I came out of the closet late - my third year of college. I was kind of little the innocent Kevin as shown in these pictures. Keep reading and you'll see what Little Richard has to do with it.
Today's #TBT is one of my very early dates. It wasn't from my usual source - an ad, website or an app. It was actually some guy I met in college.
I still remember the day I met Richard. It was the last day of the summer session at Cal State Hayward. I was the newspaper editor of the school paper.
Richard came to the newspaper office with a letter to the editor. I don't remember the contents but I do remember the guy. He had a fantastic face and muscles just bursting from every seam of his clothing. I think I drooled and just stood there dumbfounded.
Since his letter had an on-campus return address, I wrote him a little note that said something like “Sorry we couldn’t print your letter as the summer session is over. If you want it printed in the fall, let me know. And by the way, as an over weight man, I have to say I appreciate all you have done with your body.” (Over weight? Guess I didn't know the term 'Bear' back then.)
Very bold of me to write that with no experience in the gay world - but I did and couldn't take it back.
When the fall quarter came around, Richard replied to my note, saying he is so glad I appreciate his body as he (and I swear these are the words) “pumps and pumps and pumps iron a lot until the sweat just comes pouring out of his body.” Then he listed the hours he worked on campus "in case I ever wanted to come by and say hi."
With a smile, I took this letter to my on-campus therapist, who I was talking to about my recent coming out.
After reading the letter, the counselor also thought that Richard seemed gay and if I had an interest I should pursue it.
This sounded so promising! So I did go see Richard and he was very charming and sweet. It turns out he lived near me, so we started hanging out a big - going for yogurt and then we started studying together.
We didn't have any classes together, but we'd just relax on the couch and do our own homework...just being together was pure heaven.
One day, he put his books down and asked me if we can talk a bit. "Of course," I'd say.
"I want your advice," he asked. Wow...we've become so close he wanted my input on a problem he's having.
"There's a girl I like and I don't know how to ask her out or know if she even likes me...what do you think I should do?"
Gulp. He's straight? Do I even have gaydar? I sat there next to a man who I thought liked me as a date and not as a friend. I felt so embarrassed at that moment and I am sure my face got red as it felt very hot. I was screaming inside but I couldn't show it.
I don't remember what advice I gave as I just wanted the day to be over. So I likely threw him a quick reply and got the hell out of there.
I called him the next day and told him I needed to talk to him. He could tell that there it was important and he wanted to be there for me the way I was for him.
We tried to set up a time but our schedule’s just didn’t jibe. So he said why don’t I met him at the gym after his workout.
So I went there and we went to the juice bar. Don’t ever met a hot man who doesn’t like you at the gym or on their turf!
First of all, when you want to say something that is hard to say, make yourself comfortable and meet some place you're comfortable. Not at Richard’s gym!
His muscles were so flared up and I could have licked his sweat up with my tongue. I still have not been with a man and Richard was the most tempting thing I have ever seen.
But I bite the bullet and told Richard that I cannot start a friendship with a secret. I told Richard I was gay and that I liked him.
He paused. I can tell he was gathering his thoughts. I knew nothing he could say would make me feel any better as he still likes women and not men.
Richard surprised me though. Not in a good way. Richard said that he's known of other people like me. But if I accept Jesus Christ as my personal savoir, I could rid the demon.
He said he could introduce me to the people who sent Little Richard away to be straightened out.
In shock, I continued to listen as he said he can't be close friends with someone who is possessed by a demon and would have to keep our friendship on a back burner until I can straighten myself out.
As this was sinking in, my mind was spinning. I was about ready to cry. I kept thinking that someone is dooming me to hell, yet I am a good person who loved others and treated others with respect. Does this mean Jesus doesn't love me as I am? A lot to take in for someone so young.
I did compose myself. Maybe not so eloquently, I told him that I can’t be friends with someone who would put our friendship on a back burner because a friend should be there no matter what. I also said that this is the way I was made and it’s not like I picked up a vice or sin. This is just who I am and we're all God's children.
While I think I was so naïve about the whole situation, I am proud of myself for not thinking there was something wrong with me. If someone's going to be in my life, then need to respect me for who I am and realize I was born this way.
#ABearsTale #GayBear #ComingOut #TalesOfTheCity #LGBTStudent