After ten months I finished with the military and I had a job waiting for me with a consulting engineer firm, Birch & Krogboe. This was different from the dream that I had tried to sustain of building bridges or railways in exotic countries. My work here was adding and multiplying endless columns to decide the dimensions of pipes and radiators in a complex of high-rise buildings. I had less free time than I had as a student and the first summer I could not get a paid vacation. I was given the option of an unpaid vacation and decided for two weeks in France.
There I had a couple of experiences that were hard to reconcile with my belief that I would grow out of my attraction to men. I was now 25 years old and had hardly had any satisfactory sexual contacts in seven years. A few not very successful encounters with women; that was all.
While I was a soldier, I met a young actress, who fell in love with me. I dated her for a while but one night when we were kissing goodbye, she was in the throes of passion and my cold feeling of inadequacy so embarrassed and scared me that it spelt the end of our relationship.
One earlier time in Paris, I had an affair with a woman, Yvette, who worked in a bar. Here again I couldn’t measure up to her desires. I was not impotent but I was just not interested enough to satisfy her again and again.
This was as far as I had gotten with women.
Now I had two weeks alone in France. Going south, hitchhiking, I was picked up by a man in his forties in a shining black Citroën. I didn’t understand much French, but the way he put his hand on my thigh did not need translation. To protect myself I covered my lap with my hands, but he placed his hand on top of mine; then I pressed my fingers together making my crotch unapproachable, but he still had his hand on my thigh. By now I was aroused, and I finally gave up my defenses and leaned back pretending to sleep. He at once opened my fly and his hand found its way in. I had hardly come when he stopped the car and told me that this was as far as he was going. I had to get out, and as I saw him continue down the road I felt cheated and dirty. I had not liked him, and yet I had been excited.
Back in Paris I went to a café to have a drink. There were several young Senegalese men at the bar, and I could not help staring. Shortly after, one of them came over and asked if I wanted to go with him. I did, and we went to my hotel. He was very warm and open, but as soon as we were finished he asked for money. I said he should have told me before, but he became threatening and I had to pay up. Again I felt cheated, and I was shaken by the intensity of my desires and the letdown they resulted in.
These two events shook me up. They turned out to be a prelude to my coming out. You can read here about how this happened.