I want to start by giving a shout out to Jeff Walsh. In general I don't feel that people really give a shit about other people so I think it's pretty incredible of Jeff to host this web site. He can never possibly know how this column has changed my life. I felt so totally alone in the world. For a long time I just read the columns on Oasis until I was just about to leave for college and start life over again. I wanted to talk about what I was feeling and what I was going through and I got to do this by writing my first column. Now, writing my column is like therapy for me. I like that I can write anything I want because I will never meet any of the people who read it. I'm figuring out how I feel about being gay and just what it means to be gay. I've also learned there are people out there who care just by the e-mail I received. When you think about it it's pretty cool that I write my column and then people e-mail me with advice or with questions of their own or just to talk. With some people I've had ongoing e-mail conversations and it's been amazing. I have to admit that I was a hostile little fuck when I started writing this column, but I'm definitely not nearly as hostile and I'm becoming more trustful of people in general. A true sign of this is that I'm using the first names of people that are in my life now in one way or another.
Now I want to talk about some of the e-mail I've been getting. My e-mail has definitely been from a variety of people. It's crossed all boundaries from gay and lesbian kids my age to older gay guys to a straight father whose son came out a few months ago. These people have helped me come to understand what being gay is. I always thought that being gay had to do with the fact that I liked guys but it's more than that. Yeah, I like guys. In my head I thought that since I'm gay I'm SUPPOSED to go out there and have sex with guys. This is what gay guys do. I was a little off the mark. If you're straight you don't feel that you're supposed to go out there and have sex because you're straight. This bit of wisdom came from a 38 year old gay man, Mark, who's been in a 14-year monogamous relationship. He also told me that it was a sexual attraction that drew him to his partner but that after they moved in together, after dating for 2 years, that eventually the sex became less and less a major part of their relationship. He said that now they occasionally have sex but that what keeps them together is their love and respect for each other and that they have a million other things in common. Okay, this is when my confusion about being gay set in. Then I heard from the father of a 16-year-old boy. His name is Eric and he has a son who came out a few months ago. Eric looked at gay web sites like Oasis to get information to try to help his son adjust. How cool is that! I imagine that when I tell my parents they will never want to talk to me again. He told me just about the same thing regarding sex as Mark, the 38 year old gay man, that sexual attraction is what brought him and his wife together but that it isn't what keeps them together. I got up the balls to ask him how often he and his wife have sex and he told me once a month if it's a good month. Okay, now came more confusion. I was thinking to myself that if I'm not going to be having much sex after being in a long relationship then what's the point of being gay. I batted this around in my head for a while before coming to the conclusion that the reason I would be with a guy instead of a girl is that I could fall in love with a guy and not a girl. I had to slap myself around a little a try not to think too far ahead.
So, now I'm at this point where I think that being gay is as much a part of me as being blonde (no dumb blonde jokes). It's what I am. If I'm lucky to wind up in a loving, long term relationship and our sex life isn't what I imagined it would be years down the road, then that is the proper course for it to take just like my blonde hair may be gray some day.
My most memorable e-mail came from a guy named Josh. There are people who make an impact in your life and he's someone who made an impact on mine. I have his first e-mail printed out and I look at it often. I think it's what took some of my hostility away. The guy is totally cool. His supportive e-mail is the beginning of what gave me hope that what I was looking for was really out there. When I read that I was kind of at the peak of feeling from another planet and he gave me a kind of hug and assurance through his e-mail. There are some other people out there too like Miles and Wes who are totally cool and help me even if I haven't exactly told them.
Now, if any of you are still with me, I will bring you to the present. I met a gay guy from school, Keith. I ran into him one day after class at Blimpie's. He didn't tell me he was gay at first but he told me a few days later. I think the day he told me he really needed to tell someone. I know now that I was right. He was feeling homesick and lonely. I listened to him and became his friend. He had no idea I was gay. For weeks he thought I was this great, open minded, straight guy who didn't care that he was gay. He didn't flaunt that he was gay at all and is very closeted. I think he really needed someone to talk to but being so closeted myself and not telling him I was gay was of no help to him. He didn't wind up being the first person I came out to. I think one of the main things that made me not want to come out to him was that he told me up front that he wished I were gay and that he was attracted to me. I was not attracted to him in that way. I wish I felt something for him that would stir something in me but it didn't happen. I even tried jerking off thinking of him but it just bored me. I thought that if I came out to him and told him that I wasn't interested in him that he might out me.
I wound up coming out to a girl instead, Patty, who I met when I first started school over the summer. We had become really close and she was so pro gay in the things that she said that I decided who better to tell. She took it like a trooper. She admitted that she wanted to date me and that she was disappointed but she was totally supportive. I was able to talk to her anytime, day or night. She was always there for me while I was dealing with my confusion. Eventually, with her help I came out to my Keith. I told him upfront that I just wanted to be friends. He was fine about it even though he makes some kind of sexual remark to me everyday. I'm not offended. I'm actually kind of flattered. My coming out to him brought us even closer. It also made us both feel less alone in the world. Someone wrote to me that you have to create your own family sometimes and I think I'm doing that now.
So, here I am, out to two friends and then guess what happens. I met this great guy named David at the library at school. I was sitting at one table and he was at another. We smiled at each other a couple of times before he came over and we talked for a while and then he asked me if I was gay. GULP!!! I told him I was and he told me that he was too. We talked some more and exchanged digits. He called me later that night and asked me out on a date. A real date. Dinner and a movie. We went to a cute (oh my God, did I really say cute) little Italian restaurant in West Hollywood called Zia Fettuccine where Keith said romantic things to me and then took me to a movie called "The Broken Hearts Club", my first gay film (seeing Dean Cain as a gay man was almost more than I could take). I couldn't imagine a better date. I would definitely have put out that night but he didn't ask. He called me the next day and we talked for two hours on the phone. He's 19 years old and not out to his family. He is out to a small circle of friends at school that he met at the Gay and Lesbian Association. He had his first sexual experience the year before. He's been with three guys, one of them he dated for two months.
My column was all set to go and then last night my world changed. If you read my last column I said that I wasn't going to hold onto my virginity like it was a mutual fund (I got a lot of e-mail on that line), well, I didn't. I lost my virginity last night. David and I had our official second date even though we talked to each other every day on the phone or in person since we met a week and a half ago. His roommate knows he's gay and let him have the room for the night and stayed somewhere else. He took me out to dinner again but this time it was to a fancy restaurant on a cobblestone little street off Rodeo Drive called Via Rodeo. During dinner we talked about sex and what I imagined it would be like. He told me what he had done with the few other guys that he'd been with before. He never put any pressure on me and was totally understanding of any fears that I might have. Like I imagined, it all came naturally because I was with the right guy and it was the right time for me.
For those of you who might be disappointed in me because I didn't hold out longer, don't be. I never wanted to be a role model for anyone. Everyone has to do what's right for them. All I wanted was to have a crush on a guy before I did anything, and believe me, I have a major crush on David. I would commit to spending the rest of my life with him. Sure, I know, he's the first guy that I've been with. I may not really know what love is. I know all the shit anyone can throw at me. For right now I feel like I'm in love and maybe he will be the guy I spend the rest of my life with. Who's to tell? If I just wanted to settle for any guy I would have settled for my gay friend or for one of the guys I've met at the bars or for the first jerk I kind of went out on a date with who took me to the party in Palm Springs.
It's funny to look back on my first column now. So much has changed. I'm not ashamed of who I am anymore-well, maybe just a little. I'm still not ready to go out and tell the world or my parents that I'm gay. If I ever get hurt by someone again I know that the hurt will go away. I want everyone who reads this to know they should never give up on anything because your whole life can change in a heartbeat. If it changes for the worst it could change for the better the day after that. I feel like I should be singing "Tomorrow" from Annie or something-YUCK!!!.
I know this was long and you might not have even stuck with the whole thing, but if you read all or part of what I wrote and have any comments or anything, I hope you'll send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's been a big month for me. I've moved ahead more than at any other time in my life.