No different from most other men, I sowed my fair share of wild oats in my youth, but since I mostly planted my seeds in barren (though frequently manured) ground and used birth control when I strayed less far afield from what society considers normal, I did not produce the bumper crop of bastards the expression implies. In fact, I produced not a single one.
My two legitimate offspring are unshakably straight. They, I know, will not bend, but as the evidence grows that homosexuality is an inherited trait, I sometimes wonder if the inconceivable son I never had would have turned out gay. Be assured that I would have recognized him for my own and loved him as much as his brothers. Let’s pretend I named him Reuben.
I’ll have Reuben look like me – a younger me – rather than his mother, sooner than choose among the women in whom my wild oats might have sprouted. My real life sons look more like their mother’s side of the family. They have darker skin and hairier bodies. Reuben has smooth skin and a fair complexion.
As his father, it would be inappropriate for me to have inquired about his bedroom activities, much less to discuss them here. When he reached the age of sowing his wild oats we knew how to protect ourselves from HIV. I will certainly have spoken to him about safe sex. By now he has passed his wild oat years, and I imagine him in a long term relationship.
Would I have a special bond with my gay son? No, except insofar as every father has a special, individual bond with each of his children. That his half-brothers know I’m gay has not put a strain on our relationship. But having a gay father will no doubt have made it easier for Reuben to come to terms with his sexuality.
Reuben and his partner live in a big city halfway across the country. My lover and I stay in their guest room when we come to visit, which we do twice a year, usually for a week. It has a double bed. We live pretty casually together, wandering around the apartment in just our boxers or naked under a bathrobe. Reuben’s partner is a bit of a show off and allows his robe to fall open when he’s sitting or his penis to peek out when he has an erection. It embarrassed Reuben at first, but not me. It made me happy to see he has a lover who is both good looking and well endowed. By now we’re all used to it, and while we don’t intentionally expose ourselves, no one goes out of his way to cover up.
Sometimes they’ll throw a party for their gay friends while we’re there, couples mostly, but not all. He seems proud to introduce me to them as his dad. I feel at home among these younger men. No sexual activity occurs, but perhaps it does when I’m not visiting. I don’t ask.
On evenings when we don’t go out and Reuben hasn’t invited anyone over, we sit on the sofa in our underwear, two couples, older and younger, cuddling and sipping wine as we watch TV, before we retire to our separate and make love.
Anelas Viz, whose P’tit Cadeau won a 2011 Golden Rose for best contemporary m/m novel, has been a regular contributor to Gay Flash Fiction and Wilde Oats since their inception. His work has appeared in a number of other magazines, in anthologies, and as individual publications. He writes in many different genres, from flash fictions to very long novels, as well as verse, prose poems, stories, humor, and essays. His most recent publication, The Thought Collector, an urban fantasy, was released by Silver Publishing, and coming in late August, his first short story anthology, Kaleidoscope, also with Silver. He is currently working on more projects than he can keep track of.