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Meeting Brad, part 1

Ever since I came out as gay at age 16 I've wanted a boyfriend. No, that's not exactly right. I knew I was gay before I came out to my family and friends and remember wanting a boyfriend when I was 15 (or was it 14?).

Since I'm 18 now (almost 19) I've had a lot of time to think about what kind of boyfriend I wanted. In my mid-teens I think it was more the "idea" of having a boyfriend that was appealing. I had crushes on lots of different boys -- movie star boys, boys I made up in my day dreams (and night dreams), boys in my class at school and boys I would see at the mall, the ice cream shop, McDonald's, you name it! When my eyes were open, they were scanning.
Sometimes at night I would close my eyes, pick a boy I thought was cute, and imagine us holding hands, kissing, going to the beach, listening to music, going to the movies, laughing. These imaginary boyfriends in my mind could change in a split second and I'd be onto the next one. Sometimes they had blond hair and other times they had brown hair. Different eye colors, too. Some tall, some my height.
There was something really exciting about the whole thing. Whatever I made up in my mind belonged to just me. Nobody could make fun of me, nobody could call me a sissy, a fag, a queer. It was the most normal thing in the world and I loved it. Sometimes in my dreams I would let other people in and they would be happy for me and my boyfriend. Having a boyfriend was the easiest thing in the world.
When I hit 17, I no longer wanted a "pretend" boyfriend. I wanted to get serious about the whole thing and actually had my eyes on a couple of boys in high school. I had a hard crush on one who was totally straight, so I knew that would go nowhere. The other boy was gay and we had winked at each other in passing and even talked some after school. He was so totally shy and I couldn't tell whether he was interested or not. I mean, I sorta felt the same way too. Like how do you learn as a gay boy how to flirt with another boy? Did you go about it the same way straight kids did? So, how could I get my hands on some manual or book on, The Gay Teen Boy's Step-by-Step Guide to Flirting and Dating? They didn't have that one in my school library!
When I came out to my mom at 16, one of the things I remember her saying was, "Matty, one day you're going to meet the man of your dreams (how did she know about those day and night dreams of mine?!? Yikes). Until then just take all the time you need learning about yourself. When you meet someone to date, just be yourself. Don't try to be someone you're not. And don't ever pressure yourself or be pressured to settle for less than you deserve."
So, I tried to just put those raging hormones on a lower level (easier said than done!) and began to think about who I was and what I wanted.
Now, fast forward to age eighteen. My best friend in the world has always been Tyler (and for the record, he's straight). We practically grew up together and we're the same age. Our birthdays are just a week apart and we had a long standing tradition of celebrating our birthdays in the middle of that week and we were now both turning 18.
I know it probably sounds silly, but we've always had a theme for the party, and this year we decided on, First Things Next. I mean, eighteen felt like a huge deal and we wanted to be thinking about some of the "first things" that were important to us at this big "rite of passage" birthday. Eighteen felt more "grownup" than 16 or 17.
Tyler and I had been working on a list of people we wanted to invite. It’s amazing how our minds work because we picked almost the same people to invite. I don’t know how he did it, however, but he invited one person he hadn’t consulted me about and managed to keep it a secret.
Little did I know I'd be meeting one of the "first things next" at this party!
Tune in tomorrow (Meeting Brad, part 2) for what happens next.
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