FRESH YARN presents:

You Don't Seem...
By C. Brian Smith

I was in the seventh grade when I began realizing that there was a decent chance I might be gay.

What a fucking bummer.

When you are a potentially homosexual twelve-year-old living in Fairfield, Connecticut -- built like a middle linebacker, son of devout Irish Catholic parents -- concepts like "just going through a phase" and "normal adolescent experimentation" become remarkably comforting. Unfortunately, other concepts are even more comforting, like "penis."

It didn't help my confusion that, as a child, my only interaction with a gay man came once a month when my mother would take me to get my haircut at her beauty salon in Westport called "Richards." Richard, the owner, was what you'd expect from a "Richard" who owned a beauty salon in Westport, CT called "Richard's." A steady stream of Andrew Lloyd Webber flooded the lavender room and Richard's chest hair would often "tickle" the back of my neck while he trimmed my bangs. One night, after his boyfriend left him and opened a competing salon across the street called "Bobby's", Richard, sobbing uncontrollably on my mother's shoulder, turned to me and said, "You're so lucky you're not a fag, Brian. Everything about a gay man is sticky and messy."

On the way home that night, I remember asking Mom how Richard knew I wasn't gay.

"Honey, it's just obvious. And besides, if you were gay, you wouldn't have that stack of magazines under your bed. Now get inside…I have to hem your Technicolor Dreamcoat for opening night."

What Mom didn't realize was that I had actually won the collection of glossy porn mags in a circle jerk contest with some kids from the country club the previous summer. "Dude, you are quick," Justin said, as he relinquished ownership to his father's assortment of Ebony Lips.

And there those Lips remained, under my bed, gathering dust, like batteries and duct tape in a post-9/11-red-state-ranch-house bomb shelter. I couldn't break my mother's heart and explain that they'd…never been…"used". I'm pretty sure she still checks under my bed when I come home for the holidays, desperately seeking a sign that this dreaded phase has come to an end. Eagerly awaiting the cable bill for years, on the off chance that a $3.00 Playboy Channel charge might appear. Longingly yearning for a normal, horny, adolescent son who beats off to her Victoria's Secret catalog.

A solvable world so she could sleep at night.

But she had a right to be confused, because my sexuality didn't really make a whole lot of sense. And for some, it still doesn't.

When I tell people I'm gay, the most common response is one that, for a long time, I took as a compliment.

"You're gay? No fucking way!"

"No you don't understand... I really am a homosexual."

"Really? Whoa."

(Then) "Well at least you're not all queeny like…y'know…Richard Simmons."

Which is reassuring at first. But after a while it begins to sound a lot like:

"At least you're a light-skinned nigger!"

My Uncle Bob, upon hearing the news, said: "I'm fine with it, just don't go turning into some sort of flight attendant on me...okay, Shirley?!"

Okay, Uncle Bob, I'll try not to turn into some sort of flight attendant on you. And don't call me Shirley.

But I pardon these fools, since, for many years I took solace in the same logic. I psychologically marked an asterisk next to my sexuality, preserving the opportunity to appeal the verdict at a later date.

Of course I'm not the only gay man in the world with straight man tendencies… it just really seemed that way when I was thirteen. I mean, I didn't see all the fuss about rainbows. I was Alex P. Keaton for Halloween. I washed my face with Dial Antibacterial soap and only recently began waxing my back… and on, and on and on, ridiculously masking the unmaskable reality that I, Brian Smith, longed for a phallic presence in my… life. You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. (But it might be fun to know who is blowing the weatherman…)

Regardless, I wasn't ready to pick out curtains just yet. As I neared my seventeenth birthday, I concocted one last-ditch Hail Mary to try and ditch the gay.

I was a virgin. If I could somehow manage to bed a woman, the sheer magnificence (and normalcy) of her vagina might heal my sinful, loathsome ways. Jesus would stop hating me. Uncle Bob would stop calling me Shirley. And I'd stop getting boners at urinals.

So I found myself a lady.

Kelly Quinn was smart, much smarter than I. She was tough, much tougher than I. And she was horny. Much, much, hornier than I. We'd sneak out of study hall (I went to one of those fancy boarding schools with a lake and a golf course and a black student). We'd go outside and grope at each other's privates for a bit. She'd say really scary things like, "I could do this all night." But luckily for me the bell would ring, and call us all back into the dorms.

While my friends would return blue-balled and frustrated, I was thrilled to have survived another rehabilitation session. Sure it was unpleasant. Sure it made me a little nauseous. But so does wheatgrass.

If you're an alcoholic, a six-pack will just piss you off. The same could be said for how Kelly was finding our twenty minutes of light petting each night. So, at the end of the year she invited a group of us down to her parents' beach house in Old Lyme, CT, where she promised we'd be able to make "all sorts of noise".

I'm quite certain my road to alcoholism was paved that evening. Booze had always intrigued me, but on the night of my deflowerment, my body adopted a rather "Belushi-esque" quality about it: I was attacking the liquor cabinet like a soldier going off to war, and I was pissing like Secretariat before the big race. As a result, by the time Kelly escorted me up to her parent's bedroom, I was fucking wasted.

But things did get off to a decent start. I was able to take my clothes off without much assistance. I had been watching my friends watch straight porn for years, so I had a pretty good sense of how I was expected to waste five or ten minutes before actually inserting my penis into her vagina. I squoze things and figured it would do the trick.

Condoms didn't scare me either. I had been trying them on for years. The primitive containment system fascinated me. I think Kelly was a little confused as to why I already had one on when I got into bed, but nevertheless, all seemed to be going just fine.

Until the moment of penetration. Now, all of my research on the subject seemed to suggest glided ease, like Greg Louganis (also a gay) dipping in for a late afternoon swim. But in this case the pool seemed to be filled with peanut butter, lined with Velcro. Something was wrong. I struggled to make it right while Kelly's body emitted sounds that could only indicate extreme, acute discomfort.

And then she said it. The most frightening, abhorrent, blood-curdling words a gay teen could ever imagine:

"I think this will work better if you go down on me first."

Now, it was dark. And I was wasted. And while there were no mirrors, I can still see the look on my face as the notion sunk in. There was no way out, and no other way in.

Sure, the more reasonable, mentally stable gay teen would most likely have abandoned the cause at this point. But I had established that everything in my life would work better if I participated in vaginal intercourse, and it had been established that vaginal intercourse, apparently, would work better if I ate her out first. And since I have always had tremendous respect for the transitive property, I swallowed hard, lifted up the covers and said, "I'll be right back."

To classify the breath I took as "deep" would be doing me (and the breath) a tremendous disservice.

Bracing for a large oncoming wave -- sitting down to take a final exam --these require deep breaths. My inhale had more of a Shawshank Redemption-escape-route feel to it.

Safe to say that my mouth was in unfamiliar territory. Luckily, thanks to HBO's new late-night hit series Real Sex, I had learned from an eighty-two-year-old nudist Mormon that the letters of the alphabet, when applied just so, could be extremely pleasurable to a woman. (Incidentally, the accompanying song can be extremely comforting to a homosexual while performing oral sex upon a vagina.)

I must have dotted the "i" with a great deal of force and accuracy…or perhaps it was the acceleration through "j, k, L-M-N-O-P!", but the eruption that ensued was… shocking. I was sure I had broken something. Perhaps the fallopian tube? But "yes" means "yes", even in a court of law, and that was the only word coming from Kelly's mouth. Before long, I was summonsed out from under the covers. Greg Louganis, who had been foiled by the missionary position moments before, was now effortlessly twisting and tucking and somersaulting into the deep end with virtually zero splash upon entry. I was having sex.

It became clear right off the bat that premature ejaculation was not going to be an issue. In fact, as the "Summer of '94" mix tape flipped over for the third time, I began to realize that my award-winning speed in circle-jerk competitions was not relevant here. Books have been written about this kind of stamina. Kelly's encouraging moans began to wane, and by the thirty-minute mark, she was essentially asleep.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I began to shift my focus from the woman I was having sex with…to the high school wrestling team. If you close your eyes tight enough, you can imagine just about anyone -- doing…anything -- and sure enough, my cadence accelerated. My veins expanded. My toes curled. Kelly woke up. Amazing technicolors dream-coated the walls!!

Just like that, it was over. I clumsily rolled off the bed and into the bathroom, in order to congratulate myself on a job…done.

I enjoyed a good long look at the man in the mirror. Unfortunately, while the man did seem to be wearing his heart on his sleeve, he didn't seem to be wearing a condom on his dick. Fuck. It had somehow fallen off.

I swiftly but covertly leapt back into bed. With the steadiness of a spinal surgeon, I inspected Kelly's vaginal region. No luck. Those final thrusts of passion must have catapulted the condom way up into her uteral passage. What had begun as a feeble attempt to adjust my sexuality had resulted in the impregnation of a sixteen-year-old girl! The fetus was surely being suffocated by the condom -- not enough to kill it, just enough to severely damage the brain. I liked retarded kids, but wasn't ready to love one as my own flesh and blood.

The next several hours were filled with panic and irrational behavior and a little bit more alcohol. I called my mother around 6:00 AM, but hung up when she answered. A grandmother at 47. What had I done to her!?

When the sun rose I went to the bathroom to urinate, and a strange sound emanated from my genital territory. Not unlike a gurgle. Not unlike someone pissing into a condom. I looked down and there, on my pathetic, shriveled up penis, was the rubber, still attached. Apparently, in all of my prophylactic practice sessions I had never seen one in its sloppy, post-coital, transparent state. I laughed at myself and flushed it down the toilet.

Flushed along with it went any doubts about my sexuality. After all, though I did physically have sex with Kelly Quinn, mentally I did things to the high school wrestling team I am still ashamed of.

I saw Kelly a couple years later when I was playing a squash match at Princeton University. I told her I was gay, and that I had fallen in love with my freshman roommate. She started laughing and introduced me to her girlfriend, Vanessa.

Not only did that god-awful sex fail to turn me straight, it had driven Kelly to a life of lesbianism.

Incidentally, losing my homosexual virginity was far less traumatic.

And thankfully, the letters of the alphabet aren't gender specific.


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