Friday, August 13, 2010

Perceived shadow man problem at the U of U caused me to give up on my college education in my senior year

I named my blog Daughters of the Shadow Man in order to focus on the problems that results when men who are more turned on to their own sex than to women marry and have children. That was mainly why I created my blog, but I wasn't going to write about the issue every day, but just as I went along and it came up. In Utah where the Mormon religion dominated homosexuality was more apt to be suppressed because of a biblical approach to homosexuality rather than a more up to date one. This caused gays to greatly fear coming out for fear of disapproval and other dire consequences.
When I got to the University I decided to see what I could do in the English department rather than the theater department. I snared a leading role in a play on the road my freshman year which was directed by the head of the theater department. I found out he had a wife and three children, but I thought after observing him for the run of that play it would be a miracle if he was not a shadow man. Even the fact that he was directing a play that was being done on the road indicated he enjoyed finding reasons to be out of town. Life on the road with a college theater troupe was really fun, but I could see how it could become a time when all restraints were dropped in the pursuit of a good time.
So I decided to investigate the English department first and see if I could not make my mark there. Shadow men certainly don't make it easy to detect them, but this was a problem I had been aware of since I was a small child, so I had had a lot of years to observe their characteristics. And I hoped to find a department head I thought was normal if there was one.
I soon became aware that there was one man I needed to impress in the English department if I was to do anything with my writing. He was in charge of the literary magazine which had a reputation for being a good one and he was a published 'modern' poet on his own, modern meaning his poetry was not easy to decipher. I took a class from him and thought him quite brilliant, but I felt that it was going to be very difficult to get him to focus on me. At first I thought it was because I had never written a lot of poetry which was really not my main interest. I wanted to write short stories and novels. I had also written a play already, so I thought I could do that, too.
However I found out through another female student who had written a lot of poetry that there was drama going on with him. She told me that a friend of hers was this teacher's favorite student. He was getting published in nearly every issue of the literary magazine, while her poetry was not. I got the impression she had been quite disappointed with this teacher's reaction to her poetry. She wanted me to write for an underground newspaper she wanted to start which she said would be in competition with the official literary magazine. She also said during the sophomore year that this brilliant student had married quickly when his young girlfriend became pregnant, but had divorced her after only six months, giving his reason as being he just could not stand marriage. She also told me that another of their friends, a young male freshman, had at the same time had a nervous breakdown and left college when this student and close 'friend' married. She wanted to introduce me to this student she said had recovered from his nervous breakdown and was thinking of coming back to the city. I duly met him on one of this trips to the city, but thought he had absolutely no sexual vibes for females. He still wanted us to correspond. Then my female poet friend said that since the brilliant student at the center of all the drama was now divorced, she thought I ought to meet him, too. Since he was being published in the literary magazine on a regular basis and was also playing a big role in getting out the official campus newspaper, I thought this was a guy I should meet.
At the last moment she told me L was a veteran, probably 10 years older than I was. I had also skipped a grade so I really felt a lot younger than these veterans attending college. I was really now in quite a lot of doubt as to whether I could impress any professor at my young age when veterans like this guy were proving to be such good writers.
I did not at that time think the brilliant professor was a shadow man. He had a wife and children, but I couldn't tell from his lectures whether he was unduly interested in males. He did express a great deal of love for D.H. Lawrence which I thought might be a red flag, and he did not seem too interested in either my female poet friend or me but that didn't prove anything to me yet. I did think if we couldn't impress him I doubted that any other young females who aspired to write could either.
I met L and found him to be extremely knowledgeable about literature. There wasn't anything he had not read. He talked about literature very well, too, but after a few meetings I still had not detected the slightest physical spark in him inspired by me. I thought well, he did marry that girl, so maybe he is just not the least bit attracted to me. We met to talk about literature a number of times that year. I thought he was well worth knowing for his brilliance alone. After several months and as many meetings, we met one day and he told me he wanted to tell me something but he wanted me to promise not to tell anyone. I was curious, naturally, not having the slightest clue what this could be and promised I would not tell a soul. He said, "I am in love with you." I was shocked. Mind you, he had never shown the slight interest in touching me. I had never felt the least spark from him. We had had no physical contact whatsoever in the several months we had been talking!
Well, I was not flattered, I was disturbed! That night I had a dream that I reached out to touch this older man in response to him holding out his hand to me and suddenly I saw behind his hand the body and face of Lucifer! I started being a little afraid of an older man who would target an 19 year old girl for some kind of exploitation in such a cold blooded manner. I could not figure it out other than that he might have wanted to appear to like girls. He was going for a job in college as a professor he had told me, if not there, somewhere in another state.
Also around about that time I read a story of his in the literary magazine which was all symbolic about a sacrificial lamb. I could not help but think that the sacrificial lamb was me and that his professor mentor might have known just what he was talking about.
He obviously was not going to rush things physically, and I was just about due to leave for the summer. But before I left I decided to break my promise to him not to tell what he had confided in me and see what my female poet friend thought of what he had said. I could see when I told her she was very perturbed. I told her that nothing at all had ever transpired between us of a physical nature. That I had decided he was probably homosexual, despite his marriage, so had not thought too much about him until he told me he was in love with me! I now thought he didn't want me tell anyone, especially her, because she had told me about the freshman who had a nervous breakdown over his marriage.
I did not want to make this man angry. So when I came back that fall I just sort of avoided him, and he must have detected that my enthusiasm for his company was somewhat diminishing. I had by this time had to declare my major. Thinking I could not impress the professor, his mentor, I had decided to switch back to theater. At least I could go on the road maybe and do some fun things in theater even if I could not excite the head of the theater department with my gifts.
Which I could not. I just felt that this professor, like the brilliant student who told me he was in love with me, was more removed from interest in a female student than a heterosexual would have been, but I somewhat expected such a man to be in charge of theater. Gays and theater went together. I figured he had done what he needed to do to get this opportunity to build a theater department that had become quite famous for its Shakespeare productions.
I tried for big roles and did not get them. I remember his wife and I both tried for the big role in the Mad Woman of Chaillot he was directing. His wife got the role but he would not work with her and she gave such an uninspired performance I was sure I could have done better even if less experienced. I worked on the tech in the play so I had a chance to observe there working relationship which was non existent. He acted totally bored with his wife's talents. But if his wife wanted a part, I figured he did not dare deny her. It didn't matter whether she was not the best one for the part if that was her price for putting up with him being a shadow man. In fact, that is what I thought a shadow man professor did that was bad for female students like me. He just did not act normal because he had to make sure that his secrets were safe in case someone close detected them and wanted to make trouble for him. He owed people favors for their silence. After years and years, suspicious people around an important man seem to learn to extract a price for their total acceptance of him and whatever he does. He had been head of that department for a long time. Some of these people, not even students, may get all the good parts and female students like me were going to be thrown a few crumbs, even though we were supposed to be more important. This was our only chance for an education in theater.
It is different of course when a very attractive gay student comes along. Once again the shadow man will risk his reputation and give him every opportunity it is possible for him to give, reaffirming to those who have suspicions that he is what they suspect he is. If I doubted L was a shadow man professor most of these doubts were removed when A, a brilliant gay acting student came along. He was given so many big parts his health was endangered. I took it that nothing so exciting had happened in that theater department the four years I had been in college as when A showed up.
In my senior year, I just got disillusioned with the whole university thing. I needed to leave, the sooner the better.
L, my college professor shadow man and head of my department, naturally did not ask me any questions about the source of my disillusionment. I thought he hardly dared talk to me at all, hence his great reluctance to meet with me about some reports he had gotten from other teachers, no doubt, signaling possible grade trouble where before there had been none. I was a senior. He was supposed to be looking after my interests.
Yes, I would have loved to have told him I thought he was a shadow man had he given me the opportunity, but I knew that was never going to happen. I would have told him I knew all about the shadow men and had known about them since I was five years old. Instead he had an idea that got him entirely off the hook. Why didn't I go talk to the school psychiatrist? Never mind that he probably did not know a thing about theater problems, he was there for student problems, so if I had any, wasn't he someone I would talk to since I did not seem to want to talk to him! I thought it was the other way around, he did not want to talk to me and was doing everything in his power to avoid it.
I thought he was trying to get rid of me, which meant he wasn't going to ask me anything about why I was scuttling my degree in my senior year, which is what I was doing, slowly but surely. He just did not care that much. I had become allergic to guys like him, but he was not prepared to react.
As for the brilliant now graduate student who was continuing on to get his masters I would have told him I thought he tried to exploit me by telling me he was in love with me when he did not have the slightest bit of feeling for me, but I decided I better not borrow trouble. I would have written stories about shadow men I had known with the slightest encouragement from the brilliant professor who was his mentor, but I did not get that encouragement, so I left his department.
Ambition is what causes men to marry women and pretend to have emotions they do not feel. They would be penalized very severely if they came out as gay. At that time, it was fatal for a professor to say he was gay. He would have been accused of trying to teach homosexuality to the young, so it is no wonder so many opted to marry women and get these plum jobs, trying to keep their homosexuality from showing too much.
There are plenty of women who will marry a guy who is making a name for himself even if his feelings are lukewarm. The head of my department was a famous Shakespearean director who knew many Hollywood and Broadway stars. Every year one or two of these stars were recruited to come and act in a play that had perhaps made them stars and college students were greatly excited to work with them.
Most Mormon girls are pretty submissive and would not think of criticizing an important professor. I could act very obedient and submissive if I thought I needed to, but I was to the point of throwing off this facade to emerge as my true self with my real opinions close to the surface to be expressed at the slightest opportunity. I just didn't care any more if I risked my degree. If I got the opportunity to speak out to these professors I thought the risk was worth it.
My college professor mentor decided to send me to the school psychiatrist instead of questioning me at all. So that was my state of mind when I was removed from the University by armed guard by this school psychiatrist and taken to a locked facility. I never saw the head of my department again. I came out of that locked facility with my health broken but not my spirit.
And I would try to live long enough to tell about the toll the shadow men may extract from a society that thinks it can change human nature by encouraging secrets and lies.

1 comment:

DB said...

Gerry, this is a fascinating story and cold, hard look into the morbid workings of the university world. To be in the powerful postion of influencing young people and being influenced so much by them as to be unfair to others is something I saw too much of myself which is why I lasted only a year in college.

My lack of a degree never interfered with my career as an entertainer. I think in some ways theatre is a more honest place.



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