The Life and Times of Bruce Bramson


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June 29, 2009


June seems to be “Pride Month”. I think it is misnamed.

Being homosexual for me has never been anything I’m proud of. I’m not ashamed of it, either. It’s simply part of who I am, or at least who I have been all these years. Although I have no qualms about telling the few people who ask that I’m, “gay”, I often now say I “was gay”: at 73, my homosexuality is physically no longer much of an issue. Mentally, I’m still as queer as I ever was, possibly more-so, judging by the time I spend surfing the net for photos of good-looking guys!

Anyway, back to “pride”. I take pride in many things, not the least that I have tried all my life to get through it without hurting anyone. I haven’t always succeeded, often due to ignorance or conditions beyond my control, but avoiding making other people feel bad has always been one of my goals. I wish it were a goal shared by everyone! There seem to be some who live for the opposite: to hurt as many as they can. I’ve been the victim of a few of these, but have learned to avoid them.

But “proud” of being queer I am not, and never have been: homosexuality and pride are concepts that simply do not fit in the same category as far as I am concerned.


I’m recovering rapidly from the gall bladder operation. I’ll stay away from my work the rest of this week, there being a holiday Friday anyway. I have the first post-op visit with the surgeon Thursday. All is well!


As my depression deepened over the failure of my hopes for a life with Cornell, I had the sense to realize I needed some help. My doctor put me on Dalmane to assist with sleep, but recommended a psychiatrist. I spent nearly a year in “fifty-minute hours”, initially several a week. At first, whenever I tried to tell him what happened, I just fell apart and cried, but eventually he began to lead the discussion, and led me to some discoveries about myself.

One of these was how I interpreted Cornell’s behavior in bed. He always “came” as result of frottage: I never did. I thought anyone who could induce me to cum that way would have to be someone very special indeed. Ergo, I believed he found ME someone very special indeed. This was not the case at all: it was his MO, the way he always got off, no matter who he was with! I had very little to do with his orgasms: I was something convenient to rub against. Period. It was an ego-deflating notion, but it explained the facts. It was the first step in getting over this guy.

Cornell probably had his first orgasm sitting on an uncle’s knee, or being bounced of someone’s leg, or just rubbing himself on his mattress at night. Whatever, it came to be his preferred method of getting his kicks. I eventually met others who had encountered him, and they told the same tale: frottage was “it” for him.

A psychiatrist never cures anything: he leads one to new discoveries. We talked about the various categories people fall into, and I realized I am a classic “nest-builder”. I suppose it was because of my happy family life as a kid, that I would want to re-create this as best I could with a lover. (Nowadays, we see gay guys raising families: nest builders!) Unfortunately for me, Cornell was not a nest-builder. He was a classic “home-wrecker”. There had been no possibility of a “long term relationship” between the two of us from the get-go.

The psychiatrist agreed that I was ready to end our sessions after a year, and I felt far better than when I’d begun. I see it as the way to go, when depression sets in or the going gets tough.


Oddly, Cornell’s star was crossed with mine whether he liked it or not. I kept running into him in unexpected places, usually at professional conferences (we were in somewhat similar lines of work). Years later in Manila (of all places!) I glanced up from my breakfast and saw a back-side in the lobby I recognized instantly: it was Cornell, picking up a colleague who was staying in the same hotel I was. We got together over drinks at the Peninsula Hotel that evening. That’s where I learned he had AIDS. (I had to assume he had learned another way of getting off). He told me no male member of his family had ever lived past 55, and he did not exect to do so either. He didn’t.


A reader asked me what I look like: it’s gratifying to know someone wants that information. Here’s the first passport I ever got, at the tender age of 20. Unlike most passport photos, this one was a pretty good likeness.

Me at 20

Thank you for asking! MYOB@brucebramson.com

Coming up next: I get into it with the IRS



Written by Bruce

December 14th, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Posted in Love