I recently reconnected with a female friend of mine. During high school she was someone I was close with, laughed with, ditched class with and created a strong bond with. We even went to the high school prom together. Back then although I thought I was gay I never claimed that title. So even for my female friend, she didn’t know. We saw so much of each other I suppose you could call it dating without the sex.
In my senior year Prom was coming and I was so scared when I asked her to go to the prom. Not that she would say no but because back then I felt that there was an expectation that when you went to the prom that afterward you were supposed to have sex. I don’t know where I got this belief from but it laid in my conscious. So asking her was a step I pushed myself toward because you can’t be a senior in school and not go to the prom. Isn’t that a rule of society? So she accepted and that’s when my heart started to beat, not from love but from fear.
What was I getting myself into?
After renting a tux which gave me that James Bond look, and springing a few dollars for a corset for my female friend, it was time to dance to the beat.
On the actual day I was surprised to know that her mother had rented a limo for the night. Now I really felt the pressure that sex was expected. It was like a comedy routine Richard Pryor said when he talked about going on a date. “There’s a side of the ordering menu where we can hold hands afterward and there’s a expensive side of the menu that if you order from means I’m getting some. That limo meant that she was showing me the second menu.
The prom itself was fun. The hall was filled with the 80’s r&b jams and back then we did dances that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to do in front of your mother. For me I was still stuck on what happened afterward and what was she expecting. The time finally arrived when the prom was over and the music died and you were told you don’t have to go home but you got to get the hell out of here.
What was I supposed to do? I had never kissed a girl. I didn’t know what to expect.We decided to go to dinner afterward and my defense was to make jokes. I became Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin all rolled into one. I can tell I was getting on her nerves, but for me that was the point, to make myself such an ass she didn’t want to do nothing but get away from me. And it worked. We ended the night with her being dropped off first and me last, my virginity intact and no girl tongue action.
Skip ahead to this week where we sat and talked and laughed about prom. I admitted to her how scared I was and claimed ownership of my actions. She surprised me with her response. She told me that for the following few years that night made her feel ugly as she didn’t understand why I acted as if I wasn’t interested in her. She admitted that the night made her self-esteem hang out on the low side.
At that moment I realized that there were two sides to every story. I learned a lesson that when searching for identity it’s not just you but the people around you, the ones who are truly in your lives and by keeping them in the dark you leave them with different interpretations of what’s going on. I have to admit there are some similar traits of the whole downlow aspect-not being honest with your partner about your sexuality. But I was different as I felt that there was no intention of me being deceitful, that I just didn’t know who I was and how to tell the other person for fear of telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Hearing her version of the prom date I felt bad especially not knowing I hurt her. She’s a great person and it was never my intention. But it was good that many years later we can reflect on the night and still maintain a friendship.
Whether it’s our parents, or our friends or people we associate with we want them sometimes to guess what’s going on. But they don’t have a magic ball. They can only go with what you show them.
But that’s result of societies perspective on admitting you’re gay. You just don’t know how they will react act and it’s risky.
Not using it as an excuse but as an explanation of why people don’t disclose but like I said you have to remember that search in identity it’s not just you.There’s always someone else involved whether they know it or not
There’s two sides to every story.
Corrine Cochrane on Hurt/Hate/Heal Anonymous on Life’s Lesson with … gerard riveron on Christmas Wish Anonymous on Happy World AIDS Day Anonymous on Happy World AIDS Day