Friday, May 16, 2014


I don't have that many female friends, and I never have.  It's not internalized misogyny; it's just that when I was growing up, I had interests that skewed far more closely to "guy stuff", like comic books and video games.  That wouldn't make me a special snowflake now, but it sure did back then, so I got much more comfortable hanging around guys than girls.  I wasn't interested in clothes or putting on makeup or playing with dolls; I wanted to hang out at Scotty's Liquor, where I'd consistently rack up the high score on Q*Bert or Eyes (a bizarre Pac-Man ripoff) while coolly sipping a soda and soaking up the compliments of the boys watching me.

But as a teenager, I didn't have very many friends of either gender.  My best friend R was two years older than me, so I had to brave the dangerous, awful, bully infested waters of junior high by myself, eating my lunch in the bathroom and trying to avoid insults and hard slaps in the head.  By the time I got to high school, R had a boyfriend whose side she rarely, if ever, left, and then she got into crystal meth, so I lost her too.  I felt so lonely, and back then, I wasn't comfortable being by myself because, when left alone too long, my thoughts went to dark places.  I just wanted someone to fucking understand me, to share inside jokes with, to see the cracked and damaged places inside me and love me anyway.

Travis (not his real name) was in my French and economics classes, and he obviously did not give a single solitary fuck what anyone else thought of him.  He always wore a neon green cardigan, usually over a Dead or Alive or Divine shirt, which back in those days was tantamount to taking out a billboard and advertising that you were gay. 

I was instantly smitten by Travis.  I tried to woo him with M&Ms and copies of Crackpot, and although he always thanked me, he didn't give me the validation I desperately desired by inviting me to have lunch with him, so I eventually gave up.  I still said hi to him when I slid into the desk next to him, and once I asked him to decipher an Erasure lyric that I couldn't figure out (this was before the internet, remember), but other than that, I left him alone.

One day, in economics, our teacher was talking about civil rights and said "The problem was that once the blacks had them, the f-----s wanted them too."  I happened to be looking right at Travis when Mr. H said that, and his forehead furrowed slightly, but he never stopped doodling on his folder.  I can't even begin to imagine how he felt, knowing that a TEACHER felt like he could use a vile homophobic slur in class and nobody would do a goddamn thing about it.

The whole reason I'm even writing this is because I dreamed about Travis last night.  For some reason, we were playing Rock Band and he turned to me and said "It's okay that you were alone, you know.  Nobody was cool enough for you anyway."  And this is so stupid, but I woke up crying.

Is it dumb to feel so validated by a dream?