I was at my old university gym when I bumped into an old friend whom I hadn’t talked to in years. For two years in university, we were very close friends… and he had a massive crush on me.
He was an incredibly good-looking, kind-hearted, and chivalrous boy. He’d go out of his way to hold doors for women and disabled people, he had the looks and build for a GQ cover, and he had a photographic memory, which probably blurred into a not-untrue trait of being a caring soul. He was perfect boyfriend material. Hell, he was husband material.
We were close and he’d go out of his way to make time for me, coming to last minute concerts when my friends bailed, going to movies alone together, and just hanging out. For TWO YEARS we carried this on and the closest he came to admitting his feelings was when he looked me in the eyes and told me he was really worried about me when I told him about the time I smoked pot and got into a bit of trouble. Being me, I deflected it off into a joke, probably saying I was a “strong independent black woman who don’t need no man” or something that was HILARIOUS and culturally relevant at the time.
But I knew. During the two years, I knew he had feelings for me and I tried playing them off because why talk about your feelings when you can brush them under the rug and hurt people around you? 🙂 This will make me sound like a total asshole, and I was, but I’d lie to him/myself and gush about my “type of man”, which would be of another race, or some other quality that he just didn’t and couldn’t have.
Mmmmmmmmm typing that out made me confront how horrible I was.
MOVING ALONG, in hindsight it was a terrible defense mechanism for me to avoid confronting my sexuality – I probably (okay, definitely) hurt him and placed the ‘blame’ on him. And the tired old “It’s not that you don’t like men, it’s that you haven’t met the right one yet…” spiel went on like a broken record in my head.
I never met his friends, but when he wasn’t with me, he was with them. (Him and I met through on a varsity team but we only had a handful of mutual friends). But I knew these guys were constantly whispering malicious things into his ear. I suspected they were perpetuating bro-culture, telling him he was getting friendzoned and to stop talking to me.
Because eventually he did.
During our years of silence, I saw on Facebook he’d gotten himself a gorgeous girlfriend. Although, when I asked about her at the gym, he told me they’d broken up, but not before accidentally revealing they’d had a few fights over me (ME!?) and disagreed on whether or not I liked him, having spent so much time with him.
Seeing him again at the gym sank my stomach a little – my 6th gay sense planar was hit with a feeling of obligation to come out to him. I felt like I owed him an explanation – to let him know nothing was wrong with him, it’s just that I was gay and not attracted to him. On the other hand, I drew pause on this notion as it implied an apology for hurting his masculinity – as though I was apologizing to him for being gay and not being attracted to him, for wasting his two years of time and effort.
Let me stop right there.
I do not owe anybody a coming-out. Not my friends, not my family. My sexuality is part of my identity and its disclosure is a privilege. I understand this completely. So why was I feeling this? Well, that’s the point of this blog – to understand my own feelings – so here’s a realtime unravelling of my thoughts:
A.) I had intentionally hurt him on a few separate occasions with my words. And I was apologizing for that.
B.) We never talked about his feelings for me. I always deflected it, because perhaps that meant skimming too close to confronting my own sexuality. So I never gave him closure. I think this feeling comes from owing him closure. I was never brave enough to confront this myself AND in the process give him closure. So coming out to him was a two-fold act: I’m asserting strength in my sexual identity and proving it by setting the past right.
I’m comfortable with B. He tried and tried and tried and was left hanging. I value closure and empathized with him. Him chasing a lesbian is the same as me chasing a straight girl. Haha no just kidding, straight girls ARE SO MUCH WORSE.
I told him we should go for drinks sometime. I personally wanted to comb all of this out. Doing so in the hallway of a gym wasn’t the best place to go through years of feelings. He enthusiastically agreed and I think it’d be therapeutic for both of us if we did this. After all, didn’t a wise man once say alcohol was the best form of therapy, nope no nobody said that
* So I’m coining this as Gayclosure: (noun) a feeling of obligation to come out to someone who had a massive crush on you while you were closeted, after years of not talking to them, thereby giving them closure and asserting your own sexuality.