Now, normally when it came to dating or hooking up with girls, I was rarely the type to initiate contact. You could say that I was fairly passive when it came to my list of hetero relationships (probably due to my sincere disinterest and ambivalence). Facebook friending Ian out of the blue was very off-brand for me, and I definitely did not anticipate the response I received, let alone being prepared for the conversation that ensued.
As the new chat sat on my screen, an intense degree of fear and thrill set in. “Hey you” it read. The cursor in the text field next to my name repeatedly appeared and disappeared, as if to encourage my response. As I sat at my family’s living room desktop Mac, I scanned the room to make my sisters or parents were not around. With my heart beating out of my chest, a wave of regret formed like a cloud above my head. I was immobilized – what was I to say? Should I even respond?
The act of sending friend requests to people you didn’t know was commonplace during my high school years, and rarely would this elicit a chat response. Why was Ian trying to talk to me? What did he want? As I calmed myself, an inner voice spoke to me: ‘well, this IS what you wanted, isn’t it?’
It was. So, I replied: “Hey.”
Well…Are You Gay?
“Have we met?” Ian asked.
Again, I was struck by anxiety. ‘He’s figured me out already’ I thought to myself. He obviously knows that we had never met, and our 2 mutual friends on Facebook didn’t work in my favor.
“I don’t think so.” I responded. I tried to think of an add-on that would make sense. Should I surface our mutual friend Andy? Should I make something up on the spot? “I’m friends with Andy…He mentioned that he was talking to you…”
Fuck. Well, that was a stupid response. If I were straight, why would I pursue a connection beyond hearing about my friend’s endeavors? If he was really my friend, why was I talking to Ian?
“Oh yeah” he responded. “We kinda stopped talking. He’s a sweet guy though.”
None of this was news to me. I knew full well that they had ended communications after Ian expressed his disinterest in pursuing anything further than a friendship with Andy. I chose to play dumb.
“Oh really? That’s too bad. I know that he was really into you…”
“Anyway” he responded, “How do you know him?”
“We’re on the swim team together” I said. In the back of my mind I knew this would be a turn-on for him. I had creepily dug through his Facebook profile, and saw that he played varsity soccer. I assumed that gay jocks would be into other jocks. I was right.
“Sexy :)” he wrote.
At this point I realized he had probably combed through my array of Facebook photos, many of which were taken at swim meets and competitions, depicting me alongside my fit team, wearing only speedos of course. Evidently, it seemed that he liked what he saw.
What came next took me by surprise.
“So…why’d you friend me?” he wrote, cutting right to the chase.
I paused. For the third time I didn’t know what to say. And despite the excitement and caution that caused my heart to beat a thousand beats a second, I felt comfortable talking to him. But what if he talked to his friends about me? What about the slight chance that we might have mutual contacts I overlooked, creating the possibility of word getting back to my high school. But, before I had the chance to respond, Ian beat me to it.
“Are you gay?”
I rushed to respond “No.”
“Oh…too bad. You’re very cute” he said.
If I thought I was excited when he first made contact, this message sent a whole other class of feelings through my body, and I once again scanned the room to make sure none of my family members were around as I began to get hard. For the first time, I had a chance to be honest with a boy I was attracted to who reciprocated my interest.
“I don’t know” I responded.
“You don’t know what?”
“I don’t know…you know, if I like guys…”
“Ahh, I see ;)” he wrote, inserting a winking face as if to signal to me that he already knew my truth.
“No one knows…” I said. “It has to stay that way….”
Within a matter of minutes, I had entrusted my most repressed secret to a total stranger. Jesus. What was I thinking. Yet, the excitement and anticipation of what was to come guided my actions, throwing all things rational to the wayside.
“I understand” he said. “Do you want to exchange numbers?”
Let’s Play a Game
Over the next few weeks Ian and I would play a game of text tag that could only be characterized by baiting and disappearing. I had clearly gotten his attention, but I wanted to remain elusive enough – just enough to make him want me even more. It turned out that Ian had a “thing” for straight-acting boys. He loved how cautious, how suspicious I was. As if I was something precious to be exploited – the straight-acting jock from the neighboring school. We had entangled ourselves in a vicious game. Rather, despite all that I had to lose, I knew that the game was mine. I had something over him that would allow me to bend and break all of the unwritten rules I would come to know: his unwavering and unrelenting fascination in…me.
And I couldn’t blame him. Honestly, at the time I thought I was hot shit. In fact, I KNEW I was. I was that boy at the high school party who would be constantly asked to unforgivingly raise his shirt, revealing an impeccable 12-pack from the hours of work I would put in at the gym and in the pool. I would occasionally receive a little too much attention from my swim coach at the time, blissfully incognizant and dismissive of these approaches. By the end of the first week of talking with Ian, I had him in my grasp. He knew full well what the consequences would be for asking too much – I would simply disappear. For Ian, that was simply not an option.
Over this time Ian and I got to know each other fairly well. I learned that he had a healthy array of both straight guy friends and girl friends. He learned that I played classical piano, clarinet, and a number of other instruments. He shared with me that he had been kicked out of the house when he first came out as a freshman in high school. I told him that I couldn’t ever imagine coming out to my parents. He told me he had never had sex with a girl. I told him I had with 6. He told me that my straightness made him hard. I would stop responding.
I would get by with sharing the bare minimum about myself, only responding a minimum of 5 minutes after receiving his texts. I would lead him right to the brink of a breakthrough, just to disappear for a day. When I’d return, he’d say that he thought he’d almost lost me. But as exciting as this game became, one thing lingered at the back of my mind – the thing that kept me up at night, imagining what it would be like to meet Ian in real life. Fantasizing about his full dark lips brushing against mine, then against my neck. His tongue down my spine…I’d dream of his naked body against mine, our cocks pressed hard up against each other’s abs, only to wake up covered in my own sweat and cum.
As our conversation evolved, both Ian and I knew where it was headed. In full recognition of this culmination of anticipation, he finally asked me:
“So, when can we meet?”