To say Gordie has lived an exciting life would be an understatement—he spent 10 years as an exotic male dancer. During that time, he learned a powerful lesson: no matter what we say, every man and woman want to love and be loved. That love can be found lying naked with the one you love, chatting with friends, or during coffee with a stranger. And as Gordie knows will prove, it require unconditional surrender.
My mother has this thing called a one-room mentality. Most of our life we grew up in one room. As we got bigger houses, we would still crowd into her bed to talk and spend time with one another. So it makes you think, “What if all of the people in your life shared this one room, how would you deal with one another’s fragility, shortcomings, and vulnerabilities?” It’s about valuing and getting to know one another in that connection.
To me, intimacy is a quiet time, closeness—a moment of vulnerability, not necessarily words or communication. It’s lost upon most people today. You don’t really know to ask for it and we don’t cherish it, but it reinforces our human connection and is how we can learn to understand one another and build better and stronger bonds.
When I think about my own relationship to intimacy, I feel I have a good relationship with it, but it isn’t a two-way street. I withhold more than I would like to. But I’m very accepting of other people. I know what buttons to press and what to pay attention to so a person feels wanted, needed, or consoled in a moment of despair.
What if all of the people in your life shared this one room, how would you deal with one another’s fragility, shortcomings, and vulnerabilities?
I don’t show that same kindness to myself. And since I was the oldest of eight kids, I wasn’t able to always share my feelings, emotions, pain, and happiness. I just had to suppress everything, and as a result, I know how to receive intimacy but not how to surrender to it.
In response to the common statement that “Men don’t know how to be intimate because they were never taught,” I think that’s a cop-out. Men do know intimacy, even though we aren’t taught. I believe it is innate. We just hide behind the fact that we’re not supposed to be.” We use that societal shield to protect us from doing it, we know what it is. The fear of surrendering is reinforced by our lives, which can make it feel harder to do, effortlessly.
And it is kind of true that men don’t talk about their feelings because they leave that to women, but its at our own detriment. We don’t have enough practice. That’s not nurtured and so it is more difficult for us to do it. We don’t really know how. We can’t even put the words together or pay attention to that nugget that is the problem when everything around it tends to be the distraction. It’s something that we’re taught to reinforce within us.
And when it comes to love, I love love. I’m a hopeful romantic, even in how I treat strangers. I’m a nice, southern guy. I speak to everyone I pass. I make sure I engage people, and if they work in a store and are wearing a name tag, I try to open myself up and share a smile while using their name. Some people view that as being soft, but that’s how I am. And I expect it to be returned.
I get dismayed when I speak to people but they look at me as if I’m crazy. But most people will engage and have small talk with a stranger at a bus stop or at the grocery store. That’s loving to me. It’s okay to let people know that it is okay to smile, and that everything will be okay. It’s about not putting my own bad day and negativity out in public—that isn’t necessary or productive.
Most of society thinks about love at the surface level. They don’t think about the fullness it. They are caught up in the romance of it, even when you think about intimate moments with loved ones and a night out with the friends. But I’ve found that love is really selfless.
The one thing I’ve always wanted when it comes to love, sex and intimacy that I feel I’ve never had, it’s that one person who really listens to me the way I pay attention to them.
Those happy moments are great, but the most important parts are the tough moments that require communication, sacrifice, patience, and forgiveness. Love is an action word. My mother influenced this definition for me. Words can’t really express or convey, it’s how you treat, receive and communicate with someone.
When I think about the one thing I’ve always wanted when it comes to love, sex and intimacy that I feel I’ve never had, it’s that one person who really listens to me the way I pay attention to them. He knows when I need to be left alone and appreciates that, and knows when I need someone to listen.
If I could give a young boy who is growing up one piece of advice, I’d say “Hold on and invest in your confidence, whatever that takes. Know yourself and figure yourself out. And when you do, be honest with yourself. That’s where it starts and it is how you will learn to navigate yourself and the world. This is how you will learn what you will accept and won’t accept, will or won’t fight for, will and won’t settle for.
Intimacy…it’s about valuing and getting to know one another, [connecting]…It’s quiet time, closeness—a moment of vulnerability.