Do you ever get such silent embarrassment that you’re almost upset that no one else knows the embarrassment so that at least you could get some sort of validation?
Picture it: I’m in class.
We’re discussing some classic English literature (as one does) and my professor asks if anyone enjoyed the reading we were assigned. I raise my hand and say that I liked it. The reading was about a woman, and we were going to analyze her in the context of misogyny and gender norms in that time period.
“Did anyone like her?” my professor asks.
I raise my hand. “I did!”
(I should point out that I had not, in fact, done the reading. I was going purely on assumption and no one else was talking. When there is any sort of silence, I feel contractually obligated to fill it with babble.)
“Why did you like her?”
My mind spins, and I remember something from the author’s note before the reading—the only part of the reading I had actually completed. “I thought she was very sharp and smart. And kind of eloquent. I dig it.”
“Would you date her?”
“I think I would date anyone who is sharp and smart,” I say, after a brief moment of hesitation.
“But would you date her?”
I’m not a radical, so I don’t exactly feel like telling my 81-year-old professor that I was a man after Oscar Wilde’s heart. But he later mentions one of the characters “being described as good in bed,” so maybe I misjudged him a little bit.
Anyway, I play straight, like Jonathan Groff in Glee. See, that’s how gay I am: I actually made that reference.
But the guy next to me also likes the character, and says so. And when he is posed the same question, “Would you date her?” he gives a similarly cagey answer.
Now, I’m no Sherlock Homo, but I am pretty sure he’s also gay. And I have been advised, by numerous “authorities,” that I am shockingly alone, and as such, should “date.” The guy isn’t really my type, but I figured I could lower my standards and knock this out of the ball park.
I think about making a joke about having to fake being straight in front of the professor to him, but I can’t make the joke land, so I forget about it.
(I should mention that, of the three classes we have had together, I have gone un-showered for one, and worn track pants for two. So I really don’t know why I am so overconfident.)
Anyway, I’m just thinking about how flattered he’ll be that I am considering dating him that I completely zone out of class.
In the last few minutes of class, we’re discussing gender norms and someone brings up out how, in guy-girl relationships, the guy will typically drive in a car-type situation. The guy—let’s call him “Trevor”—mentions these fateful words.
“Yeah, my girlfriend’s parents make fun of me all the time because she always drives.”
I’M SORRY, BUT MY DATE HAS A GIRLFRIEND?
I want to laugh-scream, but keep it in until later.
Because I am a complete and utter asshole, and for the following reasons:
1). He isn’t gay.
2). He has a girlfriend
3). I am such a supreme tool that I was “lowering my standards” to ask him out.
The situation is so absolutely, hilariously karmic that it makes me want to crawl into a bear’s mouth. It completely serves me right for being so arrogant that the person I’m deigning to consider asking out is not only completely unavailable, but also completely not a gay man. Not even bisexual. Not even bicurious.
I don’t believe in gay-dar, mostly because I subscribe to the notion that homosexuality is not indicative through certain characteristics, but also because I am so terrible at figuring it out. I asked someone out last year, not really knowing if he was gay or not, so we ended up on a date with seven of my closest friends to a children’s movie, and by the end, I gave him a fist-bump and never talked to him again.
My love life has all the charisma of Shy Ronnie: simultaneously meek and psychotically aggressive.
I’m mostly sharing this as a way to vent, but also because I think it’s hilarious, and laughing takes less energy—and less calories—than sobbing into a carton of Ben and Jerry’s.