When I was a kid, we used to go to Florida every winter. One year when I was 11, Dad and I were walking out on the beach, and he says that he wants to talk to me. It’s a conversation that ends up being about homosexuality. When I look back on it, it’s kind of amusing. At the time, I was mortified. If I could have run into the ocean and drowned myself, I probably would have tried.
I have a couple of posts that refer to my best friend from my childhood and high school, Victoria, (She was the cheerleader in previous posts*.) So when Dad asks the 11 year old me, if I know what I should say if Victoria were to ever tell me that she liked me as more than a friend, I’m shocked and embarrassed. This is not the discussion you expect to have with your father. Furthermore, my crush on her had already begun. According to him, the correct response was, “I’m flattered, and I like you, but not like that. I just want us to be friends.” (Oooooh, burn!) Basically, in today’s parlance, if Victoria were to ever have shown any interest in me, he wanted me to friend-zone her.
Well, no worries, Dad! Victoria is as straight as an arrow. And after almost 20 years, she’s still hung up on her college boyfriend, who is in the top 5 of my shitlist.
It was me you needed to worry about.
Had Victoria ever ACTUALLY shown the slightest interest, who knows what would have happened. As I’ve mentioned before, I carried a torch for her for years, and 32 years after that conversation with Dad, she and I are still close friends. I’ve never mentioned to her how I felt all those years. Not once. I never will. I have never been one to express my feelings openly or to make a first move on anyone, without knowing where the other stood. Ever.
I generally don’t show my hand when I have had even the slightest interest in someone, not until I knew there might be interest on the other side. (And I’ve been accused of being clueless.) Whether it was someone I had been in a relationship with, or if it was a casual fling with a straight “friend” who was curious and decided I was “safe,” I don’t take the risk of rejection. I let others do that. The worst cases are the ones where you know that the rejection factor runs high. Those would be the straight girls.
So imagine my surprise, when after some imbibing, I craft an email that admits things that a fully sober me would never even want to let bubble to the surface of my consciousness let alone communicate to the person it involved. Aaargh, the worst part about it is that it was to a straight friend.
And I actually hit “Send.”
Skirting the potential for awkwardness, there was an odd kind of purpose to doing it. Even in my alcohol soaked brain, I hoped that she would know that she could find someone who saw her how as I saw her, to know that I would move mountains for her if I could, and since obviously I’m not a guy, there had to be one who would feel the same way somewhere. (Surely they aren’t all “toads”.) More importantly, whoever he is, he should realize how special she is and treat her the way she deserves to be treated. Much like I admitted a while back in a post, she made me realize that the type of person I needed in my life still existed. It just wouldn’t be her, for obvious reasons. Though, as I told her last night, she has now set the bar for everyone else.
I’m not stupid; I know how this works. She is and will only ever be my friend. One of my best, but still just a friend, and that friendship means the world to me. In the end, I just want her to be happy, so I will always be her biggest cheerleader, and I will like whoever she dates, unless given a reason not to.
And at that point, if it’s a good enough reason, then he too will go on my shit list.
*Victoria was also valedictorian, so my fondness for smart girls started early.