Gay, Straight, or Bi, We Shared a Moment

5/11/2017

I straddled him in the back seat of his car which wasn’t an easy feat considering our size. I’m 6 foot of average build. He is 6’2″, pure muscle, and masculine to the point it offended my radical queer politic. But I made it work as I locked my hips into place and made out with my straight friend of five years.

I met Chad (definitely not his real name) my freshman year at my private Christian university. He was in the class above me and we became teammates on the same sports team. Chad is objectively gorgeous. He’s tall, his body ripped, the definition of a jock.

I’ve been openly bi since I was fourteen and had begun my queer advocacy at my university. I was known on campus for grassroots organizing around LGBT issues, working to make my conservative Christian campus safer for LGBT students. My work made some straight students uncomfortable befriending me but it never phased Chad. He was comfortable in his sexuality and enjoyed hanging out with me.

Chad was never genuinely flirtatious or showed any interest in me or any men. I never saw him naked except the few times we passed each other in the dorm showers. I was flirty with him, as I was with most of my attractive friends of any gender or sexuality, but I never expected anything more. Our relationship was strong but definitely platonic. I knew from hanging out with him that he was disappointingly heterosexual.

Our friendship came to a halt when Chad left our University. I was on a five-year program and had two more years to go and Chad didn’t live anywhere near me. We kept in touch for a few months after but our communication eventually ended.

In my last year of college, my LGBT advocacy was in full swing. While finishing two bachelor degrees, I was writing for national publications about LGBT politics, the intersections of faith and sexuality, and bisexuality. In my last semester of college I spoke at eight different conferences and universities.

The traveling was exhausting but exhilarating. In each city I visited, I reached out to friends in the area so we could reconnect over drinks or dinner. I had a speaking engagement in the Washington D.C. area and remembered that Chad lived in that area. I reached out to him and told him I would be in town soon. We set up a time to meet up and we texted the weeks prior catching up on the last year and a half.

I had two days in Washington D.C. and they were packed with speaking engagements and meetings. By the time it was time to meet up with Chad, I had spent the last twelve hours going non-stop and was exhausted. But I hadn’t seen him in almost two years and I was looking forward to reconnecting face to face.

It was like no time had passed at all. Chad and I talked for four hours, catching up, closing down the bar. But we didn’t want to end our meeting so soon. I asked the bartender where we could go at 1am in Washington D.C. He let us know that the only thing open this late on a weekday were gay bars.

I looked over to Chad to see if this was a deal breaker. He was skeptical but didn’t want to end the night just yet either. We went to the local gay bar, and just our luck, there was a drag show. It was Chad’s first gay bar and drag show.
“You mean that’s a MAN?” Chad would say pointing to the drag queen beat for the gods.

I laughed and stuffed dollar bills in his hands before pushing him towards the stage telling him to “Tip a queen!”

It was comical to watch as I threw this straight guy into the deep end. The drag queen noticed the uncomfortable hot guy and brought him on stage. Chad ended up shirtless as the drag queen pointed to Chad’s six-pack abs like a model on the price is right.

Gay men at the bar eyed my jealously as they connected the dots that Chad and I were there together. They didn’t understand that while we arrived together we weren’t together.

We closed this bar out too and made our way to grab some drunk food. It was at this Mexican restaurant at 3 am that Chad and I’s relationship changed.

As I looked at the menu, I noticed Chad was staring at me.

“What?” I asked nervously laughing.
“When are you going to do it?” he asked smiling.
“Do what?” I responded.
“Kiss me?” he both asked and demanded.

I suddenly couldn’t feel my face. This had to be a dream out of some corny romance movie with a line like that. But before I knew what to say, I felt myself leaning over and connecting lips with Chad.

It was electric. We didn’t just kiss, we made out. My heart was beating out of my face as our tongues anxiously touched. We stopped, thirty seconds later.
He was first to break the silence. “Wow, you’re a good kisser.” He said just as surprised as I was at what happened.

We scarfed our food down and avoided the foods that would give us bad breath. Before I knew it, I found myself in the backseat of his car in a scene straight out of a porno. I took his shirt off. He took off mine. Our bodies intertwined as much as the limited space in the back seat of his car allowed us to.

For two hours we found ourselves locking lips. He was aroused while we kissed but found himself losing his erection when we tried to go any further. He looked disappointed, ashamed even. I assured him it was OK and we cuddled for a while.

Chad cares for me in a way that he doesn’t with other men. He knew I was attractive even if he wasn’t necessarily attracted to me. Chad appreciated my company and emotional support. He found things in our friendship that he sought out in his relationships with women.

I’ve previously written about why we need to stop calling straight men who engage in sex with straight men “straight.” There’s a media narrative that promotes stories that are of “down low” or closeted bi men who are afraid of bi labels. The pushback was that I wanted to call every person that engaged in same-sex sex, not straight.

That’s not the case. We need to recognize when someone is continually engaging, and enjoying, bisexuality without owning a bi label. We also need to give space to people to explore their sexuality without fear of labeling. I believe we can do both. My bisexuality and advocacy created a space for him to explore his sexuality without judgment or fear.

We’re not sure if it was the liquor, the anxiety around his first same-sex experience, or if Chad just truly isn’t sexually into men. Maybe Chad’s attraction to men is limited to men he’s emotionally involved with and he needs to work on remnants of internalized homophobia. Or perhaps his sexuality allows him to kiss other men but not be sexually intimate with them.

The next time I was in Washington D.C., Chad got called into work and wasn’t able to hangout. He felt bad and sent a dozen red roses to the place I was staying. I never received them because I left early the next morning and I think that’s for the best.

Chad and I are still friends and we have candid conversations about sexuality. He recently drunk texted me that our night together was one of the “most explosive sexual experiences” he’s ever had. But despite our intimacy, we will never date.

Both Chad and I are relatively sure he’s too close to a Kinsey 1 to ever be in a relationship with another man. Yet even if he was into men in a way that allowed him to be in a sexual relationship, our relationship as it stands doesn’t have what it takes for us to be boyfriends.

We love each other, deeply, and for now that’s enough.

Eliel Cruz
Eliel Cruz is a speaker and writer on religion, (bi)sexuality, media, and culture at Bisexual.org, The Advocate, Mic, and Religion News Service. His work has also been published in the Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, Washington Post, Soujourners, DETAILS Magazine, Quartz, Rolling Stone, and various other international platforms.