Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Now Pronounce Thee…, Part 4


"Keep your Peter in Your Pants!"

Throughout high school, those words were our own inappropriate inside joke. Unlike other parents that would say things like "Remember who you are" as their children heading out of the house, Cole's Father, prior to any date, would employ humor rather than guilt and awkward embarrassment to keep his sons from having any pre-marital sex. Well into our college years, his gruff voice always carried with it a certain sense of intimidation.

Hoping to embarrass him, the night of his wedding Cole decided to text our friend Payton this little phrase to see how embarrassed/mad/anxious he would get. We never saw his reaction. Either foreseeing our prank or out of politeness to his wife and family, the phone remained in his pocket and turned off throughout the reception. Later, of course, he would get the message and likely roll his eyes before hopping into the honeymoon bed.

That night started off as embarrassing for me as any of us could ever hope to embarrass Payton. Jacqueline had just found out (and adjusting to her new mantle of 'fruit fly') and Cole and I were making efforts to be more open about our escapades to that point in our lives. On our way to the wedding—the true highlight of the story—the subject of dating had come up and at this point in the process of coming out, I was dating a lot. Jacqueline had plenty of questions about what had happened prior to her return from her mission.

Following a discussion of Cole's engagement and our journey to "coming out to ourselves," my best friend took the opportunity to share every embarrassing detail and offer perspectives I'd never heard before on my four months of dating. I'd never say that it was a form of revenge or anything malicious, but if Cole had wanted to blackmail me at that time, these stories would be the one's he'd use in my tell-all biography.

Looking back, these were nothing more than tales of inexperience and puppy love, but they were really the most intimate moments of my life at the time. Despite being on his mission, Mark remained on my mind at all times, so any discussion of our time together brought up all sorts of emotions I wasn't prepared to deal with (just as Cole faced a rush of emotions every time he was forced to explain his failed engagement and the hardest of these stories to hear really touched on both of these experiences.

"It was your average outing with Bobbie Jean with one exception," Cole began. "It was the regular dinner and a show/opera/exhibit format, but GMB had brought Mark to meet the parents so to speak. Bobbie Jean is basically our mom. She provides the guidance that she would provide her children were she to have any and we, her gay boys, take the advice we'd never get from our parents.

"We had a very normal dinner—Chinese at the best place in town. We caught up on each others lives and everyone got to know GMB's boyfriend. It was a little awkward I suppose because my 'date' for the night was the last girl I'd attempted to date."

Jacqueline interjected with a barely-audible "Hmm?," squinting slightly in one eye. "Oh…. Long story. We would take each other out pretty often for lunch. I guess it started out as dating and ended up turning into discussions of why we could never be a couple."

"Oh," Jacqueline uttered, sympathizing with the unintentional jilting of another straight Mormon girl.

"At dinner, we spent a lot of time joking about how things didn't work out, but we quickly moved on to teasing the lovebirds." At that moment, I'm sure I blushed a little.

"It got even better at the show. Myra had gotten us free tickets to Footloose on the back row—where no one can see you cuddle...." The jab carried sufficient weight to make me blush even more.

"To be honest, though," he continued, "the real show was not what was on stage. All of us—me and Bobbie Jean, especially—were much more entertained by GMB and Mark's attempting to hold hands seated next to an old Mormon couple. They'd probably been married fifty years on their weekly date when out of the blue the homos show up to make them uncomfortable."

Noticing that I was getting a little red in the face, Cole decided to test the limits a little bit. Jacqueline chuckled despite her sympathy for the couple just going to the show to see a little community theater, and Cole's description of our hand-holding: "They were like two turtles. Both of them were so anxious over being seen or what people would think or what each other might do, they would make all of the signals to hold each others' hands and then pull away. This went on for maybe a half hour as Bobbie Jean and I chuckled to ourselves a few seats down.

"Finally, they did it. The couple showed a little initial discomfort, but they got over it. The satisfaction on Mark and GMB's faces was priceless, though. Who knew that releasing those hormones would lead to such happiness on the faces of two gay boys?"

Just when I thought it was over and I couldn't be more horrified, Cole brought up the backseat—the very one we were sitting in on our way to Payson's wedding. It was perhaps the cutest moment that Mark and I had ever had. It just happened to take place in Cole's backseat and Cole just happened to be there.

"We decided to take my car to save gas and carpool. So, the plan was for GMB to take Mark to the door, kiss him goodnight, and kiss him goodbye. But…"

I chuckled in anticipation.

"…as we got to Mark's house just past midnight we realized that his neighbors were outside working on a car with the kind of floodlights they'd use in an NFL stadium. An angry groan came from the back seat 'Stupid Brother Sorenson. Who works on a car at this hour?!' Needless to say, their little plan was ruined. No good night smooch. No romantic goodbyes. Nothing….

"Until Mark made a request: 'Cole, can your backseat be my doorstep tonight?' I gave in and let them go at it for a while. All sorts of terrible sounds were coming from back there. I didn't even have time to turn on the radio or cover my ears!"

I thought that was the worst of it. The most embarrassed I could possibly be and the most uncomfortable that Jacqueline could feel about her RM boy friend making out a pre-missionary. It got worse, though. I blushed more than I'd ever blushed and as anxious as that time I hit the emergency button in my grandmother's hospital room when I was seven.

"I couldn't believe it! GMB was inaugurating MY backseat. Even when I was engaged, I didn't get to make out back there. I am a good friend! I am a DAMN GOOD friend for donating my back seat! To this day, he's gotten more action in my car than I have! You owe me, GMB. You owe me big."

The conversation ended in awkward laughter. I wasn't sure whether to feel worse over Jacqueline's discomfort (as she squinted and squeaked a little bit as she laughed) or my own (as I laughed off the awkwardness and Cole reassured me he'd worked through those feelings). It was difficult to realize that my escapades had caused angst for my best friend, but we worked things out in a couple of minutes as we made our way into the most awkward wedding reception of our life. The emotions were a bit off. Awkward neediness and anger filled the air. Unfortunately, unlike our situation in the car, this tension didn't disappear with laughter.


Cole said...

Oh, GMB, I'd never use this particular story to blackmail you if ever I had the need for revenge...

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