Why me? Why now? How could I have been such a fool? Those are the questions that keep making the rounds in my head as I contemplate yet another pang of pain. I met Gary at university. He was doing finance and we shared two course units. Gary was naturally friendly, with eyes that could melt the coldest heart. Tall, lean, athletic and just an all-round straight guy.
In the deepest corners of my soul, I suspected that Gary was straight. This was despite his apparent friendliness and a tendency towards camp from time to time.
I had been through this shit so many times that I felt I was prepared for the inevitable.
The first thing I had to do was to keep my distance.
My entire youth had been spent in unrequired crushes so I was a pro at being able to mask my feelings and also treating my hurt when the reality eventually crushed me.
Sometimes the objects of my affections did not even have a clue that I fancied them. They would just notice that I slowly withdrew from them.
One of them charmingly described it as weaning, because I would suddenly become prickly with no plausible explanation.
It must have been so bewildering for someone to have a friendly face in class, only to have the person turn on them after a few moments of being so close.
In fact, I nearly came out to one of my friends in the middle of a crush. I was just so in love; I could hardly eat without seeing him first.
Thankfully, I did not commit and come out. Otherwise I dread to think the beatings I might have endured had my secret come out.
Anyway, all those quietly painful experiences have given me plenty of training in handling disappointment.
Repeated Temptations and the Unspoken Barrier
If there is one thing that I have learnt over my romantic life, it is this: no matter how friendly or camp a straight guy is…they are actually straight.
You just have to accept that.
Otherwise you end up causing too much awkwardness. The problem is that many straight men take the tolerance mask just a bit too much.
They can be tactile and may even kiss you when they are sufficiently drunk but when it comes to really going for it; their sexuality is set. Trying to convert them is as silly as gay conversion therapy.
Gary was no different, at least not in the bits that mattered.
He was an undoubtedly straight guy that had sufficient “gay” tendencies to have me hot and bothered. I have never been attracted to the super macho straight guys, thank God I do not have that particular affliction.
Instead, my weaknesses are those super nice guys who border the line between straight and gay.
Some of them turn out to be bi but in my experience the vast majority are straight. I have not met a single one who is gay, at least judging by their subsequent relationships and what they told me.
Against my will, I fell madly in love with Gary.
In his innocence, he did not seem to understand that inviting me for a sleepover was not the best way of discouraging my hopeless crush.
He was the perfect gentleman (oh, how I wish he was not a gentleman at all!!!).
The night went without incident apart from a hilariously funny movie.
All the time I kept going back to my unrequited fantasy: Would Gary just tear into me and gobble me up with passion? Of course nothing of the sort was every going to happen. He was a good boy…just being friendly.
Love Me Lots, Love Me Nots
What followed was rollercoaster of six months of furtive glances, painful realizations, night fantasies and daylight pretense.
On many occasions, I wanted to come out with my crush but something held back. That is precisely because I know the story and the end is as familiar to me as my bed bunny.
He would find a girlfriend amongst my many, many female friends and I would end up looking like a fool for ever imagining that we could have anything special.
To this day, I have a nudging suspicion that Gary must have known that something was happening. He could not have missed my longing eyes, my sighs when I saw him and the way I could never keep away from him.
My gay friends knew that I was head over heels and teased me mercilessly. They were cynical about the thing because they too had had similar experiences.
You meet this beautiful straight guy but cannot have him because he is not that into you.
The day eventually arrived.
I saw Gary speaking to Susie with some intensity. I just knew they were going to hook up and it was killing me inside.
I loved Susie and I am sure she would never do anything to hurt me.
However, the reality was that her vagina meant that she always had the upper hand when it came to Gary. I was a little bit angry at God for making Susie so nice and so obviously feminine.
I was the barren third wheel that would never be loved.
Straight Guy Issues and The Healing Process
When they moved in together, I had to accept that Gary and Susie were an item.
I was never going to get a look in. The sad thing is that I always knew that this was going to happen but chose to ignore it.
I mean, did I really think that this straight guy was going to change overnight and fall for a fellow bloke? Silly me…serves me right for repeating this fantasy again and again.
It would take me about 8 months to truly overcome my sadness and resentment. Eventually I reached a point where I could have a laugh with Gary and Susie, even visiting their house.
Around the 8th month, my attraction to Gary started to fade.
I suddenly realized that his eyes were not so perfect. The mouth was a bit too thick for my liking and he had these spindly legs that made him appear like an insect on steroids.
Even his personality was beginning to grate on me a little bit. I noticed that he was so indecisive and would forget commitments that had been made on so many occasions.
I began to wonder whether he was not a little slow on the take.
By the 9th month I was well and truly over my Gary…that is until I get my next straight crush.
Why are we gay people prone to these things?
Speaking to other people within the community, I know that it is not just me that has fallen for a straight man temporarily; only to lose the crush a few months later.
It used to happen a lot when I was a teenager but I am way past those days. These days the crushes are less devastating and even less frequent; but nonetheless disturbing.
There ought to be some kind of gene that prevents gay people from falling for straight people. I sometimes even wish there was some king of gaydar beamer which could tell you if you were bucking up the wrong tree from the start.
It is the cruelty of nature that makes it difficult to tell someone’s sexuality but just looking at them. I could write a book on seemingly camp men who turn out to be as straight as a coroner’s annual accounts.
Then there are the butch ones that turn on the camp at the drop of a hat. It is unnerving to see this great hulk giggling like a little girl when he has found a love interest.
But…that is the beauty of romance and dating. It is like a lucky dip. You do not know what you are going to find and whether you are going to land on the right one.
Tips for gay people
I am afraid I have no tips for avoiding this. You just have to grin and bear it.
I have tried building an emotional barrier around myself but that ended up letting me down spectacularly with Gary.
You might even end up becoming antisocial; all because you are trying to avoid those awkward moments with straight people.
I have certainly done loads of silly things in order to stop myself from falling in love with someone that I am fairly certain is straight.
While you are at it… spare a thought for the straight girls who fall for us gays left and right and center. It must be equally hellish to have a man that will not do the things that you want them to do with you.
And the gay ones are almost always the perfect boyfriends: attentive, clean and with a decent job.
You fall madly in love but then end up in a tizzy when your darling moves in with the bloke next door.
Maybe that is just how things are meant to be.