I make no secret of the fact that I like men. I don’t necessarily wear it on my sleeve or blurt it out unsolicited, but if you know, great; if you don’t, oh well. I was already “out” to most of my college friends, but now I felt burdened with the task of coming out to my friends at home – much easier said than done. We’d been friends since freshman year of high school, and though I loved them like brothers, I wasn’t quite sure how they’d take it. After all, we spent our high school days trolling the mall to see who could pull the most and best girls – a contest I always won.
I didn’t want to make a big scene out of it, but I also didn’t want to downplay it so much that they would think I was joking. Part of me knew they’d be okay with it, but another part of me felt they just wouldn’t accept it. I really had to do some soul searching to figure out if coming out to my friends was worth losing their friendship. It’s easy to say that if they didn’t accept it, then they weren’t really my friends; but as many people who’ve been through this process before know, it’s just not that simple.
My boys and I always got together at my house during our Christmas break – it had sort of become a tradition since we all went to colleges across the country; I figured this would be as good a time as any to break the news. That way, if they took the news badly, at least I was at my own home and they’d be the ones to have to leave.
There were so many thoughts going through my head as I waited for the first one to arrive. Knowing my boys better than they know themselves, I knew food would soften the blow, so I whipped up some appetizers for them to pick on – maybe they’d miss what I said over the chewing. Just as I was setting the last of the hors d’oeuvres on the table, they pulled up – together. At that moment, I was so excited to see them that I forgot the task of the evening. It was just like old times; we talked shit, we laughed, we brought up the same old stories from high school we always tell when we get together. It felt good. I felt good. But I knew what I had to do.
“Ok boys,” I said, “I have something to tell you.”
“What, that you ain’t shit? We already know that!” one of them replied.
“No, no. This is serious.” After a heavy sigh, I just spit it out. “I just wanted to tell you that…I’m gay.”
The three seconds of silence that followed felt like three days. Their faces were blank and their smiles were gone. My exterior was calm, but I was screaming on the inside, “WHY DID I DO THIS?!”
“Ok, and?” one of them replied.
The other two followed suit. “That was the big announcement? Don’t scare me like that again.”
I was dumbfounded. Did they know already? I knew I wasn’t the manliest man, but damn, was it that obvious?
“We don’t care! You ain’t trying to get at none of us, so we cool with it.”
I felt the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. I heard the choir of angels singing “hallelujah!” I had to sit back and wonder, why was I so worried about them reacting negatively? My curiosity got the best of me and I asked them just that.
“I’m not going to pretend I understand it but I’m okay with it. But it’s not my business to be okay with it, you do you!” one of them said.
“And this is why I love y’all,” I concluded.
They didn’t let me off that easy, though. They asked the expected questions, like was dating a guy the same as dating a girl, and was I “the pitcher or the catcher” in the bedroom, but the mood never changed. We were still laughing, still talking shit, like nothing had changed.
Because it hadn’t.
In hindsight, I hate myself for thinking they’d take the news badly just because they were straight. Though I was the one who revealed something to them, something bigger was revealed to me. The fact is that’s what true friends are – they accept you for you.
Now, to tell my parents…