It’s funny because when you look back at my life I’ve always known I was gay. Finally admitting that to myself was the hardest thing. So hard in fact, it was only a year ago that I said the words out loud. There is one person in my life that is especially important to me, because he is the first close friend that I’ve had that has only know me as “gay.” Steve and I met last summer shortly after I “revealed” (they all knew anyway) to my close friends that I was gay. Slowly, Steve and I forged our own relationship separate from our mutual friends, and overtime it is safe to say that we became best friends.
First off, a little back-story. I never have and never will define myself solely as “gay”—it simply is a word that describes who I have sexual/romantic relationships with. Coming out was so hard because I feared by doing so, I would become something else—a semi-degrading stereotype I had seen on television or in movies. I would wake up one morning and have this uncontrollable urge to wear pink and only order vodka Red Bull at the bar (not that I have problem with pink or Red Bull). But alas, nothing changed. It was merely the last bit of fear that remained about being myself. The only thing that has changed is the lack of secrecy I have about my personal life. I simply am what I am, and I don’t have to hide it. These are all things Steve taught me.
Steve can be described many ways, but the one trait that is relevant to my story is that he is straight. Other than sharing mutual friends, we have endless common interest and an eerily similar upbringing. He feels more like a brother than my actual biological sibling. It is safe to say we call each other more than most men do, spend 75% of our week together, and go out on what most people would call dates. But when it comes down to it—I think we need each other. I am his resource on the pains of growing up, and he just listens to my self-conscious rants, sorts them out, and turns my fears into strengths. I often ask him, “How does a guy make another dude feel sexy?” “Am I sexy?” “Do you think I will ever meet someone in these shit hole bars we always go to?” His answers subsequently are, “Just be yourself.” “You are the sexiest person I know.” and “God damn it, one day that door will open and out of a gloomy haze a tattooed metal-punk with great hair will walk in and buy you a drink.”
It is these little comments that make me feel normal (not that anyone is really normal). I don’t know why, but they do. This little 5’6” punk with a greasy beard, ripped t-shirts, and cut offs makes me feel like the most well-adjusted person on earth. The two of us make quite a pair.
So at its core this story is simply about intimate acceptance. It is a rare thing for a straight man to so deeply share himself with me, a gay man. Or at least I always thought it would be. But Steve has reminded me that anyone worth my time doesn’t care about my sexual orientation. It has taken me 24 years to tell a man that I am gay. And though Steve and I will never be together romantically, he has taught me how to emotionally love another man. So when I do finally find that person I am meant to be with, the only hesitation I will have is trying not to tell too many cheesy jokes. I have a hunch that’s not sexy.