By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
I was 17 when I casually told two stunned parents I was bisexual. I never contemplated actually being gay. At the time, indiscriminate mate selection was preferable, and easier for my dumbstruck relatives to digest. When I swept off to SUNY Purchase, it was one of the first things people learned about me. I was proud of my own fearlessness, fully aware of the bravery it takes to come out so young.
Over spring break in '97 I met a younger guy from Brooklyn. He could really dance. We were among the many electronic music enthusiasts convening at the Winter Music Conference in Miami. Bumping into each other at countless parties, we exchanged numbers but never kept in touch.
Five months later we met at a rave in New York. Our first date consisted of stripping naked and engaging in untamed sex on his best friend's bed. From that point on, surgeons with freshly sharp scalpels couldn't separate us. He made me feel immortally beautiful, made me laugh while softly marking kisses up the curve of my back, then penetrating me and whispering, "I love you." Holed up in a windowless room, we would pretend it was night all weekend, smoke pot, fuck until it hurt, and order pepper steak from a restaurant nearby.
Then I cheated on him. She was this cute young thing who lived down the street. Soft, cerebral, and indescribably alluring, she fulfilled a basic physical need. Although she wasn't the first, I couldn't help wanting to own her, to make her wet for me and listen to her beguiling moans. I told myself that the urge to taste women was just a part of my bisexuality. My need for a mélange of lovers, I thought, was part of it too, but I was wrong. From that moment on, when I went down on my boy while riding the LIRR, or when we made love in Amsterdam strung out on moon cakes and Purple Haze, I could see the proverbial hourglass hovering over our steamy nights and cloudless days.
I began envisioning women sleeping next to me instead of him. Over the next year, my make-out exploits with women increased: one kind-hearted Arabic Brit, two doe-eyed bleached blondes, a dancer, a singer, a women-only hook-up party (where I lost count), and a close friendthe only one I truly slept with. My unwitting boyfriend didn't know he couldn't fill this void in me. He couldn't shower me with the tenderness, understanding, and mental connection that my lady-lovers instinctively provided. Nor could his body offer the swells and dips with which they were naturally endowed.
I've always been sorry for hurting him, watching him cry when I finally told him I was gay. When I relive the way I threw my cheating in his face, so he would let me go, I wince. I wish I could erase saying that I'd be happy if he was a woman, and resenting him because he wasn't. If only I could go back and change it all, salvage some fragment of his friendship, I would. 'Cause I miss his smile, his silly jokes, his loyalty and patience, and I will always love him, but it's five years later, and my words of contrition will never stop him from hating me.