Fling, March-May 2019
I had kept my crush on Sam so well under wraps that they had no clue about it until the night I hugged them for the first time. In our months-long friendship, I had always avoided hugging them because I knew it would spark a fire, though I told myself it was because we weren’t the hugging type. Determined as I had been to save my marriage, I hadn’t even told them—my best friend—that I recently realized I am queer. Nor that it was them that made me realize this.
Home from Spain a few days, suddenly single, freshly out, testosterone pumping through my body for one whole day, the two of us went out to my first Queer Crush dance party at a local bar. My big queer debut. Ostensibly there as their wingman, I dropped increasingly obvious hints throughout the night as the alcohol emboldened me. A hand on their back as I asked if they wanted another round. An arm over the back of their chair as I leaned into them and pointedly asked, “Are you sure there’s no one here tonight you want to flirt with?” They turned to me, and we locked eyes before they timidly turned away.
On the dance floor, I purposely kept several feet away from them, fighting my desire. When a cute 20-something woman started dancing with me and asked to friend me on Facebook, I could only feel Sam’s eyes on me, and wondered what they were thinking.
We chatted on the walk back, several blocks through the deserted city streets at 2am. On the street corner where our paths home split, I made the decision to pull them in for a goodbye hug. What started as a hug quickly turned into kissing and ended with us making out on my couch.
They were my first queer everything.
With a lot of on-again, off-again, we-should-oh-we-shouldn’t back and forth, we’d tried dating, but that wasn’t working, and we called it off. Back to just best friends. Now, we’d managed to go a whole month without any shenanigans. One night, Sam and I sat on my couch, talking as friends and trying to resist this mutual desire. We started on opposite ends of the couch, but slowly crept closer to each other. Perhaps I reached out my arm to rest on their shoulder. Perhaps I then caressed their cheek. Whatever it was that night, something overtook us, and we began kissing again, properly making out. They came to straddle me, then pulled away. “I don’t want to have sex tonight,” they stated. “Ok!” I answered, “just making out is great.” We kissed again; my hand went exploring and they firmly grabbed it and moved it away but kept kissing. Suddenly, they stopped and stood up. “I just—I just can’t tonight. I don’t know why. I just feel—” They cut themselves off. “I’m going home. Bye.” And they left.
A couple minutes later, they called me on their short walk home. “Hey, I know that was weird, but I think I figured it out and I wanted to explain,” they began. “Kissing you felt like kissing a man. And I don’t mean to insult you, because you are a man, but before—it was different. Now that you’ve been on T a couple months—it’s just different. You feel like a man. And I’m not into men. I like women.”
The pain of Jason’s rejection flashed back into my body, immobilizing me. I only managed to mumble syllables: “oh,” “K,” “yeah.” I lay back on the couch, numb. I had lost so much to inhabit this new body, to grow into my real self, my manhood, only to be rebuffed by my first queer crush.