I was seduced by a politician
He had a wife and a young child
I don’t know too many 18-year-olds who can say they’ve been seduced by a politician.
Some background: I come from a good, Catholic family from Louisiana, where I learned how to be both a Christian and a Southern gentleman. And, although my family was very supportive, I also learned, all too quickly, how to keep my gay lifestyle on the DL while attending an all-male high school.
Secretly, I was fairly active in the gay community. Starting junior year of high school, I made connections with mostly college guys around the city. I had a semi-normal dating life.
The summer after my high school graduation, I was working a minimum wage mall job when I was approached by a man who said, almost fatherly, as I was eating a cookie, “Caught you with your mouth full?”
I will call him Kevin.
Afterwards, an acquaintance told me Kevin had seen me at my graduation luncheon and wanted to get to know me.
Now, this alone should have been a red flag. It certainly wasn’t a normal way to make connections, even in the annoyingly underground, secretive gay community of Louisiana. But, being rebellious and naive, I asked for more information.
He told me Kevin was “discreet,” a casual gay term for men who are not out of the closet to family members or friends. Not only that, Kevin was married. Still, steeped in the dysfunction of a lack of any gay role models, I agreed to talk to him.
Kevin and I began texting. We talked about our lives and discussed the possibility of eventually meeting to sleep together. Once, on the phone, after telling him he should come to the mall to chat before my shift, he said that he “couldn’t be seen in public with other guys.” I was confused. He clarified: he was a politician with a wife and a young child.
It was true. I had seen his name on election posters in the past, and he already held a fairly high local position. He was easily recognizable as a high profile person to thousands of people around the city.
Naturally, I told a few friends and my mother, who wanted me to make sure it was him. I made certain it was him later that day when, during my shift, he texted me that he was at the mall’s Dillard’s, and that he saw some underwear he wanted me to wear for him. I agreed to meet him in the employee bathroom, working through my general discomfort.
He passed by my counter and glanced at the back hallways of the food court. We met in the bathroom. He handed me the Dillard’s bag, which held three pairs of designer underwear, worth $75 in total. We kissed briefly. Afterwards, I went back to my counter, and he went to whatever he does in between his illicit meetings with younger men.
It was exciting. I was seventeen at the time and flattered to think a married guy wanted to break vows just to be with me. Granted, from what he said, he hooked up with plenty of young guys, and if he wasn’t going after me he would be going after someone else. But I was OK with that.
The remainder of our relationship, which lasted about a month, played out over text, rife with failed plans to meet and references to the underwear he’d bought me. I had told my parents I cut off contact with him, so I did try to conceal that I was still texting him, but it did, to a certain degree, give me security that they wouldn’t try to be involved. Whenever I started to pull away, Kevin would bring up the fact that he’d bought me underwear.
Eventually, the exchange culminated in my frustration at his generally bland attitude about the gravity of the situation. I blocked his number and we have not spoken since.
Since then, he has remained active on the political scene, and I know thousands of people have voted for him under essentially false pretenses. Meanwhile, I know he’s been with many other boys and will continue to find more. Part of me wants to reveal his identity, but I simply don’t know what that would accomplish. I am still disgusted by his actions.
Today, I’m more wary of older men. I’ve seen the way they can operate within the gay community and I’m more aware of how problematic the social indecency of being gay is. Young men are fetishized and taken advantage of, people feel the need to be secretive about their lifestyles, and, evidently, abuse can arise.
I’ve learned my lesson, and, even if the situation is alluring, I’ll continue to steer clear of any older guys, and trust my instincts when they sense trouble.
After my own experience, I feel the need to warn other young, gay men — particularly those in relatively conservative environments — to steer clear of older men, especially in clandestine, intimate situations. These men abuse the immaturity and lack of experience of younger men and take advantage of the fact the younger person may be more prone to continue an inappropriate relationship despite serious discomfort.
If any young men find themselves in a situation similar to mine, I urge them to consider the predatory nature of anyone sexually pursuing someone half his own age.
We don’t need the validation of an older man to feel confident in ourselves. Let’s find our own value, and be safe.