1. “I love you Max, but not in a gay way.”
“No, you love me in a ‘ghay’ way, with an H.”
“What does that even mean?”
“It means ‘not gay.’”
“So is the word ‘phat.’”
2. Max has been my unofficial valentine for the past three years. Yesterday is no different.
At 3 am, Max and I catch up on our disorderly lives as we walk around campus. I try to walk arm-in-arm with him, but he refuses to cooperate; instead, he steers me into a fence, a parking meter, and a light pole before I finally give up.
This is why I love Max so much.
3. It wasn’t long ago that being gay made me unhappy.
I remember growing up feeling like there was something wrong with me. Would God smite me, or would I be condemned to eternal damnation? What’s with all the crazy people on TV protesting against gay rights? Why would people not like me for me?
And yet, I still can’t quite realize an answer to any of those questions. But nowadays, I am fine with who I am: a gay kid who has nothing more to offer than his love and companionship.
4. Valentine’s Day 2010: Max and me hanging out in the Statler & Waldorf office watching Galaxy Quest and eating a marble cake we made just an hour ago. The two dozen roses we found in the trash can outside the Union sit on the glass table in the Publication Suite next to the origami dragon I made for Chinese New Year. Max and me enjoying a silly Valentine’s Day being the single guys that we are. (Note: Max is not gay.)
5. Like a lot of gay people, I couldn’t have gotten over my feelings of unnecessary inadequacy without the help from my family and friends.
I wasn’t raised in a religious family. I wasn’t even raised in an exceptionally racist/discriminatory family. But yet, there was a large part of me that didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of being gay, that felt like I wouldn’t be accepted by the people I loved. But all that was laid to rest as I told one friend after another (and eventually my family) about my homosexuality. All the indifference and joking that ensued would make me feel better about everything.
Among the best light-hearted teasing I’ve received: “Oh baby.” “I’m pretty sure gays come from a magical gay land.” And a personal favorite from my sisters, “If we fell for the same bisexual guy, what would happen?”
6. Valentine’s Day 2011: Purchasing a balloon in West Lobby of the Union from the nice lady from the American Heart Association.
“Is this for your girlfriend?”
“No, I’m single.”
“Oh … you should have another balloon. And another.”
“I feel kinda bad about getting all these balloons for a dollar. Can I at least pay you two?”
“Oh, then you have to have a cupcake, too.”
Walking around campus with four balloons and a cupcake. Giving away two balloons (one to a stranger, one to a friend), and the cupcake and a card to Max.
The card? Cover: a contemplating bear with the text “Whenever I think of you, I smile …” The inside: a smiling bear with the text “I smile a lot,” with a short message to the best, unofficial, and only valentine I’ve ever had. (Note: Max is still not gay, nor am I trying to “convert” him.)
You’re one of the cutest guys at RPI. I’m sorry if it embarrasses/makes you uncomfortable that I always point that out, but it makes me all smiley and giggly whenever I think about your cuteness (both your personality and looks). Stay just the way you are (cute).
8. I think a lot of LGBT people go through a similar experience, watching and reading general unpleasantries towards gays and feeling like society won’t approve of who they are. But at least, what I’ve come to realize, it’s not my fault that some people are just dumb; that society as a whole will hopefully someday be unafflicted by this bigotry; that more than anything else, there is nothing wrong with me being me, nor should anyone feel bad about who they are.
9. I’ve never been a relationship. And that doesn’t bother me; if the right guy comes along, he’ll come.
Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day, RPI.