Not a member? Sign up now
True Stories: My Gay Ex-Boyfriend
I knew the truth — why did I go out with him?
By Avatar Koo
My high-school boyfriend, Gustav, recently confessed to me: "I was so horny as a teenager, I would have had sex with a vacuum cleaner. But when we were having sex, I was thinking about… dicks."
This was last summer. I was in his Times Square hotel room, on the bed. Gustav was ironing a fluorescent green shirt, the least flamboyant article of clothing he had in his suitcase. "I should have told you I was gay. Sorry."
I don't know why he apologized. I had always known he was gay, even when he had insisted he was straight. But then I wondered: if seventeen-year-old me had always known Gustav had dick on his mind, then why did I pursue him? Make out with him? Have sex with him? Become boyfriend-girlfriend with him?
There's a whole mythology around the undying platonic love between a straight woman and gay-and-fabulous man. A few months ago, the Sundance Channel wrapped of the first season of a show Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. The title more or less sums up the new, post-Bravo-channel zeitgeist, where the BFF relationship is a cuddly, cinematic PG-13. They meet in the bloom of youth, perhaps in the drama club or while working retail at Hot Topic. On a starlit night, he comes out of the closet, to her. They embrace. And now she never has to worry that he will hug her and get an erection. The ultimate Prince Charming is the gay BFF. Another man (but a safe, nurturing man) to hide behind.
When I think about dating Gustav as a teenager, I think, of all people, of Paris Hilton, who once said, "I am sexy but not sexual." Is that me?
A decade before teen magazines started to refer to gay BFFs as the ultimate prom accessory, I was just another girl in suburbia. The first time I saw Gustav, he was a Finnish exchange student registering at my high school. I couldn't see his face, but as I watched his willowy figure slink away, my teenage ennui was replaced by the pulsating beat of L-O-V-E. He was wearing a backwards newsboy cap, suede kicks, and a t-shirt that clung to his angular shoulders. In the late '90s, when flannel still refused to die and a popular song gave shout-outs to girls in Abercrombie & Fitch, this boy was exotic.
When I came into school the next morning, I walked up to him, hooked my arm through his and said, "We're going to be best friends." And instead of backing away from the pink-haired Asian girl with the safety pins in her ears, Gustav laughed aloud and squeezed my hand.
In retrospect, some part of me must have known. I would never have been so flirtatious with a straight boy. Are you kidding? Back then, a straight boy with movie-star looks would have looked at my blue nail-polish and the weapon-grade chain jingling from my wallet to my belt, and turned to stone.
Or at least that was, I think, my fear as I stared with awe at the other girls in the high school, the ones who knew how to effortlessly perfume the air with fuck-mes. These girls sauntered past me, their hips and asses and long hair swinging like rope over a secret summer watering hole. The boys were mesmerized, limping after these goddesses. I felt invisible. I felt safe. I felt alone.
Within a whirlwind week, Gustav and I traded notes that pledged eternal romantic love to one another (my note included a stick figure with long-ass arms: "I love you THIIIIIS much!")
The next day, his host family's minivan dropped him off at my house. Gustav was enthusiastically oral and hard as a rock. But, even after he had come in three condoms, something led me to question him.
I asked him about his previous girlfriend. He told me, "She put yogurt on her pussy and I licked it off." Very cool.
I asked him about other boys. "You know what would be hot, Gustav? You fucking Paul." Paul was another European exchange student who wore a black suit everyday to school, and I was in lust with his corporate-emo-glam style. Oh, and of course Paul was gay as well.
Gustav giggled, "No, I don't think so. That would be weird."
I know Gustav doesn't remember the last time we fucked, which was more than a decade ago — he chugged a large bottle of mint vodka and then promptly fell into "drunken sexual amnesia." (He gets wasted and then ends up sticking his dick in the nearest warm body.)
Now, when I ask him if he will ever sleep with a woman again, he says, "Maybe. Every three or four years. If I'm really drunk."