Thursday, March 4, 2010

I’m Not That Boy

Gay Prelude

It has always a real honor when Cole has invited to big concerts with his music friends. From our earliest experiences in college, when everyone went their separate ways, we always managed to stay connected by attending performances together.

I was very nerdy about the whole thing. I made a little effort to educate myself in the ways of music and the like so as to gain some footing in the conversations despite my extremely shy nature.

Abravanel Hall

When Cole invited me to Leon Fleischer’s performance of the “Emperor” Concerto in Salt Lake with the rest of his music friends, I was excited. My affinity for the social experience probably outweighed that for the cultural one, so I was eager to impress his newest friends.

Cole, Becky and Ianto all entered their program around the same time. There was a certain element of camaraderie and competition between the three of them as a result, but Cole spoke of (and speaks of) them often and frequently. Becky was a pretty blond girl that everybody liked, and Ianto was a little intense. He was half-Japanese, super-intelligent, witty, ambitious, and gay.

In knew going into the night that I’d see him and I wasn’t sure what to think. We’d had a class together the previous semester and we never really interacted. I sat with the people I knew from high school, but found myself observing him throughout the semester.

At that point in my life, homophobia was a reality. I just wasn’t sure what to make of it. Ianto was a little flamboyant—as evidenced by his lace-up pants. I tend to think now that what I viewed as cockiness and flashiness were no more than confidence and style (which I admittedly lacked at that moment in my life). He was so different from me.

Going to the symphony with him was a somewhat eye-opening experience. I realized that he had a lot in common with the very man I considered my best friend (who had not fully accepted his sexuality either). They were artists. They were opinionated (as I learned from the arguments over the canon of piano literature in the car). Their laughter drowned out everyone else’s in the room.

At dinner, a perceivable smirk came upon each waiter’s face as they passed our area. In those days before my mission, I remember feeling slightly embarrassed at the thought of others looking at us that way. Now that it happens on a regular basis, though, I find my opinion of Ianto as well as my unbearable shyness amusing.


That night he ordered some fried calamari as an appetizer, sharing it with Cole, Becky, and me. It was one of those gestures he didn’t have to perform. He didn’t care if we became friends or not. He just did it to be nice. Those moments in class and in the car that he burned people with a “You can’t be serious” didn’t really mean much in the context of his offering. He wasn’t trying to impress anyone. He was being himself and that’s what I found puzzling. There was nothing wrong with him except for the fact that he was gay.

At the symphony, he teased me a little for bringing the score to follow along. I glanced over at him a few seats down every once in a while and I wasn’t quite sure why. Maybe because I wanted to see his reaction to the music? Maybe I was still puzzling over the stereotypes that were not matching up in my head?

Or maybeas I would discover, running into him four years later—my fascination with Ianto ran deeper than I could fathom at that point?

End, Part 1.


C.J. said...

It's always surprising to discover you're attracted to someone, especially someone you didn't think of as your "type".

Romulus said...

That's cute that you brought a score to an orchestra concert! The Emperor is a good concerto, isn't it?

paul said...

mmm. Emperor concerto.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

@C.J.: Well, there's not thinking they're your type and not thinking they're your type.... Hehe.

@Romulus: Yes, I brought a score. I'm more of a visual thinker; it helps me understand the progression and dissonance. (I never acquired these skills studying music in college). Amusingly, a woman shushed me because I turned the page too loudly at one point in the program.

@PG: Yum, yum. I've seen some excellent performances by Cole and with Cole. In fact, he's featured in a concerto night playing the Beethoven Triple Concerto's first movement. All the MoHos should come and support. Haha.

Rob said...

I love the Emperor Concerto and have even dabbled with playing a bit of it. Sounds like an auspicious start for your latest adventure.

A Gay Mormon Boy said...

@Rob: An auspicious and unexpected beginning to something very special.

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