Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Down in the Upper Valley*

Yesterday, I had to drive down to White River Junction, Vermont, on the New Hampshire border for an appointment to get fitted for a new type of CPAP mask, since the one I have is aggravating my trigeminal neuralgia. I did get a new mask, and I just have to see how it works. There weren’t a lot of options that don’t put pressure on the right side of my head. I just can’t continue with the old mask which was causing me to go to sleep in pain and wake up in pain. I hope this helps, but there are other options if it doesn’t. I was told by my sleep doctor that I had to try the new masks before we could move onto other solutions.

While I was in that part of the state, I decided to go to the King Arthur Baking Store in Norwich, Vermont. They have a really nice kitchen store that sells much more than just King Arthur Flour. It’s expensive , but it’s fun to look. However, I got there and it was so crowded with people, I decided not to even go in to have a look around. Instead, I decided to drive across the border to Hanover, New Hampshire. Hanover, you may know, is the home of Dartmouth College. The college makes up most of the town, but it’s a beautiful little New England town. I had wanted to check out where a few restaurants I’d heard about were and see what the parking situation was, which turned out to be basically nonexistent. All I saw was a few street side metered parking spaces. Nowhere seems to have their own parking lot.

While the buildings on the campus and in the town are beautiful, the better view is of the male students. Basically, they all look like J. Crew models, and there’s a good reason for that. One of the largest retailers near the campus is J. Crew. Not only do all of the guys dress preppy, they are all pretty cute too. The women on the other hand seem to all dress like hippies. None of them look to take particular care of their appearance, but I’d venture to guess, they work really hard to have the appearance of not working hard on their appearance. In Vermont, unshaven men and women seem to be the norm, and most clothing appears to be from either vintage clothing store or if they want to dress up, L.L. Bean and their flannel collection. I am only exaggerating slightly. However, seeing Dartmouth students walking around Hanover, it’s refreshing to see guys clean shaven and dressed nicely.

In other news, my coworkers and I at the museum have been strategizing on how to best deal with the issue over the current exhibit. I’ll make sure that I update y’all tomorrow. I am not looking forward to today, but at some point we have to make a stand. I just pray, this isn’t our version of Custer’s Last Stand. All we can do is make our case and hope for the best. If it goes against us, there are back-up contingencies. I just hope we don’t have to go that route. I am looking forward to my phone interview tomorrow, and I’m going on a date Saturday afternoon. He’s a professor in Burlington, and we’re going to meet at a museum up there. Then the plan is to go back to his house for an early dinner. I’ve enjoyed my chats with him so far, and I hope it’s a pleasant experience Saturday afternoon.

*The Upper Valley straddles the Connecticut River between New Hampshire and Vermont which includes the towns of Hanover and Lebanon in New Hampshire, and White River Junction and Norwich in Vermont.


Being “Real” for a Moment


Will you allow me to be “real” for a moment? 

I know it can seem vapid and self-serving to be slutty on the internet, but truthfully it’s a lot bigger than that.

I can’t speak for everyone else, but for me, this isn’t the easiest thing in the world I’ve ever done. In fact, two years ago I would have never even posted a shirtless picture of myself online because I didn’t believe I had a body worth sharing.

It’s taken a lot of work to get to where I am now and I am so proud of myself. I never thought I would be strong enough to be this open. While getting called “hot” will always feel good, that has never been the reason behind any this.

But it is also really hard sometimes, because whether you intend to or not, you are giving other people a lot of power over you. It can sometimes hurt my confidence doing this, but I recognize that as an inherent part of it. It’s important to keep my chin up.

What bothers me the most is that sometimes I feel like my true self gets lost in this. What I put out here is only one side of myself, and truthfully not always a very genuine one either. It’s fun to put on an act and be slutty, but sometimes it can be work.

Still, I recognize that this is all part of it and remain adamant that what we’re doing is important. Whether you realize it or not, because it is easy to become desensitized to it, what we’re doing here is extreme. But that’s a good thing.

By sharing ourselves, we are not only celebrating different types of bodies but also normalizing them. By sharing our kinks and fetishes and the way we have sex, we are dismantling the systems that say that they are wrong or taboo.

We are creating an environment that is conducive to safer, freer sex. We are creating a world where you don’t have to look like a Sean Cody model to feel good and sexy.

It feels awesome to be active in a community that welcomes and accepts everyone. It’s all of you who have inspired and guided me to this point, and I hope I am doing the same for other people.

So we shouldn’t undervalue what we’re doing here. It’s fun and sexy but it’s also creating the foundation for a new world where we all feel beautiful and sexy and worthy.

 

Warning: None of the links in this post are SFW.

Often, when I come across an attractive guy on Twitter, especially those with an Only Fans (OF) account, they often do seem seem vapid and self-serving. There are any number of reasons why a guy shows off on the internet and has an OF. Sometimes it’s simply because they need the money, and they have a body (or a particular physical attribute, i.e. 🍆 or 🍑) which can be used to make that money. Others use it because they like to show off their bodies, and they get aroused by performing for others. Then there are some who are simply vapid and self-serving, but there are also those who use Twitter or OF because it boosts their self-esteem and confidence.

The above series of tweets is from a handsome young guy from Alabama named Samuel, a.k.a. @galactaqueer. I think the most important thing he says here is: 

By sharing ourselves, we are not only celebrating different types of bodies but also normalizing them. By sharing our kinks and fetishes and the way we have sex, we are dismantling the systems that say that they are wrong or taboo. We are creating an environment that is conducive to safer, freer sex. We are creating a world where you don’t have to look like a Sean Cody model to feel good and sexy. It feels awesome to be active in a community that welcomes and accepts everyone. It’s all of you who have inspired and guided me to this point, and I hope I am doing the same for other people. So we shouldn’t undervalue what we’re doing here. It’s fun and sexy but it’s also creating the foundation for a new world where we all feel beautiful and sexy and worthy.

Samuel is right. We need to normalize all kinds of sex as long as it is not harming someone else. We often are made to feel bad about ourselves for our innermost fantasies, but just because others might see us as kinky, doesn’t mean that our desires are wrong. We also need to be more body positive. Few people look like porn models, and very few have the physical attributes that porn models have. We need to learn how to feel sexy on our own. It’s been many years since I felt beautiful or sexy, and I wasn’t even fully happy with myself back then. Even when I had a better physique and more hair, I still had vitiligo. During puberty, I began to lose the pigment in the skin my hands and in more intimate areas. People notice it and ask about it all the time, much to my embarrassment. I’ve been asked if I burned my fingers or if parts of me were dirty because of the darker patches that can also happen with vitiligo. Sometimes people are very sensitive about the issue when they ask; others are very blunt to the point of rudeness.

Recently, I came across another guy on Twitter who also has an OF, Jay Mason, a.k.a. @homoblanket. Like me, Jay has vitiligo, yet he’s a bit more fair-skinned and hairier than I am, so it’s not always as noticeable. Jay’s vitiligo also isn’t on his hands or face where it would be be noticeable when he’s not naked. Mine began appearing on my hands early on and most recently, it has spread to my face, though it is not as noticeable on my face as it is on my hands. The point of this is that Jay doesn’t hide his vitiligo and shows how his confidence makes it basically not an issue. I’m sure there are those who make negative or ignorant comments, but if they bother Jay, he doesn’t let it show. He uses his OF to fund his dream of becoming a songwriter in Nashville.

Another guy that I enjoy following on Twitter is Lucas, a.k.a. @LucasCashXXX. Lucas is a 21 year old personal trainer from Alabama who just enjoys showing off. Personal trainers have been hit hard by the pandemic. Often, they are self-employed and when gyms closed, they were no longer able to see their clients. Many did virtual training for those who had access to fitness equipment at home, but they often still took a hit to their finances. Single, self-employed individuals did not get the same benefits of many others who were affected by the pandemic. I find Lucas to be probably the sexiest of them all, and he certainly has those physical attributes that come in very handy with an OF account.

Not only do all of these guys have a Twitter and OF, they also have one other thing in common, they are all from Alabama. Recently, Alabama ranked as the worst state to be LGBTQ+, and I agree with that assessment. There are a few places in Alabama, such as Birmingham or Mobile, that make it somewhat easier to be LGBTQ+, but the rest of the state can make it very difficult. I’m glad that all of these guys have found an outlet for their sexuality and that they feel confident enough to show their beauty to the world. From what I have seen from Samuel, Jay, and Lucas, they are all beautiful people inside and out. If you are so inclined, I hope you’ll go follow them, and if you subscribe to any OF, maybe you’ll check them out there as well. From the previews on their Twitter feeds, I’d say it would be well worth it. See one of those previews below:


Deliveries!

We are blessed with two very nice and very hot UPS delivery guys in my town. At first, I thought we only had one, but I was talking to my neighbor on Wednesday, and we realized, though they look very similar, there are indeed two of them. One actually makes his route from behind the house going toward Main Street and doesn’t wear a hat, while the other one come up from Main Street and wears a baseball cap. My neighbor and I both have a thing for our sweet UPS guys. Plus, they always bring our packages directly to our door and if it’s raining, makes sure they won’t get wet. Both are also very friendly when we happen to be outside when they deliver.

I am not as enamored with our FedEx delivery guy. In fact, every time I get a notice that a package is being delivered by FedEx, I audibly groan. There are four apartments in the house that I live in, two in the north side of the house, and then mine and my downstairs neighbor on the south side of the house. The two apartments on the north side have both front doors and back doors, whereas my downstairs neighbor only has a door facing the back of the house, and my door is on the side of the house up a flight of stairs. On the path to the front doors is a cute little sign made by our landlord that says “Please make deliveries to the back.” I also set up a FedEx account so that I could put delivery instructions on every package delivered to me telling the driver where on the property to deliver the package. Each apartment is clearly numbered at our entrances on the back and side of the house. Our UPS deliveries are always left at the correct door.

When FedEx delivers, we never know where he is going to leave our packages, if he leaves them at all. I had a package that was supposed to be delivered yesterday, and the tracking said it was on the truck to be delivered. However, there was an exemption, with no explanation, saying it would be delivered today. My faith in today’s delivery is not strong. I’ve had packages sit for days at the FedEx facility near Burlington. I would be more understanding if there was inclement weather, or I could understand if there was a one-time mechanical issue with the truck. But, unlike UPS, FedEx never explains why there is a delay. It has also happened numerous times. Some days, they just never deliver, and yesterday’s exception was logged at 11:30 am. If UPS logs an exception in their tracking it is never registered until after 9:30 pm.

Even once it is delivered, we never know where it will be delivered. Sometimes, the FedEx driver literally steps over the sign saying to make deliveries to the back. Other times, it has been chucked over the side fence. We actually watched the driver do this one day. I’ve also had packages left sitting out in the rain. If the package actually makes it near my apartment, the driver throws it up on the landing at the top of the steps. How do I know this? When there is snow, and I keep my landing and stairs mostly clear of snow, I have seen the skid marks the package makes when it is thrown up the stairs. Back when I was having my monthly migraine injections overnighted to me in a cooler from Dartmouth’s pharmacy, I always had to hunt down my medicine. After the second or third time, I called FedEx to complain. I was told to put the delivery instructions on my account, which I did. The driver rarely follows the delivery instructions. 

I have called several times to complain, but all I am ever told is that they will log the complaint. By the way, FedEx makes it nearly impossible to find a contact number to call them. The times that I have tried to email them, I have never received a response. If any of my readers work for FedEx, I am sorry. I am sure it is not like this everywhere, but in Vermont having FedEx deliver a package is a nightmare in customer service. Thankfully, Amazon, which I order most of what I need from, mostly uses UPS or USPS. Like with UPS, the USPS has two mail carriers, one older lady (who wears shorts even in the coldest of our Vermont winters) and a younger guy who started doing deliveries occasionally a few months ago. The young guy is also a cutie and can be relied on to leave packages at our doors and to make sure they do not get rained or snowed on. The female mail carrier all too often takes my packages back to the post office to be delivered through my post office box, especially if it is a larger or heavy package. She just won’t deliver it to my regular mailbox.

UPS is really our only reliable delivery service. The post office is reliable a little over half the time. FedEx is never reliable. We never know what to expect from FedEx except that our packages will most likely be delivered to the wrong apartment.

Speaking of FedEx, I just saw this tweet:

You should read the responses. I responded by saying:


One of Those Days

I was so busy yesterday with various things that by the time I had a moment to write a blog post, it was after 10 pm, so I’m taking today off from blogging.


Thanks

“What lies behind us, and what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” 

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

The tattoo on the chest of the guy above is this Emerson quote. This blog has been a wonderful journey, but I wouldn’t be doing it without my wonderful and caring readers. I wanted to thank all of you for your kind words on Monday’s blogiversary post. Part of the reason I write this blog is to keep a record of what has lain behind me these past eleven years and to record what will lie ahead of me. It’s part therapy on my part, and partly a record of my life. All of your comments and words of encouragement tell me it’s been worthwhile. Thank you for reading about the ups and down of my life, my opinions, historical lessons, my love of poetry, my health, my happiness, and my spiritual journey. 

P.S. I also hope you continue to enjoy the images I post. I do try to make this blog aesthetically pleasing.


My Eleven Year Blogiversary 👨🏻‍💻🥳

My dearest readers,

I can’t believe the journey started 11 years ago today when I started my blog, The Closet Professor. During these 11 years, I’ve published 5,177 posts, had over 4.5 million views , over 20,000 comments, and around 600 followers.

My life has changed so much over the past 11 years. In July 2010, I had just finished my first-year teaching at a private school in Alabama. I was miserable working in a job that paid little, and with bills that continued to mount. Now, 11 years later, I’m living in Vermont, have a great job as a Museum Curator, hold the academic rank of Assistant Professor, and make a salary more than double what I was making then; plus, I have insurance and retirement. Eleven years ago, I couldn’t imagine any of this, especially living in Vermont of all places. 

My health is also very different than it was 11 years ago. Back then, my migraines had started to become a daily occurrence. I’ve always had migraines, but they were episodic. It was during my years teaching in Alabama that they became chronic. I never went a moment without pain back then, and no doctors seemed to care enough to do much about it. Some days the pain would be bearable, but others I could barely function. My current doctor has worked with me and sent me to the right specialists to help get my migraines under control, and I do see hope.

During these 10 years, I’ve posted almost daily and since June 24, 2018, I’ve posted twice a day. The only times I didn’t post were when depression overtook me because of the deaths of loved ones. The best thing about this blog is I’ve made wonderful friends. When times have been the toughest, y’all have been here, and helped me get through so much. Your love and advice have gotten me through some of the darkest times in my life, especially you Susan. If it weren’t for my friends, and I consider all of you who read this a friend (even if we don’t always agree on things), I wouldn’t have kept this blog going all this time. I hope to continue writing this blog for many years to come. I can only wonder what the next 11 years will bring.

Thank you for these past amazing 11 years!

With love,

Joe


Recalculating

Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go—purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything… whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.

—Tina Turner

For most of my life, I tried to be the person other people wanted me to be. I tried to live up to other’s expectations, especially my parents. I tried to be more myself when I lived in Mississippi when I was in graduate school, but I was never fully able to be me. The main reason I struggled was because I did not love myself. I knew I was gay, but even back then, I didn’t fully accept it. I knew I’d never marry a woman because it would not be fair for me or her, and it would only make other people happy. It would never make me truly happy, and I’d have continued to hate myself. As Lucille Ball said, “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.” It took moving to Vermont before I could really begin to love myself. For the past eighteen months, I have not seen my family. I have spoken to them over the phone, and even over the phone they can make my blood boil, but being away from them for the past year and half has helped me heal in ways I never thought was possible.

Carol Burnett once said, “Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” Her words are so very true. Others can try to mold me and make me into what they want me to be, but only I can change to my life. While I haven’t gotten rid of my family (I will still go home this Christmas), I have done my best to get rid of their negativity. I haven’t completely purged myself of caring what they think, but I’m on my way there. The unhappiness in my life was bringing me down, but as I have lived a freer and fuller life 1,200 miles from Alabama, I have begun to let my “true self come out.” It’s still a journey, a journey that I’m not sure will ever end in this life, but it is a journey we all take to find our true self. We just have to keep trudging along on that path and listen to that internal GPS that guides us to our destination.

Yes, sometimes we will miss a turn (such as an opportunity) or we make a wrong turn (a bad decision), but that internal GPS can recalculate our route. We all can hear that familiar voice in our head saying “recalculating route” when we didn’t follow the directions correctly. Sometimes, we can only carry on and let our internal GPS continue recalculating until we finally reach our destination. Many times we are traveling through life with people telling us what to do. If we are unfamiliar with the a situation, we allow others, much like a GPS, to guide us. But does the GPS always provide us the best route? Maybe, maybe not. Do people always provide us the best advice? Maybe, maybe not. I think that no matter what, one must listen to their own GPS and allow others to offer suggestions but ultimately, we must decide our own path and journey.


Sleepy

I usually write my posts the night before and schedule them for the next day. Last night, I almost forgot to schedule a post. I had just about fallen asleep when it hit me that I needed a post for today. However, I really didn’t have much to say. I just hope everyone (in the U.S., that is) enjoyed the holiday weekend. If you’re outside the U.S., then I hope you had a great weekend, too.


Getting Back in the Saddle

In response to Saturday’s Moment of Zen post about the pharmacy guy, VRCooper said, “Girl…We have to send you back to gay school.” I know it was mostly a joke, but I never went to “gay school.” Growing up in rural Alabama in a religious family, I never knew any gay people or anything about gay people until I went away to college and began reading gay books and researching what it meant to be gay on the internet. 

Most gay people I know have gay friends. I never had a gay friend (notwithstanding a few short-term boyfriends) with whom I could hang out, go to bars, watch a movie, or go to gay events. I had one gay friend and confidant, who lived about a thousand miles away. We met through my blog and became good friends. We texted each other all the time. I am so much better at texting than being on the phone. Then, my friend died in a car wreck, and I’ve never had another close gay friend. I am a painfully shy person. I’ve always hated talking on the phone because I’ve hated how my phone voice sounds. You can ask Susan. We also became friends through my blog, and it took her forever to convince me to talk to her on the phone. Now, we talk on the phone at least once a day. She’s my closest friend and confidant. I don’t talk nearly as much to my best friend who lives in Texas.

I’ve never made friends easily. I’ve made female friends more easily than male friends, but they are still few and far between. I have a hard time talking to people I don’t know. So, when VRCooper suggested, “Strike up a conversation,” it’s quite a difficult thing for me to do. I feel awkward. The truth is, I need constant encouragement to give me a little courage to be my charming self, and I am a charming and good-hearted person. My friend who passed away was always encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone. VRCooper also said my “tone in writing reeks of defeat.” I know it does because I have zero self-confidence when it comes to men. Once I get to know someone or become comfortable around them, I can talk their ear off, but I am not one to initiate a conversation.  When the other person is a man, it is even more challenging getting comfortable with them.

Even when I do make friends, I tend to have a hard time opening up. There are certain things about my personal life I have a difficult time discussing. I had an easier time with my friend who passed away because he was gay. There were things I could talk to him about that my conservative, sheltered upbringing doesn’t allow me to talk about to just anyone comfortably. There was something exceptional about that friendship which is why I was so devastated when he died. It took me a long time to try to be social again. I finally decided that is what my friend would have wanted me to do. I had to try to get back in the saddle which is an apt analogy. I fell off a horse when I was a kid and got kicked in the head. Every time I’ve gotten on a horse since, I find it impossible to get comfortable and enjoy it. However, if I ever had the chance to ride a horse again, I’d hop back in that saddle and try to enjoy it.

Also, I have often found like with any group of people, gay people have their clicks. Before the pandemic, I went to as many gay events in Burlington as I could. Sometimes I had one of my female friends go with me; sometimes, I went by myself. Whether it was First Friday (monthly drag shows and dances) or Burly Bears (the only gathering for gay men in Vermont), I tried to fit in. I tried to make conversation but found it extremely hard. Occasionally, someone would come over to talk to me, and I’d chat and have a good time, but inevitably they went back to their friends. Again, I was left standing there alone with my drink. Soon, gay events will start up again in Burlington, and I will try again. I have also tried to meet local people online for friendship, but no one ever seems to want anything more than sex. It seems impossible to find someone willing to have just dinner or even just meet for drinks.

I know I sound incredibly pathetic, and I know I’m complaining. I just needed to voice my frustrations. But I also want to say I’m trying to do better; I’m trying to be bolder. But it’s not easy. I’ve spent my whole life hiding behind my shyness, and I know it’s time I got over it and be more confident. What better time to do that than during pride month? It’s a time when we celebrate ourselves and boldly proclaim who we are. That’s why I went to the pharmacy on Friday hoping to see the cute pharmacy tech (CPT). I wore my pride polo shirt. It’s subtle, but hard to miss. It was obvious people noticed it. Unlike in the South, where I would have gotten ugly looks and rude behavior, everywhere I went that day, and everyone I saw including the tech at Verizon, the cashier at PetSmart, and yes, the CPT and others at the pharmacy, they all seemed nicer and friendlier. 


Andrew Neighbors

Jeremy Ryan of the blog, New Homo Blogo, just left a comment alerting me to the fact that Dr. Andrew Neighbors’s, who I featured in a January 2020 blog post, “The Eyes Have It,” dog Arbor is missing.  If you are in the Tacoma Washington Area, and spot the dog, please message Andrew via his Instagram account @andrewgoesplaces. To see Jeremy’s post about Andrew’s missing dog, go to LOST DOG – Tacoma WA Area. Andrew seems to be a very sweet man, and if you have watched any of his YouTube videos, you know how much he loves his dog Arbor. I don’t know how many people in Tacoma, Washington who read my blog, but if there are any, I hope you will be on the lookout for Arbor.

I don’t usually post pictures of dogs on my blog, as I am very much a cat person, but I will make an exceptions here:

UPDATE – Arbor has been found! Andrew is out of town seeing patients, but Arbor is safe with a neighbor.