One Gay American: Dennis Milam Bensie
One young man at an early age realized that his life was not what others wanted it to be and his feelings for women would turn out to be centered on men. Even as a child he hoped to walk down the aisle dressed as a bride and resented learning that his own mother was cheated out of wearing white. The picture of his parent’s wedding shows his mother wearing a beautiful blue dress, which our author feels was inappropriate. You learn a lot about Dennis within the first few pages, you learn a lot about his relationship with his parents and what led to his father being disappointed with him. Growing up and being born in the 60’s in Robinson, Illinois all Dennis wanted was to be loved and have a relationship with someone. Wanting a wedding and a child he set aside his sexual preference and married at the age of 19. But, as you begin reading this intense and profound memoir you hear his voice, feel the emotion and can sense the discontent within him at ever turn.
Growing up during that time period many children had Cabbage Patch Dolls, which were expensive, came with their own birth certificates and their own adoption papers. He and his bride witnesses a Cabbage Patch Doll wedding at a fundraiser at the women’s club where dolls were given or granted to anyone but gay couples. But, first the author had to accept himself for who he is and find his own identity. Sometimes we do things to please others and for outward appearances. Sometimes we do things to please our family and friends. While searching for his true self the author decides to marry for all of the wrong reasons.
His relationship with Jessica led to his marriage and a friendship that he thought would cement their life together. But, you cannot pretend to be something or someone you are not and the knots within his stomach, the events that he had to endure plus the experiences weighted down on Dennis causing him to rethink this choices and change the direction of his life. Each chapter begins with an historical event about a person or article from a specific paper focusing on gay rights. On page 101 he begins with his opinion of an article in the Wisconsin State Journal titled: “Coming Out Days begin Gays’ Events.” Throughout the memoir he refers to different events such as the Cabbage Patch Wedding and taking a friend to every single bridal store to try on dresses in order to find one that she might want if and when she gets married.
Coming out to his friends and family took courage but the reactions were varied and sometimes difficult to deal with. His first experience with a man quite unique. Meeting Jim helped him to find his way. Stanley set the way for a new relationship and his confidence began to build. But, things change and not everything stays the same and his friends with Emily and others helped him through. Playing bride groom or bride was a thing he and his friends loved to do and creating wedding dresses from pictures in magazines fun. Next he tells readers about World Aids Day and he continues with his first test for Aids within pages 106- 110 to learn more. The chapter titled Lie focused on his relationship with his ex-wife, his feelings for a man named Eric that really hurt her and a scary panic attack during a performance for his gay drama. The lie: you have to find out what he claimed happen to Jessica and his reasoning behind telling it. His friendship with her meant a lot and inviting her to Seattle quite interesting. A great picture of Matt and Scot when the tie the knot is on page 124 followed by Same Sex Marriage Issue taking center stage in the Senate. The Defense of Marriage Act defined marriage as” the legal union between one man and one woman. What happens when Clinton takes center stage as president read it for yourself.
A phone call from his dad would bring things into a different perspective for both of them as you hear their conversation and the start of a different relationship that sounds rather final. The chapter ends in what many people wonder after something tragic happens: What if or Should have! Bullies, hate crimes, deaths due to Aids, friends killed by acts of cruelty the author shares his inner most thoughts, experiences with readers. Hearing his voice, listening to his conversations we understand what Dennis went through as a child, growing up and even now. The memoir is told within groups of years from the 60’s until the present time including events that happened in the news focusing on the issues he relates to readers.
Discussing his many relationships, his feelings for one man named Jason, and why being adopted made him a strong advocate for adoption. Page 170 we get to see Stephanie and Joy’s commitment ceremony picture. Losing his parents, dealing with their estate and then finding himself overmedicated on drugs Dennis had to face some harsh realities before the downward spiral went any lower. Just what he decides to do is quite compelling and does he listen to his doctor find out for yourself.
The remainder of the book will enlighten readers as to his relationships from the past, Facebook account and dealing with old friends past and present and a conversation with his sociology teacher uplifting. The final chapter is titled;: Oscar, I Don’t which focuses on his feelings about having a real relationship, if he is too uptight, too old-fashioned or too scarred. Well, Dennis, no tattoos, no piercings and never tried recreational drugs. Sounds like you have your head on your shoulders and definitely should never give up on love. The final paragraph on page 217 expresses his feelings about same sex marriages and the right to marry anyone of your choice. His mom’s wedding dress made a lasting impression on him and the precious white nightgown he gave he and his dad’s shoes are just some of the memories that will stay with him forever.
What about now? Check out the handsome photo of this author on page 222. See his mom’s dress and check out the wedding rings around his neck. The author’s picture is really great of this handsome author. Told in a straightforward no holds barred way this is one memoir that everyone should read to understand that everyone is entitled to live their lives with whomever they choose and abuse, bullying and hate because of sexual preference is wrong.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
Let’s give this one: FIVE SMOKING HOT DATES !