Strange thing memories are. As a boy I used to like playing dress up with my cousins or even by myself and often I'd grab my mother's wig or muumuu and pretend I was a girl. I even played the Wicked Witch of the West in my eighth grade school play (I could imitate Margaret Hamilton's voice perfectly). Men's clothes didn't seem as flamboyant and my father's LL Bean wardrobe definitely had no flash. At the time I thought it was perfectly normal. My cousins didn't think it weird at all though now I notice my male cousin always dressed-up in men's clothes, never women's. I also loved shopping trips with my mom and grandmother; commenting on their choices, helping them coordinate different items. I could spend the whole day at Saks, Bergdorf's or Bloomingdale's and have a great time. Other boys in my class were listening to Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Genesis, and Wings while I listened to Abba, Blondie, and Donna Summer. My tastes leaned heavily to punk once I discovered it but I still went out and bought Bananarama, and even (gasp!) Toni Basil records and loved them. Other boys in the class played cremation (a game based soley upon tackling whomever had a necktie rolled into a ball), but I'd rather go talk to the girls, play kickball, or dodgeball. One nun even worried about me spending too much time with girls and tried to get me to go play cremation with the boys but it didn't work. At the time nobody called me gay or faggot or anything like that. My parents never said anything about my behaviors or tastes either. I had no idea that these were markers of someone who wasn't completely straight. What I did have though, was an early homophobia that seemed to come out of nowhere. I remember once going to get my hair cut and saw that there were men in the salon, and I told my mother to ask for a female stylist. I don't know why I did that. Being a naive country boy I didn't even know that there were people who had sex with members of the same sex. Now I know that many gay kids go through a period of homophobia before puberty. My earliest inclination of same sex attraction happened in second grade when I got the Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang pop-up book and saw an illustration of a boy who struck me as cute. I even gave him a name (Dante)! For a while I'd think of just playing with him, wanting to be around him. Something in me suggested that other boys don't quite have the same crushes. That crush feeling would be repeated as a freshman in high school with a senior boy who I thought was really cool. My roommate at the time didn't know what to make of it either but thought it might be normal adolescent behavior. Despite all this, I watched Charlie's Angels religiously and had THREE of their posters on my wall including the famous Farrah swimsuit poster (over my bed :biggrin1. I had a flirtatious relationship with a very cute girl all through grade school whom I happily made out with at a few parties after playing spin the bottle. Things really changed at 14 when I started having sex with another guy in my dorm at boarding school. He was a year younger than I was and HUNG!! It was just a sexual relationship but I loved going down on him and eventually, engaging in anal sex as well. That really screwed me up because I didn't know what I was or who I should be and it took me years to figure it out. If anything, the one event that told me this was more than just sexual play was when I was blowing him and he stopped me and said, "You don't have to keep going," and I pulled off of him. When he ejaculated his semen spurted up and landed on his penis. I thought it was the hottest thing and took him back in my mouth. I couldn't help myself. We had always rationalized what we were doing by saying this was normal early adolescent behavior and at that moment I was drinking down his semen, something in my brain told me, 'This is waaay beyond experimentation,' and I became very frightened, ending our sexual relationship right after that. For the few years before this happened I had been with girls, loved girls, imagined girls, and even had sex with my sister's 14 year old baby sitter when I was 12. I had no inkling that I wasn't straight; not a thing until that encounter in boarding school. As a guy in his late teens and early twenties, I was still very nervous about visitng the gay studies section of bookstores, going to gay bars was out of the question. Gays weren't nearly open like they are now and my small town upbringing hadn't prepared me for going into the city to seek out others like myself. I was too intimidated. To add more confusion, when I saw gays portrayed in media I wasn't anything like them. I wasn't swishy or flaming by any means. I liked beer, I liked doing guy things. My friends were all straight. If I wasn't like that, was I still gay? Dual Attraction changed that. This was a great book for me because it validated my sexuality completely. So often you hear time and time again that bisexuality is just a whistlestop on the train to Gayville. This book confirmed what I knew: that what I was and who I was truly existed. Even though I bought it and hid it where I stashed my porn, I read it voraciously. It's taken me many years to figure out who I am and to just chuck the labels and run with my emotions. I supremely wish it had happened earlier, but as my sexual awakening occured just as the HIV epidemic started, I must count myself lucky not to be dead. Attending boarding school and college in small towns far from anyplace liberal enough to have gay social centers likely saved my life.