Why falling for a straight guy was the best and worst thing to happen to me
I need to learn how to get over him.
Since I was a teenager, I’ve been using straight men as a way to try to validate my sexuality. Being gay was okay as long as I didn’t look gay or sound gay or act gay. Being friends with straight men enabled me to pretend that I could pass as ‘straight enough’ – that my sexuality wouldn’t be seen as a liability.
I realised at a young age that I was gay. I ‘came out’ when I was young. To some people, that seemed to signify confidence. But I’d still managed to internalise a lot of hatred of my sexuality, a lot of hatred of myself, a lot of homophobia.
Over the years, there’s been a lot of men. A lot of men who said that they were straight. Some were straighter than others.
I was trapped in a cycle of giving my body to others to prove that someone, somewhere wanted me – even if it was just for one night. Some experiences were fun, some not. I’m still trying to process how ruthless men can be when they have zero regard for anyone but themselves.
So, how did it happen? How could I be so stupid to fall for a straight guy when I knew that its inevitable ending would break me? How can I say falling for him was the best thing to happen to me when it was so clearly one of the worst?
Because, the truth is, I would do it all over again. Because falling for him was heavenly.
It was the start of summer. His body was toned, his hair was long. I fell for everything about him – his weird sense of humour, his inward smirk, the lines that cut through his face when he laughed. I adored getting to know him – it felt more like a privilege than a bad idea. Loving him was like listening to a really good song – the more I memorised the lyrics, the deeper I got.
I convinced myself that this time was different. Every time I glanced and saw him looking at a woman, I tricked myself into thinking it was me that had caught his attention.
When we walked side-by-side, I wondered whether he was as aware of our closeness as much as I. If I wasn’t so afraid of losing him, I would have tried holding his hand and telling him that it fits so well.
Summer came to an end. As the nights drew shorter, there seemed to be fewer excuses to see him. It had also become apparent that his interest lay in a girl. My only option was self-sabotage.
I told him that I liked him while stood in the bathroom. It was someone else’s house. We were at a party. I needed the alcohol to loosen my tongue. He said he didn’t find me attractive. I cried. It was over. If I had kept my mouth shut, at least I would still have had hope. But, you know what they say about hope, it breeds eternal misery.
My desire for him is all-consuming. To him, it is unnatural and foreign. His body rejects me. Yet here I am, unashamedly and irrevocably addicted.
He apologises and tells me things I don’t want to hear.
“It’s tricky, isn’t it…” he shrugs.
We go back out to the party. I keep drinking.
The hardest thing came next – telling him that I needed space. As much as I valued our friendship, I needed time for this wound to scab. I needed him to become a scar in the same way that all the other men had. I wanted to still be able to see the mark that he’d made but no longer wince whenever I touched it.
But nothing healed. When he messaged me – drunk, sat in a bar in London – I immediately pictured myself there. Because I am forever waiting, my life on hold, just in case things change.
We could go to Italy, like he wanted. I could write – balcony doors open, white linen blowing in and out of the apartment. We’d play cards together and lay in the sun. He could practise his Italian. He could teach me to play the piano. He could tan his arms and his chest and his legs. He could hold me. He could fuck me. We could go to Italy. We could be together.
Months later, and I’m sat across from a date in a bar. I’m a thousand miles from home and the humidity is strong. My date is talking to me about his life. I nod and laugh when I think I should. I sip my vodka and diet coke.
We finish our drinks and my date – David? No, Michael? – asks me if I want to come back to his.
“Yes…” I reply. Of course I say yes.
I need to learn how to get over him.
This is a true-life story, submitted anonymously to Means Happy
How do you tell if a guy is gay?
How do you tell if a guy is queer? If he’s gay or bi or curious? If he’s potentially going to be interested in a bit of man-on-man action?
Being able to identify fellow queer guys is generally referred to as your Gaydar – an intuitive way to ensure that if you approach a guy to start a conversation that it might lead to something more, that you can be fairly confident that he’s on the same team as you.
It also happens to be the name of one of the original online dating specialists for the LGBTQ community – Gaydar was established over 20 years ago and is still going strong.
What are some of the signals that your Gaydar should be picking up on?
While most guys are now on board with wearing decent underwear, whatever their sexuality, there are still some brands that are a bit of a give-away – if a guy is wearing something like Nasty Pig then he’s sending a pretty clear signal of where he stands on the sexuality spectrum.
This is another test that used to be more helpful than perhaps it is now. If a guy had taken the trouble to ensure he was trimmed and plucked, and enhancing his assets from every angle, then it was pretty clear which market that he was seeking to appeal to. But it seems that the straight guys have also realised the benefits that a bit of manscaping can bring. It’s no longer just the queer guys that are keen to make their dick look bigger and their balls a bit more presentable.
This takes a bit more effort, but can be fairly revealing. How does he react when you mention Lady Gaga? Does he appreciate that your new coat is bang on trend? Is his smart-phone the latest model? Does he look interested when you start talking about sport? Does he order beer or a white wine spritzer? Does he fit any of the stereotypes or expected behaviours that we’ve constructed for ourselves?
The direct approach
If someone has caught your attention and you’re wondering if you should give them the benefit of your allure, the simplest and generally most reliable way to put your Gaydar to work is to just ask them – “Hey, are you into guys?” Avoid any confusion or uncertainty – get to the point, and get down to business.