Thursday, December 04, 2008

Puppy Love

Fellow blogger Beck is going through a bit of an emotional crush.

This bit brought back a bunch of semi-fond memories:
"Because I went chasing off after Thomas when he got married and blowing all my savings (if that doesn't tell you that I was gay and giddy and madly in love with him, with passion dictating my actions - I don't know what will - for who else (read non-gay /non-passionate) would have done such a thing?)"
Before I was out to myself (a bit earlier than Beck here, when I was 15), I went through a couple bouts of puppy love and, looking back, it's so weird that I couldn't put 2 and 2 together either. I was similarly oblivious to my orientation and simultaneously head-over-heals, behaving like, well, like what I was: a teenager with a crush.

The boys I'd get infatuated with were almost always outside my group of close friends, as though I subconsciously wanted to keep distance between friendship and infatuation so as to not get hurt. There was that boy a grade ahead of me that I had a very surprising dream about kissing, even when I'd never thought of kissing a girl. There was that cloistered but terribly nice LDS boy whose mom wouldn't let him associate with me, a kid with heathen parents, until I got baptized. Maybe her instincts were right ;-).

There were a couple more, but the one that sticks in my mind is David. We met in Scouts. Yes, I admit it, Scouts. It's okay to be in Scouts if you don't know you're gay, right?

I was so immediately taken with him. As I remember it, he was kind of the bad boy type, from divorced parents and not much for listening to leaders. I excused my infatuation as an attempt to befriend the loner, but I know now it was a crush. I spent the most strenuous weekend of my young life laying sod with him at a widows house, and to my shame, just to be near him, instead of for the charity. I remember thinking again and again about him in his tank-top shirt, and yet I could still keep my illusion of heterosexuality going :-). Thinking back, it's kind of nice to not have known I was gay, or even really know that a person could be gay without wanting to be. I'd be cheated out of stuff like school dances and high school dating for the most part. I still wince thinking of the trials of being in the closet at that age. But I can still look back and remember puppy love fondly.

And there are some fond memories there; I tried to have David with me all the time. Though we went to different schools I remember even taking him to my school's end of the school year festivities. I even tried to integrate him into my group of buddies, but they obviously didn't see him the way I did :-).

Then I started to realize what I'd been doing, what I was. I put an end to all such crushes as I came out to myself, seeing puppy love as what I was taught it must be for gay people, the devil's doing, a sign of my corruption.

Then, a couple months after I'd stopped seeing David a girlfriend of mine told my mom that she heard David was gay. Was that a sign that she or my mom knew more than I thought they knew? Either way, this really accelerated me on my downward spiral. I was trying to deal with being the ONLY gay person in Utah, I still couldn't say "gay" even in private, and now I find out that the kid I had such a potent crush on was a similar pervert. There were two of us in Utah! And we knew each other! What are the odds!?

My anxiety and depression accelerated, not sure what I should do with myself but torn about what might have been with David. I was thrilled in absolute misery.

But I made it through, out, and, eventually, on to a really good man, my man, the best husband a man could ask for.

The kicker is that I came to find, about five years later, that David was not gay after all. He just dressed nicely; that confused my once girlfriend. Sadly, I found this out when a mutual friend told me David had died. He was, in fact, quite a womanizer, and had even died trying to impress a girl. Still, though I didn't know him anymore and what I imagined was between us never was, I felt for him and was quite upset to learn of his death, way too early in a life.

I guess a lesson to learn was that my crush and all my anguish over him was not about him after all. He saw nothing between us or in me but a strangely affectionate friend, who, like a huge jerk, suddenly wanted to end the friendship as though he was dropping a bad habit. That anguish was just the short pain of taking my leg from the bear trap this culture sets for gay teens. But it's not much in the shadow of the parents who lost their child.

It's too bad we, David and I, can't get together and laugh about this. Here's to hoping the dramas of today seem so small and conquerable with the perspective of added years.


Amanda said...

It makes you wonder if there's a certain amount of subconscious attraction there - maybe you subconsciously realized David was gay, and that helped attract you? You hear about that sort of thing a lot. Either way, it's an adorable story. :)

Scot said...

Ah, I must have been unclear. It turned out he was not gay. He just dressed nice and that confused the girl into thinking him gay.

That was the weird thing. His being gay, in my mind, really set me for a loop while I was coming out.

Man I wish I could redo coming out, with my current perspective, if, of course, it meant I could be guaranteed to get the same husband and kids :-).

Amanda said...

Hrm. No, you weren't in the least bit unclear, I think my google reader must have just cut off the post at one point, because I never saw the last couple paragraphs. I'm more clear now. Got it. Sorry about that. :)