Dennis: Gay Dating
My first date was also my most felonious. It began innocently. I didn’t even know if he was gay or
not. A locally-grown Filipino, Julian was muscular and behaved manlier than the other seniors in school. The
fact that he was singing in a musical should have been my first clue, but two months out of the closet isn’t
sufficient time for one’s gaydar to come in (unless you ordered in advance and paid dearly for express
delivery). We were both playing bit-parts in a painful high-school production of The Mikado. It was during
nightly rehearsals when the flirting was heavier and the innuendo more obtuse that we got more and more
nervous (and sexual) around each other. I’m sure it was hard for both of us.
But hormones are powerful and can overtake even the most debilitating nervousness…after much guarded
hinting, we agreed to go out for a masculine dinner at a pizzeria replete with cigarette-burned tablecloths,
followed by a Jet Li film sure to include manly doses of death strikes. No room for gayness,
We sat in the movie theater, the air smelling of stale soda and our breath of garlic bread.
Surprisingly though, it wasn’t our breath that was hot and heavy. As Jet-Li was dealing action-packed
punches, our hands became like the hour hands of a clock. They mechanically moved in slow-motion, one
mimicking the other’s minute advances toward the other. Finally, the clock hands synchronously touched…and
eventually took turns ticking the other’s tock.
Popcorn be damned!—as the audience savored choreographed fighting, Julian and I parked the car on a
dirt road along a freshly-reaped corn field. The moon was as full as our first embrace, though not as eager
or hopeful. My right cheek caressed his, and my lips paid tribute to his earlobe before trickling slowly to
his right cheek, then past the corner of his mouth, and then…The next few minutes overloaded my
I regained cognizance in the back of my car with Julian. Both stripped of our clothing and
inhibitions, we climbed each other as grunting mountaineers would Kilimanjaro. And just as they plant flags
at the summit to mark their triumphs of exploration, we planted kisses on each bodily peak and valley,
marking every new discovery.
But then we were discovered! Headlights from a car behind us flooded the backseat. Surely, the
visitor’s high beams nicely exposed our frenzied attempt to keep up appearances. She cavalierly approached
the driver-side window wielding her Flashlight of Truth and burned my eyes. We remained breathless and still,
believing this way she wouldn’t notice the inverted shirts and unbuttoned pants we hurriedly wore, or the
abandoned undies in the backseat bearing witness to our naked misdemeanors.
Once she’d scandalized our identification cards with security headquarters, we were free to go, but
only if we understood that we were trespassing on park property (as if it made sense to incarcerate us for
not comprehending that bit of insight…). The car engine warmed as we corrected our clothes (I had worn his
jersey inside-out). The night ended with nervous chuckles on his doorstep. We affectionately kissed goodbye
for the first time. And for the last time. After his first date, he retreated to the comfort and security of
the closet he’d been so accustomed to.
After my first date, I marched onto the battlefield of gay dating, knowing I had laughable, but
respectable, battle scars. Thus, my first date and my first heartbreak all in one action-packed
evening…Speaking of which, I still wonder what that movie was about…