The Incessant, Queer Heartache: Musings on My Unrequited Straight Crush
Legends Bar and Grill. Rochester, Minnesota
February 24th. 11PM.
I’m celebrating my friend Esteban’s birthday. The entire building is thumping from the intense volume of music. R.Kelly’s Ignition Remix stirs the crowd into a jubilant frenzy. Esteban dances his weekend away on the fluorescent space, a pathetic space used as a dance floor, with a couple of cute women whom he met at the 9Round kickboxing gym, his workplace. I’m leaning against a high table, nursing a Blue Moon I bought just for the purpose of having something in my hand. I’m still thinking about him, even tens of miles away. I want him here with me. I want to talk with him until the early morning when the night is at it’s final hour. But I can’t and I won’t. That’s my reality, and by the end of tonight, I’ll have to accept it.
My friend Tani tells me she and her boyfriend are heading to another bar, a pub called Dooley’s. I tell her we’ll meet her there. I revert my stare to the drunken circle of friends when I hear Tani say, “Have fun.”
“I already am.”
She grins at me and adds, “You’re a great liar.”
Whether she was sincere or sarcastic, I can’t say for certain. I reply, “I learn from the best.”
And as I watch the couple leave, I start laughing, and soon I find it difficult to stop myself.
And that right there is my explanation to the two poems I posted within the past two weeks. They served as a prelude to this post I’ve been mulling over for months. I’ve wanted to write this since the beginning of January, when it started, and by that I mean the recycled melodrama only my closest friends are familiar with.
I’ve fallen for another straight guy, and the mental malaise has become too much to bear.
I’ve constantly joked with my closest friends that I’m in a committed relationship with my left hand, usually when I lambast being single. I’ve lamented about my fruitless search for a boyfriend, fuck buddy, boy toy, what have you, with comedic exaggeration. It makes for entertaining theatrics, yet what I don’t reveal to people is what I experience when the laughter dies, the curtain closes, and the audience walks home. I usually bow my head to an empty theater and weep.
It’s easy for me to download Grindr, Tinder, or OK Cupid and placate my closest friends’ unease at my disdain. It’s easy to shrug off my growing melancholy as exaggeration, that I’m only saddened by the delusion that everyone except me is in a relationship. After giving the rebuttals some thought, sure. They’re partially true. What I’m finding difficult to articulate to people is the internal torture a queer man or woman must endure to overcome a crush, especially if he/she is like me who experiences intense crushes. I mean, I crush HARD, possibly because I feel sex-starved which could be a toxic ramification of society’s glorification of sexual encounters. But as I examine myself through a straight person’s perspective, I’m finding how different my attractions are from others. When I see a person, I don’t initially see gay, straight, transgendered, bisexual, or any other orientation. I see him. I see a flesh-and-blood being that pants, cries, laughs, and obviously lusts. What he likes/dislikes, what he finds humorous, if he’s into what I like or dislike, the chemistry, and so on. For me, sexual orientation is secondary, and perhaps that’s my true downfall. Maybe we as a whole are stuck in a mindset of gay/straight/bi and anything in between is too deviant and eventually becomes a target of collective disgust.
Perhaps all relationships are dependent on sexuality. Perhaps labels are truly what makes us tick. We hear about those rare instances when a straight person falls for the same-sex, or a gay person falling for the opposite sex, or a transgendered person. These instances, unfortunately, are just that: rare. I’m beginning to get the feeling that no one is as open-minded as he/she claims to be. Heck, it’s taken me a long time to admit that there’s a slight possibility I might fall in love with a woman. But that’s neither here nor there. I suppose what I’m trying to get at is that I refuse to consider sexual orientation to be a confinement. It should inform us yet not solely define us, and the real tragedy, in my life, is that not everyone sees it that way.
Currently, I’m crushing hard on someone I recently met, and every time I hear about him and his girlfriend, it fills me with a potent despair. It hurts to imagine them together, to experience life in a way I never will. I want him. I crave him intensely at times. There are days I can’t stand to look at him because of how much it hurts. Whenever he posts something on social media, I wonder what his girlfriend would say and I’m imagining the obnoxious exchange of flirting that will garner praise for them and their adorable chemistry. I fear that every compliment, every greeting, everything I say to him will reveal my pining for him. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy his company. He knows how to brighten the room and say the appropriate words to encourage those around him. He’s truly a pleasant person, and I’m grateful to know him. But I want more. I want to know him more, and it kills me inside to think there will always be some part of him I’ll never know or see, aspects of his life only his girlfriend will know.
At this point, in my life, it’s lather rinse repeat since this guy isn’t my first straight crush. There have been bountiful men from high school to the present that have inadvertently broken my heart, and despite time being the purest physician for most people, I can’t honestly assert that I’ve gotten over them. I watch them periodically with their long-term significant others, and in some cases, it’s clear we weren’t meant to happen. Yet there are a handful that still make me wonder if there’s a possibility. Hey, I mean it when I say “Never say never.” If I can admit the possibility of falling for a woman, I’m sure there are plenty of straight men out there who share my sentiments. And then there are intense moments of hopelessness when my only salvation is some gay Adonis from San Francisco who descends from the heavens and steals my heart.
I don’t blame my straight crush. I never have. If I’ve ever displayed any hint of resentment, God @*#•ing forbid it, I’m truly remorseful. And the real tragedy of this melodrama is, despite the advice from my friend Tani and other sob-inducing unrequited love stories, getting over him is easier said than done. Perhaps distance would do us some good. We enjoy each other’s company, and I hope we become decent friends over the years. For now, I must navigate through this recent crush like a foggy swamp. It’s only a matter of time before this guy is thrown in the pile of has-been infatuations, sad as that sounds. It’s true. Time isn’t only a healer of wounds. It’s a conveyor belt that constantly deletes irrelevant material, animate and inanimate.
For my fellow queer readers, who have and are, experiencing an unrequited love interests as well, I understand your pain. To put it bluntly, it fucking sucks. It’s not fun, and most of the time, it’s difficult to explain to friends how awful it sucks. I wish I can give a definite answer. I wish there was some Gay Blue Fairy who will smack us with her wand and turn us into boys who aren’t deluded by this ill-fated romances. I can’t. I’m not that wise or experienced, and maybe I never will. But I can give you a hug, a shoulder to cry on, a sigh into your tired shoulder, because frankly, that’s all I can do. With any luck, my current experience will provide me with unfathomable insight that will help all of us.
Stay strong. Do you what you have to do, and I’ll do me.