Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Experiment


In the aftermath of the breakup with Mark, I found myself alone not only in the general emotional senses of the word. I was on a plane—excited to be traveling, scared to be on my own, and unsure about how I was going to handle Mark’s complete disconnect.

This was my opportunity to experiment with an identity totally new to me. One that I’d come to accept over time and perhaps even embrace. I was a gay Mormon and during this trip, I was going to be “out.”

As we all know, though, being out isn’t a matter of shouting from the rooftops, “I’m a flaming homosexual!”

From the beginning, being gay came up just as any other piece of my identity—my religion, my aspirations, my middle name—would. Things would simply come up when they came up. Also, I decided that I wasn’t going to skirt around the issues because I was going to the most accepting and liberal place I’d been in my entire life: Canada.

Air Canada

There would be no repercussions.

No judgments.

No misassumptions.

I could be me.

Part 1: The Number

The experiment all started on the way there. Once I’d crossed the Utah border, it was time to be a little more open. The journey entailed a few layovers and normal, surface-level conversations with my seatmates, but the topic never really came up with the biological engineer or the Atlanta housewife.

One particular layover turned out to be long enough to take a nice walk around the airport and get a feel for the travel culture of which I was practically a foreigner. I people-watched a great deal of the time analyzing the clothing, the conversations, the drink orders. It was totally enthralling to make up stories and contemplate the great, mobile matrix of humanity.

After a few hours, I found myself hungry and debating whether to buy some overly-priced airport food or wait another few hours for my in-flight meal. I wandered a bit trying to find something that I wouldn’t have to exercise off later. I also realized that my people watching had turned into checking guys out. I was letting myself admire the male body. I caved and got in line at Au Bon Pain—mostly because someone had caught my eye. He was 5’9” with finely trimmed facial hair and dark features. He was listening to his iPod, enjoying sandwich and orange juice alone. Our eyes had caught each other on at least three occasions while I stood in line and I wondered to myself, Is he catching me checking him out or is he checking me out too?

Once I’d reached the front of my line and received my order, I’d realized that for whatever reason the stars had aligned. The only seat left was across from him at a table for two.

My hands were tied. The inevitable conversation began:

“Is this seat taken?”

He immediately pulled out his headphones, introduced himself as Marcelo, and started up a conversation about his job (as a flight attendant) and his family in Puerto Rico. Within a half hour, dating had come up and I was at ease. It felt normal not only to talk about Mark and how I felt, but also to speak of him in the past tense.

“You know, you’re a good guy,” he said. “You have a good head on your shoulders. You care about people. You want what’s best for them. That’s kind of rare.”

“Here’s my number. Let me know the next time you’re in SLC.”

“Thanks. I’d really like that.”

End, Part 1


Ben said...

Gay-boskers-devil on my left shoulder says, "Awesome! Latinos are hot!" Mormon-boskers-angel on my right shoulder says, "You were setting yourself up for a rocky road of transgression and regret." Both the devil and the angel agree that you were awfully bold.

Why were you in Canada anyway?

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

I was there doing research. (I'll be light on the details so as not to bore you).

A significant portion of my thesis (+/- 1/4) was devoted to rural life in a particular province. I performed interviews, visited museums and points of interest, and did some archival work.

MNJ said...

what rural province eh? TOTALLY huge country - but - served my most of my mission in RURAL Saskatchewan. Why would you need to research? UGH!

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

I think you'll be able to guess what province from the next post or probably Saturday's. If you'd rather I just come right out and say it, I'm okay with that too.

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