The first time we kiss we are on my bed watching Freaks and Geeks. He’s never seen it before, but I know we won’t actually be watching Freaks and Geeks. It is the third day since our first date, an unexpected breakfast together where we sat smiling over plates of bagels and mugs of coffee.
Three days ago marked the first time I really saw how beautiful his blue eyes gleamed when seen outside the workplace, outside the flow of hungry customers and ticket times. We were beginning to know each other, and something about this time with this boy assured me that he might be the kind of guy who sticks around.
We are on my bed and getting closer. I see that the door is still ajar so I leave his embrace to lock it, shrugging back to him, “roommates.” As soon as I return, our lips meet for the first time and it’s everything I expected it to be. They are soft, tender, and there. He is the first boy I’ve kissed since April, and more importantly, the only one I’ve wanted to kiss.
After a month of talk, laughter, and shared glances at the café we work at, this was it, the fantasy moment, and it was perfectly fulfilling. As we get even closer, stripping clothing and touching skin, I allow him to touch me like I haven’t let anyone before. Because something about him feels right to me, like this is who I’ve been waiting for. I can’t find a single problem with him and, in my pessimistic journey through early adulthood, this is something new and exciting.
I lose my virginity on February 9th, 2014. On the 11th, he says there is something he needs to tell me.
“Promise you won’t be mad at me?” he asks, eyes wide as he lay on my bed. I’m doing my makeup in the mirror across the room after having taken a shower with him, another first. I look at his tousled brown hair, still wet, with a panic growing in the pit of my stomach. This is it, I think, this is the catch.
“You remember when I mentioned my ex the other day?”
I did. On our second date to the art museum, we talked about our histories—mine with boys who never lasted past a few encounters, and he with his ex of three years who he’d broken up with last year.
“Yeah, why?” I ask as he fiddles with my sheets.
“It was a guy.”
He spots the confusion in my face and, thinking this might be the end of it, apologizes profusely. Meanwhile, a million thoughts bubble in my head. Is he gay? Does he have an STD I don’t know about? But the most important one leaves me aching. Can I get past this? He sees my internal questioning and continues to apologize, saying he isn’t gay, he’s bi, he’s always been and he should have told me, saying others have freaked out before and that he didn’t want that to happen with me. He cares too much.
When he says this I want to cry, not because this is the flaw I’ve discovered in my seemingly perfect boy, but because I see it as a flaw. Everything I’ve learned at Liberal Arts College has taught me to be open-minded, and I’ve thought of myself as such. Yet here it was surfacing in my own life, in my sex life, the topic of sexuality and coming to terms with it, and here I was questioning if I could deal.
Before finding out that he was bi, I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about him. He was funny and whimsical, charmingly optimistic. Ever since, every gesture I view from him becomes a question of was that a little too feminine? Or do all boyfriends act like this? Every time something about the past comes up and he refers to his ex, a part of me cringes at the fact that three years of his life was spent with another man. It makes me wonder if what we have is legitimate, or if he will one day leave me for another. It is my biggest fear.
Yet I have stuck around with him despite the talk, despite the label, despite the fear, despite the fact that some friends have told me that, if faced with the same situation, they don’t think they could go through with it. And my reasoning for continuing on? Well, I’ve started to realize that I would feel weird when hearing about any ex. This has been my first relationship, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I have a feeling that if my boyfriend were completely straight, I would still feel awkward when hearing about past encounters, even if they were with a girl.
I realize that this is the nicest boy I have met in my life, and that the dual experience he’s had with men and women has made him an excellent lover. I realize that he is the kindest, most gentle soul there is, that he would do anything for me, and that love cannot be confined under the title “gay” or “straight.” It is universal. It is open. It is welcoming. I realize that I’m more afraid of him leaving me at all than who he would leave me for.
I continually deal with friends who joke about my boyfriend being gay, and it hurts me. Yet in my heart, I know that what we share is beautiful and only growing stronger with time. Five months into this, and I know that he is my best friend. He is the person I can tell anything to, and who will comfort me in any circumstance. So when they mock him for his past, I just think of it as a show of jealously for how close we are, and how flat their relationships are in comparison. (And how they wish the sex was as good as ours). And what I think people don’t get about dating bisexuals is that the label doesn’t matter—the person does. So I love my boyfriend for what he is—my boyfriend. That is all he needs to be for me.