I’m From Leicester, UK.

by tim

That’s the way it feels sometimes. Disgusting. I’ve just been reading I’m From Driftwood. Before that I was masturbating. I stopped. It felt disgusting. Not the physical act – what I was looking at. Or maybe not. I thought I’d write this instead.

I’m seventeen, and consider myself gay. I’ve told a fair amount of people. My best friend was first. “What?” he said. “You can’t be. I know you too well. It’s just a phase.” That made me smile. A few weeks ago he casually mentioned he always knew. Which version is true I don’t know. Both I guess.

My parents know too. I didn’t tell them. Well no, I did. I didn’t want to though. Both put me in a position where I had to tell them. They already knew, of course. Some parents just do I guess. It’s not like I’m effeminate. Anyway, I’m a little bitter about it. It was mine to tell, not theirs to take. They love me though. In their separate ways. My mother was being selfish – why hadn’t her son told her first? My dad was upset – why can’t his son talk about things with him?

I’ve had four kisses. Two girls. Two boys. The first was New Year’s Eve 2007. I had a soft spot for my friend. We were drunk. I wanted a kiss before I turned seventeen. The second was last November. My first date. I wanted to take things slowly. That didn’t mean I didn’t want a kiss. Failed attempts. Walking back to the bus stop, I got fed up with him and pushed him against a wall, and I kissed him. I gave him the wrong impression.  I realised how annoying he is. I didn’t want to take things further.

I told quite a few people during MSN conversations. Seemed convenient. Makes it less important, less of a big thing, I suppose. One friend claims she stopped breathing.

The third kiss was the 30th December. Very drunk. In bed with two girls. All I wanted to do was hold hands with her. The fourth. At a birthday party. Boys toilets. “Take her outside, lean in and kiss her!” “Like this?” It’s not like I haven’t kissed girls, so I’m not annoyed with him for kissing me. Alcohol does funny things. I used to really like him, all last summer.

It takes a lot for me to really like someone.

I still think about Daryl a lot. I have no idea what he looks like. I have no way of contacting him. I’m scared I’ll forget his voice. That’s a long story.

The more people I tell, the worse I feel. Before anyone knew, it didn’t bother me one bit. So I like boys. And? Now people know there’s pressure. Can I remember not to mention it in front of other people? Can I trust people not to tell?

It’s not common knowledge yet and I don’t feel it should or needs to be. I’m not ashamed. I’m just not comfortable with myself yet.

I like girls a lot. I wish I could be attracted to them. I want a girlfriend. There’s so many girls to choose from. So many girls to flirt with.

It’s not always disgusting. Just sometimes. I have to think about it usually. It’s the me being gay that’s disgusting, I think. Not what I’m looking at or thinking about. It’s the fact that it’s me looking at it.

What scares the hell out of me is being old and gay. And by “old” I mean past thirty. Relationships, too. Do you hold hands in public? I don’t want to walk into a furniture shop with another man. Sex is more understandable. Love and all that – not sure yet. Oh it’s exciting, but not as much as it is scary.

My mother never mentions “it” apart from when she’s making a sarcastic comment we can both laugh to.

Some Muslim preacher wants to stone all homosexuals to death, “isn’t that awful? That’s simply awful.” You don’t need to say that, Dad. I don’t care what others think. People can be homophobic if they like. “I wonder what he’d say if it was his own child,” says my dad’s fiancé.

The fact that I’ll never have biological children. Now that’s upsetting. Sometimes I think I’ll just be celibate and adopt some children. If I find myself in a stable loving relationship, wouldn’t it be cruel to bring children up with two gay fathers?

Sex might be more understandable, but it scares me a lot. I tell myself that I’ll wait for the right guy. There may never be the right guy.

I often see boys I like. I try and make eye contact. Invisible. That’s what I must be. Oh wait, no. Of course. Boys like girls. Why would they want to look into my eyes?

Last week I went to London for the day. Lots of boys to look at. No boys looked at me. Only a man with a funny accent twice my age. How naïve can I get? The moment the tone changed and I realised what he wanted, I was scared, upset and angry. A man in central London doesn’t talk to you to be friendly. He isn’t interested in my plans for the future. He’s talking to me because he wants to fuck me. He was trying to charm me into going back to his house. Why me? Do I look gay? The woman next to me can hear what you’re saying. Help me. But he isn’t saying anything bad. Nothing explicit, nothing even remotely sexual. Just a lot of talk about how we could be “friends.” A lot of talk of how he’d like to “entertain” me. No I’m not writing my number down. I’m doing the Sudoku.

The last thing he said to me:

“You’re breaking my heart.”

Perhaps that man with the funny accent is even more vulnerable than I am.


  1. I remember thinking many of the same things as you when I was 17. But I don’t think any of them now. You’ll find someone who will make you believe in love, holding hands in public, and even who will help you believe that raising a child with two gay fathers isn’t cruel in the least bit. You’ve got a lot to look forward to.

  2. This story brings back so many memories of how I felt as a teenager, but as Nathan said once you meet that one person all those feelings change into something great.

  3. Wow. Great story. I’m 17 too, and I have some of the same doubts, like being old and gay. That creeps me out, don’t know why. Anyway, I’ve become much more secure and confortable in my sexuality over the past months. You’ll get over it, don’t worry.

  4. I’m ancient and gay (55). All I got to say is you remind me of my kids when they were 17 and of myself when I was 17. The good part about being ancient and gay is that you are comfortable in your own skin (have been for years). I don’t think I am too creepy. My kids don’t think I’m creepy. But then my kids are old (25 and 30). I agree with what everyone else has said. Age 17 is the time to find your way and when confusion reigns. You will feel much more comfortable soon.

  5. I’m (just slightly) less ancient than Philip (47) and also gay. Even though it was 30 years ago, I still remember feeling some of the things you described, Tim. I tried dating girls. I was a good kisser too. One girl said that when I kissed her it made her knees go all weak. I tried to imagine what that might have felt like.

    I found out a few years later when I kissed a man for the first time. I remember how his whiskers tickled — in a really, really good way. I felt what the girls had described. There really were fireworks to be had.

    I didn’t come out then. Not to myself or to anyone else. Instead, I ran (silently) screaming into the closet, got married, fathered a child and basically spent another decade trying to be something I’m not. It’s something I don’t recommend, especially now that I’ve been out for a dozen years or so.

    My partner (and soon to be legal husband) and I have been together for almost ten years now. We’ve built a family together complete with my son, who looks to both of us as parents, and has turned out to be an amazing young man. He’s in his third year at university and quite a talented artist. He has told us a number of times how grateful he is to be in a family where it is safe to be yourself and to talk about things. He identifies as bisexual, probably leaning toward the heterosexual end of the scale and has a very diverse group of friends.

    As for my partner and myself, we still hold hands at the ripe old age of 47. In public, no less.

    My fondest wish for you is to have what we have discovered about ourselves: that being gay will be the least interesting thing about you.

    All the best,

  6. When I was 15-17, I defined it for myself this way: I couldn’t imagine a book or movie about a gay relationship ever being anything but a comedy. Like you I understood the appeal of sex with another guy, but love? Romance? It seemed like a joke, not something to be taken seriously.

    It’s weird that that was only ten years ago, and it’s already so difficult to remember how I could ever think that. I remember the *thoughts*; I remember thinking them; I just can’t remember what it was that made it make sense.

    With complete conviction, I told the first guy I ever kissed that I’d be marrying a girl. “I’m bi — I’m sexually attracted to guys but emotionally attracted to girls.” This was six months before my 18th birthday. And I *know* I must’ve meant it back then, but for the life of me…

    About a year later, I was fully ready to love another man and to attach more meaning to that than I ever had to the thought of marrying a woman.

  7. Tim,

    It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I came to identify myself as gay, and even then I had many of the same fears as you. I didn’t want to be gay; but i also remember a time when I didn’t want to be so tall and I didn’t want be black. But all of that is part of who i am I can’t imagine life as anyone else. My guess is that its part of the process of one accepting and loving themselves. You’re light years ahead of many in this department already, so i wouldn’t worry too much about your 30s; you have a lot of life to enjoy before that time is upon you, and once it is you’ll be ready to enjoy the next 30.

  8. Phillip, Jeffrey, rafi and Marquise: thanks for sharing =).

  9. I’m nearing thirty, and I really like the idea of being with a man. But I can’t see myself with one. I never have been. It’s taken 10 years just to consider the possibility that a man could possibly find me attractive. I hope with all I can that gay death doesn’t happen at thirty. I hope it’s gay birth. Lots of older men who think I’m more than a bit of alright.

  10. All the insecurities and self doubt can’t be blamed on being gay. Truly, I think all of us, gay or not, went through a period of feeling we’d never be loved because we thought we were unlovable. And many of us fear being old and alone, I certainly do. True, it’s much harder I think to picture what you might want as far as a family life because society and the entertainment industry hasn’t really given you any picture of what a happy, loving gay family would be like. It’s all either comedic or tragic. And honestly? I think anyone who fulfilled their parents every wish is more than a little odd, except for those lucky enough to have those wonderful parents that only ask that they grow up to become good, happy, loving people. I know that it seems like a trite put off, but give yourself a few years, a chance to figure out who you are and what YOU want. The ‘rents have had their own lives, they don’t need to live yours. I think there are great things ahead of you.

  11. Thank you everybody for your comments, and sharing your experiences. It’s true that this was written on a bad day, and obviously this isn’t the extent of my thoughts and feelings. I’m definitely feeling excited for the future as well.


  12. Its 10 years now since I was in your position. I got a girlfriend, I tried to forget about my ‘feelings’ towards men but in the end I grew to accept myself before I looked for acceptance in others. I took my time coming out but it was what was best for me. Don’t rush it, go at a pace you’ll fell comfortable and you’ll come through it. I did and I guarantee you will. Now I’m ancient (in gay terms anyway – 26) but I’m happy, have a boyfriend I love and a life I am do very happy with!

  13. What a long, interesting trip it’s been so far. When I was about 18 I met a guy who was 10 years older who helped me come to terms with being gay. He never pressured me and said that if it were an option, I should choose to be straight because it was easier. He worked at a Nestle’s plant. I was so conflicted. My upbringing said that wanting to kiss him was wrong, but God, he smelled like chocolate!! I remember the first time I was in San Francisco with my boyfriend at the time and saw two men kiss on the street. I was shocked and a bit disgusted. A few years later I was in a relationship with a wonderful man and we would casually hold hands while shopping at the Safeway near our house. One of my best memories is sitting across the room from my second lover and being so in love with him that I wanted to burst. And now, almost 20 years later, we are both single, but have shared a duplex the past five years and still enjoy each other’s company, just not romatically. Who knows what the future will hold? At 17 you still have so much to experience. Some of it won’t be so good, but as with everything in life, take the lesson and move on. And along the way, hopefully, there will be moments of bliss.

  14. I think you have a linguistic gift, if you can write like this when you are seventeen. It’s quite impressive. whatever you use it for, there’s a clear voice.

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