On Being A Beard
You will call him to tell him to stop talking to you. It will be because he has been calling you frequently. It will be because you still have feelings for him and you cannot talk to him without feeling sad afterwards. You will muster all of the courage you have and dial his number. He will not pick up. You will leave a message and he will call you promptly after class the following day.
When you talk it will be a really pleasant conversation. You will forget that you wanted to tell him to stop talking to you. He will move to end the conversation and then you realize you have to tell him now, or you’ll go crazy. When you tell him that you have something to say, he will cut you off and discuss his own journey. After many heavy breaths and sighs, he will say that he is scared to tell you, but he is pretty sure that he is gay.
As soon as you hear these words, you will feel calm. It will feel like diving into a warm pool of carbonation. You will feel partly deaf and mostly at peace. You will know that there is no chance that you two will ever be together. You are no longer attracted to him at this moment. It will be like you were a still bubbling pot of water that was immediately doused in chills of cold tap water. You will feel relieved. You will realize that you did absolutely nothing wrong in the relationship.
You will continue to talk to him for another hour. Your phone will start to die because you’ve talked for so long. He will end the conversation because he has to go. Also because he doesn’t want to talk about these previously unexpressed feelings anymore.
You will spend the next six hours in your bed in shock. You will feel incredibly happy at first, but then you will feel upset. You had previously thought that the two of you would be able to get back together after he figured himself out. Now all of those dreams are dashed. You will feel relieved that this hope is gone, but you will also feel incredibly sad. You will wonder how this information will alter your friendship.You will realize that he must have really liked you because he trusted you enough to tell you first. This feeling will go away after three drinks.
You will forget to eat dinner. You will not feel hungry. You are too busy absorbing this new information. You thought that you knew this person incredibly well, now you realize you don’t. You will think of the comment you made earlier in the week, where you ironically wished he was gay so you could get over him.You will hate yourself because of that comment.
You will get a call from a friend asking you to drink with them. You will say that you just got a call from him and that you’ll be there in a bit. You will come to their small apartment two hours later, just when they’re about to leave. You will go into your friend’s room and try to talk to her about it. You are on the verge of tears at this moment. When you tell her, and finally cry for the first time in the night, she will laugh at you. She will say that she doesn’t believe you. She will say that she can’t believe what a soap opera your life is. You will not know how to respond to this, other than with more tears.
You will get ready to go out, except your makeup has dripped off by this point and you don’t really feel like attempting to hit on men, which is the solution your friends are offering.
You will have made a drink that is far too strong. It will be perfect for the night. You will go into the party and refuse to take your coat off. A man will see that you’ve been crying and will try to hit on you. He is just trying to take advantage of a drunken girl. He will give you his number and insist that you call him. You will not want to call him. You think that he is not as attractive as your previous man and you will think that there is no way he will understand what you’re going through.
You will get smashed and cry.
You will go home alone and cry some more.
You will wonder if any of your relationship was true. You will wonder if you disgusted him. You will feel sickened by this. You will wonder if he was genuine at all during your relationship. You will ask yourself if he was lying to you. You will wonder if he liked you at all. You will pick apart these questions and try to analyze. You will be too drunk to do this properly.
You will question your value as a woman. You had been taught that women are often only valued for their sexuality. You will question what you did that he decided not to value you as a woman. You will question your abilities and lose all of your confidence. You will feel like shit.
When he finally calls you again, and tells you that he fucked a stranger, a woman, you will yell at him. He will not know why you are yelling at him. You want to tell him why can he fuck a stranger but not be with you? But you don’t . You try to be supportive.
You will begin to think that all men are using you. You will hate yourself for this. You will try to trust people again. You will do this through the use of alcohol and honesty. You will drink way too much.
You will think about this revelation far more than he will. You will not trust any man. You will ask each new man you end in bed with if he is gay. Each man will look at you in a weird way and tell you no. You will still wonder if they are lying.
You will hate yourself, but you will begin to dislike gay people, even though you, yourself, really aren’t completely straight. You will feel this for a nanosecond and then you will realize that you hate society more because society has forced these people to stay in the closet. You will feel horrible for thinking like this, especially because you are a loud supporter of gay rights. But still, you will hate gay plot lines in your favorite television shows for the next month. Even more, you will hate the plot lines about closeted gay people. You will feel horrible for not being supportive, but you won’t know what to do.
You will seek advice from anywhere and anyone. No one will know what to say. You will not know what to do. You will become afraid to listen to yourself because you realize that you’ve only hurt yourself with your naive self-trust.
You will want to stop talking to him. You will feel guilty for wanting to be selfish and for not being supportive. You will continue to talk to him. You will hate yourself even more for this. You will wonder how he can have the advantages of seeking emotional comfort in you without being attracted to you. You will be confused. You will hate him for this.
Eventually you will stop thinking about it. You will stop dwelling on it. You will move on. But the paranoia that you feel around men now will remain.
You will hate yourself for this.