Discover that you like men when you’re 14 and in the shower. Think to yourself, “This is just great.”
Keep it a secret for a few years. In the meantime, dye your hair strange colors and tell people that you watch Queer As Folk for the storylines. Masturbate a shocking amount. Become exhausted and depressed.
Come out to your best friend in her car on the side of a highway when you’re seventeen. Feel liberated and decide to tell everyone you know. If you’re lucky, everyone will understand and still love you. If you’re unlucky, you will be judged or even worse, disowned by your family. For the sake of this how-to, we’ll assume that you’re lucky.
Throw yourself a coming out party. It will be the first of many unnecessary celebrations you will throw during your lifetime. Love yourself and love being gay. Know that your life is just beginning and feel happy about it.
Go away to New York or San Francisco for college and become a full-time homosexual. In the next four years, become exposed to all different types of gay men. Meet fat hairy gay men who sing in choirs, thin tan boys who run track, vegans who want to go to India, serial monogamists, sluts, Lady Gaga fans, Grizzly Bear fans. Taste every color of the gay rainbow. Begin to understand that the only thing that links all gay men together is a mutual love of penis.
Be a proud gay man and a self-loathing asshole. Have a bitchy attitude towards gays who are different from you and fail to understand why. Go out of your way to avoid stereotypes. You aren’t promiscuous and you don’t really do drugs. Wear these facts like a badge of honor. Become a holier-than-thou bitch. Despise the narcissism and vanity that pervades gay culture. Succumb to doing crunches before bed and taking photos of yourself when you have a good hair day.
On the rare occasion that you go to a gay club, feel undesirable and anxious. One night, get really drunk and take home Kyle—an aspiring TV personality with a nice ass. Wake up the next morning and feel guilty about doing such a “gay thing.”
When you graduate, become less critical. Sign up for an account at Ok Cupid and feel okay about it. Worry that you’ll end up a bitter lonely old queen so take steps to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Find a good group of gay friends. Realize how essential it is to have your gay brunch talking about your gay things with your gay friends.
Meet weird people on Ok Cupid and start to panic. Be 32 years old and wonder if this will be your life: buying a lonely organic TV dinner at Whole Foods and eating it while watching Antique Roadshow. This can’t be it. This won’t be it.
Go home for Christmas and have awkwardness with your father. Your mother massages your scalp and tells you that she knows “a gay” in her yoga class and would you like to be set up? No, Mom. No.
Meet the man of your dreams at a Starbucks. Fight over the last packet of Splenda and realize he’s the one. Be grateful that you’ve narrowly avoided a life of Craigslist ads, Grindr and empty meaningless sex. You did it. You won.
Become domesticated. Go to the Farmer’s Market to buy your breads and go to the occasional wine tasting. Hang out with other gay couples and feel safe.
Your partner cheats on you a few times. You forgive him because the alternative is so much worse. You refuse to leave him and go back into the scary gay world. You just won’t do it. Sorry.
Find a way to balance “you” and “gay you.” Don’t be afraid to dress up in drag and use a cock ring. You can do those things because you’re normal and you are loved.
Wonder what it means to be gay and if you were ever truly okay with it. Think about it a lot. And then stop.