I don’t know if other gay men have this problem as often as I do, but dammit, I get tangled up with straight men, or should I say “straight” men way too often. If I added up all the time I’ve spent side tracked by these, “Will it happen, won’t it happen?” situations, it would probably come out to years.
How does this happen? Well, there is that first meeting where both of you feel that electric charge pass back and forth, and you know both of you feel it. You are certain this is the soul-mate charge, and handle that first meeting like a pro. You’ve never been more charming, more witty, more intelligent and alluring than in those encounters. This will, eventually come to be known as sign number one. You find out he’s straight, but by the feelings between you, you think, “Sexuality is fluid. Maybe he’s been waiting for the right guy to test out his fantasies.” Sign number two. Your friendship develops very rapidly; your friends and acquaintances start asking how long you’ve been going out. Sign number three.
If you are involved in any of the three signs listed above, it is time for the hard truth. He’s straight, and he will not be living out any fantasies with you.
You don’t have to take my word for it. You can find out for yourself as I did that this is not going to turn into the love of your life. This is not going to be happily ever after. This is going to turn into something humiliating and in the end, very, very painful.
In every one of these situations I have navigated, I have acted with what I think is a great deal of grace and courage. I reach the point where I can’t bear for things to go on as they are, this constant closeness, this terrible proximity where both of you are just waiting to see if anything is going to happen. The hours of sitting together, alone. The hushed, intimate conversations. The constant questions from everyone you know. After a while, hearing your friends tell you that when you enter a room, when you open your mouth to speak you are the only person in the room for your “Is he or isn’t he” friend. Eventually, I have to lay my cards on the table, express my feelings, and live through the inevitable.
And it is inevitable. No, he could never be more than just friends with you. No, he has no homoerotic fantasies. He didn’t mean to confuse you. This is what guys do when they hang out, it was never anything more than friendship.
From here, there is nothing but the awkward dwindling of friendship, where they may or may not fuck your closest female friend. Then, not long after the beginning of the end a friend asks you how Mr Nomore is, and you have to reply, “I don’t know. I haven’t seen or heard from him in a while.”
It is like breaking up. Breaking up with a fantasy so tangible you were sure it was just a day away is every bit as ugly and heartbreaking as it is to break up with someone you’ve been with for two or three years. The danger of these hetero interludes is that it is really, really easy for your heart to get really, really invested in the fantasy. You do fall in love, and you need to nurse yourself back to yourself in the aftermath.
I swore after the last of these I wouldn’t let myself get wrapped up like that with a straight guy again. And I’ve been doing very well at that. That being said, the waiter at my favorite outside bar is throwing me for a wild card. Is his increasing familiarity a sign of interest? Is he checking me out and turning away when I turn my gaze towards him? Were his suggestions of good hiking trails and the use of the word “amazing”, in that tone, with that look in his eyes a sign he wants to show them to me himself? I vow to keep my resolve, as I sit here, writing and watching him work.