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When He Was Five
When he was fourteen, Tyler asked me when I’d known I was gay, and how.
“Do you think you’re gay?”
“Why do you think that?”
“I asked you first.”
“Yes, I guess you did. I was about your age when I started realizing I was different from most of the boys at school, although I think I’d felt sort of different for much longer than that. The other boys were much more interested in girls than I was. They talked about girls a lot, and I didn’t have much interest in them. I had a best friend and a lot of good friends, and they were all boys. When we were eleven and twelve, we used to mess around a little, and when we talked about sex, at eleven, it was all about boy sex, how we’d get hard, how long our penises were getting, how often we’d jerk off, that sort of thing. Boy stuff. By twelve, the sex talk included girls a lot more. How much we wanted to see a girl naked. How one of them had felt up one of us. What it felt like to feel up one of them. When we were thirteen, the messing around with each other started to be less and less. At fourteen, I still wanted to mess around, maybe even more than before. My feelings were different, stronger in some ways, but they still were centered on boys. My friends didn’t seem interested in messing around any longer, most of the time. Most of the time, nothing was said, but if I suggested anything, they usually got funny looks on their faces and suggested we do something else, or said they were busy doing what they were doing right then, or said they had to go home, they’d forgot they had to do something. It didn’t take long for me to stop making suggestions, and they didn’t make them any more themselves. I started spending more time by myself. Quite a bit more time alone. Except for Ben.”
“Who was Ben?”
“Hey wait a minute. Do you get to ask all the questions? What about my question.”
“About do you think you’re gay.”
“Oh, that one.”
“Yeah, that one. That’s a pretty important question.”
“What if I don’t feel like answering it?”
“Then you shouldn’t. I think I told you once you should do what you want to do, not what I want. You shouldn’t do something just because it’s something I want. And in this case, I don’t want you to answer that if you don’t want to. That’s not something that we should talk about unless you want to.”
Tyler looked at me. Damn but he had good looking eyes. Blue and as deep as the ocean. I loved looking at his eyes.
“I might be.”
“Might be gay?”
“Oh. Well, fourteen is a funny age. You know what’s funny about it?”
“What’s funny is, you change a lot. Your body changes, your feelings change, and what you like and don’t like changes. Whom you like changes, too. You can like boys and not like girls today, and next week feel just the opposite. Do you want to talk about why you think you might be gay.”
“Yeah. I think so.”
“OK, let’s sit down and talk about it.”
And we did. Tyler was confused about what he felt. I didn’t think he was gay. I thought he was confused. At fourteen, I’d been pretty sure about myself. It was so many little things as well as several big things. I didn’t know whether I’d change as I grew older, but right then, I was pretty sure I was gay. With Tyler, it was just a few things he was feeling, and they weren’t the important things. He sounded confused to me, not gay. There’s a lot to be confused about at fourteen.
“Who was Ben?”
“You already asked me that.”
“Oh. Well, Ben was a friend of mine. Not my best friend. One of many. But we’d messed around a little, and he was one who kept hanging around me more and more, and some of my other friends sort of hung around less and less, so Ben was getting to be around more than he’d been before and so became a little more important. And he was the only one who still liked to mess around. So we did.”
“What did you guys do?”
Ah, what a question. I had no idea what to say. None at all.
I’d always told Tyler everything he’d ever asked me. Everything. I’d answered every question he’d ever asked. Honestly.
What a question.
“Why are you asking me that?”
Tyler grinned. “Wanted to see if you’d answer it!”
I grinned back, acknowledging his boyish nosiness. Then I sobered a little. “Well Tyler, I’ll tell you if you want me to, but it will make me uncomfortable and will embarrass us both. I’d rather not, but it’s your dime. You probably have already heard about what boys do, you’ve probably done some of the things yourself. Jordy was kind of loud, you know.”
“Well, he was! How come he doesn’t come around any more?”
“I guess we’re not as good friends as we used to be. He started hanging with kids I don’t much care for.”
“What kind of kids?”
“Dopers, skaters. They’re into things I don’t much like.”
“You know I trust your judgment. And you say you have more feelings for boys than girls. Do girls excite you like boys do?”
“I don’t know. Sorta. Sometimes. It’s different. I’m comfortable with boys, I understand them, so I feel easier with them. Some of them make me horny. If I want to mess around with someone, or they want to with me, getting the right vibes about that, getting into it, it’s just easier. A boy says something, I know what he means. With girls, yeah, some of them make me horny too, but it’s too hard to talk to them about anything like that. They laugh funny, I don’t know what they’re thinking. And it makes me feel so unsure of myself. I’m pretty sure of myself with boys. And some boys, I really like looking at them.”
“You went to a dance after school last week. You told me you had a good time. You danced with a couple girls. You said you were nervous but you asked a couple of them, and they said yes, they’d like to dance with you, and they did. How did that make you feel inside.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you were dancing with a girl. Did that make you tingle with excitement, or were you bored and wanting the dance to end so you could walk away from her? What sort of feelings did you have dancing with her? Did it make you feel happy? Did it make you feel horny?”
”Yeah? I just supplied you with several feelings. Which one is ‘Yeah’?
“I felt good about myself that I’d had the nerve to ask them. Excited too, maybe a little horny.”
“Did they know they made you horny?”
“Andrea did. We were slow dancing and she knew. She rubbed against me. I got a little excited. She grinned at me. Then she rubbed against me again. Harder.”
“How did that make you feel?”
“Really funny. Sort of happy and embarrassed and proud. Mixed up. And excited. Probably more excited than anything.”
“What were you excited about?
“Probably mostly that she might like me. And that she’d done what she’d done. That was sort of neat. I sort of thought about that a lot afterward.”
“Like in bed afterward?”
“Did you talk to her the next day?”
“No. I was too embarrassed. She smiled at me.”
“Did you smile back.”
“Of course. “I’m not an idiot.”
“No, you’re not, Tyler. You’re certainly not an idiot. You’re fourteen.”