Last month, I met someone at Gaysgiving.
Amongst the familiar Thanksgiving orphans I love like family, I met H. He was attractive in an unassuming sort of way, glancing at me through black-rimmed glasses and smiling shyly while we spoke.
As I got drunker and drunker on spiked eggnog, my attraction became more and more apparent. I started asking H flirtatious questions, like, “When was the last time you were tested” and “Why do you think you’re single?”
He had answers for both: “Last month” and “I’m not in a place to start anything right now.” That didn’t stop me from inviting him over, and somehow my abrasive questions didn’t put him off.
We spent the night together, but we didn’t have sex. The next week, we watched “The Wiz” together on NBC while our Gaysgiving orphans screamed “Yas!” at the Emerald City vogueing. The next day, he took me ice skating at Bryant Park, holding my hand as I tried not to fall flat on my ass and have my fingers sliced off by those treacherous ice skates.
It was the next week, still sexless and watching “Love Actually,” that he said, “You shouldn’t fall in love with me.” This isn’t something anyone wants to hear, particularly from someone you really could see yourself falling for. (Not to mention he said this when Kiera Knightly finds out that sexy guy in the ugly sweater is in love with her, even though she just married his best friend.)
“Are you having a good time with me?” I asked. He said yes. “Do you want to keep seeing me?” He said yes. “Then let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” I smiled, kissing him under the mistletoe hanging over his bed.
With Christmas approaching fast, and retail therapy becoming anything but therapeutic, I keep thinking about my childhood in Iowa. For example, in second grade I asked my mother if Santa was real. She started to tell me, and I screamed, “No! Stop! Don’t tell me!” I already knew he wasn’t real—all of the kids at school said as much—but if she didn’t say it out loud I could keep pretending I believed he existed. I liked the fantasy.
I realized I do the same thing with relationships. I don’t ask the men in my life if we’re doing well when I know we aren’t, because maybe if we don’t admit that there’s a problem we can just ignore it forever.
Eventually, I had to grow up and admit that Santa wasn’t real. And, sooner or later, I’ll have to admit that H won’t be my boyfriend, and that our relationship won’t evolve beyond friendship.