Girls I Pretended To Have Crushes On When I Was “Straight”

I didn’t come out of the closet until I was 17, which means I had about twelve years of deception under my belt. Usually the girls I would pretend to have crushes on would be celebrities because, hi, you can’t sleep with them. It’s an instant “Get Out Of Gay Free” card. Sometimes, however, they’d have to be real girls so I could abate suspicion amongst friends and family. Below is a collection of my beards, without whom I would’ve been very anxious and scared. Thanks for helping a sister out in his time of need, girls!

1. Tarah Keener, Age Six

The cool thing about being gay is that you actually have tons of girlfriends in preschool and kindergarten because nobody has any gaydar! The girls want to date you because they think you’re cute and charming but it’s actually because you’re non-threatening and a great friend. Fortunately for me, I got to spend the beginning years of my schooling chest deep in babes. Tarah Keener, in particular, was a crowning achievement. She was the prettiest girl in school and also my girlfriend. We held hands, played with dolls, and even discussed our mutual crush on the most popular boy in school. In retrospect, it was really strange. We would gush about how cute we both thought this boy was and then run off into the sunset together holding hands. The girls in kindergarten are just really understanding, I guess.

2. Neve Campbell

Like any self-respecting queer who was born in the eighties, I was obsessed with Party Of Five growing up. Not only was it really gay-friendly (OMG, Ross, the gay violin teacher), it was also full of hot guys. Scott Wolf and Matthew Fox were both the apples of my eye but I of course had to deny my love for them and transfer my affections to Neve Campbell. Thankfully, it wasn’t that hard. Neve Campbell was particularly gorgeous during her Julia Sallinger and Sidney Prescott days and back then, I honestly didn’t think I was lying. I mean, I knew I sort of liked boys but I also hadn’t hit puberty yet so it was really all the same to me. To prove my devotion to Neve, I posted pictures of her on my wall and talked about her incessantly. I even wrote about it in my diary (fag) and kept an old issue of Rolling Stone with her on the cover underneath my bed.

3. Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar didn’t stand a chance. By portraying a role that touched the hearts of gay men, she was destined to become my elementary and middle school beard. Buffy was my heart and soul while it was on the air. I taped every episode on VHS and even took the time to not record the commercials. This was before the new-fangled invention of DVDs, okay? I basically spent the ages of 8 to 15 next to my VCR pressing play and stop. But I didn’t care because it was SMG and she was beautiful and strong and blonde and tan. I went through the same obsessive behaviors with her as I did with Neve Campbell, who at this point, had killed my boner by starring as swamp trash in Wild Things—a movie that starred Kevin Bacon’s penis and a threesome.

4. Ashley Little

Ashley was a girl I dated for two weeks in middle school. Even though she was a total snooze, she had nice hair and was clearly a fag hag in training. I also knew she was probably the only girl who wouldn’t say no to me. By this point, I had bleached my hair blonde and begun quoting lines from Popular so I couldn’t afford to be choosy. My preschool heartthrob days were a distant fond memory.  I asked her out on the telephone one night and we started to hold hands at school. It seriously felt like a middle school version of Liza Minelli and David Gest but whatever, I was just happy to be dating a girl. I broke up with her when I realized I might actually have to kiss her. To cover myself, I told her I had to end things because I developed feelings for my best friend Sarah who wore a back brace to combat her scoliosis. Ashley was pissed and for a single day, I was a heartbreaker.

My crushes after that were fleeting and more obviously rooted in my being closeted. I mean, I had a fat crush on Parker Posey at fourteen. I can assure you that no one at that age gave a shit about Parker Posey besides me and maybe the token lesbian. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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