Feb 1, 2016

Best Friends

Before you come out, "best friend" is often code for "boyfriend," or someone who would be a boyfriend if only you knew that gay people existed.

After you come out, you realize that a "best friend" is something entirely different.

Not a romantic partner, although you may share boyfriends and hookups.

Not a roommate, although you may live together.

Someone with whom you share a fraternal bond, someone closer than a brother, closer than a lover, who stands beside you as boyfriends and jobs and years pass.

I don't know how best friendships begin.  You meet, and it's like you've known each other forever.  He moves instantly into an empty space in your life that you didn't even know existed.

You may mistake the instant connection for passion, and date for awhile, but after a few weeks or a few months, you realize the truth: your connection is on another level altogether.

I know how best friendships end:

1. They require constant contact.  When one or the other moves out of town, a daily barrage of letters and emails gradually diminishes to once a week, then once a month, then "it's been a long time -- how you doing?"

2. They are exclusive.  They can withstand casual boyfriends, but not a serious relationship.

When one of you moves in with a partner, the other becomes an ordinary friend, one of several who you call every few days, part of the rotation of guys invited over for dinner every few weeks.

Since coming out, I've had six  best friends.

Bloomington: Viju.
Hell-fer-Sartain, Texas: nobody
West Hollywood:  Alan, then Raul
San Francisco: David
New York and Florida: Yuri
Ohio: Chuck
Upstate: nobody

All but Viju and David were ex-boyfriends.  All but Alan and David were younger than me.  All were outgoing, flashy, and uninhibited, drawing me into adventures that I would never consider on my own (I'm always the one in the group who says "I don't think that's a very good idea.").

Sometimes we become so engrossed in the search for passion that we forget the joy of having someone just sitting beside you on the couch.

(Illustrations borrowed from the Hot Guys of Facebook tumblr).

See also: 15 Rules of Gay Cruising.

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