Father Tony

The British Orgy Daddy and the Island Boy

Filed By Father Tony | August 21, 2008 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: British daddies, jealousy, monogamy, trust

Dear Father Tony,

I am writing to you from Manila. That's in the Philippines. I am taking a break from the work I'm supposed to be doing (I write music programming for karaoke machines, barely a week into this new, home-based job) because I thought it would be wise to introduce myself to you.

Wise! As though you were a silver-bearded sage and not a Roman Catholic priest. (There is a rather big difference.) Will you pardon my choice of adjective? It is still as unclear to me as it might be to you why I am making this discombobulated introduction, this breathlessly written letter from Manila to America.

I used to have poise, you know. And tact. I used to be snobbish and Catholic. I used to dream of New York and of watching Rufus Wainwright concerts and shopping at The Strand and I used to smell the pages of a Granta before reading it. I used to be happy -well, not happy, but at peace- writing essays, and letters, in the frail light of my bedroom study, writing away, writing the days into nights and on notebook after notebook. The intense solitude of the craft.

Until I settled for love. I met this British man, an expatriate living in Cebu City, a southern island hundreds of kilometres away from the city; let us call him Evelyn. He's forty-nine, turning golden; I turn twenty-three this September.

We met here in Manila last January. He was on vacation, and he was staying at the downtown Cherry Blossoms Hotel. It was like a fairy tale: dinners at Indian restaurants; karaoke; looking for Advil in 7-Eleven; sex; contemptuous stares from scapular-wearing pedestrians; watching the sun set on Manila Bay. On his second night Evelyn asked me to go to Chiang Mai with him. We hit it off right away. Or we so hit off so right away, to be swaggeringly Yankee about it.

Falling in love with a soon-to-be-quinquagenarian with an English accent does not come without serious consequences. I think that holds true for everyone, and particularly for a Filipino man who only used to crush on his spiritual director and clinical psychologist and go on one-night stands with backpacking American daddies. Yes, the relationship between me and Evelyn has grown; I have flown to Cebu City five times this year for extended periods of stay, and my sixth is scheduled this September; there were times when he had paid for my fare; the two of us have talked about my possibly moving in; that was such a big deal; things are moving so fast and, in general, going so well.

But I pine away. Whenever we are away from each other, usually two to three weeks, sometimes four, I pine away, as though I wouldn't be a complete person without Evelyn, as though literature was no longer enough consolation, as though the twenty-three years which I have lived more or less unattached did nothing to prepare me for surviving a relatively short period of time by myself, temporarily separated from a man I had not even known until this year.

And my pining, I confess to you, Father Tony, has something to do with the one remaining kink which Evelyn and I haven't yet ironed out. (Isn't "kink" such a beautiful word?)

Anyway, it's four in the morning here in Manila, and it's raining softly, and I can hear the pitter-pat of raindrops. Uncanny, isn't it, how the weather can make one feel so unhappy - and yet it's very rarely responsible for even our littlest joys.

Here is why I am so unsettled whenever I am in Manila, and away from Evelyn. He often engages in group sex with other men. Just sex. Nothing that involves love and feelings and emotions; only a seemingly unquenchable thirst for variety. He knows that I know, although of course he does not throw it to my face; while he's monogamous when I am around, our relationship is still best described as open, in a one-sided sort of way; and quite frankly this issue has been the thumb on a fist that does not fit. If not for that thumb, well - everything would be wee and happy and perfect.

Father Tony, his "extramarital" affairs hurt me. The knowledge is so painful. It is destroying me. Miles and miles away, I feel red hot jealous and insecure, desperate to hold on to a piece of him, to a tangible expression of his love for me. Although I have reason to be confident that he sees me as different from the rest, my ego is being told by visions of these orgies that I may not be good enough. That one me may not be good enough.

I know that this Open Relationship thing is not uncommon, Father Tony, and I am certainly not one of those who find it highly objectionable. (Besides, I can't go around trying to change fifty-year old men with habits, no matter how many times I have confronted Evelyn about it. Just because I can abstain here in Manila doesn't mean I should expect the same from him in Cebu City.) I am also aware that -if I move in with him- he won't be able to go cold turkey (though he says he'll try).

But god, I am still a kid, primitively romantic; I studied in a Catholic school that stood beside a church where I witnessed many couples get married, to the soundtrack of an organ played by a virginal old maid; the kind of love that I grew up believing in is so not the kind of love that I have now, because the kind of love that I have now can be horribly disenchanting. Not that I would want to walk away; as I've said, everything except the kink, the thumb, has gone well - is beautiful. I'm an avid fan of beauty. We're growing. We're even planning for the holidays.

Father Tony, am I simply being a damned fool? Should I walk away before I hate myself beyond forgiveness? Or am I just being too orthodox and puritanical? (Don't judge me by New York standards.) And if I am being too orthodox and puritanical, will I ever outgrow that?

I love you just for reading my letter.

My best,

P.S.: When I wrote to you last Friday, he was in the act. Ew. I have access to his E-mail and curiosity killed the cat.

Dear M,

Before I get to the point, I want you to know that I ouched your assumption that I would not know the location of Manila without your help. Not the best salutation I've ever received, but you did redeem yourself.

I am glad to hear that you no longer dream of seeing Rufus Wainwright, a singer who compensates for his strained inability to hit the intended note by hitting several on either side of it. This and your fetishistic sniffage of literary magazines are a sure sign of impending maturity.

You mentioned that your "Evelyn" took you to something called "Chiang Mai". I don't know what that is, but I am guessing that, given your age, it is Manila's version of Chuck E. Cheese's, and this would explain his search for Advil at a 7-Eleven, an activity that you are probably the first in the world to have romanticized.

I want you to stop reading Evelyn's E-mail, for that is an activity that will soon erode your self-respect and undermine the trust that is basic to any successful relationship. (Does he know that you have been doing this? If not, you might want to consider "fessin' up" and then brace yourself for more than just the gentle "pitter-pat of raindrops".)

Let's talk about jealousy, suspicion, fidelity, control and change; and I hope you will appreciate a crash course in these matters from one who has been through them all and has survived them.

I am thinking back to the days when C and I were a new couple, and to a few horrendous mistakes I made in my effort to cement our relationship and to safeguard it from the interference of possible interlopers disguised as friends or acquaintances or attractive strangers. I felt so strongly about having found the man who was my destiny that I was ready to go to any length just short of poison to eliminate pests. I'm sorry to recall that I "cleaned house" in a clumsy way, and lost a few friends in the process.

Over the years, my machismo-fueled radar has also accurately picked up on some deliberate attempts to break us up as a couple and I do not regret my direct interventions whenever that was the case. There have been cads who have tried their luck. Sometimes in pursuit of him, and sometimes in pursuit of me.

We complicated our relationship by moving it from a monogamous "honeymoon" of a few years duration to something more "open" by dint of a full moon and a few dozen French Canadian guys in a public park in Montreal, but that is most certainly a story for another day. For the moment, it is enough that you realize that monogamy is much easier to manage in its black-and-whiteness, but I don't think there are any men who are actually monogamous by nature. (Bring it on, folks. I know many of you will disagree with that.)

I don't recall exactly when I stopped trying to control anyone's behavior except my own, but I do recall the peace of mind I received by relinquishing that effort. C is a free man, bound to me only by his daily choice, as am I to him. If something he says or does should hurt me, I let him know, and he has the option of modifying his behavior, as do I. This has made us both better men.

Rather than make controlling demands on each other, we celebrate each other. And, let me tell you, to be celebrated and appreciated by someone who knows you to the core is the best feeling in the world.

Celebrating the man you love makes you irresistible to that very man whose exclusive love you desire. Do this consistently, and your relationship ought to bloom perennially. (It has also served to bridge the considerable age difference between C and me.)

You may think that tight abs, a full head of hair and a big dick will either keep your Evelyn at home with you or send him out looking for a different cut of steak because he's bored with the one you're serving. Not true. There will always be a bigger dick around the next corner, but it won't laugh at his jokes after twenty years or listen carefully to his political opinions even when yours are superior, or take care of him when he's passing a kidney stone. Don't worry about that mythical "bigger dick" that is always just around the corner. It is like the brass cock ring on the merry-go-round of gay love. We'll all still be reaching for it on our deathbeds just because we are men.

Four final thoughts for you, M:

a) All men are dogs, inclined to sniff butt before shaking hands. It's how we are wired. Your Evelyn will always have a roving eye. If he should ever lose it, urge him to pick up some vitamins when you are next strolling through that 7-Eleven together.
b) Write to Annette Bening. If she tells you how she managed to domesticate Warren Beatty, you must share her secret with me.
c) Men can and do change their behavior but only when they choose to do so. Your making demands will cause Evelyn to change exactly one thing. His E-mail address.
d) Rent "White Christmas", and watch what Rosemary Clooney does to poor Bing Crosby. Don't be like her.

I wish you a long and lavish love life, but something tells me that it will have many twists and turns with other names and places involved before you settle down. Be careful. Set standards for yourself, but not for others.

Devotedly yours and eager to hear from you again,

Father Tony

PS: Regarding your taste for "backpacking American daddies", come to Fort Lauderdale. The place is swarming with them. Here, however, they do not backpack. They Mercedes....

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"Rather than make controlling demands on each other, we celebrate each other. And, let me tell you, to be celebrated and appreciated by someone who knows you to the core is the best feeling in the world."

This is it. To be held freely in an open hand is the tightest grip in the world. Beautiful.

They Mercedes?

It it only in those hideous black SUVs and flashy SLs
or do any of them drive 1968-71 280 SE Cabriolets,
or possibly somewhat rough
though mechanically well maintained Coupes of the same age?

If so, I'm interested...

RiskyBizRoch | August 22, 2008 2:44 AM

As one half of an ongoing 31 year relationship I applaud your wonderful reply! My father always told me how much smarter he was going to get as I got older. He was right.

Dear Father Tony,

Chiang Mai is an ancient city in Thailand.
Your conception of an open relationship is probably very true but also very difficult as people don't communicate very well.
Take care.

Father Tony please come back to Montreal any time soon !

Stop hating on Rufus! What'd he ever do to you?

Dear Little David,
He sang within earshot.

Excellent advice. Both on love and Rufus Wainright.

Dear Father Tony,

I used to like you.

Then you maligned Rufus.


I used to like Father Tony too until that Rufus comment.

Now I'm in love with him.

As always I enjoy FT's graceful (and grace-filled?) prose and humor. The point about being unable control no one but one's self is well-taken. I love you, you're perfect, now change. :-)

What always strikes me about being a life-long couple is when folks I haven't seen in a few years ask "are you still with A?". I always find it jarring, for it just doesn't occur to me that I would not be with him. It is a polite question in a way, but the underlying assumption is that it might be likely that you are not together.

Maybe because they're used to the fact that so many heteros can't keep their marriages together. :-) I don't know what the research says on homo couples these days; are 'we' any better?

Oh, l'amour, l'amour, how it can let you down. How it can pick you up again!

I simply cannot get over how beautifully written the question was for Fr.Tony. You can tell the kid is an avid reader and writer. And your reply was kindly and wise, like a grand dame guiding a young sport to the place he needs to understand.

Thanks for posting these things--your wit and wisdom are always a refreshing read.