I have AIDS guilt. Instead of going to Boston University as I should have, I chose Hiram College, an awful place that claims to be a suburb of nowhere and still celebrates its connections to Lindsey Vachel, a forgotten poet, and James Garfield, a forgotten president. That decision, to attend Hiram, likely saved my life as I was far away from HIV as it was just becoming to be a national concern. Add to that low self-esteem and general self-loathing that many not entirely straight men attribute to themselves, and I was a sexual nobody. In college I had sex once with one guy. That was it. By the time I left college, or more precisely was kicked out, HIV was known to be caused by unprotected sex (among other things). Following school I left for a tiny ski town in Colorado and stayed there for three years. No sex during that time and, worse, I hated skiing. I had been so closeted, so adverse to sex, so detached from the gay world, that I didn't know anyone who died of AIDS. There's an elderly gay couple down the road, there's my father's brother. None of them have died of AIDS. One man I met for one day, via my sister, died of AIDS. He's the only person I know of whom I've met personally who has died of AIDS. Maybe it's stupid or silly. Perhaps it isn't. I suspect it's the latter. I know so many gay men who have lost friends to AIDS. Some of them have lost all their friends, all their lovers, nearly their entire past, to AIDS. I have not. In some ways, I feel fortunate. In others I feel like I've missed something that I should have experienced; something which connects me to a community in which I still feel like a complete stranger. It sounds horrible to regret not losing someone I know to a disease, yet it also means I have a difficult time connecting to so many who have lost so many more. It seems every gay man my age is a survivor. Either their immune system was more robust or they simply lucked out, if you can count surviving everyone you loved as, "lucking out." I lucked out because I'm a pussy. I didn't have sex, loathing myself and my inclinations too much to surrender to them. Much of me feels true guilt for not having raunchy mansex when I should have; when I was young and endlessly horny and good-looking. When I wanted to be what I didn't have the guts to be when other young men did. Please, tell me what it's like. I want to empathize, with all respect, as much as possible.