Freedom came with undergrad life. I was away from home and finally near New York City, of a world that I had dreamed deeply about escaping to. At SUNY @ Purchase perfect was the antithesis of suburban high school, evolving to from machismo jock to artistic and eccentric. In college perfect was chased by girls and boys, and perfect boys were more likely to chase boys back. Perfect was still not the quietly humorous one who liked school and read in his dorm. He was cool though, which afforded me the opportunity to be entertained by a peer as a possible date. I freely made my homosexuality explicit and explore relationship dynamics.
Refreshed by a gust of attention, I set my sights on who was deemed the most desired boy on campus: Marc. He wasn’t a student, but was the friend of students on the floor below me, and visited every weekend. Luckily, the friends I had made on my floor knew the people down stairs through a mutual friend from Long Island; guess New York City isn’t that big of a city.
Mutual friends who knew of my crush arranged for a chance encounter with Marc. While nothing came of the meet, I did gain wonderful new friends who are cherished deeply. Marc, also, knew of my crush on him; apparently, subtlety was not in my repertoire. His rejection of me (I wasn’t his type; he preferred guys more seasoned than I was) dissipated my attraction. His friends felt sympathy for me, revealing that Marc gets crushed on a lot. I thought how if I wasn’t special or a first to Marc I’d move on and I was over him. We hung out after and it was clear we had nothing in common other than our mutual friends. During that friendship, I saw that beneath bravado, was a desperate want for stability with a boyfriend, just as I did.
As college goes relationships were fleeting but sexual encounters were not, with my attention no longer fixated on one person. The relationship that I had dreamt of, had hoped for during the college experience, eluded me. I was good enough for a lay, but not to spend time with. I was no wallflower, but I was unable to break the habit of isolating in my room and studying. I didn’t go to the campus’ LGBTQ Union to meet peers because the members I conversed with assuredly proclaimed their identity to everyone. Despite my sexual escapades during this time I continued to rebel from any identity label, that I had no history with.
With a false identity in place, I adventured beyond campus-boys to older gay males. I turned, again, to the internet to dominate my acquisition of homosexual dynamics. I quickly accepted invitations, hoping that I’d be a step closer to NYC-escape, that I had expected from Oliver & Company and Tales of the City. Behind my more sophisticated and cool mask older men seemed more worldly and attractive. The Jodie Dallas specter faded from the peripheral of my concept of homosexuality, Sex & the City experiences that I had dreamed of seemed a greater possibility. Instead of the Manhattan fantasy – theatre, dinners, and art galleries – I repeated my suburban youth in reverse. This version though didn’t synchronize with the ticky-tacky boxes. Now I saw behind the neighbors’ curtains, and I didn’t like it. Calling them dates is using the term at its loosest. The men that I went home with would close their curtains, citing their need for privacy. As my perceptions grew I came to see “privacy” as a bent mirror to my rejection of the homosexual label.