Saturday, March 4, 2023

Sissies Rule: A Little Taste of BIG LOVE

Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay. But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men.

A new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth is also starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup, and the last thing Seth wants is another relationship—but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.

As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they’re called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small-town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.

Truman leaned against the sink in the bathroom, examining his face closely. Both Mr. Wolcott and Mr. Bernard told him essentially the same thing: be true to yourself.

Don’t hide it.

Don’t be ashamed of it.

Who was he, anyway?

He was exactly what all the bullies tormented him about. He was a big sissy. There was no denying it. He had realized, through the long, sleepless night before his return to school today, that he had two choices when it came to being that sissy.

One: he could butch it up and pretend to be someone else. Just like he found glorious retro finds at the Goodwill, he knew he could also find a Carhartt jacket, work boots, jeans, and flannel shirts in a multitude of hues. Or he could go for the jock look—sneaks, sweatpants, and a sports logo’d T-shirt or sweatshirt. He could give himself a buzz cut and leave his curly blond locks on the bathroom floor. He could work to change his walk to a John Wayne swagger. He could pitch his voice lower. He could withdraw so deep down inside himself that no one would recognize him.

And that damn sissy, the one who had caused him so much trouble, would be banished, never to be seen again. Not even in the mirror.


Two: he could embrace who he was. Celebrate his inner and outer sissy. As Patsy had told him, time and time again, he was just as the Lord had made him. “The Lord,” Patsy always said, “doesn’t make mistakes, honey. It’s that simple. If there were anything wrong with who or what you are, you wouldn’t have been born that way. And believe me, you were born that way. I saw it with my own eyes.”

Being a sissy didn’t have to mean he was weak. It didn’t have to mean he was like a girl—and even if he was like a girl, so what? Why was that something bad? Why was that something to be ridiculed? Girls could be strong and smart—so what if he emulated them? His own mother was one, and look at her. She didn’t have much, but she took care of him and loved him fiercely…with an adoration and protectiveness that verged on ferocious.

He was a sissy. The choice—which was never a choice at all—was clear. He had to be who he was, to play the cards he’d been dealt. If he didn’t… well, he’d just be cheating.
And even if there were a way he could change, the one person he’d never be able to hide his true self from was himself. And what a horror that would be, to go through life masquerading as someone else.

No. Whether he was good or whether he was bad was immaterial.

He was Truman.

He stepped back away from the sink to admire himself in the mirror, and he gasped and then laughed—just a little. The person looking back at him was still him, but a stronger, more concentrated version.
A more beautiful version. His soul shone through.

Today might be a horrible day. But it was going to be on his own terms.

He turned for himself in the mirror once more. It was a good thing Patsy had worked herself to exhaustion the night before, because Truman had used the bathroom for two hours to get himself ready for school.
He paused before opening the bathroom door and heading out. He paused to blow himself a kiss in the mirror.


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