Reader’s Commentary “This is a love story. It began when I was 19 working in my family’s fashionwear store.
“My two older brothers recognized growing opportunities and convinced our father to send me to a US-based fashion emporium to bring back new ideas, because they said I had the best sense of style.
“The trip started my whole new life. While scouting, I was approached by a man who asked if he could help me. He immediately added that he didn’t work there, but saw that I was overwhelmed by the merchandise.
“He advised, “Start with your own style - who you are and the image you want to portray.”
“He was older than me by 25 years, dressed impeccably. He guided my own choices: Fine materials in elegant styles. I’ve dressed that way ever since.
“He invited me home with him, taught me about fine wines and gourmet foods and helped me to finally understand who I am.
“My mother had long ago intuited that I was gay, but neither she nor anyone else ever spoke that word until I did.
“When I returned from that trip, Mom said, “So, you’ve grown the confidence you need.” My father said nothing about it... ever.
“My lover also became my best friend. I stayed with him whenever I was in his city, and we travelled together whenever possible.
“These were the best times of my life. Yet, there’s often a shadow over gay relationships, when an older partner ages. Younger men like myself see it happening when your lover needs a change, if only to convince himself that he’s still desired.
“Twenty-five years from our first meeting, I was 44, and he was 69. I was being sought after by younger men, and my lover said, “We don’t have to chain ourselves together. The love won’t disappear.”
“It never has. There were brief flirtations for both of us, then illness. My partner passed away 11 years later.
“For anyone who doesn’t understand or approve of gay lifestyles, here’s my reason for writing: Love is love. And gay is who you are, not a choice.
“My mother saw that truth early, when I survived schoolyard bullies by building alliances with the most popular, prettiest girls. They had my back, spoke out and protected me, for which I’m still grateful.
“A life lesson being gay has taught me: Being true to yourself is the only choice worth following. Anything else is pretense, insecurity and fear.
“I believe that flamboyance became part of gay culture, as a freedom call to live our truth openly.
“Hopefully, you’ll also advise young gays to live proudly.”
Gay Love is Love
My husband’s second eldest of four sons. The brothers are close but my husband’s most successful financially. The others work but can’t afford the same extras.
My husband suggests their taking night courses to expand their skills but they resist that advice. So, my husband shares his good luck (earned through hard work, continued education and personal drive) by having “open house” for his brothers (plus wives/children) every weekend.
The men play video games all day, as do all our kids. It’s fun and bonding for them, but I’m exhausted from being hostess every Sunday night!
Has no one ever heard of potluck meals? Politely ask the sisters-in-law to bring main dishes for a buffet meal, and cookies/treats made by the older children. It’s about fairness, not income.
Express appreciation for the help, and enjoy the gatherings.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who’s lost trust in her husband after three years of arguing (April 26):
Reader – “The husband has no intention to stay in the marriage.
“After the initial attraction to her, he's having second thoughts about the future. And whether to share it.
“Now that she’s sold her house, then bought a condo which increased in value, he’s thinking about his own future, not a joint one.
“He wants to sell the house, break up and get half of the house proceeds though he probably contributed very little to it.
“He'll have the money and his freedom.
“This was my own experience.”
Ellie - The disappointed wife wrote: “Once the early excitement and sexual attraction was taken for granted, problems arose. I suspected that he no longer loved me.
Both of them were avoiding a conversation, each feeling there was no hope of repair. They mostly needed to open up to each other.
Tip of the day:
Accepting others’ lifestyles honours the legal freedoms our society values, including whom we love.