1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Allan
    A 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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."
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.