The theme of the party was Snow Pants or No Pants, and lemme tell ya, I didn’t see a single pair of snow pants the entire night.
The host, well known for her involvement in our campus’s LGBTQ organization, was a beloved friend of my roommate. She graciously introduced us to a number of her gorgeous, pantless friends, and we commenced enthusiastic chatter. A few friends-of-friends later, I met the cheery, inebriated fellow with whom I spent the majority of the party.
He was a delightful bloke with broad shoulders and a hearty laugh. We hit it off immediately, but it wasn’t until I mentioned my proclivity for sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong that the conversation really took off. I said I loved asking personal questions; he said I could ask him anything. Blank check, cha-ching!
We talked about the ins and outs (pun intended) of anal sex. We talked about his leadership involvement in our school’s LGBTQ club. We talked about how, as a university tour guide, he was specifically instructed not to truthfully admit to potential students what it was like to be queer on a heteronormative campus, and the discrimination he faced on a daily basis. We talked about his experiences coming out to his parents, who “already knew” and loved him just the same. We talked about his discussion with his dad about “sex”. We talked about why he inadvertently put air quotes around “sex”, and about his internalized feelings that anal sex was lesser than other forms of sex. It was the most fascinating, heartfelt conversation I had at any party in my undergrad years.
It was fantastic, until he sobered up.
He had lunch with a mutual friend of ours the next day, during which he apparently confessed that he was terribly embarrassed for all he’d admitted to me the night before. He never made eye contact with me again.
Hearing about the lunch, I felt guilty. Our conversation seemed open and loquacious at the party, after all. I had naively hoped he’d be that bubbly and down-to-earth all the time. To this day, I still see nothing incriminating about the information he shared with me, and I find it saddening that he retrospectively felt ashamed. I talk about sexuality all the time with friends, family, acquaintances, passersby… anyone who will engage me. Male sexuality in particular hasn’t really phased me since about age 14, when I first started asking questions about my male friends’ intimate lives. I forget sometimes that many other people — especially American people — continue to see discussions of sexuality as taboo.
If you’re reading this, sir, I want you to know how greatly I valued our conversation. Thank you for sharing an hour of your life and years’ worth of forbidden anecdotes with me. I’d love to catch up with you one day.