I came out on the bus on the way to West Middle.
I came out in my homeroom, and in the cafeteria over Sloppy Joes.
I did not, however, come out in the library — it was a rule that you could only whisper, but could not talk in the library, even if you were coming out. Well, I did not want to whisper that I was gay, and I was never one to disregard rules, so I did not come out in the library.
I came out in the hallway — we were allowed to talk in the hallways, just not too loudly — on the way to Mr. Smith’s advanced math class which I had absolutely zero business being in. And I know this because he told me that I had absolutely zero business being in it, but it was mid-way through the second marking period and I was too embarrassed to switch classes, and I would have taken a failing grade over a slightly embarrassing situation any day. And that I did.
I came out on Instant Messenger. In chat rooms, so as to do it in bulk.
I came out during a violin lesson, to a teacher a little too conservative to continue working on my vibrato and Vivaldi’s Concerto in A Minor. Who told me that this was going to be a difficult life that I’d chosen for myself, and who wasn’t going to entertain any other thoughts on the matter.
I came out in French class. In French. Je suis, uh, gay.
I came out on a sheet of loose leaf paper that was passed to me in Social Studies. Yo, you gay? Check ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’
I came out in a shoe store. “Do these shoes make me look gay?” “Yes.” “Excellent.”
I came out to my freshmen roommate who then found another freshmen roommate who did not come out to him.
I came out before Facebook became big, so I did not get to come out on Facebook. Shame — bet I would have gotten a ton of likes.
I came out in a closet once. Literally, in a closet. A walk-in closet, but a closet nonetheless, to my number four 4 friend on Myspace while trying on her mother’s maroon high heels, which was a wicked cute thing to do when I was, like, 6. Maybe even 7 or 8. But after your Bar Mitzvah, something about trying on high heels is apparently not a macho thing to do anymore.
I came out to girls I had previously declared my undying love for. I told them that it was because of their unrequited love that I ended up this way — to break the tension, mostly.
I came out to my high school English teacher in a weekly journal entry after she told us that when she met her husband, it was love at first sight. “Count your blessings that I didn’t see him first,” I wrote, followed by a winky face, making it more playful and less threatening.
I came out in an email, because a text would have just been too informal. Subject Line: “FYI…”
I came out on a tennis court, to my opponent, as an excuse for being a horrible opponent — just one of my many regrets in life. I was a horrible opponent because I’m uncoordinated, uncompetitive, I get hungry at inconvenient times, I become lethargic when I can’t eat, and when I become lethargic I become uncoordinated — it’s a vicious cycle.
I came out in my mother’s arms. At the dinner table, over steak and broccoli rabe. And of all the places I’ve come out thus far, this has, without a doubt, been my favorite one. Because I could feel her heart beating — steady and regular, not like her little boy had just told her that he had a crush on another boy in his French class, but like it had every time before that she held me, including, but not limited to, the times she held me as I crawled into her bed after a bad dream. The time she held me and thought it might be the last time she got to hold me. The time she held me and knew it would be the last time she got to hold me.
And now I think that when a mother holds her child, her heartbeat is never regular. I think that it is never steady. As long as something is compromising her child’s happiness, confidence, health, creativity, ambitions, or their ability to be held in her arms, her heartbeat will never be regular. As long as something is inhibiting her child from being absolutely and entirely who they are, her heartbeat will never be steady. As far as I knew, though, her heartbeat was as regular and as steady as I had ever felt it.
And she asked me how I knew I liked him. She stopped me when I began telling her how, on some level, I feel like I’d always known; I’d always been friends with girls, I watched Bravo more than any other eighth grader I knew, and at nap time in kindergarten, when my teacher stepped over me with a dress on, I didn’t feel anything. “Not how you know you like boys,” she said. “How you know you like him.” So I told her that there was something about the way he put gel in his hair, and how he looked in a pair of Levi’s, and how whenever he looked at me, my heartbeat was anything but regular and steady.