The Underwear Drawer: Straight Talk

        Every gay man experiences having an infatuation for a heterosexual man. It happens. He’s not just the heartthrob on the silver screen or magazine cover. No, he’s the gorgeous cashier at your favorite grocery store, the bank tailor, your classmate, and even a member of your church congregation. And for some of us, we come into direct contact with these individuals. We become friends with them and share enlightening conversations. But through our hypnotized state, reality snaps back in like a rubber band, and we remember, he’s straight.
        I met A.J. at my first grocery store retail job when I was twenty-three. He was friendly, very handsome, and goofy. He was from New York, so he had that entire “Yo-yo-yo, what‘s good?” demeanor. He was Puerto Rican and Black with these big lips girls in the break room teasingly made comments about. He was rumored to be gay but so was every other guy working there only to start gossip. I knew in my heart A.J. was not gay. A part of me wanting him to be because our personalities clicked and we aspired to do a lot of the same things.
        Nevertheless, A.J. was very inconsistent with his goals. He was the type that wanted to be a firefighter and a runway fashion model all in the same day. Constantly, I would try to make him focus on his goals. However, he had a thousand reasons why this or that would or would not work. And every once in awhile I’d get bold with him. I remembered touching his knuckles once, noticing scars. He boxed in his free time and explained to me that’s where the marks came from. But, I was touching him ;not intimately, exactly, but touching.
        I was curious if the rumors were true and, unfortunately, in my confused state of mind, I was starting to like A.J. Although, he’d heard gossip about my sexuality, he never once confronted me. Yet, I did find myself in awkward situations when every time a cute girl walked passed our grocery department, he’d comment, “Damn, she got a fat ass!” And I attempted to play it off. We talked about relationships. Yet, I always seemed to be able to avoid my gender preference and let him assume whatever he wanted.
            Frankly, I felt A.J. needed my advice. Months passed and I had accepted the fact that A.J. was likely heterosexual. We ate lunch together, I’d drive him home a couple times, and sometimes, playfully push him around. The flirting was subtle and I kind of liked it that way. But, it was when A.J. got with his girlfriend I noticed qualities in him I didn’t like. We’d have these “straight-dude talks” and he’d show me all of the pictures of naked girls in his phone, women he was still in contact with.
            Was I suppose to be a “straight dude” and commend him for having a girl or two or three on the side? No. I told him he was setting himself up for relationship failure and that as quick as he could mess around on her, she could do the same to him. I kept him on his toes as best I could. I wasn’t down for trying to convert a man from straight to gay, but once I decided I wanted A.J.’s friendship, I meant it. Weeks later, I hadn’t seen A.J. in awhile and when I did, it was like I was mad at him or something. When we did start back talking, he said, “You’re the one whose been acting funny.” I couldn’t argue with him. I didn’t like that he was probably cheating on his girlfriend and that I was still attracted to him.
            However, it didn’t take long for social media sites like Facebook to become A.J.’s worst enemy, and soon, his girlfriend found out he was cheating on her. I didn’t bother saying, “I told you so,” when A.J. told me the news. He couldn’t even look me in the eye when saying what happened. With accepting the fact A.J. was straight and I had feelings for him, I found myself more pleased with the fact that I’d been a good friend. Not matter the results, a good friend leads his friends in the right direction. I couldn’t have A.J. the way I wanted but that didn’t mean being anything less than a good friend.
Written by: Langston John Blaze