A Gay Old Time By Deb Anna

It was just a movie date and I was nearly paralyzed with fear.

Who could blame me? I was, well, me — a 16-year-old with a miniscule amount of self-esteem who’d never been on a date and he was legendary. Not legendary in some kind of a Sean Connery way (who knew he’d come up somewhere besides during the Balding Men week?) but in that adolescent, BMOC way. Not only did he go to the cool public school, where all the real guys went, but he was in a calendar that school made of its most attractive men. Yes, they start the objectifying at a young age in Marin — this high school actually selected the 12 cutest boys and gave each of them a month (I want to say he was May, but I honestly don’t remember), providing teenagers already prone to idealizing and freaking out about the opposite sex a reason to obsess further, and me with a perfect justification to feel ridiculously inferior.

He’d asked me out at an Easter party I’d randomly attended with my mom, where I’d consumed roughly a bottle of wine and been a vision of charm. But now he — beautiful, older, famous in my little world — was coming over to my house to pick me up for a movie and I was jumping out of my skin with anxiety and fear.

I did the only thing I could think of — walked into the kitchen where, uncharacteristically, an enormous group of visitors or family friends or people working on the house seemed to be gathered, grabbed a beer (I’ve always been a firm believer in the fact that it’s best to do something egregious out in the open, where no only will suspect you), brought it to my room, and chugged it.

And now I can hear everyone thinking, Ah, here goes Anna with her tale of alcoholism for the week. And let me just say, I wish I had new material! If I did, I’d happily give it to you. And as long as I’m wishing, I should also note that I wish I could remember my stories better — I don’t recall exactly what happened with my Redwood calendar boy. All I remember is that the movie date went fine, a few days or weeks later, he made me an astrological chart (Marin = rich hippies = into that kind of stuff) and some time after that he gave me a jacket of his before informing me that he met another girl at a concert. Years later, I heard through the grapevine he was gay.

I actually have an essay in a fabulous anthology coming out this June from Dutton called Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. While my essay isn’t about this, I had plenty of other material to choose from. Turns out liking boys who ended up being gay was to become a bit of a theme in my life. Who knew my first date would be so prescient?

10 Replies to “A Gay Old Time By Deb Anna”

  1. Oh God, liking boys who like boys pretty much messed up my teen years too. Almost every guy I set my sights on came out years later. Gives a girl quite the inferiority complex, wondering why she’s perenially unkissable.

  2. LOL! It’s so much easier when they’re gay, though! At least then we know it’s not us!

    I have a theory about that, actually; that girls and women who are chronically attracted to gay guys (even when they don’t KNOW they’re gay) just aren’t ready, really, for a real relationship.

    I was in that situation a couple of times when I was younger, and when I look back, that was almost always true for me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.

    It IS kinda funny that they had a calendar, though!

    Now I want to see it…

  3. I’ve had a lot of gay buddies over the years, though never fell in love with any of them. One good gay friend always tells me that if he was to sleep with a woman, I’d be the one. Is that a compliment? I think so.

  4. Anna, your post made me wonder if dating a gay guy happens as frequently now? When we grew up, there would be “suspicion” about a “nice” guy but that was about it and — honestly — how were we supposed to know? Btw, my jaw dropped at the idea of a high school calendar then or now!

  5. I dated my share of gay boys as well- looking back I wonder how did I not know? I’m not sure they knew at the time. I do think there is a point to the idea of choosing boys where we knew at some level there was no real threat of a relationship.

  6. Ha! Okay, as far as I know I didn’t date any flat-out gay boys. But then I have my own views of sexuality and as far as I’m concerned they might have ALL been gay to one degree or another! 😀 I think there’s been a theory out there for a while that most adolescent girls are attracted to sexually ambiguous boys, boys that are male, but unthreateningly so. And perhaps as sensitive writers’ souls, we were all more open to accepting these boys. Very interesting stuff! Hmmm, maybe I’ll write about it one day…

  7. I never dated a gay guy (that I know about anyway) but I had several gay guy friends in college. It was comfortable being with them… literally like having another girlfriend.

  8. Anna, I love *all* your tales – and congrats on the anthology!

    One of my closest friends is gay – we never dated, but he was my best man in my wedding (and in GOOD THINGS as William Sen) and we are very photogenic together and people tend to think we’re a couple if they don’t know us. Even the largest picture in my wedding album is of me and my best man, rather than of me and my husband (the wedding photographer put it together – her bad, but it is a damn good picture …). He has saved me from *many* a social faux pas …

  9. Oh. Oh. Oh.

    I can relate. I mean, I can really, really relate.

    My first book comes out this year and it’s all about this girl whose big-time, heart throb, boyfriend is gay and how she deals with it. This is why it’s called Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend.

    And, yes, my big-time high school boyfriend was gay.
    And, yes, one of my college boyfriends was gay.
    And, yes, I caught one of my post-college significant others lung diving with another guy.

    And, no, I’m over it. Really. I swear.

    I can’t wait to read your essay. Although, I’m super jealous of you debutantes as I wait for my release date, all alone, angst ridden and terrified.

    I might come over and visit again, if that’s okay.


Comments are closed.