“Frenchie, I really don’t feel like going out tonight.”
My dorm mate was harassing me to go party. At the White spot no less! Heaven, the twink club was down the street and we were on break in between semesters. I had only been a few times before and hated it every time. All they played was Top 40 radio and the White boys would get plastered and step all over me. Not my idea of a good night.
After tons of begging, I finally relented. We arrived, got some drinks and headed to the dance floor. I immediately caught eyes with a man who would change my life forever.
Here’s the thing: it’s not that I’m unattracted to White men…I just don’t get into the whole blond hair, blue eyed (Children of the Corn) look. I chalk that up to my hometown. Most of the cute White boys in high school had some sort of edge. At a minimum, they were brunettes. That preference continued with my soap opera crushes (Ryan Phillippe, Eddie Cibrian*) to movies (Brad Pitt, Paul Walker) to music (JC Chasez, Jon B.).
Anyway, that was not what we had here. Little trendy T-shirt and jeans hugging his ghetto booty. Dirty blond hair and light eyes. And he could dance! I was thoroughly impressed.
Frenchie went over and struct up a conversation. Turns out he went to our school (in a graduate program) and was here studying abroad. I smiled, introduced myself, and we had a great time the rest of the night. Thus began our semester long love affair.
Frenchie made it clear he was interested and wanted to try dating him. He’s also European (hence the nickname) and found it hard finding gays from his side of the world. But after a few times together at various places, it because clear to everyone involved The German and I had a better connection.
A similar sense of bitchy/sarcastic humor, he could often finish my puns. He was also a lover of R&B and introduced me to some European soul artists I was unfamiliar with.
They say you never forget your first and The German holds a few titles of mine.
He was the first uncut man I dealt with, which was funny considering how many Latino/Hispanic men I sexed before that.
He was the first person I went to Fire Island with. We went with my one of my straight boy besties and his side chick. Good times.
More importantly, The German was my introduction to intimacy. All the men I had sex with up until that point were straight-identified (read: put penis in orfice, cum, pretend it never happened…rinse/repeat). With the German, it wasn’t about the sex so much as everything that came along with it. With an openly gay man, I had access to all these things I didn’t before: hand holding, caressing, getting lost in ones’ eyes.
Having a stereotypical dorm bed, I often fell asleep on top of him to the rhythm of his breathing. I got so used to falling asleep with him in my arms, when he left my body physically ached for weeks, like some sort of psychosomatic atrophy. It literally hurt that he was gone. I wouldn’t wish that pain on my greatest enemy.
The situation wasn’t without drama. At some point people started referring to him as “my boy” which eventually ruined Frenchie and my friendship. I had never “stolen” a prospect from someone, I didn’t know how to react when he stumbled into my room drunk one night, collapsed and began balling.
“Why does he love you and not me?! What’s wrong with me?!”
Another time, The German and I were at the pizza place on Christopher street after a night of partying and got into a fight. He didn’t understand why I “wasted” so much time with my (mostly straight) floormates.
“They’re not your friends. They don’t even know who you really are!”
The German was out since fifteen. He didn’t understand how I was twenty-something running around still in the closet and not sharing that part of my life to friends and family.
Talking to him about race was even worse. People began to treat me differently…better. I didn’t understand the implications of a trophy White boyfriend until then. I tried to explain where I was coming from several times, but structural racism wasn’t something he seemed to be interested in acknowledging let alone fighting.
The semester went by so fast, we didn’t really get a chance to talk about next steps. I had just gotten into my honors program and moving to Germany wasn’t an option (nor something I was interested in). He also needed to go back to the motherland to finish his degree.
Over the next ten years, he would periodically come back to visit. We would write letters in between, but it wasn’t the same. And when he was back in New York, he was usually partnered. The boyfriend would pick up on our shorthand…needless to say none of them liked me. Awkward!
The German isn’t necessarily the one that got away, but he definitely has an impact on my current dating life. That whole White privilege thing irritates me in the obvious ways, but it has a major positive byproduct: direct communication.
The German never had a problem stating his piece. His wants, his needs, his desires was always put on the table, whether they were met or not.
Meanwhile, I can’t even get the men of color I date to answer simple questions (let alone explain themselves).
If there’s anything I miss about The German at the moment, it’s his transparency. There’s something magical about letting someone see all of you and experiencing them whole-heartedly. Most of the current men in my life I can’t do that with.
I can’t call him an ex, he wasn’t officially my boyfriend. But I can’t call him a friend either, it’s clearly more than that.
…so I always introduce him as The German.