Finding Your Leading Man: How to Create Male-to-Male Intimacy and Make Your Relationship a Blockbuster

Finding Your Leading Man: How to Create Male-to-Male Intimacy and Make Your Relationship a Blockbuster

by Jon P. Bloch, Jon P. Bloch
     
 

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For all the gay men who have spent years fruitlessly looking for Mr. Wonderful, who have kissed every toad in the pond without even one turning into Prince Charming, finally there is a roadmap to guide them to a lasting, more fulfilling relationship.

Even now, when an ever increasing number of gay men are looking to establish a lasting relationship, studies show

Overview

For all the gay men who have spent years fruitlessly looking for Mr. Wonderful, who have kissed every toad in the pond without even one turning into Prince Charming, finally there is a roadmap to guide them to a lasting, more fulfilling relationship.

Even now, when an ever increasing number of gay men are looking to establish a lasting relationship, studies show that male/male relationships end sooner than either straight or lesbian relationships. But it doesn't have to be that way. Finding Your Leading Man is a guide to help the gay man seeking intimacy and wishing to improve the quality of his relationships. Dr. Jon Bloch first explores the twelve basic personality types that gay men employ to hide their fears and desires, provides practical tips for getting past the intimacy blockers of each type, and details which personality types are most - and least - compatible with each other. Finally, he then explains how to use this knowledge to build a successful long-term intimate relationship.

Fun, practical, and easy to use, How to Find Your Leading Man is a clear, enjoyable, and simple guide for the gay man on the hunt for his one and only.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Bloch (anthropology and sociology, Southern Connecticut State Univ.; New Spirituality, Self, and Belonging) has come up with 12 different parts that gay men play in order to keep themselves from getting too intimate with their partners. He calls these "OWTAs"--Oscar-Winning Typecast Appearances. From "Party Boy" through "Perennial Closet Case," he describes these roles and examines possible OWTA pairings to gauge what might be good about each couple and what might be disastrous. Then, for only about 30 pages, he advises how to transcend these self-proclaimed roles to make relationships work. Strangely, however, the briefness of this section does not mar the book, perhaps because Bloch's writing is amusing and clear. He successfully gets across such points as his argument that gay men have a lot more in common with straight men than they think they do. Recommended for public libraries.--Pam Matthews, Gettysburg Coll. Lib., PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312267360
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
12/01/2000
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.56(w) x 8.32(h) x 0.83(d)

Read an Excerpt

Finding Your Leading Man

How to Create Male-To-Male Intimacy and Make your Relationship a Blockbuster


By Jon P. Bloch

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2000 Jon P. Bloch
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-312-27651-5



CHAPTER 1

THE BLUE COLLAR GUY

* * *


PERSONALITY

One of the most popular types of OWTAs is the frankly masculine Blue Collar Guy. There's nothing wrong with being blue-collar. Plumbers, carpenters, and police officers are essential to society—more so, if you think about it, than political science professors or dance critics. So if you're blue-collar, I say all the more power to you.

However, blue collar can be a state of mind as much as a statement of fact. Guys with white-collar jobs can still have a blue-collar personality. Just the other night, I asked this flannel-shirted guy in a bar what he did for a living. "I fuckin' teach art history at a finishing school, man," he informed me, butchly slamming his Bud on the counter. Come to find out he grew up in a blue-collar family. Even though he wore a shirt and tie to work and had all these yuppie diversified stock portfolios (among other assets), he had the same salt-of-the-earth ideas about life as his father.

You Blue Collar Guys have a lot of great qualities. For one thing, you're sexy when you sweat. For another, you're sincere. Some gay men mask their emotions behind clever words, but Blue Collar Guys shoot straight from the hip. Your directness is refreshing, especially for men who are burned out on flippant bar talk. When you like someone as a friend or love him as a lover, you really let him know it. You are warm and affectionate and full of passion.

Not only that, but you have values and standards. Some people say that the gay world doesn't have enough role models or road maps to teach us how to live. So a lot of gay men are attracted to your having principles to live by. Regardless of how your family feels about your being gay, you maintain the ideals and beliefs you were taught. Things like hard work, perseverance, and honesty mean a lot to you. You very much want a partner to settle down with, so that your relationship can resemble a conventional marriage as much as possible.

In choosing friends, it's more important that they share your simple, honest values than whether they are gay or straight. Whether fishing with your buddies or helping your brother-in-law put up a new fence, you enjoy feeling like one of the guys. And so just by living your life, you help familiarize straight people with the gay experience.

About the most traumatic thing that can happen to you is having your family reject you for being gay. Obviously, that's never easy for any gay man to deal with. But some gay men relish the opportunity to reinvent themselves. They're glad to get out of Podunk (or wherever they came from) and make a whole new world for themselves in New York or San Francisco. But it's different for you Blue Collar Guys. They can take you out of Podunk, but they can't take the Podunk out of you. Since you lack the imagination to envision a different type of life for yourself, you stubbornly cling to the lifestyle you were taught to live—with a slight variation, of course. If your childhood was unhappy, you probably have a great deal of difficulty admitting that it was, because such an admission would be disrespectful to your family.

Specifically, you have extremely rigid ideas about men and women. While it's great that you help shatter stereotypes about gay men, it's at the cost of being extremely defensive and self-righteous about your masculinity. You sell yourself short in the intimacy department rather than saying or doing something that would give the impression that you aren't butch. As long as you can "pass" for "one of the guys," you'll do things you don't really enjoy, even staying in an unhappy relationship. Even in a potentially happy one, you'll hold back those parts of yourself that might be labeled "feminine," and so the relationship won't be as close as it could be.


BEDROOM BEHAVIOR

Since you often use your muscles on the job, you Blue Collar Guys don't go the gym route as much as other types of men. After lifting and bending all day long, who wants to work out? (Even if you work behind a desk, you are probably more inclined to hike or landscape the yard than aerobicize). So for the man who wants a nice, big cuddly bear to snuggle up to on those cold winter nights, you're just the ticket. You make him feel loved and protected in your arms. You want lots of touching and kissing and hugging. Because fancy words are not your specialty, the physical path is primarily how you express your needs and feelings. For your partner, things could certainly be worse.

As affectionate as you are, you change when you get purely sexual. You like to feel like you're a "real man." So you want to call the shots in bed. If you take the bottom role, you explain it or justify it somehow. You need to feel that you're still a man—or maybe the man. You mayenjoy treating your partner like a mere object that exists to satisfy whichever role you're taking. There is always the danger that you'll alienate him over time by your need to be in control.

Because commitment is important to you, you won't necessarily leave if the sex lessens over time. But you'll start to feel unloved, because you view sex as a primary way of demonstrating love. You may start looking elsewhere for sex, yet you'll expect your partner to remain faithful. Some of your ideas about partnering go back to outmoded traditions where the wife was considered the husband's "property," and you feel jealous and threatened if your lover seems even remotely interested in someone else.


INTIMACY BLOCKERS

You have black-and-white ideas about what it means to be a man or a woman. And you get self-righteous about defending your masculinity. You avoid any part of yourself that might be seen as "feminine." You refuse yourself permission to enjoy an umbrella drink or a Babs movie. Let alone permission to seem weak or afraid.

But by hiding who you are, you aren't really present. And if you aren't present, you aren't getting close to people. You're just giving a performance.

Also, there's a flip side to making your feelings known. Just as you let others know when you like them, you really let them know when you don't. You are hung up on getting your own way. Compromising is seldom an option. You'll say or do whatever it takes to win the argument. And since you're not as verbally skillful as other types of gay men, you'll resort to lies, insults, sulking, shouting, slamming the door, leaving the house—maybe even violence—to have your way.

You're technically "expressing your feelings" when you're angry or threatened. But ironically, these feelings are expressed to push the other man away. Either that, or to control him. And control is another way of avoiding intimacy. If you need to control another person, it's because you're afraid to share who you really are and let things unfold naturally.


POSITIVE ASPECTS OF THE BLUE COLLAR GUY

Sincerity, warmth, affection, loyalty.


CHALLENGES TO BE OVERCOME

Fear of the feminine, bossiness, jealousy, fear of losing.


HOW TO CHANGE

First, acknowledge the many wonderful memories you've given to the people you care about. No doubt people treasure the kindness and caring that can come only from you. But now, my Blue Collar friend, comes the fun part ...

Discover that "male" and "female" are not opposites. Physiologically, men and women have some differences, but they are more alike than they are different. Yet many of us (yourself included) are taught toconcentrate more on the differences than the similarities. We stereotype men and women. We notice what we want to notice about each sex's behavior and ignore what we choose to ignore, so that these stereotypes will be confirmed. ("Of course she's emotional—she's a woman." "Of course he's a grouch—he's a man." Like there are no emotional men or grouchy women?)

Make a list of three qualities you consider "male" and three you consider "female." Then think of some women you know and see if they don't have some of those "male" qualities. Next, think of some men you know—yes, even straight men—and see if they don't have some of those "female" qualities.

Finally, think about a woman you admire—in real life, the movies, whatever. List three qualities she has that you like. Ask yourself how your life could be enriched by taking on these qualities yourself.


Come out of the closet over your "feminine" interests. (And don't tell me you don't have any. I wasn't born yesterday.) If you secretly want to buy a Judy Garland CD, do it. And walk down the street holding it proudly for all the world to see. Don't hide it in a bag or tell the salesclerk it's for a friend. Relax. Let a little flamboyance in. Buy that Hawaiian shirt. Ask the guy in the supermarket where the portobello mushrooms are. And if he figures out you're gay? Hello?! And where were you last Saturday night? Besides, maybe he's gay, too.


Drop the G. I. Joe routine. First, you need to realize that it's okay to be afraid. Nature gives us the fear instinct for a reason. Fear tells us when to be cautious. If we never felt fear, we'd all be dead. Fear is a good thing. If you feel afraid of someone or something, it shows that you're a strong, functioning being.

In a given week, tell one other person about someone or something you're afraid of, and why. Study the other person's reaction. I'll bet they don't think any less of you. In fact, they might even have more respect for you for being so honest.

You also need to learn to ask for help. In the animal world, many of the mightiest beasts do things in packs or prides or herds. These male wolves, lions, or elephants are fully confident in their masculinity. But they also know that they can't do everything by themselves. So in a given week, ask one other person to help you with something that you'd normally struggle with by yourself.


Stop having to "win." No one always wins. No one always gets his own way. Everyone has to answer to other people. Everyone has to bite his tongue sometimes and go with the program. Look at Bill Clinton, the leader of the free world. So stop thinking that you're going to be the big exception, okay?

Make a list of three instances when you didn't get your own way. Then think about what happened instead. What it really as bad as all that? Did no good come of it whatsoever?


Stop expecting a man to be your "wife." He's your partner and deserves to be treated as an equal. (In fact, wives also deserve to be treated as equals, but that's a topic for another book.) By throwing your weight around, you are not winning your boyfriend's respect. You are losing it.

Once a week, do one thing completely the way your boyfriend wants to do it. Let him plan the entire evening. The movie and the restaurant. Let him get things going in bed. Let him set the mood. Let him name the fantasy. Let nature take its course. No complaints are allowed. Just go with the flow. Notice how it doesn't kill you to let go.

If there's a disagreement between you and your man, get in the habit of immediately saying, "Let's compromise." Even if he's the one being impossible. Don't feel you have to win at all costs. Remember—you can win the battle, but lose the war. You can drive that man right out of your life, even though you've "won" the argument. A wise man chooses his battles carefully.

After a month or so of doing all these things, see how you feel. More important, share how you feel with the man in your life.


FINAL THOUGHTS

We are all made of many things. Stop worrying so much about proving you're a man. Look, you're a man, okay? If you have any doubts, try this: unbutton your 501s and feel what's inside. I rest my case. No one mistakes you for a woman.

Anyway, the people who care most about that macho stuff are antigay. You'll never please them, anyway. So you might as well stop trying. Do what makes you happy, and the right man will come into your life.

CHAPTER 2

THE CREATURE OF HABIT


* * *


PERSONALITY

Outsiders who criticize the gay world for being superficial or flighty should spend a day around the Creature of Habit. If you are one of these entities, you are very stable. You might be just what the doctor ordered for the gay man who feels he's stayed too long at the orgy. Your ordered, disciplined, and thoughtful way of life just might rub off on him in a positive way.

Additionally, you make a loyal friend whom others can count on to remember their birthdays or help them make it through those long, lonely nights. In fact, certain friends might become part of your routine—Friday night means cribbage with Ed, and on Saturday night it's the leather harness with Tim.

Though Ed and Tim are both your good buddies (albeit in rather contrasting ways), it's possible they've never even met each other. Your sense of order dictates that your life be compartmentalized. Others might think you contradict yourself from one activity to the next, but as far as you're concerned, your life is unified. Because your need for independence and privacy is at the center of everything you do.

You probably have at least one hobby that occupies a great deal of your time. If you garden, it's not a just a Saturday-afternoon enterprise. You own hundreds of plants. If the yard is completely landscaped, you change things around just to keep busy. You don't merely collect recordings of the music of your choice (whether opera or heavy metal), you scan dozens of Web sites and catalogs to add to your thousands of CDs.

You Creatures of Habit are found in all walks of gay life. You can be a city slicker or a country bumpkin. You can be a homebody or world traveler. Perhaps most important, you can be single or have a husband. In either case, you give the impression of being a bachelor. In fact, you are such a dyed-in-the-wool bachelor that you have virtually no interest in changing any of your daily, weekly, or lifetime routines.

Whether you're Oscar or Felix around the house, whether your comb is kept to the left or the right of your toothbrush—whatever your routine, that's it, and woe to the man who tries to change it. Not that you get violently angry—it makes no sense to spoil your day with emotional outbursts. But in your quiet, dignified way, you make your needs known and then some.

On the surface, you probably have a "pleasant" relationship with your family. Privately, you might wish you could talk to your relatives on a different level, but you aren't inclined to confront them with this. However you regard your past, you need to feel that your present is under control. You tend to say that you used to be angry at your parents or whomever, but you've worked through all that long ago. Or perhaps you'll insist that nothing's ever happened that bothered you. Dwelling too long on problems or unhappiness might spoil your routine. You won't be able to concentrate on your puppy farm or collection of Life magazines. You won't get your eight hours of sleep.

You are unlikely to be accused of being needy or clingy—and if you occasionally are, you are stern with yourself for being so foolish. You bruise but never crumble. Your theme song might well be "I Will Survive." In today's world of topsy-turvy relationships, your genius for self-sufficiency and constancy is laudable.


BEDROOM BEHAVIOR

As with other aspects of your life, you like it when sex can be compartmentalized. Maybe this means every Friday night at the baths; maybe it means having a weekend fuck buddy. But even if you have a husband, your partner suffers confusion over your ability to be making love one moment and balancing your checkbook the next. Whatever you're doing, you think you should give it your all. And if you're only 50 percent present during sex, you'd just as soon be doing something else. It's nothing personal against the man you're with, but he may have trouble understanding this.

You are more comfortable having him at your place than the other way around. You like being around familiar things and will have an easier time picking up your routine where you left it. (Probably you'll be impatient to have him leave in the morning.) It's disorienting to spend the night at his place—and you might "eat and run," so to speak, to rush back to the comforts of home. A neutral setting—such as the baths or a hotel—might be best of all. The sex is that much more compartmentalized, and you're spared the anxiety of letting him into your world, or letting yourself into his. (If you live with a man, you need to feel that the dwelling is first and foremost your place—as opposed to "our" place.)

You are as much a Creature of Habit sexually as in other ways. You like only what you like, period. Because you avoid messy scenes, you might technically agree to try some sexual practice that turns you off. But in your passive-aggressive manner, you'll find a way to get out of it.


INTIMACY BLOCKERS

Many people have a problem with being alone; you have the opposite problem. You are so good at keeping yourself company that you have difficulty being around people. Not that you're totally isolated. Probably you have a well-organized support network. You are highly selective in what you share with whom, but technically there are people in your life to ward off the blues. But what it all adds up to is trying to have complete control over the things that happen to you, and the ways that other people perceive you.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Finding Your Leading Man by Jon P. Bloch. Copyright © 2000 Jon P. Bloch. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jon P. Bloch has a Ph.D. from Indiana University. He is a college professor, private consultant, longtime gay activist and adventurer.

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