Dancing Queen, Only Seventeen

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Storming through my closet, I was trying to piece together the perfect costume for tonight. A pair of chinos matched my striped oxford shirt well. Paired with my father’s vintage Dior blazer and accented with a coiffed head of hair, an obnoxious chain necklace, and some Ray Ban aviators, my uniform was disco savvy for tonight’s 70’s themed Homecoming Dance. Now I was ready to depart for my date with the dance floor. Entering the chauffeur’s room, I found her in front of the television watching a movie.


“Mom,” I droned, “let’s go.”


At that moment I recognized the film. There was Julia Roberts sitting at a white, linen covered table talking on her cell phone her gay best friend.


“Maybe there won't be marriage, maybe there won't be sex, but by God there'll be dancing!” Rupert Everett says as he closes the ever popular 1997 film, My Best Friend’s Wedding.


In her own perfect timing, my mother turned around to find her son decked out in “Dancing Queen” dress. As she eyed me up and down, her expression showed she was finally processing reality. She smiled and shook her head.


Lucky for me, I was not someone whose friends, family, and strangers all knew he was gay before he even uttered the word. I knew first, I and Leonardo diCaprio. I confess, those baby blues of his made me shamelessly swoon. As a child, I actually managed to come out, go back in, come out again, and, subsequently, go back again. This joking-Jekyll and homo-Hyde routine tired quickly, and as the sharp sting of “fag” hit my pre-pubescent ears, I decided I was better off staying in.


Middle school enjoyed torturing me. Because I liked boys? Not necessarily, though that certainly didn’t help. As refuge, I did what many boys like me did, adopted new identities. The theater allowed for me to escape insecurity and take control of my surroundings, as well as integrate myself into an accepting group of my peers. Yet, however open they may had been, I still wasn’t comfortable to openly embrace part of me. But come sophmore year, I was ready.
The joke is that I never actually “came out” of the closet; rather I sort of just “fell out.” I’d be with a friend of mine and catching the eye of a cute guy, point him out to her. Often she would look back at me with an inquisitive grin and then agree. Likewise, with my parents I never formally told them, but I knew they soon perceived it and understood.


Let me tell you though, being gay is not all it’s cracked up to be. There is one unfortunate detail that comes with the territory of liking boys; you have to actually deal with them too. My close friend came out to me this past summer. His doing so was probably one of the best gifts and worst curses I could ask for. He has had a far rougher time than I did, but I stuck by his side always ready to be there to listen and care. Sometimes I cared too much, he didn’t mind.


It’s been good getting to know me more. These experiences have taught me to love life and given me a sense of humanity. With the greatest humility, I can only say thank you. Thank you to the friends who taught me to love myself and thank you to the boy who taught me to love others.
“…the most exciting, challenging & significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you, you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”


-Carrie Bradshaw





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