I always knew that I liked boys.
I just didn’t know that liking boys meant I was gay until probably around the seventh grade. For most of my adolescence, I thought it was normal for all boys to like other boys. Truly, I would say it was about the time that I hit puberty, really, before I figured out I was different.
And it made me scared. Really scared. Other boys at my school had already come out of the closet, and I saw the way they were treated. Most of them were bullied. And the ones that were socially accepted, were still introduced with, “Oh that’s Jimmy, he’s gay.” Kind of like it was a sweater they were wearing. Like, you know, you had to wear this sign that you were gay. You couldn’t just be you. You couldn’t just be Jimmy, or Steve, or Luke. You had to be those things with a qualifier. You had to be you, in spite of you.
I envisioned meeting him in person for the first time over coffee. We would discuss the latest headlines and we’d hit it off so well, that he would ask me to join him for a walk in the neighboring park. Birds would be chirping, the sun would warm our backs, and children would giggle as we walked by the swing set holding hands. I would look up into his towering, dark chocolate eyes, and I would smile with no words. He, in turn, would lean down slowly to meet me, and just before his lips would place themselves so tenderly on mine, he would whisper, “I love you.”
“Shit,” I cursed.
1. Discuss intimately the details of your anger management issues on the first date. Tell me how you were nearly institutionalized for harming your siblings during your formative years, but that it’s all okay now because you’re medicated and haven’t had a relapse in a few months.
2. Ask me if I can appreciate a certain degree of discretion. When I ask you if you’re being discreet about your sexuality, you should reply, “Nah. It’s just that my boyfriend is out of town.”
3. Pose the question, “Are you conservative, or liberal?” and lead me to believe that you’re not referencing my political views. Then, immediately go in for the kill with a drunken, wet kiss. You know, the kind they write about in movies. Those slow-motion moments from the 90’s. Wait. Never mind.
4. Look absolutely nothing your profile picture.
Split the check. No really, I insist.