Last night was a revealing experience for me.
After weeks of meaning to go but being unable, of planning the trip and then having people cancel, a group of friends and I finally trekked into Marble City and went to The Village, a gay club.
I had never been to such an establishment before and wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t even know what to wear; beforehand I got input from two different friends, one of whom recommended a dressy shirt and the other of whom said that dressy would definitely be inappropriate. Because the second friend knew the place we were going pretty well, I trusted him and paired a black band tee-shirt with dark blue jeans and a red Hollister jacket.
On the one occasion I went to a straight club, I was approached and groped by a random stranger, so I was a bit nervous about what to expect in a hang-out specifically designated for homosexuals.
“BB, that’s probably going to happen a lot,” a friend of mine named Freddy Mercury said as we sat aboard the train on the way into the city.
Freddy Mercury met me my Sophomore Year, before I was out. The first time we ever spoke was when he hit on me one Saturday night, telling me I was cute and that we should hang out. When I didn’t reciprocate, he had the decency to leave me alone, unlike some others I’ve known. We hadn’t talked since that time, but with me being openly gay this year and making more gay friends it turns out that we have a lot of mutual acquaintances.
His warning was prescient; the come-ons began before we even entered the club.
Freddy and I were standing outside, Gay Black Friend having gone in to find a girl who was supposed to meet us, when two men got out of a cab and walked straight over. They were older, probably in their late twenties or early thirties, but reasonably cute.
“Hey there, guys,” one of them, a well-built blonde with close-cropped hair, said by way of greeting. “What are you doing out here?”
“Waiting for some girls,” Freddy replied.
“Oh,” he said. “Is that what’s required?”
“No,” Freddy said. “They’re just friends.”
“Just friends?” the man asked, turning to me. “And what is your name?”
“BB,” I said, extending my hand shyly.
“Hello, BB,” he said.
His friend said something to him, and they turned to go inside.
I stared at Freddy and started laughing.
“That happens all the time,” he assured me.
Turning to our left, we saw a very handsome young man with shaggy brown hair walking down the street towards the club. He’d been on the train with us, and Freddy had guessed him to be gay even though he’d gotten off at a different stop.
“You called it,” I told him.
The boy and his friends headed inside, and we followed shortly thereafter.
We were joined by two friends of Gay Black Friend: Pretty Black Girl and Kind Black Girl, aged twenty-two and twenty-one.
At first I was reluctant to venture out onto the dance floor, but after one beer and a lot of encouragement, I was mingling with the crowd, where the reaction to me caused me a great deal of surprise.
I have never been attractive in the conventional model valued by straight society.
Thin and lithe, with a small waist and narrow shoulders, I don’t fit the athletic archetype so sought after by young women. The average co-ed looks for a man who could defend her, but I stopped growing at sixteen; I would be hard-pressed to defend myself against most men.
My facial features are soft and strongly resemble my birth-mother’s, giving me a somewhat feminine appearance that leads, even now, to my sometimes being mistaken for a girl.
And in a world of beer-guzzling, hairy-chested, scraggly-bearded men, I am the lone boy: the one who never got tall, the one who never filled out, the one who shaves once a week and can’t handle a single beer without getting buzzed, the one who looks so much younger than everyone else.
“How old are you?” Kind Black Girl asked me when I approached the bar to buy a drink.
“Twenty-one,” I answered.
Her eyes went wide.
“Are you serious?” she asked. “You look eighteen, and I mean eighteen at the most. You could be sixteen!”
“I know,” I sighed.
I’ve always been on the peripheral of the beautiful crowd, always outside that circle of desirability.
In the gay world, things are very different.
I glided onto the floor, edged along by Pretty Black Girl, and within moments a cute Asian guy was dancing with me.
He laughed at first when I sidled up next to him, but then he started to get into it, especially when I grinded on his leg, rubbed my chest against his, and moved my lips along his forehead.
“My boyfriend is jealous,” he said nervously into my ear after we’d been dancing for several minutes.
“Your boyfriend?” I asked seductively. I’d never pulled off seductive before in my life.
“Where is he?” I taunted.
“Right over there,” he said.
I smiled and pulled closer.
After a little while I drifted away and returned to Pretty Black Girl, who was smiling broadly and shooting me thumbs-up.
“Oh, my gosh, you did so well!” she exclaimed.
“He said his boyfriend was jealous,” I giggled, a little tipsy from the beer.
“His boyfriend?” she asked, her eyebrows narrowing. “Where’s his boyfriend?”
“Here,” I laughed.
“You got him away from his boyfriend?” she exclaimed.
“Yeah…” I responded. “Is that good?”
She hugged me and laughed.
“Yes, honey, that’s really good.”
The second guy I danced with was the one we’d been admiring on the train. His shirt was off by this point and his exquisite body was covered in sweat. I hadn’t realized how attractive he was, because he’d been fully clothed earlier, but now I saw a thin form that glistened with near perfection.
His impossibly-flat, rock hard stomach merged into hairless pectorals, and his delicate hands were constantly sweeping a mop of sweaty brown hair out of his pretty face. His lips invited me from the beginning, but getting at them was hard because he was so much taller than me.
He was dancing with two of us at once, and when he turned away from me I tested him a few times but starting to walk off. Always he pulled me back.
He kept turning my head in awkward directions with his hands, but he was so hot I didn’t really mind.
There was one thing that was bothering me, though: I wanted to be kissed. I’d made it my personal goal to have my first gay kiss before the end of the night, and I could see no one more beautiful to share it with.
I tried to catch him several times, but he kept nodding his head around and around.
Finally, when he was dancing on me from behind, it happened.
I turned my head to the side and angled it upward, while he, seeing what I was doing, angled his down. Our mouths searched for one another, but they were lost in a mass of long blonde locks, leading me to curse my hair for perhaps the first time in my life.
After a moment of searching, though, my lips met his. They brushed together for just a second, and a healthy amount of hair fell in between, but it counted.
A ding went off in my head.
I’d had my first kiss.
Then he reached down and grabbed me through my jeans.
I exclaimed loudly and backed away, but continued dancing with him.
After a while, the boy said that his friends wanted to leave, so I just walked away. Just like that.
I don’t sweat a lot, even when I should (I’ve sometimes wondered if there’s a problem), but he’d been pouring out moisture, and my shirt was soaked. Reasoning that there was no alternative, I took it off.
Then people really started to look.
I headed up onto one of the stages on either side of the room and joined Freddy, Gay Black Friend, Kind Black Girl, and Pretty Black Girl, who were all dancing there.
I danced with Pretty Black Girl.
There is something very flirty in me that gets unleashed when I’ve had even the tiniest bit of alcohol, and I’ve been known, despite being completely homosexual, to kiss girls when at parties. They, in turn, feel secure around me and indulge in these impulses, rationalizing perhaps that it doesn’t count because we’re really just good friends.
I bring this up because Pretty Black Girl, despite being gorgeous and having a wonderful body, insists that guys don’t find her attractive.
“The next time we come here you should get me good and drunk and take advantage of me,” I teased.
She laughed and said she’d have to take me up on it.
I was contemplating kissing her when a black man walked up to me and asked, “Can I dance with you?”
I looked at him.
He wasn’t my type at all, but he was there.
“Sure,” I said.
He started out gently, swaying and grinding. When I fell backward and nearly hit my head on the floor, he caught me, and, because I weigh nothing, swooped me back up.
“I got you,” he assured me.
He was much stronger than I, but I didn’t do too much to resist when he grabbed me by my waist and slammed me against a wall with as much effort as it would’ve taken him to lift a doll into the air.
We made out, but I’m really not sure why. I didn’t much care for it. I just kind of let it happen.
I’m glad that my first kiss, even if it was barely a kiss, was with someone I really found appealing.
I like my own body type, as I think many gay guys do. I don’t want someone who makes me look like a woman, nor someone who makes me look like a tree. I want an equal.
After a while I walked away from him. When he followed me, I dove into the crowd, lost him, and returned to the stage. I saw a really cute boy from my school and attempted to dance with him.
I backed in his direction, but when I turned around he’d rotated to the other side of the cluster we were in.
Pretty Black Girl swayed over to him with me, and this time it was a dead lock. He swerved and moved away.
“Whatever,” I said, genuinely shocked; it was the first time I’d been turned down. There had been one other guy who’d said no, but he was older and with his boyfriend.
“He’s an asshole,” Pretty Black Girl immediately said of the other boy. “Plus, you got three out of four, right?”
“True,” I said.
When we got outside, the other guys were bragging about numbers exchanged and Facebook requests obtained.
“I think BB outdid everyone, though,” Freddy Mercury said. “You made us all proud.”
“Really?” I said, surprised and delighted.
“Yeah,” he said. “We saw everything.”
Just then, the shirtless sweaty boy from the train appeared on the sidewalk.
“Freddy,” I said. “That’s one of the guys who kissed me! And he grabbed me, you know—down there.”
“Wait,” Freddy said. “You kissed him?”
“Fuck you, BB,” he said, but laughing. “I’ve been doing this for four years!”
After we’d dropped Gay Black Friend at his off-campus apartment and Freddy and I were alone in the car on the way back to school, he took the time to give me some advice about emerging into the gay world.
“Don’t let being gay define who you are,” he cautioned. “Don’t let that be all you’re about. I’m only telling you because you’re just now coming out, and it can be easy to want to give into it because it’s so shiny and new, but gay culture is a lot about self-destruction and nihilism. You never want to be the gay friend.”
“I’m not,” I said.
“I know you’re not,” he returned.
“And I won’t be,” I added.
“Right,” he said. “And don’t do cocaine.”
“Oh, yeah—what?” I exclaimed.
“A lot of gay guys get so sucked into the club scene that they wind up doing hard-core drugs,” he said.
I stared straight ahead, alarmed at the very thought.
“Trust me, that will never happen,” I promised. “And with regard to the whole gay thing…I’m not going to let that be my whole personality, but I would like to learn to dress better.”
“That’s fine,” Freddy said. “That can be done. I mean, look at all the attention you got tonight. If you had been dressed really nice, it would have been even more.”
“To tell you the truth, I was kind of surprised by that,” I confessed. “By the way people were with me.”
“BB,” Freddy said, as if were self-evident. “Look at you.”
This is very new territory for me. I’m not sure how to handle it. I’m proceeding with caution. But I’m trying to have fun.