“I don’t want someone to love me, just give me sex whenever I want it.” – Rufus Wainright.
At fourteen I had my first kiss. It was my first serious relationship with a girl, and it all went down before 10:30 pm (when my dad picked me up) in a dark movie theatre. It was high-school romance at its very best. Each of us had a learner’s license for love, and the promise of moving ahead a base, blossomed with each new blockbuster that hit the screen.
At nineteen I had my first kiss… again. It was New Year’s Eve and I was determined to make it to first base with a member of the same sex. The object of my affection was a friend of a friend, who had made his way into the group of girls I was dancing with at the bar. With homosexual motives, at the stroke of midnight, I announced to everyone that we must kiss for the New Year. And then when the clock hit twelve, I quickly locked lips with each girl in order to get to him.
A little behind schedule, baby Fox graduates from first love.
When I first came out, I felt like, unknowingly, I had reset the clock on my entire romantic life. With the utterance of three little words, I watched every coming-of-age experience up until that point dissolve into thin air. At nineteen, I was thirteen again and felt like overnight, I needed to catch up on six of years of my life that I couldn’t mentally account for.
Almost twenty, I clamored in desperation because I hadn’t even held a guy’s hand yet! While the time span of my friend’s relationships had naturally progressed from six months to three years, I was still trying to make it past one night. Scrambling to catch up dating in second-year University, it occurred to me that I hadn’t even finished high school yet.
The delay of the maturation of healthy gay relationships (talk about a hefty sentence) is the leading topic of several discussions I have partaken in the last couple of years. My old roommate used to relate to me, that because gay men* couldn’t date (or come out) in high school, they missed out on the “junior high” phase of their romantic and sexual lives. As a result, men who are now well into their twenties, thirties or forties enter into relationships with the emotional maturity of a fifteen year old.
Reflecting on my own experience, I told a friend the other night that my first love had been exactly that, “high school.” To an outsider, it would appear my journal entries from the last year and a half were ripped directly from season two of Dawson’s Creek, or the website headlines from your choice of Gossip Girl episode: Is RF going to drown in his double-gin-extra-olives on the rocks?
At the end of the night though, regardless of one’s age, love and relationships are always learning lessons. Mastering them is a life-long pursuit that does not come with a degree or diploma.
I don’t expect my next relationship to be any less high-school – I am still a sophomore who has a lot to learn before he can make it to senior year.
But that said, I no longer consider myself a freshman. Because at the very least, I came out of my last class knowing that life doesn’t end when a relationship does. That and it is probably best to freeze one’s bank accounts when they are heartbroken.
*This demographic is most definitely not limited to gay men. It can be extended to any number of people who experience their first love outside the block of time commonly understood to be adolescence.