I remember the first time I identified someone as being “gay.” He was my junior high social studies teacher. My parents called him “gay,” kids at school called him “gay,” but all I could see was that he wore giant rings, and his bald head was very shiny. Like my bubble.
Throughout junior high I remained rather unaware of what this concept really meant. I had a giant poster of George Michael in my bedroom, wearing a pink t-shirt and short shorts. I gazed at that poster for hours while my sister and I played the Ouija board, asking the spirits to make George appear in my room, to prove spirit-ness. My sister got a copy of a picture from someone’s dad who had seen Wham! at an airport. We spent hours drooling over George Michael, and wondering if Andrew had anyone to drool over him.
In high school I pretended to no longer like Wham! as I started at a new school in the states. Here we were, late 80’s, posters of Led Zepplin and the Grateful Dead were required, for some weird reason. I still listened to Madonna and Wham, the Cure and the Pet Shop Boys behind closed doors, but was not brave enough to hang up that beautiful poster of George.
I went home for break when I was 18 (home being overseas – high school being in the U.S.). I met a new boy. Oh man, he was sooooo cute. I couldn’t even stand it! We hung out a lot, and even though he was a little older, I thought I should at least give it a shot.
By now, being intoxicated and blonde should have at least gotton me to first base, friend or not (this is what I learned in high school).
So, I made my inebriated and likely rather messy move. I ran strongly, confidently, boldly – into the firm and bouncy, yet impenetrable wall of my bubble.
My epiphany took months. I never thought of the possibility that I was completely and utterly wrong for him. Wait a minute here, he did talk about Madonna an awful lot. He did have a velvet painting in his room. He did love to dance. There were signs. I was just too damn bubble headed to see them.
This hunka burning love went to a few parties in my hometown with me. He introduced himself as my boyfriend to a couple key players who had been incredibly intimidating to me, back in my junior high days. One in particular. She was the social queen of junior high (at least the female queen. Apparently my social studies teacher had been the actual queen of junior high). She wanted to eat him up. She flirted shamelessly. And what did he do? He told her that he was mine (admit it, you want to hug him, just reading that). That was sweet, especially because he was SO NOT mine.
He was probably hanging out with me, trying to find my old George Michael poster.
So, I learned that this particular boy couldn’t be in my bubble, in that way… but his bubble was pink and shiny, too. I liked looking at it! What can I say? He taught me a lesson in how important it is for every woman to have an exceedingly hot gay friend by her side. A gay friend can make women jealous, they can make men jealous, and they may steal your Ricky Martin poster – but it’s worth it, isn’t it?
Those gay male friends are always welcome to visit my bubble. They don’t really need to be in it though. They have their own shiny, pink bubbles. And, I must admit, their bubbles are way more fun to dance in.
p.s. Don’t be a hater. I didn’t know Matthew Shepard, but he lived close to me, overseas. He was murdered close to me, as well. If you don’t like something, it’s probably because you don’t understand it. Eat a banana and be nice.