I was attending college, my first year, and I was out to all my friends and family. R and I had been together for under a year.
One night, all our friends were hanging out at my house, and one of my buddies tells me of a laughable call he had received the night before. It was from a kid who went to my high school; let’s call this kid Steve. Steve, it seems, was very concerned for my friend, as he had just found out that I, Scot Everyman, was a
My friend explained to Steve why he was a prick, and hung up. Who knows how many calls this kid made, but I hoped it was a lot :-). At the time we found it hilarious, particularly because of the source, but the thought of it started to bother me more and more.
Soon after that, I’d be walking the campus and I’d hear kids say “fag”, as they passed. At first it was so muted that each time I doubted I heard it correctly or thought that it was said in conversation to someone else. They weren't people I knew, anyway. Eventually it became clear I heard correctly and it was said to me, as it would happen each time I passed a particular group. But when I’d ask, “What did you say?” I’d get a “Nothing” back and that sick grin.
What was happening became clear when I saw this same group of strangers with my gay-panicked Steve. It was clear who was the impetus, and I became incensed. Fortunately, I didn’t see any of them for a couple days afterwards, but then I found myself walking down this hall in the union and ahead of me was Steve, with a couple of those same friends, walking towards me.
I felt a sense of pleasure that I couldn’t have anticipated, and he saw it on my face. As we got nearer and nearer he smiled in return, misinterpreting the emotion, and it hit me: he didn’t know I knew what he’d been up to. He was walking up to me and was going to act like we were old friends from high school, and then joke with his buddies about it when he escaped earshot. Excellent, I thought.
We got a couple yards apart and from his mouth came a pleasant “Hi, Sco…”
And there I was, in the Union, my forearm pressed at his throat. I was holding him up against the wall, and so close as to know he was uncomfortable in all sorts of ways.
I think we were both surprised.
Now, I must pause here and say this is the second of only two physical attacks I've ever perpetrated in my life; the other being in elementary school. I’m not proud of it (but I can’t claim I don’t smile at the memory).
Anyway, the people around us stopped. I bet we were all thinking the same thing. What next?
Were his frat friends going to be a problem? Nope. They had put a good distance between us, and were just watching, surprised as well. Good, I thought, let them watch, get a good look at this fag holding up their friend.
I looked back at Steve. I was pushing too hard, and let up a bit. I didn’t want to do any serious harm, but what was he thinking? That I’d just let it slide? Wasn’t it obvious? I was in my prime, worked out every day, and he was a sliver of a kid, and felt so frail as he squirmed in front of me. How did he think he could treat anyone like that, and not find himself in this position? It was one of those times when my naivety regarding being gay would pay off.
All the time I’m thinking these things, I’m looking at him, and no longer smiling. I wonder if that pause seemed bad-ass steely? I bet it did, but it was really just confusion and lack of planning on my part.
He broke the silence. Out slipped an apology; no explanation on my part was necessary. Thank Goodness I’d not made a mistake, I thought, and then it was my turn.
Man, I wish I could remember exactly what I said. There were some insults and a couple bad words, I know. I also know he offered no counter arguments to my well-reasoned analysis of his worth :-). I’m sure it wasn’t as cool as what I’d put into the script of my life; it never is. Nonetheless, it did the trick. I let him go, we walked our separate ways, and that was the end of being called a fag on campus. It was in fact the last time I saw Steve.
I wonder if he just kept out of sight, or left the school for another reason. But, as is often the case, that’s not the end of the story. I did hear about Steve, one last time. He was in the news, convicted of raping a girl by drugging her drink.
That one event in the union, my crime of hate :-), was a significant lesson on my temper, and not since have I been physically forceful with anyone. Don’t get me wrong, it felt really good to exact some vengeance, but once it was done I felt like I’d betrayed something. Nevertheless, after learning what he went on to do with his life, I guess I don’t feel too bad for making him panic, just a bit.