No, not "Can you help me redecorate my pool house." It's "When did you know you were gay?" This is how doctors must feel when people ask them to diagnose their psoriasis at cocktail parties. Do people ask heteros like Alphaboss when he first knew he liked you-know-what? But I accept it is my lot in life to educate. And if my sharing my "When I knew" story can help one young reader out there struggling with his identity...so be it. I shall share the deepest, darkest, and most shameful letter of my life - the story of my first and only heterosexual encounter.
It was the Fall of 1993 and I was a mere boy of 13. As you might expect , I was a happy boy, but a confused boy. Other boys I knew had started to talk about girls, even talk to girls about doing things I couldn't imagine. It's not that I didn't like girls, quite the contrary! I loved girls! We shared so many common interests: baking, shopping, 90210, Teen Beat Magazine, pretending to be sick during gym class, using the word 'like' a bunch, Johnny Depp. I mean, who was I going to talk to about Oprah in the boys' room? Still, I thought this meant that I got girls, right? That I'd make an ideal husband one day because girls really want a guy who they can garden with, right?
The scene was Mikey Klopfowitz's Bar Mitzvah. Mikey wasn't the only Jewish boy in town, just the only one who's mother made him invite everyone in our grade. I knew him just a little, but I was quite excited for my first Jewish experience. I was a confusing fellow and learning about Jewish culture sounded like an ideal way to spend a Saturday afternoon. On top of the educational experience, I got to dress up in a suit! I've got to tell you, I looked absolutely, finger-lickin' adorable!
The service was nice, but what a workout! I remember counting how many times we stood up and sat back down (18). We had to hold these heavy books, as well. I remember thinking that this was why all the Jewish boys I know were in such great shape!
Then, we went to the Jurassic Park-themed reception. The first thing I remember, other than sitting at the Velocaraptor table, is Pigs in a Blanket. And dumplings. And mini hamburgers. And chicken skewers. Those Jews knew how to eat! But another thing I remember was Sid Stapleton calling me into a room off to the side, where all the kids from my class were drinking Jewish wine (which I've since come to realize was Manischewitz), and playing "Spin the Bottle."
Oh, memories of Spin the Bottle...I fondly recall when Kevin and Winnie played the kissing game on "The Wonder Years." And I will always remember the tingly feeling I got watching DJ Tanner spin it on "Full House." And I remember thinking, "Lloyd, YOU get to be like those cool kids in TV!" I was ready, and excited, to Spin! And, I thought, I was prepared for the "prize" at the end.
"Lloyd," Sid said, smiling, "Get in there! Spin the bottle!" So I get in the middle of the teeming pre-teens, kneeled at the wine bottle, and gave it a spin.
Round it went. Was it going to be Ginger, the sweet, chubby girl? The bottle spun on. Perhaps my lips would meet with those of Tammy, the best soccer player in the grade? The bottle spun on. Would I share my first kiss with Gina, the tough girl who once pulled down my pants in the auditorium? No, for the bottle spun on, thank God.
And then it stopped on Mindy McNamara, the prettiest girl there. Nervously, I smiled at her. And Mindy, a shy girl with a big smile, stood up, ready to kiss. We stood, eye-to-eye, nose-to-nose, mouth-to-mouth. We stuck out our butts and leaned in for the big one. And we touched lips...
But as we kissed I felt a violent chill run through my body. It started at my toes and barreled up my legs. It rocked my intestines and left my stomach laying in its hideous wake. It collapsed my lungs and stopped my heart and shot up my esophagus and out it came...
Yup, I vomited all over poor Mindy McNamara, the prettiest girl there.
I think it was then I realized, I didn't like girls as much as I thought I did.
Mindy, if you're reading this, I am very sorry, but if it weren't for you, who knows what steps I may have taken and if they would have led me here, blogging about you, with the love of my life, Tom, waiting for me at home.
So dear Mindy, the prettiest girl I ever knew, thank you from the bottom of my toes.
I love you all.