My last picture that I posted was just a bluff. I would want to crack a joke or two about the shocked skin and dead parrot. But I just want to say that Colin was spot on. I agree with him on many points, especially insecurities, but I would never know how I feel when a Mark comes into my life to tell me I do look handsome. I really doubt sometimes if I would get a boyfriend at all, let alone the one who sees me all day and might but manages to turn a blind eye and mute all his ears when I ask him how I look.
See: I am objectively ugly. I look so bad that people expect me to look bad. When at occasions I look presentable enough just like other people around me, people start commenting on the new shirt or the long-due haircut. They mention how bad the white wristband was or how pathetic my dance moves are but only the next day. Thank goodness; otherwise I am capable of melting under the eyes of embarrassment and guilt. Implication being, vanity is not a strong point for me and can never be. I may fret over the horrible photos at a party but we all know I really don’t care. It is just that these photos belong to a family album which would be seen by my children and grand-children among the hundreds of men and women right during my lifetime. Ouch.
No, I have insecurities at a deeper level. Would I ever get a personal boyfriend*? Would I ever become successful in my career? Would I ever be comfortable at a hair salon? Do internet people think of me as spam? Am I a friend indeed who would help another friend in need? Would I be able to be independent? Yet, would I be able to care for my mother in her old age? Am I the only one who over-thinks? Am I fool to not work upon myself even after knowing that I over-think?
I am so full of questions that I am bursting at the seams. And most of them are about me. Ok, ok, I admit… I am officially an ambiverted egotist. If you bump into me on the street – depending on who you are – I may mumble a sorry, get on my way and hope you are not on my way too. Or, I may resort to making fun of my haywire vision, oh-the-painful collision, your dress, my shoes, the puddle, the government or anything else under the sun. You just have to push the right buttons at the right moment. Tricky part is that even I don’t know how I would behave the next moment. But mostly, I like to make a joker of myself because inability to keep up with my peers at their level is something I have yet not mastered. There are emotions and conventions and unwritten rules involved: ambiguous, contextual, bendable and conformist. They do exist and they exist for a reason. I may not agree with them but everything in this world has a colourful history; I just wish whatever brushes past me has blues and pinks in it more than reds and blacks.
So I want to come out to my college friends. It is a thought that is plaguing me for days now. Maybe it has to do something with the fact that I have published a few depressing articles here on WordPress. And have been reading much more of them during this period. But why now? I don’t know actually.
I have still not talked to the phantom guy in my life. And I have not magically met some other guy. So no, I have not got a boyfriend. But the thing is I can’t have him even if he begs me to; he being a certain hypothetical charming gay man whose shoulders I would spare from the burden of more expectations and adjectives. Yet if he comes to me and asks me to go out with him, I would have a serious case to refuse him, or in the best case seeing as it is all hypothetical, make him wait till the next year. It is the last year of my degree and even though I don’t study much in the make-or-break year, I know I wouldn’t be capable of if I get involved with someone. My mind doesn’t need more stuff to get preoccupied with as it is. So now that I have got moral superiority out of my way, why am I thinking of coming out. Especially when you all know that I had decided to come out more openly once I get a boyfriend, personal or not. At least it gives me a motivation for my lazy bum and lonely hands to actually go out and seek one.
But I believe every friend counts. In increasing your chances. Now I don’t know any gay† in my community, but maybe my friends do. So if it pleases them, they might want to become matchmakers armed with the knowledge that I am open to their suggestions. Moreover, ogling handsome guys alone is no fun. Right now, I might point out a guy in the crowd in the guise of wanting his red hair. No! I may want red hair for me but not as much as I want the Red Hair for me. There was this stranger in college whom my friends once spotted out as being my twin. I dubbed him my soul brother but really he was so handsome he could be my soul snatcher and I would gladly hand it out to him (and then, I would be free of the complicated reincarnation “life, death, penance, life” cycle – win!). He was not good-looking in a traditional sense but he was everything I am supposed to be. He was bony, messy-haired and a lover of dangling tees. Instant love! Side note: he liked grooming too and that could turn out to be a deal-breaker monster later on but I am quite certain with so much in common, we would have hashed out some compromise, wouldn’t we?
But I never got to tattle the tale. I just reluctantly digested it and my bowel movements disturbed me for a week. My friends are the boring, moral kind who don’t like to be nosy and catty. Too bad. And thus it is my job to intrude into theirs and tell them, “Yeah children, I’m gay”. I had some doubts as to whether they would take the news well. But my friend-who-can’t-be-named had reassured me that nobody else would mind. She was actually a little taken aback when I suggested maybe everyone would not be “happy”. And then she readily volunteered to dip her neck into the storm; she told me she would ask others using some puppet gay friend of hers to test the waters. But I was not ready, to which she particularly told me that she would prefer me to not come out just for the sake of it but only if it mattered to me myself. That was a sound advice coming from someone who was a newbie in the niche field of people to whom their friends come out. That is why I have Hochachtung‡ for her.
But getting back to the point, she is correct to an extent. I have not been hiding any activity from anyone in my life. It is just something in my head. On the other hand, my head is where I am, no? It is not just the possibility of exchanging notes and gossips, but also that I want to be known as me. I feel my right and left brains warring with each other: one prefers to wait till the time is right and for the other no timeframe is correct yet any moment is the correct moment. And being a bizarre kid, I can sense the debate whirring up in my head like smoke. When I am with my college mates, I feel the tide ebb and flow either way and walking among them there risess a sudden urge to skip ahead, turn back and say, “”Tada! I am gay!” And even before my head stops spinning, my heart sinks and I walk among them with a closely guarded secret, save for my elaborate hand movements. Yep, it is not like I am shying away from expressing myself, it is just that I give so polarising signals at times that people just think I’m crazy. Perhaps I am.
I have not fully embraced myself. I know I am gay and I am not ashamed of myself. But I don’t really say to myself that I am gay. It is like I am enjoying a good spicy pulao and suddenly I have some crushed gravel between my teeth. I become torn between swallowing it and spitting it out. I am actually ashamed to reveal to the world that I’m gay. Heck, I have never ever told myself in Hindi out loud that I am gay. Hindi is my mother tongue so it feels more connected, more real and much coarser that way. Yet I cannot bring myself to do it. I tried to do it just as I’m typing but a couple of sleeping around me don’t form a perfect environment to mark my first time. Worse, ‘gay’ in Hindi sounds cheap and tacky, at least to me. It just doesn’t fit in with the other words like ‘school’ and ‘dustbin’. I would surely proclaim myself gay in Hindi one day, someday.
Is that why coming out is important for myself? That seems to be the only possible explanation. Yet I would have to wait till the calendar reaches the next month. I was torn as to how I should tell them and though I don’t want it to be a big deal, I also don’t want it to be a casual affair. I just can’t sit in canteen and announce randomly that I am gay. It merits a proper discussion and venting out of questions and answers on both sides. I have already announced that a treat is coming their way come next month but I told them it is for a mysterious reason. I can’t do it in college; I have to get out and find a proper private place in the busy Kamla Nagar. Maybe Ridge? It is something they despise and I can make them go there out of guilt at least. I have heard there is a nice pond and small historical ruins in there along with a strong army of monkeys; welcome to the forests of Delhi. But for that, I would have to tell them before I go there. Even then I seriously doubt whether their love for me trumps the hate for the Ridge or not.
Oh no. It probably means I have to shell out some real money just to tell them I’m gay. It makes me feel good that I’m more worried about the economics of coming out than the coming out itself. But the first step remains to give my friend a heads up. Even if I happen to get ostracised, it would translate into less social life and more time for studies. Hurrah for the either outcome!
* Personal boyfriend is a redundant term. Even excluding the case of an open relationship, boyfriend seems an objectified man. To me a personal boyfriend is my boyfriend. And now I am just riding a wave of stupidity probably, but the difference makes sense to me. A personal boyfriend would be one made to my tastes and whims. A handsome cook, homemaker, full of fun facts, good storyteller, hater of PDA, a tight hugger, sexy back, and a practical but tolerant man. This particular man here can be a personal boyfriend. But there might be others too, so all of my fans, don’t fret! You might have a chance too. ;-)
† Can it ever be used as noun? Feels really weird.
‡ Deep respect.