Tristan Paine

May 1998

Life in the Rumor Mill

Well, after a lot of time, and change in my life, I'm back. Some of you may remember me, but only the faithful OASIS readers who've been around for a year. (Has it really been that long?)

Anyway, I had two columns here a while back, but I had to stop, because my mother didn't want me sharing my personal life with people all over the place. Big deal. Are any of you really going to track me down, and find out who I am so you can vacation in my boring little town and spread things about me? I doubt it.

In truth, my mother really doesn't even know I'm starting my column back up again. Oops.

Well, let me give everyone a brief introduction. Check out my old columns to read more about me. I'm 16, and I live in a sleepy New York community (obviously not the Big Apple). Perhaps the only perk of the place is that we have a university and thus a lot of cute guys around. I'm a sci-fi buff, and I run a role playing game online. Check out the "me" page (link below) for the link to the site. I'm gay (as opposed to bisexual), and I've been on the net for about four, four-and-a-half years. Who's counting?

My first two columns were a lot of whining about me not having a boyfriend, and life being all unfair and everything. Some things have changed, others haven't. I still don't have a boyfriend, and life's still unfair, but I hope to keep the whining down to a minimum.

As for me being out and all, my mother knows, and I plan to tell my father soon (as in, probably this summer). I told my mother in December of '96, and she's not totally cool with it, but we usually don't have a problem. For the most part she just has up and down days with it. The only reason why I'm not fully out (besides the fact that everyone doesn't need to know about my sex life) is that I have a little sister, and my mother is adamant about not causing social problems for her. Which is understandable.

A lot of my friends know, but that's because of something that just happened. So let's dive into the nitty-gritty. (FYI all: I'm going to go into a little detail here. I'm an AIDS educator, so I have no qualms talking about anything and everything having to do with sex. If you're not comfortable with that, then you probably shouldn't be here.)

Okay, I signed up for the London trip which two social-studies teachers were "hosting." Week-long trip, lots of money, yada-yada. We left on April 6th, and came back on April 13th. Really we only had 5 full days in London, because of travel, but it was still a blast.

While there, I had a very free attitude, seeing as how the only people who I should have any problems with knowing is the people on the trip. Otherwise, I'd probably never see any London people again, so it really didn't matter. But it wasn't until the end of the trip that things really started to "loosen up" for me. (No, not that kind of loosen, you pervert.)

Anyway, on about the third night my room mates, and two other girls from the group had a big talk. Stuff like abortion, and religion and stuff. Somehow, we got on the topic of homosexuality. At this point, none of them knew I was gay. But this one girl was trying to argue that "if you lie to others about your sexuality, then you're lying to yourself." I can almost hear most of you going "what?!" I thought the same thing. Keep in mind that she isn't a lesbian.

Well, this was a bit too much for me. After trying to argue the point from a "straight person's point of view" I just told them that I was, and said: "That's bull. I need to protect myself. I can't just go telling everyone who asks about me!" And she replied that she didn't see why not, and how she's willing to get beat up, just to be proud or whatever. Well, that's her prerogative. But I'm mostly not like that. I mean, if you're my friend, and I know you well, I probably will tell you, sort of out of the blue, but that's just because I like to get it out of the way. And I don't like having it come up in conversation and then just saying something like "I'm gay, didn't you know?" And moving on. In a perfect world, no one would care that much, and I could say it like that. But this isn't a perfect world, and most of the time you just can't do that.

Well, after that, on the last full day we were there, I went to a pride shop. (Yay! My first one! It was a strange experience, as I kept wondering if the other people there were just straight and looking around, or if they were really gay. Being from where I'm from, it's hard to believe that people would just be so open like that...) And, later that night, is when the "fun" began.

Most of the people on the trip had gotten drunk at least once on the trip already, and a few had found out that the bar tender at our hotel served to anyone/everyone. So, about half (maybe a little more) of the group decided to go downstairs at 3 am, or so (as the chaperones would be asleep by then) to at least sit and talk, if not drink.

So, I went downstairs. Now, you should know that I'm not a drinker. At all. I mean, I'll have like a glass of champagne on New Year's Eve, and a glass of wine maybe once a month. If that. But I thought that now was as good of a time as ever to get drunk, so I ordered a glass of wine. (I ordered one glass of white wine, but the bar tender was so drunk himself, he gave me two glasses of red wine. Oye.) I drank a glass and a half of the red, and then noticed that there was a guy sitting down next to me. He wasn't pretty good looking, but not someone I'd single out in a crowd or anything. He was from another group who was also there from the states.

We starting talking and once again, homosexuality came up in the conversation. Both of us were gay. I ordered another glass of white (and actually got one glass of white this time), and we decided to go sit in the "sitting room" and talk. So we did, mostly about the upcoming prom season, my mother knowing, where he worked, stuff like that.

At about four I decided it was time for me to go to bed. He decided he was going to go to his room and go to sleep also. Well, to make a long story short, two girls egged him into coming into my room, in an attempt to have us talk alone, and my room mates to go elsewhere. My roommates said no, but me and "my friend" (we'll call him to keep his identity quiet) decided we'd go to his room to talk. We stopped by the bar to see if he had left his fanny-pack there, and everyone from both our groups saw us together.

We went to his room, talked, and one thing led to another. Soon, four of his friends were in the room, passed out on the other beds, us kissing, and eventually he gave me a hand job. This was pretty much my first time for everything, kissing and all. So it was exciting.

Well, the next morning people started finding out from other people who didn't know the full story, and once again to try and cut the story short: everyone on the trip (except the chaperones, as far as I know) found out some version or another of what happened.

Which is fine. I figured if they know, they know. Most are my friends, and I wasn't concerned. But then, when we got back to school, it spread like wild-fire, to be cliche. And now, only nine days after the event, probably 75% of my class (juniors) know, along with a few seniors, a few sophomores, and a few freshmen. Oye.

So now you know the story, and the immediate effects of all this. Because I've talked too much already, I'm going to make you all wait till next month to receive an update, and to find out the "long term" effects all this has had on me.

* * *

Tristan is a gay teen, out to about half of his friends, in a "sleepy" town, somewhere west of Central NY. He's a junior in high school, is co-president of the Respect Club (the closest thing to a gay-straight alliance in the school), a writer for the school newspaper, a member of the lit mag, in French Club, CYO, Learn and Serve America (as governing board chairman), and most importantly a leading members in the school's AIDS Awareness/Education group. He enjoys reading and writing, camping (sometimes), and meeting people.

E-MAIL: wolf530@netsync.net
Page: http://www.galaxycorp.com/ufop

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