The European Slippery Slope

Many years ago someone asked the all important and often annoying question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” To which I quickly replied, “I want to be a European.”

An ex-gay program leader once challenged me that I was “too European,” and this was especially bad since he believed many gay men in the USA aspire to the cool sophistication associated with Europeans. High fashion, Old World charm and baguettes–a recipe for disaster.

At age 17 I made my first trip to Europe as a proud member of the United States Collegiate Wind Band (I hated that name especially since I played the tuba). We toured England, France, Beligium, Austria and Germany. I loved every second of it (except for the asthma attack after being smothered by a delicious goose down duvet and sinking into goose down pillows), and wanted more and more.

Since that summer of wind banding it, I have returned to the UK and Europe at least 20 times, staying for as long as three months on two ocassions. So far since this time last year, I spent nearly three months in Europe and the UK. A second home?

Even my blog revels evidence that my life gets more and more wrapped up with wonderful, thoughtful, funny Europeans. Half of you folks who leave comments are from the UK and Sweden.

Yesterday I took yet another slide on the European slippery slope–I bought a mobile (translation–cell phone). Oh and it is lovely. So tiny you can swallow it. I can use it throughout Europe and in the US.

After meeting with Dave at Greenbelt and James Alison and Jeremy Marks and then this weekend with Esther and Contemplative Activist and next week with Anna HP and Alex, well, the mobile is quickly filling up with wonderful, thoughtful, funny Europeans.

Well, I am off to Oxfordshire for the weekend and then to Sweden on Monday. You can check out the schedule here.

This post has 11 Comments

  1. Steve Boese on May 11, 2007 at 3:46 pm


    Somehow, I hadn’t yet picked up on your status as an ex-tuba player. Quite the picture… young P commanding an instrument bigger than himself.

    Mom says ‘hi’… Hartford is treating her well so far…

  2. Joe G. on May 11, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    Oh, so that is how you learned to use your mouth so well. Got it!

  3. Liadan on May 11, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    But… but if you move to Europe, I really *won’t* ever get to see your show(s) outside YouTube.

  4. alex resare on May 11, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    As a almost european you have to watch ESC now tomorrow. Not as much schlager as it should be but very, very gay.

  5. Christine on May 12, 2007 at 2:36 am

    I want to challenge you on your FI regarding calling your cell a “mobile.”

    You cannot respond for 24 hours.

  6. Anna HP on May 12, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Touché Alex, Peterson really needs to watch ESC tonight. Especially since the swedish group are living in Malmö and are friends of my roomie 🙂

    And I am happy that I am looked upon as a funny, thoughful european. Can’t wait to see you, P.

  7. Therese on May 12, 2007 at 11:33 am

    Hey, so I´ve been told that you are coming to Sweden next week! If you have the time it would be great if you would like to hang out…I can bring….tartex… 😛

    I have the same number as before..otherwise my email:

    / Tessan, Rainbowtheater

  8. Anonymous on May 12, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    You played tuba, too?! ….

    — Tom D.

  9. PW on May 12, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    The notion that ex-gay program leader had that you were ‘too European’ goes to show how culturally based rather than Scriptually based the entire ex-gay movement really is. Like many of our fellow citizens, they’re convinced that American heterosexual male behavior has God’s stamp of approval on it. The irony is that one can’t help but be struck by the similarity of this attitude to the attitudes of past American missionaries who considered Westernizing as part of their ministry to local peoples. And we know how those situations turned out.

  10. Peterson Toscano on May 15, 2007 at 2:35 am

    Yes, yes, I played the Tuba, and it was one of the HUGE ones. As I lugged that sucker around Europe, I longed to be a flute player.

    joe g, hush! You say so little and then its so cheeky. (yes, Christine that is British for I wanna challenge you back 🙂

    liadan, we have to make this happen. Perhaps YOU are the reason why I have not yet moved to Europe. Sort of like when some Christians talk about the last tribe of people FINALLY hearing the Gospel, it throws open the door to Christ’s triumphant return–which always seemed like a self-centered approach to spreading the Good News).

    Alex, oh, and I want to sing schlager when I grow up in a band alongside of Anna HP!

    Tessan, dude! I think of you everytime I think of darkness and death (and I know how much YOU and Emily appreciate that!)

    Tom D, still want to room with me at FGC or has Joe G scared you off?

    PW, exactly! The more and more we look at the exgay movement, we can see that it has very little to nothing to do with the Bible and faith and so much more to do with culturation, conformity, power and privilege.

    BTW, I went to the supermarket and bought some Tartex, so I am fully settled here in Sweden.

    Although someone, wishes to thwart my advancement as a gay European, must have cursed my mobile phone, cause I blew through those minutes I purchased faster than you can say Bloody Hell and cannot seem to figure out how to top it up with more pounds. hmmmm…is that spiritual warfare or something????

  11. Anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Peterson, I am not convinced that there is room for TWO gay ex-tuba players in the same dormitory at FGC, much the less in the same room.

    And, to address your query, I don’t scare easily.

    — Tom D.

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