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Gay High Standards

by Nicholas Barnard on October 28th, 2007

I’ve learned that I share two major pieces of my core identity with a former classmate of mine from middle school and upper school. We both hold ourselves to high standards and we’re both gay

L, my former classmate and I were good friends, but we drifted apart in upper school. I don’t remember anything specific that pushed us apart.

I was chatting with another recently single friend in Columbus Ohio and I recommended to look at guys personal ads. Just out of curiosity and to validate that okcupid is as useful in Columbus as it is in Seattle I did a search for gay guys in Columbus.

I noticed a picture that looked familiar. It could have been L, but it also might not have been. (We’even’t seen each other in eight years.) In laziness and coyness I just left him a woo, a simple show of interest. A little more coyness later, I’ve confirmed that yes, this is L.

L has felt guilty for abandoning me in a “dire circumstance”. The thing is I can’t and won’t fault him with abandoning me. It would have been nice if we had been closer friends, but the closet is a strange place and I find it hard to fault anyone for their actions or lack thereof when they are in the social straight jacket of the closet.

So thats where I see L as being hard on himself. Now for the trickier and more personal part.

I don’t want to share this next part, but part of me says I must.

This occurred when I was 17, during the summer of 1998. A period when I knew L, and went to school with him. I had at this point started flirting around with Yahoo! Personals and I met up with D, a guy who went to Wright State University, at the local Don Pablos. We had a good lunch, then he invited me over to his place. Being naive in the patterns of gay relationships I agreed, and left my car at Don Pablos, and rode with him, to his apartment. Once we got there I had no idea where I was.

We had sex. It felt good, liberating really. I remember having confused tears of relief. Then it turned to a point where I wanted it to stop and it didn’t. I still remember cuddling with D, watching the red LED clock tick off the minutes.

I had a meeting at work that I needed to go to. It took far more conjoling and nagging than it should have to get a ride back to my car. I wanted to get a shower, but he said I’d get used to the feeling. I still remember the meeting. It was canceled, but replaced with tasks that needed done. I remember working in the office at McDonald’s on some plan to speed the drive-thru up.

I remember wanting a shower.

This story still makes me uneasy even today, ten years later.

I remember telling this to a counselor when I was in Atlanta in 2002. I berated myself for being stupid, too eager, letting myself place myself in a position where that could happen. She told me I was too hard on myself, that I was being unreasonable judging my 17 year old self by my 21 year old standards.

To be honest ten years later I still think I was stupid and naive, but that experience still drives the personal rules I follow when dating.

Thank you D for teaching me to be cautious and untrustworthy of people I’ve just met. Fuck you for the way in which you did it. Bastard.

So thats it. I often have high standards, but even so I sometimes fall short of them.

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