I have come to the realization that commitment is a full time job and I would rather be on a cigarette break.
I woke up the other morning to find my guy-friend (read: friend with benefits) watching me.
Staring at me.
With his eyes.
It was a bit startling.
“Um…good morning. What are you looking at?” I asked him.
“You,” he answered.
Did one of my hair extensions decide to migrate while I was sleeping? Was something, God forbid, hanging from my nose?
“Um…okay. What about me?” I asked rather anxiously.
“Just that I feel so good when I’m with you,” he replied.
“Well, I have been doing this for a long time,” I joked, making an obscene gesture with my fist and lips.
“I’m being serious,” he pouted. “I’m not talking about the messing around. That’s great too, but I feel really connected to you. I think I’m falling in love.”
“Oh my God,” I blurted out.
“What?” he asked.
“I can’t believe you just said that.”
“Why? It’s true,” he explained.
“Well, I…wow. Where are my boxers?”
And with that dear readers, I leapt from the bed, grabbed my shit, gave my guy a quick kiss, told him I’d call him later, and ran down two flights of stairs and across a parking lot, all the while clutching my boxers in one hand and some of my “hair” in the other. I do believe I frightened a few pedestrians that morning.
I was frightened too.
You see I don’t have a real good track record when it comes to romantic relationships. I’m a (sometimes) good son. I know I’m a great friend. And lets just say I know my way around a bedroom…or a laundry room, or a dorm room, or the backseat of a car for that matter. But I digress, when it comes to the concept of committing to intimacy on a more emotional level, I suck. And not in a Chi Chi LaRue way.
My lack of allegiance to this idea, I’m afraid, is tied into my first gay experience.
Kris, my first love, was a boy I grew up with. He was my first kiss, my first date, my first…well…you know. It was under the dining room table Christmas Eve. Don’t judge me! It’s not like your first time was Buckingham-Fucking-Palace. The feelings we had were so exciting and new. They were also terrifying and confusing. We were two teenage boys living and playing with some pretty grown up ideas. Maybe a little too grown up.
I always had a strong feeling that my life was meant for something bigger than just being ho-hum me. Kris, on the other hand, had a hell of a time dealing with his sexuality. I became more socially and politically conscious of what being homosexual meant and thrived under the notion that I was somehow a part of a change coming to the world. He never quite got the grasp of finding his true identity. He couldn’t rise above the homophobia and intolerance that fill our world. I think the saddest part of all is that he could never truly rise above the homophobia and intolerance he had in himself.
I’m a person that generally requires answers to my questions, and there is so much about our story that has been left blank. Why are some people designed to withstand certain situations and prosper, while others crack under the pressure? Do people really have any idea that this ongoing fear and intolerance towards gay rights and acceptance is sending damaging messages to our youth? I see the kids today (I laugh to myself for calling them that, because I am SO OLD at 28. Who the hell am I? Marianne Faithfull?) and I pray on everything that is holy to me (right now a stack of Madonna CDs, as they are handy) that they take advantage of the resources available to them and that they live strong, confident lives. ANYONE taking his or her life because of something we are born with is so unnecessary and tragic.
I wish someone had been able to tell Kris that.
Why isn’t love enough to save those we love from all of this bigotry, hatred, and intolerance we encounter in this world? I’ve grappled with this question for years now. I confess that not coming any closer to an answer has tainted my view of relationships in general. It’s hard to get truly close to people when you’re afraid that something bad will eventually happen. So really, it’s no surprise that each of my subsequent relationship have been doomed from the start. I mean, come on. With this frame of mind, even Prince Charming doesn’t stand a fucking chance. I know there are a lot of people out there like me. They’ve been burnt, hurt, rejected, and dejected all in the name of love.
But it can’t stay like this forever, can it?
I’d like to think that someday my views will change. Just imagine it: me recognizing the importance and validity of commitment, shunning my fear of it and embracing it. Then you. Then the world! Wouldn’t that be something?
Or is that a little too Oprah, even for me?
For right now, though, one step at a time.
Maybe I’ll get the balls to tell my guy-friend that I have feelings for him too.
But first I think I’ll have a cigarette.
Essential Download: "I Know Things Now"
Artisit: Original Broadway Cast
Available On: Into the Woods
Originally published in the June 2006 issue of The Empty Closet, New York State’s Oldest Continuously-Published GLBT Newspaper, published since 1973 by the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley.