Oct 2, 2015

Why There's a Picture of Me and a Girl in My Parents' Bedroom

Younger gay guys are often shocked to discover that I used to date girls. "Are you bisexual?" they ask. "Were you trying to 'turn' straight?"  Was it a screen, so no one would find out?" 

"No."

"Then...why?"

I think for a long time, wondering myself.   But in the end there's only one answer: "I had no choice."

During my childhood in the 1960s and 1970s, heterosexual desire was assumed universal human experience.  Little boys might think "girls are icky!," but once they hit puberty, they would "discover the opposite sex," become obsessed with feminine curves and smiles.  Period.  No exceptions.  End of story.

So from birth relatives, teachers, preachers, coaches, camp counselors, judo instructors, Mean Boys, and friends subjected me to a flurry of interrogations: "Do you like girls yet?  Have you grown up?  Are you a man?"

When I turned 13, then 14, then 15, obviously pubescent, yet still protesting a lack of interest, they shifted their tactics.  I was obviously "wild about girls," like every boy who ever existed. I just needed to find one who was my "type."  So they demanded: "Do you like that girl?  Or that one?  Or that one?"

They asked "What girl do you like?" more often than "How are you?"  I went to sleep each night with the interrogation ringing in my ears: "What girl do you like?  What girl do you like?  What girl? What girl?"

When I was hesitant about answering, or answered with the name of a head cheerleader too far out of my league to realistically pursue as a girlfriend, they -- literally everyone I knew -- tried to fix me up.

My father invited coworkers with teenage daughters over for dinner. Teachers assigned me female partners for projects.  Friends orchestrated chance meetings.  I was seated next to girls in the car, invited to parties only to discover that a "date" had been arranged for me, asked to fetch a book from a girl's house.  When the waitress smiled for her tip, I was advised "She likes you -- ask her out."

During high school, I succumbed to dates with 8 girls, including Julie, my date to the Senior Prom.

Everyone was going.  And during the spring semester, no one could talk about anything else. Finals, graduation, college plans?  Who cares!  Let's talk about corsages, tuxedos, dance steps, limousines, and fancy, expensive dinners at Jumer's Castle Lodge (which had rooms to rent upstairs, they told me with a leer).

Everyone wanted to know who I was bringing.  Friends I hadn't talked to in years accosted me in the hallway to ask "what girl?" "what girl?" "what girl?"

The full post is on Tales of West Hollywood.