Boys to Men to Boys Again

Content warning: some homophobic language


I don’t have queer cis male friends. Sorry to the queer cis guys who think they’re my friends. There’s a New York Times article about friendship, and apparently, lots of people are misinformed about their friendships, as in they are definitely not reciprocal. Also, sorry to the cis guys who are queer but for their own reasons won’t claim that identity.

I probably sound like a judgmental bitxh, right? That’s ok. I’ve spent so much time thinking about why I don’t have queer male friends, because part of it has to be because of me and my personality. I’ll  accept that. Part of it is also because of the general passive-aggressiveness that tends to dominate my relationships with queer cis men my age. I say my age because I’ve always had a problem relating to people my age. When I was younger, I got along with adults better. Hell, even now I get along better with the weird old men at the bathhouses that ask me to “suck their titties” then with the guys I’m with here.

But back to this passive-aggressiveness. You know, I consider myself to be a bit of a paranoid person. And so there have been times in which I have questioned whether or not some queer men I have interacted with feel some type of way about me. But at Oberlin, people are very quick to say “You’re making that up, they don’t dislike you, you’re just dramatic, stop being crazy.” I literally told a supervisor that I thought that some guy hated me. The supervisor asked me “Did they ever say the words ‘I hate you?'” I said “They told me not to smile at them.”  The supervisor said “But they never said ‘I hate you?’ So we don’t know if they do.”

What type of advice is that? Who would tell someone something like that? That’s a whole other story, but even if my interaction with queer men was not as extreme as that specific one, there is still this general feeling of “Do you have a problem with me?” that I can’t really understand.

I spent so much time theorizing about this, and I came up with a few ideas as to why the relationships were the way they were:

  1. I’m awkward and horny, and they’re awkward and possibly horny, just not horny for me.
  2. I just happened to constantly attempt to befriend the wrong guys, over and over.
  3. Secretly, they feel intimidated or they’re in love with me, and so this is their way of acting out.

Who’s to say that none of these things are true? I decided at one point to actually email some guys I’d been having these awkward relationships with in order to figure what was going on. My template went like this:

Hi x,

I hope that you are doing well. You probably don’t know me that well, but we’ve been in many of the same spaces before. I may be completely wrong, but I sense some type of tension in our “interactions,” and I feel like I am being ignored by you. (Sentence/sentences about the interactions in question). Once again, I may be wrong, I just wanted to address it head on, as I don’t like to live in uncertainty.

Take care,

I got some fun responses. Some guy was like, “I feel the same way, thanks for telling me this, let’s work on it.” We smile at each other. We’re not friends. In fact, after the smile, we just go back to doing what we were doing beforehand. I don’t know if that’s worse or not. One guy was like “I don’t think I even know you, but if you’re in the same space as me, feel free to introduce yourself.” In my head, I was like “You can forget that we share some friends and we matched on Tinder and that you do know me, but whatever.” In reality, I don’t think I even responded to it, because I was so confused. But I got it.

I’m a people-pleaser, I’ve always been. That’s the way I got through living with my family. But even I have limits as to what I can and can’t accept from people. And that type of passive-aggressive behavior is too much. But it’s not the Oberlin way to just start a fight. Hell, my girlfriends were so shocked when I forwarded them the emails, just because it was so “confrontational.”

I had maybe one or two queer male friends in high school, including my ex-boyfriend. But those friendships went the way many high school friendships go after people go to college, to the great beyond. I don’t think I was as close to them as I was to my other non cis dude friends. Maybe I’ll make more queer cis male friends post-Oberlin. But that makes me so angry because part of why I chose Oberlin in the first place was because it was one of the top LGBTQ schools in the country, and I really wanted to be in a place where I felt like I wouldn’t be called a faggot again. And that has been the case. That doesn’t mean I’m going to befriend every queer guy here. Everyone has their own hangups and stories and issues with masculinity or whatever. I just expected more. That’s a common problem I have in general, expecting more than what I get.

I hooked up with a senior my freshman year of college, and I went to visit him the summer a couple of months after his graduation so I could hook up with him again. It was an awkward affair, and what made it weirder was that after the hook up, we spent time walking around New York City talking about why things got so awkward immediately after we hooked up. He suggested that part of it had to do with the fact that there’s some issue of sexual tension between two queer guys, and that’s gonna cause issues. I accepted that at the time, but I prayed that sexual tension was not the true reason why I have weird relationships with queer guys, even the ones I hook up with and don’t talk to again.

Maybe the weirdness comes from the safety of being in such a progressive school. Maybe people here take relationships and relating to people for granted, because there will always be someone who believes exactly what they believe and so they can easily bond. As much as I hate Oberlin, I was still able to find some people I really could bond with. It would be different if I went to Wheaton College (the Christian one in Illinois) or something, where I would have to sign a pledge promising to not engage in homosexual relationships and stuff like that. Where I’d have to find my friends and romantic relationships in silence and possibly in secret. Honestly, I wonder sometimes if that would make my relationships (platonic or romantic) stronger and more real.


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