The Doubts of Giovanni van Zinnen

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By: Giovanni van Zinnen

It's not easy for me to make a decision. I promised to write something for this issue of OK-Magazine, so I'm putting my mind to it (an honest man's word is his bond) - but I can't decide on the subject of my article. I'm doubting.

Shall I comment on a television program broadcast by EO (a Christian broadcasting company) that I watched lately? I'm hardly ever at home in the evenings, but in mid-March it happened to me once again. When I switched on the television I was treated to an over-simplified EO program. The same happen-ed to me a couple of months ago, and I wrote about that in OK66 ('Talking is extremely important'). Back then, the program 'Man/Woman' featured men who had been sexually abused as children and still suffered from emotional disturbances. This time the program was called 'Antenna'; the subject was 'assistance for sexually abused children'. Two mothers, one with an abused daughter, the other with a son who'd been raped in the street, explained they were heavily disappointed about the assistance that's offered in Holland. They had called to every institute to find help for their abused children. It turned out that they could only go to RIAGG, a mental health insti-tute that the general practitioner had already referred them to in the beginning. One of the mothers said she didn't want help from RIAGG, since "RIAGG only treats families as a whole and we don't want to do that to our other child, who is al-ready hard hit because so much attention goes to Peter." There was an expert in the program who told that the 3000 annual reports of sexual abuse only form a tiny part of what is really going on; a statement she didn't document. She also gave some expressive examples from her practice. Her final conclusion was of course that the 'offenders' could get all the assistance they wanted, whereas the 'victims' were being left to their fate. I was getting rather upset. Just my luck, I thought - I'm at home on a Tuesday night and what I get to see is an EO-let's-lay-it-on-thick-program. Or does EO broadcast a program on this subject every week? This required my reaction in OK-Magazine. But well, as I wrote, it was mid-March and you will probably read this around the end of May, so my reaction isn't very timely...

Wouldn't it be time for a book review? I made a mistake in my previous review, that of 'The Quiet Prince of Kautokeino'. I wrote that these days it's practically impossible to find someone with the guts to publish a book in which the relation between a man and a boy is the main subject. But since I wrote that I've read at least two books that were all about this subject. It's certainly worth it bringing those books to the attention of OK's readers. But...

Perhaps someone should devise a puzzle once again. It certainly enlivens the magazine a lot, which can be a delight between all those articles that show how life is becoming more and more difficult for us pedos. A little humor won't hurt anyone.

But actually - Actually I've been wanting to write about my current boyfriend for a long time. That's what I want.

An adult friend of mine once said: "Those stories in OK, I actually don't like any of them. They're either unrealistic hallelujah-jubilation stories ending in orgies, or utterly sad, pessimistic accounts of people who've abandoned all hope."

A pretty black and white statement, even though it was actually correct until some five years ago. I think the quality of the stories has improved since then. The serial story about Kevin, in which the first-person narrator is the young main character, may fit quite well in the first category, but I think it's far from unrealistic. The stories of Tony Podia and Luc Schoonhove, that have been very prominent in OK the past few years, paint a rather realistic picture of how the average pedophile deals with his feelings. Yet my friend's statement incites me to write something that neither belongs to the hallelujah class nor to the pessimistic category. Something 'realistic' - something about my boyfriend... That's what I want to write. But would it be wise to do that?

I've known Rody for some three years now. He was six when, at a summer camp, he dubbed me his favorite leader (without ever having been in my group). He would search my company as often as he possibly could, to the despair of his own group leader. After everyone at the camp, including myself, realized this was serious, we accepted that he'd adopted me for this week. Then arrived Friday, and the tearful parting.

When I showed up for the second camp week on Monday morning, I was first jumped by Rody's sister: "Rody has cried the entire weekend because he'll never see you again after the camp." Then the camp leader came to me and said: "Rody's mother called in the weekend. The boy's felt bad about you not being around. You'd better loosen up your relation with him a lit-tle, so the parting will be easier on Friday." After that, someone shinnied up my body - Rody, with a present. His mother had allowed him to buy that for me, because he'd felt so sad. The second week, too, he was with me as often as possible. I could only soothe him by promising to go to his birthday the following month.

And so it went on. A birthday visit. A swim one afternoon. All together to the pictures. A day out sailing. Staying the night ("Where will you sleep?" "Well, you can sleep in the bed, and I'll sleep on the couch." "But I want to sleep with you!") Staying over another night. Then two nights. And three nights during the last holiday. To put it shortly, I feel blissful.

And what's the use of sharing my happiness with you, with the readers of OK-Magazine? I don't know. What's more, I'm afraid. Not of the police, or his parents, or public opinion. No, I'm afraid it will soon be over. I fear I'm daring the gods by putting this great joy down on paper and making it public. That's why I'm doubting. Should I be doing this?

I dread the situation will change as soon as I've written the history down. Rody might suddenly not care a whole lot about me anymore.

And yet I insist on telling you about him, about us. This is not a 'pessimistic account', there is no reason for that, but it's not going to be a 'hallelujah story' ending in a terrific orgy either. Rody and I tickle each other exces-sively every once in a while. The most intimate moments are when he cuddles up to me on the couch or in bed, but we don't go beyond hugging. And that's good, since he doesn't ask for more and I am happy to be the one who can hug him. So that's what our friendship is like. I think that's what most 'pedo-phile relations' are like.

Perhaps that's why I feel the urge to write this: it's the conviction that my story is similar to that of many of us. We fall in love with a child. We do everything we can to make the child happy. We are happy ourselves when we succeed in doing that. And a hug or an arm around us gives us satisfac-tion. It's too bad so many people regard us as rapists and potential child murderers, but for me it's no reason to be dejected. I know I'm not a selfish, sick rapist, and I know ninety-eight percent of the pedophiles aren't. Even though I don't talk openly about my preference, I hope I'm inspiring some people to believe that a friendship between a man and a boy can be something wonderful.

I'm proud of my friendship with Rody. When I take him some-where they don't know him, people always speculate about our relation. "What a sweet kid! Is that your nephew?" Indifferent to the consequences, I reply: "No, that's My Friend."

As you can see I've made the decision while writing: even though I have worries, I'm committing my blessed moments with Rody to paper. I'm sharing Rody with you. I hope it's a wise decision, but I'm not assured of that in the least; I'm that superstitious. So I'm adding to this account the wish that my friendship with Rody will last for many years to come (god, how I hope that!). I also grant all of the readers the pleas-ure of the friendship of a cute child. At the same time I'm warning you and myself not to wallow too much in that pleas-ure, because the end of a relationship can be very painful...

Well, here it is, my story that's neither pessimistic nor orgasmic. It simply is a true story. I want to conclude with an anecdote that will clarify why I'm so delighted with Rody. Last year in the summer Rody was staying with me a few days. Of course I'm seeing to it that we undertake something pleas-urable everytime he is with me. This time we went to a beach, where we swam, romped, played ball games, and played with the Super Soaker - we had a fatiguing afternoon during which we enjoyed ourselves to the full. At the end of the afternoon we were lying comfortably against each other on our towels, drying in the sun. Hesitantly, Rody began the following conversation: "Say, Giovanni, when I'm twelve, will I still know you?" To him, twelve must have seemed a long way to go, for he was seven back then, almost eight. The question he asked had also occupied my mind. A bit unsure, I answered: "I don't know, I hope so... It depends on whether you will still want to see me... If it's up to me we stay together. But perhaps you won't want to be with me anymore when you're twelve." He studied me solemnly with his dark eyes, probably consider-ing the option of his not wanting to see me anymore. "But," he continued thoughtfully, "isn't it true that - I - love -" Oh my god, it flashed across my mind, that's not possible. He's not going to say that. A boy, almost eight. Of course he's going to say 'I love going to the beach with you, so why wouldn't I want to do that at twelve', or... My thoughts were interrupted by Rody as he slowly finished his sentence. And he said it, honest! Though it was a question, he sounded convinced. "Isn't it true that - I - love - you?"

source: Article 'The Doubts of Giovanni van Zinnen' by Giovanni van Zinnen; OK Magazine, no. 68; May 1999