Quite a while back I wrote about my more significant childhood crushes and in doing so promised to tell you a certain story from my college days. No one can ever accuse CP of not keeping a promise, even if it takes me three or more years to deliver.
Well Gentle Readers, today is your lucky day because I'm going to tell you a story that has kept many a friend on the verge of his or her seat when I've told it in person. A story of early 20-something romantical suspense, one that is sure to melt your heart. Or melt something.
In college I was just barely out of the closet - I had only told three or four people about my feelings for other guys, and most of these friends didn't live anywhere near me. Lulu was one of the lucky ones who knew, partly because I considered her "safe": she lived far away and didn't know any of my other friends, so there was almost no chance of her being able to rat me out inadvertently.
(As an aside I will note that while I was close to Mindy June, she and I weren't super close at this particular time because she had just abandoned me by transferring colleges, and besides, I feared she would judge me for having dated one of our mutual female friends just a few months prior to all this. She told me in later years that I was cracked to think she wouldn't have sided with me, although it's always easy to say that in retrospect.)
The year was 1987, and I was especially touchy about anyone at my college knowing about me because, above all, I feared scandal in my dormitory: I had three male roommates, not to mention a whole floor of guys I had to share a shower with.
Although I'm sure it still happens today in some parts of the country, back in those days it was par for the course that if a straight person found out their roommate was gay, they would raise a stink, go to the housing director and demand that the gay person be removed. This chain of events would result not only in the serious upheaval of one's routine, but also public shaming and involuntary outing. And trust me, being outed involuntarily as a gay person in 1987 was not what you wanted.
It distresses me to this day that so many of us had to live in that kind of fear during our most formative years, years that are supposed to be filled with the magic of youthful self discovery, first kisses, heavy petting (and, if you were a girl, seat-wetting).
So to summarize our story thus far, we've set the scene with a 21 year old gay boy living with a bunch of straight guys, afraid to be discovered yet starved for affection and also in possession of the normal 21 year old boy hormones. In other words, quite the dilemma.
My 21 year old boy hormones led me to take an acute interest in a certain guy who sang in the same choir I did. I didn't remember where I had met him, but I must have met him somewhere because several different times he walked by me and said "Hi Tom!"
"Hi Tom!" Wow! What on earth could this MEAN????
I had no idea who he was or even what his name was. But I kept a close eye on him for weeks, until one day I noticed him wearing a monogrammed crew neck sweater. (Parenthetically, should I actually have been wondering if this guy in my choir with a monogrammed sweater was gay?)
So that day, after memorizing the initials on his sweater, I went up to the music rack where each choir member was given a shelf to store his or her music, and scanned all the names on the rack until I found one that matched his initials. This uncannily brilliant detective work on my part led me to the irrefutable conclusion that name of the object of my interest was Jeff Henderson.
(For the record, Jeff Henderson is not this person's real name. But I hope you can sense in this story the first stirrings of a first-rate cyberstalker in the making!)
to be continued........