I’m From Bend, OR.

by Roger Wykes

Google Earth Satellite Image of Oregon

In high school I always loved going to dances, especially the dances where guys wore formal wear. I have always felt sexy wearing beautiful clothes, and there were very few socially acceptable opportunities in rural Oregon for guys to wear them. I was in eager anticipation to go to my Junior Prom because I could not miss one of my few chances to wear a tuxedo.

I knew I was gay, but was completely closeted, so the prospect of finding a date to go with had me terrified. Finally I asked a good friend to go with me, who happened to be a girl. I remember what I wore explicitly: a simple black tuxedo with a matching maroon cumberbund and bow tie. I thought I looked very classically handsome without being too flamboyant. I tried very hard to avoid anything that might remotely call my sexuality into question.

At the dance I was having a great time with my friends, and as I left the dance floor after an arousing Britney Spears dance re-mix, I passed a guy sitting off to the side. He casually looked my way, smiled, and said, “Hi there gorgeous, looking good.” It took me by surprise for a moment, but then I completely dismissed him. Not because I was embarrassed, or even afraid, but because he couldn’t have possibly been talking to me. He must have been flirting with some girl behind me. Another guy could never possibly find me attractive. Later I found out that he was gay and interested.

I will never forget that moment on the dance floor because for the first time in my entire life someone had made me feel attractive, and it had nothing to do with the clothes I was wearing.

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