It started off as a normal conversation. Wade and I were just talking about when we get together with other guys and hang out. Then, he said it. "When you're having relations with men...". He paused, then we both looked at each other. "Sorry, that didn't come out right", he muttered. We both chuckled, then I said, "Wade, why is it that what you just said has such a negative connotation in today's society?" Frankly, I think it's a very logical question. Wade used the term EXACTLY as it is intended. The term relations is defined as "A logical or natural association between two or more things; relevance of one to another; connection". This is what Wade was referring to in our conversation. He was referencing the act of relating to other guys, particularly when we are connecting on a more personal level. Nowhere in his thought process did the idea or notion of homosexual activity ever creep in. That is, until he realized what he said.
This is both sad and tragic. Why? Because we as men have somehow convinced ourselves that male relationships are either a sign of weakness or a misrepresentation of our sexual orientation. How does having a close, intimate relationship with another man make us gay? The term intimate means "characterized by or involving warm friendship or a personally close or familiar association or feeling". While the term is commonly used to explain a sexual relationship between a man and woman, that is not what it is supposed to mean. If we take Wade's statement for what it is originally intended to mean (and explicitly defined as), then there is nothing wrong with what he said. Our society has somehow commingled (to mix or mingle together; combine) references to heterosexual relationships with homosexual relationships. In other words, references to relations with my wife, whom I do have sexual relations with, by simply mentioning relations with other men, people almost instinctively think I am talking about having sex with them. That's ridiculous!!!
The reality is this: Until we can get rid of these stupid stereotypes and stigmas attached to having close relationships with men, we are destined to a life without them. As a result, we will miss out on so much of what God has intended for our lives. For some of you, this might not be a big deal, but that's just because you don't know what you're missing. Question: Are you willing to go the rest of your life wondering what you could have done better? Sure, we're all going to have regrets, but are you okay with looking back on life wishing you were a better husband, father, son, friend, etc? Well, that's what you're sacrificing by not engaging in life with other men.
In the near future, Wade and I are going to discuss male relationships, or what I like to call, menlationships. As close as the two of us have become over the years, we want to know how to become better friends, and we hope all of you out there to will want the same things for yourselves. In order to be the men we aspire to be, we MUST observe, engage and learn from other men. Eventually, the two of us hope to compile all these thoughts and discussions into a book that challenges the status quo in our society and encourages men to take up the banner that has been laid before us. It's time we start acting like men, just like those who came before, so that our successors can do the same!