Well, Josh Is Gay...
by Stefi Sparer
Josh called and woke me up at 8:30 AM the morning after Spider-Man 3 was released. I thought he was calling that early to apologize first thing for being the Worst Gay Best Friend Ever, which I called him on the day before in contemporary cinema class.
“You never even said you liked my new dress!” I feigned resentment. “I could get myself a real boyfriend who holds the door open for me and pays when we go out if I wanted my clothing choices to be ignored.”
“I honestly didn’t notice!” Josh tugs at my hair, “I’m sorry!”
“Worst gay best friend ever!” I joke and he laughs as Ryan, the boy that both Josh and I are lusting after, strains his neck until his veins bulge to watch the commotion. I can’t tell if he’s looking at us because he heard me say Josh is gay and now he knows we’re just friends so he’s free to date me or because he heard me say Josh is gay so now he knows we’re just friends and he can date Josh. Ryan’s hair, perfectly tousled in that popular Queer-Eye for the Straight Guy kind of way, told me it could very well go either direction.
Josh notices Ryan eavesdropping and eyes me, sending me his thought bubble; Do you think he’s gay or straight?
I send him one back in the form of a shrug; He’s hot. I hope he’s straight.
I sure as hell hoped he was straight. I had dated three guys in my whole life and they all ended up being gay just months after we stopped seeing each other. Three was a tragically pathetic number anyway in the dating realm, and it was made only more embarrassing by the fact that none of these guys actually liked girls. Yet, they all dated me during their journey to Gay Town. I like to think it’s because I have really amazing hair and they just couldn’t resist. Josh turns towards me and leans in to whisper, “I just can’t tell!”
“Me either,” I say back, then add, “But if he’s gay, you can have him.”
“Oh, thank you for your permission.”
I give him a nod, “It’s what friends are for.”
“We need a way to find out!” he slaps his recycled wood pencil onto his desk, “And time is running out, our final is on Tuesday!” Josh whines with the lilt of someone who grew up Italian, which, he likes to remind me only every four minutes that he is, “just like the Coppolas!”
I roll my eyes and open up my notebook to a blank page before sliding it over to the questionable boy down the row. “Hey, Ryan?” I ask ever so casually in a very nonchalant manner, almost like I didn’t care, “Josh, Stacy, and I are having a study group for the final,” I throw my friend Stacy’s name in to make it seem less like we are trying to tag-team him and more like we might actually study. “If you want to give me your e-mail address, I’ll let you know when it is so that you can join us?”
“Oh, cool,” He answers and Josh shoots me a look of shame as Ryan fills out his contact information, “Thanks.”
“Mmmhmm,” I answer more to Josh than to Ryan.
After class, Josh grabs my notebook from me, “He has handwriting like a girl!” he squeals, “He’s gay! He must be gay! I can actually read this! And he’s left handed!” Josh adds, “It is a known fact that’s eighty percent of all gay people are left handed. I’m even left handed,” He skips a little through the hallway while holding onto his cloth purse that he fashioned himself out of some blue fabric, “ And I act so straight!”
I take back the notebook as he hops up and down in delight, “That doesn’t prove anything. You can’t base anything on which hand is dominant.”
“Fine,” Josh finally stops bouncing, “We’ll just have to look him up on Myspace.”
The next forty minutes were spent in the school library Googling this guy’s name and his e-mail address only to come up with a baseball player and an up and coming recording artist with the same name. “There has to be something!” I say when the search results came up empty. “Usually after five minutes I at least have an address, a phone number, and an old LiveJournal account.”
Josh shakes his head, “Not even a Facebook. This guy seems to be living under a rock.”
“Maybe he’s hiding something?” I muse. “What a secretive, private, weird little feller,” I say more to myself than to Josh, “God, maybe I don’t want to date him after all. But he’s cute?”
Josh ignores me, “I’ll just e-mail him,” He shrugs.
Without thinking, I grab his hand away from the mouse, then drop it when I think about how if Josh only showers three times a week, I doubt he washes his hands regularly either, “You can’t! You can’t because he gave the address to me so he’ll think we’re stalking him, which we are, but he can’t know that!” I instinctively grab for the Purell inside my bag and smother it on. The familiar smell of rubbing alcohol comforts me.
Josh frowns, “Then, like,” he lets air escape his lips, “I just-I don’t know what else to do.”
I give in a little, “And I guess we DO need to figure out if he’s gay or not…”
Josh nods and begins to type, “I’ll make it sound not creepy. I’ll just invite him to go out to coffee with us tomorrow.”
I mimic Josh’s nods, “Make it sound like he should be our friend because we’re fun,” and as an afterthought I throw in, “And sexy.”
When Josh woke me up I at the very least expected some sort of answer regarding Ryan. “Did I wake you?” Josh wants to know.
“No, nope!” It’s obvious by the way the words croaked out of my throat that I was lying. I open one eye and clear my throat.
“I don’t have class today,” I grumble as an excuse. “Did he write back?”
“Who?” Josh answers between crunches.
“Uh,” still foggy, I search for his name, “Ryan, that kid.”
“Oh, yeah, no, I don’t think he checks his e-mail.”
“What are you eating?”
“OK,” I curl up in my duvet and breathe in. I love the smell of my duvet. I don’t really know why. “What did you call to tell me then?” I ask.
“I saw Spider-Man 3 last night. I was calling to say that Venom was brilliant. And, I was wondering, hey, where are my super powers?” Josh is making reference to the fact that a rattlesnake bit him when he was eight and he wasn’t left with any super powers, much less even a scar. “I mean, seriously now.”
“You have super powers. You can eat Doritos at 8:30 in the morning and not vomit,” I argue.
“Nah, I’ve just been up all night. I saw the midnight showing and decided it wasn’t worth going to sleep.”
“Anyway,” he says, “Then I was thinking about it and decided that we should be Bonnie and Clyde for Halloween, because I’m pretty sure my friend Chris is having a Halloween party, and I think it’d be original. So, I’m like, reserving you in advance. Oh, and I’m talking about the film version of them though," he tells me, knowing how I strive to be historically accurate.
"OK," I say, quickly scraping all plans I had for us to go as TomKat, even though I’d been practicing my lazy Katie Holmes side grin since about November. "On one condition though: I get to be Bonnie."
Josh thinks for a moment, crunching on his Doritos. Finally, he lets out a sigh, "Fine, I guess."