Ben, age 6
Dallas, Texas (1984)
This picture still cracks me up! I mean, look at me: the posing, the tutu, the Bronco's t-shirt (???), the bow in my hair, mom's heels, and a cocked leg!
My parents said they always knew - hmm, I wonder how! While I don't recall this particular dress-up, what stayed with me was what my Mom lived by and instilled in us:
She'd say, 'Let's put on a show!'
My mom (RIP) was a showy woman, and she liked prizes.
Today I'm a showy man, and I like prizes too. Coincidence?
And in one way or another, we have been playing dress up ever since. Luckily for me, my parents always accepted us just the way we are. They encouraged me to be and do whatever I wanted. Thankfully, I never wanted to be a ballet dancer or a football player, because I still can't dance or catch a ball.
I was probably about 10 when my attraction to men started to kick in. I knew I couldn't love Wonder Woman forever, so I switched gears to "Growing Pains."
I crushed on Jeremy Miller (Ben Seaver) for when I wanted a cute friend to kiss, and Allen Thicke (the dad) for that sexy father figure role. Also, I loved Ricky Schroeder on "Silver Spoons." Sooo cute! And last, Jerry Sharell, as Mickey the bass player on Kids Incorporated!
Of course I also loved "My Little Pony," brushing out my sister's Barbies hair, and flipping through the International Male Catalog. What can ya do?
Who knew that I'd grow up wanting to be an ice skater, then a musical theater performer (who acts and sings, not dances), and who now manages a hair salon in Boston - that my husband owns?! That is pretty cool.
And anything is possible for anyone - even for a little gay boy from Texas.
Ben's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Jeremy Miller (Ben Seaver on "Growing Pains")_____________________________________________________