the while, he kept saying, “Carol, there’s something I have
to tell you.” This went on for months.
Alan was not a very demonstrative man. Although this was one reason I felt so secure
in his presence, my need to know why outweighed our maintaining an unspoken
understanding. That’s when I had an ”aha” moment. On our very next date, I approached
the subject hesitantly. “Alan, I think I know what you’ve been trying for weeks to tell me.
You . . . you like men. You know. In that way.”
The look on his face told me he was startled at my boldness and yet relieved. “Yes,
Carol,” he said, fighting for the right words. “You’re right. I have been struggling with the
urges for years and only a few people know this about me. It may seem as strange to you
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