Above: Seth and I at some hetero pool party, April 2001.
I was walking down Larkin Street last night when my cell phone rang at 10 p.m. The area code indicated that it was the 207 area code — my home state of Maine.
“Who could be calling me this late?” I asked myself. It was already 1 a.m. on the east coast.
“Dan? Whacha doing?” the familiar but displaced voice asked. The Maine accent rang a bell.
“Seth? What the fuck? I haven’t talked to you in SO long!” I exuberantly responded.
Seth was an old friend of mine from my first stint (the in-the-closet one) in San Francisco. We had hung out a bunch in 2001. Our relationship equaled that of a big brother – little brother one. We had planned to leave for travel together in Southeast Asia on 9/11/01. Of course, that trip never happened. After 9/11, I was a bit freaked and moved to Santa Fe where I proceeded with coming out and, well, you know the rest of the story from there.
“Where the fuck have you been?” I asked. We had last spoken sometime early in 2002. Seth had left San Francisco and moved back to Maine.
“I’ve been here, I’m getting married. She’s 18 and hot,” Seth reported.
“That’s great? 18? Oh my…” as I started to play my “big brother” role. Seth was now pushing 30-something so I had to comment.
Seth continued. “I’ve gotta tell ya, I was shocked when I found out you were gay.”
“Really? Were you really?” I was shocked hearing this declaration.
“Yes – we used to chase girls together. I couldn’t believe that you were gay. I have nothing against gays and know tons of gay gays. I WAS JUST SHOCKED THAT YOU WERE!”
He sounded like he was making the confession of a lifetime. I could hear the true grappling of my sexuality in his voice.
“Well, I am still the same person. I’ve just figured out who I am. And, Seth, while I seemed to be chasing girls with you, I was actually with guys.”
Seth explained that he didn’t understand and that I never seemed gay. I am not surprised. I hid it well. And there was no better front at hiding who I was than hanging out with a young, hetero, cute, and sex-crazy heterosexual back then. I took all of 2001 off and traveled, played, and drank with boys like Seth.
“I tried to write so many emails to you. I wrote them, read them, and just couldn’t send them,” he confessed.
“Well, I am really glad you called me!”
After the initial ice breaker, I resorted (once again) back into my big brother role. “Seth? Don’t you think 18 is a bit young?” I suddenly felt guilty questioning someone’s sexuality and choices given our gay conversation. Our conversation continued while I asked more about what he had been up to. Seth has built a dock-building business on a lake in Southern Maine and has honed his skills as an adverturer — he is the fastest kite sailor in the world. I congratulated him on his achievements.
I had now arrived at the Deco Lounge to meet my friends.
“Hey, Seth, I gotta go. I have to meet my friends at an underwear party.”
Seth laughed. “Why don’t girls have those?”
“Because gay guys think with their dicks and underwear parties let us cut to the chase. You’re welcome to join me anytime!” I invited him, somewhat half-joking.
We said our goodbyes and put the conversation to rest. I don’t know when I will see Seth again, but it was great to hear from him. I know he had thought about reconnecting with me for six years and he did — I give him credit for the call. The last thing I expected was to hear from him again. Good for him!