I was desperately trying to sleep last night when I suddenly sat up in bed. I was struck by a random memory. And all I could think was, "What the hell was I thinking?"
Back in college, one of my best friends was named Erin. She was the very first person to stick her head in my dorm room on the first day of college and introduce herself. She was lively, outgoing, and really cute. She was tall and thin and had blond hair cut in a short bob that really complimented her features.
My husband's best friend at the time was Dave. Dave was a fellow ROTC cadet. My husband and Dave hit it off when they both decided to pledge for the same honor society freshman year. Dave was one of those guys who is both cute and handsome. But mostly cute. He was a bit shorter than my own 5'4" but he fit right in with a class of short guys.
I think it was junior year when we decided that Erin and Dave might really hit it off.
On a Friday afternoon, Erin and I threw our stuff together and headed off on the two-hour drive to their college. The four of us went out for Chinese food. I vaguely remember laughing a lot. Erin and Dave got along fine, but there didn't seem to be any real strong connection there.
Erin and I spent that night talking and bonding in my husband's dorm room. If I remember correctly, all the giggling sent my husband off to find a quieter place to sleep.
The years went on. We stayed friends. Erin was a bridesmaid in my wedding and Dave was my husband's best man.
A couple of years ago, Patrick and I were perusing some of my old photos. As he thumbed through our wedding pictures, he looked up and asked me, "Your husband's best man was gay?"
Patrick gave me one of his looks. "Sweetie, if he isn't gay, then neither am I."
Suddenly all those little things that never seemed to add up about Dave made perfect sense. I didn't have any gaydar back then. At least not for men. But looking back, it makes so much sense to me.
And did I mention that Erin came out not long after her date with Dave?
So yup, that was me, Ms. Gay Sensitivity, setting up a big ole' lacrosse playing dyke and a fag.
Suddenly last night I couldn't get over the fact that I was so freaking clueless.
I've read that kids today are coming out younger and younger. It is giving them a chance to date more significantly at a younger age. Where my friends were all coming out in college, many teens today are coming out in high school.
I think that's great. And I hope it is true. Not only will it help straight kids understand and be more tolerant when they are still young enough to have ideals, it will keep gay kids from having to deal with doltish best friends like me.
Erin and I are always just missing each other in Provincetown. Next year we need to make firmer plans. I'd love to know what Dave is up to. I'll have to see if my husband can track him down.
I feel the need to apologize.