The Appeal of Younger Men

young chickAt the age of 33 I’ve only ever had one real boyfriend. By ‘real boyfriend’ I mean a guy who I dated and everyone in my life knew that I was dating him. All of my close friends and my parents met him in person. Not only did everyone know that he existed, and that he was a man, but we discussed him on a regular basis. I told others about places we went together, things we did, fun we had, the way he made me feel, and other such relationship type things. This was a very thrilling time of my life.

To some people reading this, such details may sound silly to be thrilled about since they seem so ordinary and perhaps downright inconsequential or insignificant. I assure you this openness and honesty about my boyfriend was quite significant for me. It made me feel more a part of the human race and, I daresay, an active participant in this dance of life we are all engaged in.

I’ve been meaning to write about this boyfriend, our relationship, and what lessons he helped me learn for quite some time now. But every time I sat down to write about him my words felt like they were deflated and like the post’s message was not taking on a large enough scope. Like there was more to be said than to just ramble on about he and I and our breakup. Over this past weekend the bigger message here presented itself to me. But first I must tell you about Thomas…

My first real boyfriend’s name was Thomas. From the first second I saw him, there was a spark. God, was he cute! And he seemed so kind and so sincere. That first meeting was brief, but on our second meeting we sat and talked for a very long time about horror movies. I found him physically attractive and he loved horror films! Deadly combination. I was smitten.

One important detail about Thomas, and perhaps the single largest contributing factor to our relationship’s downfall, was his age. At the time I was 31 years old and he was 22. In our case, the 9-year difference was one of the things that attracted him to me, and me to him, but it ended up being an overall negative.

Without going into too much boring detail, Thomas and I were a wrong mix right from the start. I am a communicator, a giver, and a person who desires to talk out problems. In my experience with him, Thomas was a taker who avoided serious conversation at all costs. We were always on a different page and never understood what the other was trying to say.

We dated for literally two months and one week. About two of those weeks were easy and really fun. The rest were a gradual downfall into continuously feeling like crap. We argued constantly, actually had very little in common, and the death kiss – I seemed more interested in Thomas than he did in me. When we would go out, he ignored me and seemed to be constantly trying to hit on other men. Guys would comment about this to me at bars. Thomas was constantly trying to talk me into having threesomes, which now I realize was an indication of his selfishness and his lack of genuine interest in me. Who knows why he even wanted to be together?

threesome

Thomas was very self motivated. All of his decisions and motivations were based on what benefited and satisfied him. Writing about him now makes me feel like an idiot for dating him in the first place, but at the beginning all I knew was that I felt an intense chemical attraction to him and that he made me feel alive. I had no way of knowing how toxic and unsatisfying our time together would be. After it was over, Thomas personally told me that he had cheated on me twice in the short amount of time we were dating.

Thomas was an awful boyfriend, but he was my first. This dating thing was new to me. It still is. Since our relationship ended I’ve internally reprimanded myself a great deal for having dated someone so young. Why would I have done something so obviously stupid?

Jump ahead with me to just this past weekend. I decided to rejoin the world of the living and head to a gay bar in the big city on Friday night. I ended up having a spectacular time. I’m so glad that I went out. I ran into a lot of old friends. It was really nice.

young manThroughout the course of the night I came across a 21-year-old gentleman named Calvin. He was young in all the traditional and enviable ways. His skin was flawless and wrinkle free, his hair was thick, healthy and styled in the coolest modern hair style, he was wearing such a hot and fashionable outfit, he was currently in school, and came across as so innocent.

He smiled so much that it made me happy just to be around him. He made me smile in return. We spent a lot of time talking and he is extremely excited about life. He’s excited about his school, excited about the possibilities ahead of him in his journey, and he talks about love like it’s a concept he just discovered yesterday. He is not yet jaded. Still optimistic and still hopeful.

He seemed interested in me from the start. He was so attentive, so touchy feely and flirty. He kept his eyes on me wherever I would move. Being around this and his attitude invigorated me. In fact, he had such an affect on me that I’m writing about him today and still smiling when I think of him.

Lately I’ve been feeling so blah and devoid of hope in my own life that being around Calvin held a harsh mirror up to me. Through him I saw an old reflection of Adam at the age of 21. He made me miss my old self. He made me miss my old excitement and optimism. He made me miss being young. Realistically, I believe that is how Thomas also made me feel at first.

old man reflectionStill, Calvin did another thing for me; he helped me realize something about myself. In the past two years I was most attracted to and enlivened by Calvin and Thomas, two men in their early twenties. As I drove home on Saturday morning with Calvin’s sparkling eyes still fresh in my memory, I realized why I was so attracted to these young two men.

I never got to date these young men when I was their age. I never got to date when I was a teenager. I never got to talk on the phone for hours with my teenage boyfriend. I never got to pass notes with him in class, or hold hands with him at homecoming, or take walks with him on warm summer nights. I never got to visit my boyfriend in his college dorm room, or study with him at a table in our college library, or feel his reassuring touch beside me in a dark movie theater. I never got to do any of these things, and to be honest, I feel so damn sorry for myself that it is hard not to tear up when I really think about it. I was attracted to Calvin, and initially to Thomas, because they were what I wanted back then and was without.

I was in Calvin’s presence for 6 hours on a Friday night and during that small amount of time I got to travel back in time to something I had been cheated out of. In the interest of full disclosure, we spent a pretty large amount of time making out on a friend’s couch in an apartment with lava lamps in every room and heavy-metal band posters on every wall. It could not have felt more like college if I had planned it, and it was wonderful.

In all honesty, I don’t think I will ever see Calvin again. This meeting had the feel of a one-time thing. It doesn’t need another instance in order to teach its lesson. He will probably never know what an impact our short time together had on me. I held his face, looked into his eyes, felt his lips on mine, and was completely present with someone for the first time in a long time.

For my future, I’m not completely sure what this will all mean in relation to my moving forward and to my accepting that some things were absent from my youth because I was a closeted gay man until I was almost 30 years old. The hard truth is that I can’t go back to being 17 again, and I will never be 21 and in college again, but I did just turn 33 and some would say that is still pretty young. I still have some youthful experiences ahead of me.

But it’s not really the youth that truly matters, is it? Maybe it’s just the innocence and authenticity that really attracted me to these two young men. Something tells me if I look hard enough there is still some of that to be found in this world, even in a man in his 30’s. I just need to hold on to the positive traits I once had in my youth and mix them well with the lessons of my older age. And maybe there is a man out there whose love will make me feel like a teenager again, while also making me feel like an adult in all the right ways. A perfect combination.

It could happen.

water

This is a picture from a truly amazing film about teenage love titled ‘Boys’ – released in 2014. Click on this image to go to its IMDB Page.

 

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Rainbow Colored Resolutions

rainbow new yearWelcome, Gentle Reader! I send you the sincerest of wishes for a Happy and Hope-Filled New Year! It was 12 months ago that I felt called to return to this blog and continue to write about my experiences of being a gay man and with coming out of my closet. Though my blogging has been sporadic, it has been therapeutic and wonderfully fulfilling. I’ve met some amazing people, many of them fellow bloggers, and now I truly feel less alone on my journey towards understanding and self-acceptance. I can’t express in words how much that has meant to me, and continues to mean to me.

Exploring myself through these posts over the last year has been such an amazing way to revisit my fears, my successes, and my lessons related to my coming out process. I cannot claim to know what 2015 will hold in store for this blog and for me, but I am hopeful and optimistic. And, as I have mentioned many times before, Gentle Reader, feeling Hope is very important. In today’s post I would like to share with you my resolutions for the New Year.

resolutionsAdam Resolution #1: Feel less Isolated and Lonely.

In many ways for me, 2014 was the year of my blog. As 2013 came to a close, I was feeling creatively stifled and trapped in my predominately straight world. I had verbally stated to everyone in my everyday life that I was gay, but I was still ‘In Search’ of what that meant to me inside. I wanted to start really talking about it. I hit the ground running on January 1st by exploring ‘how to become a better blogger’ and by writing my first new post on this blog. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, as December 2014 was coming to a close I found myself looking back at what I did for the past 12 months. I concluded, other than writing for my blog (which trust me, my process for writing my long and researched blog posts is lengthy :-)), I didn’t do a whole hell of a lot. I am thrilled to be able to say I put significant time into this blog. It is worthwhile and I love it. But what else did I do in 2014?

Let’s see: I worked at a job that I don’t hate but I certainly don’t love, I read only 4 books, was a groomsman in two weddings (processes unfortunately more torturous than fun), and watched a lot of movies and television. When I try to think of events and moments that stand out from the year… I can’t. I am drawing an almost complete blank on what I did to better myself in 2014 other than blogging.

When I really think about it, I spent a significant amount of 2014 alone at my house. Now there is nothing wrong with alone time. I find it very comforting and helpful in my development process as an individual. But in 2015 I want more interactions with people. I want to continue blogging, but I also want to better myself through some more socially centered processes as well. It’s time to take living outside the walls of my house.

gay flags friendsAdam Resolution #2: Have a little more Gay in my life.

Specifically, I want to have more interactions with other gay people.

In 2014 I talked a lot about being gay. In 2015 I would like to continue to talk about it, while also doing a little more ‘gay’ living as well. Does that make sense?

I want to really own being a gay man this year. I want to feel more empowered in my role as a member of this gay community. Maybe even start dating…god forbid. It would be nice to find a special someone who thinks about me first when he wakes up in the morning and smiles when he pictures my face. It’s time to gay up my daily activities a little.

man's back2Adam Resolution #3: Start living in my body again.

In 2013 I was an active and enthusiastic member of a CrossFit box. I was working out multiple times a week and loving it. In 2014 this ended. There are multiple reasons behind its ending, none of which are relevant to this post, but as a result I spent most of 2014 over-eating, not exercising and sitting on my ass.

I know that this lack of physicality affected my overall mood and movability in 2014. Losing my CrossFit friends definitely lead me to feel more alone and somewhat sad. But this lack of movement also made me feel like my body wasn’t mine. It feels stagnant, lumpy and foreign.

It’s time to take my body back in 2015. I know that every one and their brother make a resolution to eat right and work out more in the new year. That is not what I am professing to do. I will be exercising alone, without my CrossFit box, and in some ways this will make the process harder, but I feel drawn to doing it alone at this moment.

I think there is something to be learned in picking my chubbier, less coordinated body up, brushing it off, and reclaiming it solo. Doing it on my own terms. I know it won’t be easy, but at least my body will be proud of me for starting to move.

Film SchoolAdam Resolution #4: Film School & My Future.

I’m currently working two jobs to save up money. I have three monetary goals in 2015. To reduce my debt, save up to finally move out of my parent’s house, and get accepted into a local film program while paying for it with cash. The film classes will start in September. To get accepted into the program I will have to apply in the spring. It’s a long shot with a lot of hard work, but it is so nice to be moving towards a goal that I want again.

One of the things I did accomplish in 2014 was to spend time thinking and contemplating my future. It may not look like much in the physical realm, but for me, these thought processes are real and necessary, and may be the driving force behind why my 2015 will be better and brighter. Happy New Year, Gentle Reader. Let’s make it one to remember!

The 10 Worst Things About Being Gay and Trying to Date in a Small Town

Deserted Small Town

  1. Lack of Variety: The gay population is so small that I see the same guys over and over every time I go out. I am just as bored with continuously seeing them as they are with continuously seeing me.
  2. We have one gay bar: The slogan for my local gay bar feels less like “You want to go where everybody knows your name” and more like “You are stuck going where everybody already knows your personal business”.
  3. No Culture: There are hardly any cultural or artistic events anywhere near me (unless if I want to drive over an hour away). This is frustrating to me because art and the like interest me and it would be thrilling to meet a man who is drawn to similar occurrences. I long to stumble across a handsome boyfriend while at a museum, concert, outside festival, or social club.
  4. Gay-ville. Population of 1: In my every day, normal functioning I feel like a black sheep. The small sampling of people around me is predominately heterosexual. As a result, I end up feeling like I am the only gay person who exists for miles.
  5. The Constantly Visible Ex: Around here, after a breakup, if you still choose to go out on the town to the local gay ‘spot’, you get to see your ex-boyfriend over and over and over. As an added bonus, eventually you will get to see him with his new boyfriend. Ugh.
  6. These Straight People are Crowding Me: As I mentioned, most of the public places I would take any date to in this small town are filled with heterosexuals. Gay men, and thus physical affection between two men, are still foreign and make most of these people uncomfortable. This makes any attempt to be flirty and affectionate in public extremely difficult and awkward.
  7. No Gay Box Office: None of the local movie theaters host any gay themed films. Of course most gay films are independently made and have no major film production company as their distributer. These limited releases are usually restricted to large cities. So, the gayest film I can hope to see is the occasional shirtless Mark Wahlberg or Channing Tatum epic.gay social apps
  8. Gay App Hell: Any attempt to use gay, cellphone apps to meet local men to date in a small town are almost completely pointless and torturous. Most of the small town guys are closeted and thus their profile photos are headless body shots and their descriptions are blank or only seeking NSA (No Strings Attached) fun. And humorously the closeted men are one of the better finds. The even more frustrating ones seem to be the bi-curious and experimenting (which means they have a girlfriend they aren’t telling you about and they just want to get off), the married guy only looking for a friend with benefits (FWB), and the 90-year-old man who simply asks you, “Want a BJ?”. Around here, most of the single, desirable, younger, gay men with fantastic jobs have moved to a bigger city in search of a more fulfilling day and night life. To make it more frustrating every time you sign on you are confronted with the same dead-end profiles day after day after day. (It case it is not blazingly obvious yet, repetition is one of the killers in small town life.)
  9. Boring Men Everywhere: I don’t fancy myself a wannabe resident of my small town until the day I die. One day I hope for more interesting surroundings. There is literally nothing to do here that interests me. So, if I finally met a local gay man, and he is happy living in this boring area and aspires to nothing more exciting than this place, then why in the hell would I want to date him in the first place? Even if I find a local man that I really like, I don’t want my relationship with him to trap me here.
  10. That Old Familiar Feeling: To be completely fair, there are many wonderful and positive factors to living in a small town. I speak from my own experience and, personally, I grew up feeling trapped in this small town. Now as an adult, I have temporarily moved back here while I get on my feet financially. And even though so much time has passed, the not so positive affect this place has on me unfortunately has not changed very much. I know they say it is the person, not the place, that is the problem. But isn’t it possible that, sometimes, the place is at least a little bit of the problem? Is this place too small for me to comfortably breathe in?Feeling Trapped

Unrequited Love: Gay Crushes on Straight Male Friends

men friendsToday, Gentle Reader, I am asking you to travel back in time with me. I would like to discuss elementary school, specifically my year in fourth grade. So long ago, but so influential in who I was to become…

In fourth grade, when I was only 9 and 10 years old, my best friend’s name was Bruno. Bruno was Italian, handsome, confident and popular. For that entire year, I walked home from school with him every day. We spent a lot of time together, and in the social structure of 9-year olds, this meant that we became best friends.

Bruno was not just a guy I played tag with after school. Bruno was the person who introduced me to comic books, one of my passions to this day. He was obsessed with Superman. He had an entire closet stacked full of comics. He introduced me to the R.L. Stine children’s book series Goosebumps (which to this day were some of my most exciting reads ever). In many ways, he was responsible for my falling in love with story telling and character development. But more than that, Bruno was as fascinated with magical possibilities and dreams coming true as I was. We were young, innocent and full of hope.

Up until that point in my life, Bruno was the coolest kid I had ever known. He was my first real best friend. And at the time, I didn’t understand it, but he was my first major crush.

All these years later, I still remember how he stood. I remember his posture. I remember how his shirts hung off his body. I remember the gold Italian horn he always wore so proudly around his neck. I remember the part in his hair and the small scar on his forehead from an out of control chickenpox when he was a toddler. I can still see his smile. I can still remember how he made me feel.

italian hornBruno moved away shortly after fourth grade ended, and I was sad. But he left an impression on my life so impactful, that I’m writing about him today on this blog.

In my friendship with Bruno, without my even realizing it, I had begun a pattern very common among gay men growing up in a straight world. A straight world where we are literally not taught that gay crushes exist. The only crushes that exist are between little boys and little girls. So, since we are literally developing our social skills and learning about peer interaction at these young ages, we may misinterpret a crush for a same sex friend to be what strong, heterosexual friendship feels like.

At 9 years old I personally didn’t understand what sexuality was, let alone that I had developed a crush on my friend. In my world at the age of 9, growing up in western Pennsylvania in the 1990’s, gay people did not exist in my scope of view. I had no idea that men even loved other men sometimes. So, I interpreted my feelings towards Bruno as society told me to. He was my buddy. He was someone I played video games with, wrestled around with and who slept over my house on weekends.

At that young age I was taught that these crush feelings, butterflies in your stomach and all, were how all guys feel towards their guy friends. I came to think that the urges, longings and feelings, which I barely understood, were common in platonic male/male friendships. Of course this was false, and Bruno, being straight, did not place the same emphasis on his friendship with me that I did on my crush towards him. He had as little an idea as I did about what was going on between us. He thought I was just his friend. The same as all the other guy friends he ran around with.

dougBruno was the first time I felt that torturous feeling in my gut. That feeling which comes from caring more about hanging out with someone and spending time with them, than they do about spending time with you. It confused me as to why Bruno didn’t feel compelled to spend every waking moment with me. Why did he not feel this internal urge pulling him towards me like I felt it pulling me towards him? And since I began thinking this was how friendship always felt, I blindly fell into this tortuous, confusing and frustrating pattern with every straight, guy friend who I eventually developed an unknown crush on. I continued this awful habit the entire way through college until I finally figured out that I was gay.

I am not lying to you when I say that I did not consciously realize until my sophomore year of college that the huge crush I had developed on my then best friend and roommate was contributing to us fighting all the time. Call me naïve or just delusional, but it wasn’t until I started to observe how he acted towards girls, how he became obsessed with them and always wanted to spend time with them, that a huge rainbow colored light bulb went off over my head. Suddenly it occurred to me why everything always felt so tortured and wrong. I realized why I always felt like I was banging my head against the wall while feeling so unloved and unappreciated. I was in the self-defeating pattern of loving men who could not love me back in the same way.

I now know that I am not the only person who has ever suffered from unrequited love with unavailable, heterosexual male friends. In fact, it is very common, in the predominately straight society in which we are all raised, for gay men and women to not even realize this is happening to them. Especially when we are children and teenagers.

ernie-bert-tomtomIf I had understood what I was feeling at a much younger age, do I think I would have come out of the closet earlier? Absolutely. If I had understood why Bruno was so important to me as I was developing, I could have dealt with all of this sooner and realized that there was nothing wrong with me so much earlier.

You hear opponents of LGBT rights saying they feel it is detrimental and abusive to speak with children about the existence of gay people. They feel that this knowledge will confuse their young minds. I ask you, after reading my story, would realizing that gay people existed have helped make me less confused? I think so. Another ridiculous argument is that making children aware that gay people exist, will make them gay. Completely Absurd. I didn’t know that gay people existed and I still turned out gay. Knowing that straight people exist certainly didn’t make me straight.

Knowledge can only help children to be more informed about the world they live in. So if one day they look around and realize that they do not fit into the small, cookie cutter, societal norms that surround them, they are not filled with fear but with a feeling of possibility and liberation. Romantic crushes happen to us all. It is a part of growing up. I’m just glad I finally realize that my forth grade crush on Bruno was just as meaningful and important as the crushes that every straight, little boy in my elementary school was feeling. I hope one day all LGBTQ children feel just as validated immediately, right from the start, from the first moment they notice the way that handsome boy stands, with his gold Italian horn, and his amazing smile…

The Heterosexual Assumption

cartoon-donkey-04The brilliant writer and poet Oscar Wilde has been quoted saying the following about making assumptions.

“When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me.”

A few days ago, as I sat writing in my living room, my TV, which was playing in the background while I worked, caught my attention. A local news station was on and a male newscaster was interviewing a young boy who looked to be about 10 years old. The boy was being questioned about a large, local party he had recently attended. Most of the male newscaster’s questions were typical, boring fluff.

Yet, one particular question caught my ear. Referencing the large party, the newscaster asked the boy, “Did you meet any cute girls at the party?” I became immediately annoyed. Let me rephrase that, I was instantly offended and infuriated. To most heterosexual, Western Pennsylvanian viewers of this program I’m sure this question appeared to be a completely harmless and simple inquiry. But in rebuttal I wanted to scream, “Why don’t you ask him if he met any cute boys at the party?”

Simply put, society needs to stop assuming that everyone is straight.

Is it any wonder that LGBT individuals feel that they are different and that their feelings are abnormal from a very young age? Our society pushes an unrealistic, heterosexual ideal as the norm in almost every sentence out of its mouth.

Normal is for that little boy to be lusting after little girls. Normal is for little girls to make him blush. Normal is for little girls to make his stomach flip and his heart to beat faster. If he is not experiencing exactly these things, then guess what, he is different and strange and abnormal. Something is wrong with him.

This t-shirt is available at zazzle.com

There must be something wrong with him. With causal questions and assumptions, that lump him into this heterosexual bubble, being thrown around by everyone in his life from his teachers to his family members to the god damned newscasters on TV, there must be something atypical about him if his feelings don’t coincide with this accepted norm which seems to come so naturally to everyone else.

We cannot presume to know someone’s sexuality simply by looking at him or her. I look forward to the day where people who make such assumptions, who box us all into tight, little, unfair expectations, are the ones who are outside of the norm. I am not being overly dramatic in my opinion that the newscaster I mentioned was being rude and ignorant.

On the flip side of this issue, I have witnessed people who are doing their best to redefine what is normal in our society. A close, straight, female friend of mine, who has recently gotten married, has a one-year-old little boy named Henry. I always hear her affectionately gushing over him. She believes in never assuming who Henry will become. She constantly says to him,

“Mommy loves you, Henry. Mommy loves you so much. And Mommy doesn’t care who you love when you grow up. You can love a man, a woman or whomever and I will be very proud of you and love you just the same. And Mommy doesn’t care if you decide later that you should have been born a girl instead of a boy. I love you unconditionally no matter who life calls you to be.”

This is not an exaggeration. She literally says these things to him all the time. I listen to this friend’s utter lack of assumption and realize that the world is changing. I know that if Henry ever grows up to become a newscaster he would ask a little boy, “Did you meet anyone cute at the party?” A simple altering of a few words in a sentence and suddenly all of us are included in what is normal. And suddenly no one is making an ass out of you, me or themselves.

My Love Affair with Peter Parker

Civil_War_Vol_1_2_page_23_Peter_Parker_(Earth-616)Spider-man is a fictional comic book hero created in 1962 by the talented and unparalleled Stan Lee. As his legend dictates, Spider-man was first introduced to us as Peter Parker a very intelligent high school geek who one day on a science trip was bitten by a radioactive spider. This miraculous bite forever altered Peter’s DNA and gave him super powers. He was gifted with a spider sense to warn him of impending danger, the proportional strength and speed of a spider, and the ability to cling to and climb up walls like a spider can.

I discovered Spider-man as a teenager. From the moment I began reading my first Spidey comic I was as equally enthralled by the character of Peter Parker as I was by the amazingness of Spider-man. Peter Parker was handsome and witty, quick with a joke and yet intelligent enough to always outsmart his foes. But even more intriguing to me, he was flawed. He made mistakes in every issue. He battled with who he wanted to be and who he felt he had to be. He let people down, he stressed over money and love. But he always picked himself up, dusted himself off and kept going. His internal conflicts and personal flaws took as much of a center stage as his battles with evil super villains.

Growing up I was as flawed as Peter Parker. At 32 years old, I still am. In his own way, he helped me to realize that being flawed is okay. And no amount of truly amazing superpowers would make me any less flawed. Peter Parker had to work every day to succeed at his life. Every day he tried to not only be better, but to forgive himself for not being perfect. He used his gifts, his superpowers, to navigate the world in his own unique way.

keep-calm-and-love-spider-man-22Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to pick up on the symbolic correlations one could make between superheroes and homosexuals: the secret identities, the leading two lives, the constant struggle of feeling different, and the ever present turmoil of being an outsider simply because of special traits that were thrust upon them without their consent. But for me personally, when I first met Peter Parker, I did not understand that I was gay. So I was not noticing these connections. I just knew that I was young, prone to mistakes, and nowhere near perfect. And so was Peter Parker. And having him around made me feel less alone.

Marvel is constantly reinventing Spider-man. There are new versions of Peter Parker every few years in the comic books. The Amazing Spider-man comic alone has begun back at issue #1 three times throughout its history. Each time attempting to update who Peter is, along with the problems and issues he faces, so that he can be most relatable to the ever changing fans and the most relevant to the times in which he exists. After all, a lot has changed since 1962.

Who knows, maybe one day some reinvention of Peter Parker will make him gay. Now there’s a relatable superpower for today’s new generation of comic book fans. I for one would welcome him into the family with open arms, flaws and all. And that, Gentle Reader, would be truly super.