I’ve had many great conversations at Fresh Salt, a small, cozy place where all my friends hang out. It’s like our Cheers, except the bartenders are much prettier (especially Walter), and there isn’t that guy who kinda looks like John Goodman. While enjoying a solid hang with my friend Marlow –as I am wont to do– our friend Katie came by and introduced us to an old high-school friend Steve. Our interaction with Steve was as such: “Hey I’m Steve,” met with, “Right on, I’m Patrick,” followed by a handshake. Fairly textbook bar greeting, with the added bonus of my individual flair (“right on”), which I say at nearly every opportunity. (It’s my “alright, alright, alright”).
After some time, Steve left to meet some other, less cool friends and Katie’s started talking with another friend. I overheard her mention something with the words “gay” and “Steve” and “possibility,” and I said, “What’s that? Steve? Oh yeah he’s gay.” Marlow chimed in, “Yeah, totally gay.”
Now let me pause for two sentences and say that I could care less about Steve’s (or anyone’s) sexual orientation. It’s like that Jay-Z song, “I got 99 problems but your sexual orientation ain’t one” (I think that’s how it goes). Anyway, it wasn’t anything blatant that brought about the deduction, it was just one of those things like if you see a dude in tights, a sparkly jacket, and a red cape and think, yep, clearly a matador (you weren’t thinking gay were you? If so, for shame!).
Our seemingly obvious statement brought on a surprising and interested response from Katie and her friend. Apparently, they’ve had their suspicions about Steve’s sexual orientation since high school, and the going rumor is that he just never felt comfortable coming out (Steve – I know that’s not your name and you’ll probably never read this, but you should be happy, so come on out. Obama said it’s cool). It was one of those situations where the people around him didn’t want to make him uncomfortable by calling him out on it, so their response was just to avoid talking about it. Some of his key tells they related were:
- He’s never kept a girlfriend for long
- He’s talked at length about how hot dudes are
- He’s generally showed more interest in men
- And finally, he gets hit on by men all the time
This led the conversation down the path of times Marlow and I were hit on by men. Marlow (who’s straight) recounted several instances. I, on the other hand, realized that I have not (at least to my knowledge) been hit on by a dude. As I thought about it more, I realized this was a bit odd. I mean I’ve been to parties my gay friends have thrown, I’ve been to gay bars (say what you will but those dudes know how to throw a killer dance party – link kinda sorta NSFW), and it’s not like I’m hostile or closed off among gay people (again, the Jay-Z line). I generally get along swimmingly with all.
The immediate response from all parties in the conversation was “Well yeah, that’s ‘cause you’re clearly straight.”
And I was a little insulted. Not because the statement was incorrect.
I am, in fact, most certainly straight. It’s not like a repulsive negative reaction to lovin’ on some dudes, I’m just like “Nah, I prefer a V over a D, thanks.” Honestly penises are just ugly and weird to me, and I’ve seen them for give or take 15 years. And no, ya jerks, I’m not just talking about my ugly weird one (shout-out to Scott Muska though), I’ve seen them in various capacities (though generally tending towards large, as the porn industry has yet to acknowledge my petitions for fair balance among penis sizes).
I guess what actually insulted me was the immediate classification. Isn’t there some ambiguity, some mystery around me? Am I that easy to figure out? Is it the red beard! I just thought I was harder to pin down. I mean is my fashion sense that terrible (feel free not to respond to that)? The bigger issue that I realized is that being completely straight is, well, just kinda boring. After all, it’s called “straight” forward not “gay”forward. In a world where everyone is doing anything at all just to get a couple of likes, going home to your heterosexual relationship to have heterosexual sex is…so…ho-hum.
“Now Patrick,” you may say, “gay people live totally normal and boring lives too, you know.” Yes, they totally do. But I’m willing to bet their normal boring lives are much more interesting than straight people’s. At least more stylish.
Then it occurred to me. What Marlow and I did to Steve was exactly what everyone did to me. We immediately classified him as gay. Maybe Steve feels the way I do about people doing that. Maybe he worries that if he were to come out, he’d be way too easy to figure out. “Oh that’s Steve, he’s gay. MOVING ON.” Maybe that’s why Steve has not officially made his announcement. He’s keeping alive the mystery I covet. Damn that’s good. Steve, you diabolical genius. That’s so interesting. So unboring. So, you know…