I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my first romantic experience. Unlike a lot of gay guys, I never really dated women. It wasn’t that I always knew I was gay, but certainly as a child I, one, didn’t really get what the hubbub was about girls and, two, felt really awkward and intimidated by them.
Anyway, by the time I came out of the closet the “farthest” I’d been with a girl was making-out a bit. And that was only for truth or dare!
As I was coming to terms with myself I found it very easy to latch onto stereotypes. I really didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. It would be easier to “fill a role” as a good friend would say. Part of that role, for me, was *NSYNC. I tried to be a pop-culture junkie as much as I could. But *NSYNC was home-base. It was up-beat, it was danceable, and some of the boys were cute. Music and silly social causes.
Anyway, one day I went with my school to this meeting at another Hartford area school. Basically students from rural, suburban, urban, private, and public schools would gather and basically argue about points with orthogonal perspectives. Nothing was achieved. But it was interesting?
One icebreaker involved one person standing up and asking the audience, “How many folks like X?” and you’d see how much in common you had with other people. So one person asked, “How many people like *NSYNC?”. I stood up. And from across the room an older student stood up and did the chorus move from “Bye Bye Bye.”
I was in love the moment he did that. He was older. He was clearly out. He was confident. Everything I wanted but was too afraid to be.
Who remembers all the ins and outs of how it came to be. He invited me to coffee and dessert with some friends I guess. And the next time, I think, yes, the next time…
We ended up at this park near the mall. I’d never been. I didn’t know it existed. But we were there. It was late summer and cool, but damp. We walked down a path to a field. The air felt alive to me. I knew where this was leading. I was all for it. I wanted it. Terrified, of course. but I wanted it. We sat facing each other on the grass. Honestly I can’t remember a word of what was said. All I remember was laying down on that grass and looking up at the sky. I remember the damn color. Mostly purple with a hint of blue to the west. And that’s when he rolled over and brushed my lips.
I almost threw up. I really didn’t think I could do this. How could I? But I did. And so did he.
In effect, he was telling me that I was just fine. That I was worth something. That I was doing “okay.” He was urging me to continue. From the field to the path to my car. Steamy with sweat. He told me I was alright.
It was one experience but now that it’s in my mind, there’s really not enough thanks that I can give. I owe a lot of myself to him. And whether he knows this or not, that’s okay by me.
NOTE: Jonathan sent me this story, where it can also be found, via his blog.