I am trying to answer the question of whether a man can fall in love with another man. Last time, I talked about when I did, in fact, fall in love with S.; which might or might not mean that the answer is exactly “yes”. On to the next part of the story.

Ryan had just invited me to spend the weekend at the beach house his family had rented, which was perfect, because I had just come out to the entire world, and on Facebook no less; and even though I felt tremendously light and happy, I also felt like there was steam coming out of my ears. So a weekend at the beach with a good friend, with no internet or phone service, sounded like just the thing.

Except I was also terrified of the idea. Because the past few months with Ryan were the first time since falling for S. that I had bonded this deeply with another man; and even though I would’ve cut off a finger to stop it from happening again, I could see the warning signs. The jealousy when he’d spend too much time with our other friends; the desire to tell him everything that was going on in my head at all times; the disproportionate pain at the smallest of perceived slights. I knew how this ended.

A couple of days before the trip was supposed to happen, I went to Ryan’s place in a semi-panic, determined to say something but with no clear idea what it would be; but, as so often happens with big decisions, when the time arrived, I found out I had already decided. Over his kitchen table and a glass of Jameson, I told him I had reservations about the trip; and explained that, even though I was really glad we were friends, it wasn’t always easy to be around him; and explained that this was because I was attracted to him.

F★cking hell, what did I just do!

Except it was really easy, and no fissures opened in the earth, and he wasn’t even particularly surprised. “Yeah,” he said, “when you told me you were gay a few months ago, it occurred to me that maybe this could happen. And I asked myself, ‘Am I okay with that? Can I deal with that?’ And I figured, Yeah, I can deal with that.”

And my head exploded, and confetti and gratitude and brains and relief flew everywhere, and the conversation continued.

9 thoughts on “Redlining, Part II of V: I Can Deal With That

  1. JBT

    Just apropos nothing in particular, Ryan got the most obscure Star Trek reference in the history of time (Charlie X and the “NO LAUGHING!” sequence) and is just generally in every way awesome. When the revolution comes, we few shall slay countless heathens before our bloody demise.

    Reply
  2. Mike

    This is, in a way, depressing to read.

    Does this always happen you bond this closely with a man? Are there any men you would be comfortable going to the beach with for a weekend?

    Is Brian straight? If so, your attraction would almost certainly not be reciprocated. Would it not die off eventually then?

    I do not currently have a friendship this deep, but I find my physical attraction tends to diminish the better I get to know a man.

    Your reaction would make sense if Brian were also gay. If not, I would hope maybe you could fight through the attraction and ultimately enjoy a beautiful friendship.

    Reply
  3. Das

    I would just like to add that I feel parts of your “signs of attraction” are simply effects of getting close to people. I know I’m not attracted to one of my friends, yet I find myself jealous when he spends time with other friends, wanting to tell him everything on my mind, and disproportionately angry at little things. These issues come from me expecting more from our relationship (friendship) than he does not from any romantic interests.

    Reply
    1. Joey Prever (Steve Gershom) Post author

      I agree, but I think these things are also signs of a certain insecurity and unhealthy dependency. That’s the kind of thing I want to avoid, and I think the healthier the friendship, the less these things exist.

      Reply

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