posts tagged ‘life’

On Pedophilia

Repost from old blog, 2/16/2007

Is there anything sadder than a pedophile?

Born with his predilection, the pedophile is forced to make a choice: submit to his desires, either through pornography or child rape, and live life as a criminal, most likely ruining young lives in the process. Or, remain a slave to his sexual proclivities for the entirety of his life, always knowing that he is a freak and a degenerate, never able to truly accept himself or love himself in a society where he is unilaterally demonized.

In a country as oversexually stimulated as America, to maintain a neutered state of mind must be a challenge. We are bombarded with the sexualized images of young children – youth is put at a premium. It’s all “look – but don’t look too closely – and certainly don’t touch.”

As a gay man, I sympathize with the plight of the pedophile, even as I see their actions as repellent. I know what it’s like to be born differently, to not have any control over your desires even when you most want to. There was no way I could have lived a straight life. And there is no way a pedophile can live a life any other way.

This makes me question nature. Isn’t nature supposed to make sense? If a person is born with certain desires, shouldn’t they be able to act on them?

No. Nature doesn’t make sense – nature is as chaotic and uncompromising as it is beautiful and nurturing. So living beings will always have to die to keep other beings alive. So violence is essential for creation. So we’ve been given brains large enough to devise things (nukes) capable of destroying all of this.

It’s life. I guess no one ever said it was easy, but I’m going to say that sometimes: Life Sucks.

Why Has Natty Deactivated His Facebook Profile THIS Time?

First off, usual disclaimers apply: deactivation is temporary, I’ll probably be back on Facebook before you know it, etc etc.

The short answer to the above question is: people on the Internet annoy me. The answer that requires explanation is: because I believe the Occupy protests are the most important thing in the world now.

I can’t help it. I’m smitten with this movement, I was made for this movement. My fears, when I have them, tend toward the major – by which I mean the catastrophic, the End Times, the point of no return. Atomic weapons. Irreversible ecological degradation. The forces that conspire not only against me, not only against humanity, but against life itself.

You could also say that the things I fear most are the things I feel helpless to change. So when something like this comes along – when a mass of people find one another and simply acknowledge that SHIT’S FUCKED UP, it uplifts me. It gives me some fucking HOPE. Go ahead and ask me “What is it these people want?” I’ll be glad to offer several hundred suggestions.

And now, as the movement gains momentum and coverage, I increasingly get subjected to dissenting opinions on my Facebook news feed. Let me be clear: dissent is healthy, skepticism is good. And: the Internet, particularly Facebook status updates, is not the ideal venue for a productive conversation.

On Monday afternoon I stood in downtown Pittsburgh with the Occupiers, holding my sign (“Accountability, please”) and facing the passing-by hoards on their lunch break. This was not an easy thing for me. I’m not comfortable putting myself center stage. I feared being challenged.

And people did challenge me. They offered dissenting opinions. But they were framed in the form of a conversation, with people who genuinely wanted to engage. Sure, one guy scoffed at my sign, people screamed “Get a job!” from their cars – the real-life equivalents of a pithy Facebook observation. But in the face of real people acting like interested humans, they faded into the background.

On Facebook it’s a little harder to ignore, particularly because these are my “friends.” I’m not being melodramatic when I say that I feel like our collective asses depend on this movement. When Internet-people deride the movement as pointless or idiotic a part of me (rightfully) says not to take it personally, while another part of me thinks they may as well be calling me a faggot.

To them I say: it’s unfortunate you lack for imagination. And if you really, truly believe that everything in this country, this world, is dandy, is kosher: get your head back in the sand, your ass back on the couch, your eyes off my fucking webpage.

I’ll see you on the other side of history.


Comments disabled: Fuck the Internet and fuck this guy.

Gay, Wedding

I was invited to a straight wedding recently. The bride was an old high school friend, but other than her and my date (one of my best friends from high school) I didn’t expect to know anybody there. It was to be held near my rural home town, and while I had no reason to suspect that those present would be anything other than friendly and gracious, in the weeks leading up to it, I found those old gay fears surfacing just this same.

Maybe this is something queers of my generation never get over. What was I afraid of? That I’d get called out for looking/acting/dancing like a fag. That some burly group of backwoods groomsmen would take me behind the reception hall and beat me up. It was irrational and I didn’t let it get to me, but still it was.

My date was a bridesmaid so I sat alone during the ceremony. A group of guys sat in the pew behind me. One of them opened his mouth and talked and though visions of gay bells danced in my head, I still assumed he was straight.

My assumption that I wouldn’t know anybody proved true, but by the time my salad was served at the reception I was too buzzed to give a shit about that or anything else. At my table was the wedding photographer. A few weeks ago she refused to photograph several high school seniors who’d posted bullying comments on another girl’s Facebook page. She wrote a blog post about it that went viral, then made national news. She’s going to be interviewed by Anderson Cooper in a few weeks. Others at the table reflected on the fact that something we’d had to simply suck up and deal with when we were in school – bullying – is now a cause, an issue.

I danced like a goon and then danced goonier. I sat out the slow songs. The last song hit and that’s when I spotted the guy I’d heard behind me at the ceremony, slow dancing with a young man who was clearly his partner. They weren’t hiding behind anybody else – they were right up there, on a stage, for the whole wedding party to see. I swooned.

The DJ shut down so me and the rest of the professional partiers headed to the hotel bar, where a cover band played popular radio hits. The place was packed – eighty percent with the bro-iest bros imaginable and the rest with girls enjoying/enduring their drunken attention. Some girl pulled at my tie on the dance floor then tried to rip off my shirt. “This is my good shirt,” I said, wrenching away. She managed to pop off one button – I was more annoyed than flattered (but flattered just the same).

The band started in on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” A group of bachelor party brahs stood right up front, pumping their fists to lyrics that shout out to sexual minorities – that shout out to me. Were they paying attention to what they were dancing to? Were they sneering inwardly? Did it matter as we danced together and it washed over us all in a wave of pop bliss? It’s only music – I know this – but just then it felt downright revolutionary.


The news of R.E.M.’s demise hit me like a shock. Why? In this day and age it’s presumed that bands never really “break up.” How likely is it that the members of R.E.M. will never play music with one another again, will never mount a reunion tour? Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if they recorded another album in the future.

So it isn’t that. I thought it could be that I was looking forward to what they’d come up with next - their most recent album is fantastic, and on par with some of the best music of their career. But I don’t think that’s what’s affecting me, either.

This evening I was going through their back catalog, reminiscing, when I hit on this song and immediately burst into tears.

It’s a great song, but moreover it’s a song that reminds me so specifically of my youth. R.E.M. were formed one year after I was born. They were the cool, weird band that my older brother listened to when I was in elementary school. Then they became huge and he disowned them (cause that’s what he always did when the bands he liked got famous).

They’ve been around ever since. Me at thirteen, listening to Automatic for the People in my best friend’s bedroom, making up stories and dreaming about the future. Me at eighteen, driving around and getting high and playing Electrolite on repeat, bored with my life and small town and waiting to escape. Me at twenty three, paying attention to the lyrics of “The Lifting” for the first time and realizing they spoke to some repressed and sickened part of my psyche that I longed to transcend – I cried then like I cried today.

Unlike any other band I’ve ever listened to, I grew up alongside these guys and their music. And unlike any other band breakup I’ve heard news of, this one feels like losing an old friend.

Abandoned Tavern

A photo from a recent trip, where we found an abandoned tavern that had caught on fire. Go here to see all of them.


Nightswimming / remembering that night / September's coming soon...

I look younger than I am. I feel older than I am. I joke with my friend that I have “age dysphoria” – my bastardized version of “gender dysphoria,” a term used in transgender discussions denoting a disconnect with biological sex or birth-assigned gender.

I’ve nearly gotten into physical fights with people who say things like “You wouldn’t remember that, you’re so young” or “Just wait till you get older!” I cringe when waitresses call me “hon” or “sweetie.”  I spent most of my twenties in a state of discontent. All that energy and motion, college days amassing friends, drugs, sex, go go go and don’t forget to figure out who you are. It wasn’t for me. I was a lousy young person.

I’m still young, relatively speaking. But the older I get the more relieved I feel. There’s more time to reflect on what’s happened. Things slow down (even as time seems to pass more quickly).

The term “age dysphoria” is a bit of a bad joke – everyone starts young and gets older, while transgender people don’t have the luxury of naturally migrating from one gender to another. I realize now that when people assume I don’t know something because of my age, or call me naive, they aren’t putting me down. They just don’t understand that inside me is an 80-year-old man who wanted to learn to play bridge when he was in high school.

I’m writing this in early September. There’s a palpable chill to the air. I love summer, don’t get me wrong, and I had a good one this year with just enough dancing, swimming and hiking. But summer is youth. I remember lying in bed one summer Saturday morning when I was eleven and listening through my open window. Kids playing, dogs barking, cars whooshing past. It was all too much. I was immobilized by the bounty of it – too much life. I didn’t know where to start.

There’s a relief to fall, to the downturn. It’s rained so much in the past few days, all I’ve done is sit inside and watch movies and I’ve loved every second of it. Bad weather means I don’t have to go outside, I don’t have to take advantage of every single minute of my life and live as fully as possible. I’ve always been better at sitting back and contemplating. Nostalgia is my favorite emotion.

Sometime in July it occurred to me that I only have a limited amount of summers left. How many? Fifty? Forty? It’s sad to think of it in those terms. Still, I’m not afraid of getting older. I know my body will break down as I age (it’s already starting – just slightly), but as long as my mind is good, as long as I can think and reflect, I welcome it.

My favorite fall album is Camper Van Beethoven’s “II & III.” Here is the first track from it, “Abundance”:

New Story

I’ve been trying to write memoir. I just put a new story up here.


I’m going to be interviewed LIVE for a local web show, Positive OUTlook, this Thursday, September 1, at 1pm. Just go to to watch the live feed. Afterward it will be archived on their YouTube channel:

The show is health oriented, so talk is going to be along those lines (fantasy as part of a healthy sex life, etc). There’s a number where you can call in and also a chat room, which could be fun.

My Life In Camera Phone Pictures

A photo essay by Natty Soltesz

My life has changed completely in the last four months, and one of the more minor changes was that I got a new phone that takes pictures. Here are some that I’ve taken during this period (some are very NSFW so I’m posting them after the jump).




First of all, have you noticed how poorly this site has been operating lately? I called my hosting service today and they were like, “Oh yeah, we’ve been having trouble with that server for the past month,” and I was like, “Okay, so move it to another server,” so that’s what they’re going to do. So hopefully it should work better.

I don’t even know what to say on this website lately. There’s too much going on. I had to euthanize my cat a little while back. The vet came to my house to do it, which helped. I took his body to my hometown and buried him in the woods.

I sold my first collage at an event in Pittsburgh called Art All Night, really a fantastic thing. It was the first time I’d sold a piece of visual art on its own merit, so that feels pretty great.

I started writing again, I submitted something to Best Gay Erotica 2012 just the other day, so that feels good too.

I guess that’s it.