[oasis] [columns]

Josh Puetz

March 1997

Changes

"Well there's a bridge
And there's a river
That I still must cross
As I'm going on my journey
Though I might be lost
And there's a road I have to follow
A place I have to go
Well no one told me just how to get there
But when I get there I'll know"

-Whitney Houston, Step By Step

Well, it's a new year, and I'm going to be trying something equally new in my monthly columns. Really, how many articles can I write on the woes of gay life. My own life has been getting steadily happier for a while now. It's time for something more upbeat in this column to reflect that.

I've recently started dating somebody. For legal reasons (and so he doesn't get pissed off at me), we'll call him Guy. I met Guy online, which isn't anything new for me. Since I started using the internet and writing for Oasis, I've met lots of really nice gay guys online. However, Guy was different. He genuinely seemed interested in being friends with me first and foremost.

I was a little apprehensive about meeting him in person. The few other times I had met with gay men I had talked to online, I felt like I was a rack of lamb in a meat market. Blind dates are fine, but it shouldn't be expected that I'm going to put out. I'm just not that kind of girl.

So I met Guy, and we got along great. Now that I think about it, I think Guy and I got along a little too great at first. It's funny how a cute smile can make me abandon my principles.

Fast forward to today. Guy and I live some distance from each other, so I only get to see him about once a month. There's also a little bit of an age issue between us. I'm 20, he's a little older than I expected (we'll just say a little under ten years older than me). I don't really know where I relationship is heading, but I'm having one hell of a time finding out.

It's finally happened. I'm out to the last of my closest friends. This means that all of my friends and my parents know about my sexual orientation. It still blows my mind when I sit down and realize it. My friends are at varying levels of comfort with me now, ranging from complete acceptance to caution.

I guess I'm now officially a Gay Young Man. What strikes me as strange is that I don't know many other Gay Young Men (in real life). This concerns me; I keep feeling like I should have more contacts in the gay community.

Eau Claire, Wisconsin doesn't have a very large gay community, though. That's a point I've made more than a few times in this column, but I keep feeling like I'm making excuses. They few gay college students that I know on this campus seem to each have issues with their sexuality. Above all, I can't stand a group sitting around and crying over their own hard luck. Sure, being gay is hard. Now get over it, get out there, and live a good life.

Maybe that's just my own style of thinking. I've spent so many of my teenage years regretting and hating myself that I'm sick of it. I guess I'm sick of seeing it in other people my age.

When exactly did my life turn into a sitcom? And why am I not the lead character? Instead, I'm like one of those reoccurring extras. Sure, I'm in every seen, but I'm usually the last one to find out about news in my circle of friends.

Lately, it seems like my life consists of just me and my friends. When Guy came to stay with my one weekend, he commented on how much time I spend with my friends. It's true; I have a set of about eight friends that I spend time with every day. They're everything to me, and just about everything that happens in my life revolves around them.

Now it turns out that one of them is leaving. Carly (not her real name) is not coming back to UW-Eau Claire next semester. She is one of my best friends, and I'm not sure how I'm going to make it without her.

She's the woman that I tried to have a normal heterosexual relationship with a long time ago (oh how we laugh about that one!). She's the one that I tell all my secrets to. And she's the one that I consider my best friend.

If this was network television, the show would go on and Carly would be replaced next season by a new character. I'll probably find other friends to succeed Carly, but they can never replace her. I know that change is what life is all about, but I know that I'm still going to miss my friend.

That's it for this month. Thanks again for all the cool email that I've been getting. The stream of marriage requests if flattering to say the least (just kidding). Talk to you next month.


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