My roommate is an art school jock. Yes, art school has jocks. He’s a soccer player with fútbol flags on the wall over his bed.
He’s tan, muscular, walks around in his boxers, calls me “bro,” and never takes out the trash.
We sleep nine feet away from each other in the same room. This is his first quarter at art college. I’ve been here for two years.
He asked me about the scene, what people do for fun (drug addictions, body paint), and if there are any hot girls.
I honestly didn’t know how to answer. I could say if there were certain girls I thought were pretty. But “hot” implied something else. He thought I was straight.
I assumed I triggered everyone’s gaydar, but I hadn’t triggered his.
On the spot, I answered, “Yeah bro. Tons of hot girls.”
Instant regret. Now I’m stuck in this pretend game until the perfect moment at which point I’ll have to reveal myself in a lie. Haven’t I gotten past all this? Isn’t this what we came to college to avoid ever having to do again? I was out now. I was a public homo. Why was I back in this spot?
The other day, a guy wanted to come to my dorm and fuck me. I texted the roommate and asked if I could have some privacy for a few hours. He said he was going to be out. I still had a few hours before it was time to go to work, so I decided to spring it.
Then the guy said he was lost. I gave him my address which, to hear him tell it, was absolutely ignored by his GPS. He eventually had to call me for directions from the other side of town.
The hour dragged on. He had to get gas. I realized we were running out of time. I was panicking. I ran around the dorm cleaning up, and somewhere in that fuss, I sent a text message: “Dude you need to hurry. I don’t think we’ll have time.”
The response came seconds later: “Time for what?”
“Time for sex. Hurry up. We might just have time to jack off together. Do you like handjobs?”
A few minutes later, the response came. “Ummm dude this is your roommate…”
I screamed, fell on my bed, and buried my face in the pillow. I realized that, if I packed all my stuff, I could be out of the dorm room in an hour or two. Where would I go? Who would take me in?
I texted my roommate back: “Oops. Text fail.”
My roommate responded: “Haha not on my bed!”
I couldn’t read the tone of his text. The hookup never happened. I went to work, came home. No roommate was there. He didn’t show up all weekend, which was normal — he had a girlfriend at another dorm.
When he finally appeared, we never talked about the text. But something was different. We kept talking, we kept interacting, but a silent understanding had passed between us. In time, he met my boyfriends. In time, I was able to say, “Hey man I have a guy coming over. Need some time.”
There was very little to say, really. And that’s how coming out should be. There is very little to say. What needs to be said? “I’m gay.” “Okay.”
The lesson was learned: tell the truth when you can. It will eventually come out, and probably not on your terms. It will eventually come out in a way you cannot control, and control is important when making that sacred revelation — saying those powerful self-identifying words we practice a lifetime saying.
Say it when you can, as much as you can, as often as I can. Make it your mantra. Naw man, I’m gay. I’m gay, I’m gay, I’m gay.
I’m gay. And I have a straight roommate. He’s tan, muscular, walks around in his boxers, calls me “bro,” and never takes out the trash.