MY (UNINTENTIONAL) DATE WITH A (CLOSETED) GAY MAN
- •I grew up in Mississippi.I can't speak for the Mississippi of today, but the Mississippi of my adolescence was entirely bereft of out-of-the-closet homosexuality. All I knew of queerness was "Will & Grace," Elton John, and the lispy voice guys would use when teasing each other in the locker room. Gay people weren't *real* - they were a concept. So when I went to college, never having met an out gay person, I was...naive. Not homophobic, thankfully. But wildly, unbelievably naive.
- •It began, as love between men often does, during a production of "Guys & Dolls."I was in the chorus - no lines, just a lot of changing costumes and singing harmonies. Because we had a lot of down time during rehearsals, my fellow chorus members and I became fast friends. One of these people was a freshman named Allan.
- •AllanA bit about Allan - He was quiet. He talked, when you engaged him, but he spoke softly, bashfully. He didn't smile much. He was chubby. His car's visor had a disc holder filled with Christian Rock CDs. And, unbeknownst to me, he was gay.
- •Allan asked me if I wanted to hang out one Friday after rehearsal, so I invited him to drink with me and my friends. He accepted.We spent the whole night drinking. Allan stuck close to me, because why not, I was the only one he knew. I thought nothing of it. I've been told as the night wore on, it was clear to everyone present that we were a there Together. Did we sit tightly packed in a chair meant for one? Yes. Yes we did. It was a large chair!
- •When it was time to go home, Allan and I caught a ride back to campus. Together.Allan told my friend to drop us both off at my dorm. I thought nothing of it. I was very drunk. I told him, "Oh sure, you can cut through here and get to your dorm, no problem." He nodded. "Sure," he said. "That works."
- •Allan followed me into my dorm's elevator. And it was here that I realized something was odd."I want to make sure you get to your room safely," he said.
- •I walked down the hall to my door, Allan close behind.We got to my door. I opened it just enough to squeeze in. I said, "Goodnight!" then quickly shut the door in his face.
- •Allan wouldn't talk to me after that night.Poor guy. I'm sure he felt humiliated. I didn't exactly handle it well. A month or so later, at our cast party, he got drunk and tried to kiss me again. Throughout the night. Then he vomited in a lounge chair.
- •I hope things got better for Allan.We were Facebook friends for a while. He would appear on my feed from time to time. He cut his hair into a faux hawk, started wearing better clothes. It seemed like he was doing okay and felt more comfortable in his own skin. I don't know when or if he came out, but I hope his future is filled with men who want to date him. Or, at the very least, know they are dating him.