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first boyfriend


first boyfriend

Scott Bahlmann

Dear M,

Just out of high school, and the closet, one of my first acts of rebellion was purchasing a copy of Finding the Boyfriend Within. Any action that was allowing my inner truth to shine felt like an act of rebellion, and it was only in the safety of a book store some 200 miles from my hometown that I felt confident enough to make the purchase in my early forays of truth seeking. I suppose I was my first boyfriend, I took myself on dates, spent quality time with myself, and bought myself gifts, but we won't really let that count. It wasn’t until 10 years later, after I'd gotten my degree and moved to the big city, that I had my first physical boyfriend. 

I had been living in Salt Lake for about a year, and tried socializing at various functions with nothing, and no one, really holding my interest. A friend from work was also part of the University Pride center, and invited me to a masquerade ball they were hosting. Having a background in theatre, I couldn’t resist a chance to dress up, and went as a peacock. I applied some subtle face paint, wore black slacks, a vibrant blue shirt, and a tail of actual peacock feathers attached under my vest, trailing behind me. The work friend was also helping run the event, so I was pretty well left to my own devices after a friendly hello from him. Being a natural sort of wallflower, I didn't mind swaying in my own little corner to the music while I watched the crowd and sipped a drink.

There was a girl there signing with her friend. Having always had a fascination with ALS I was giving them extra attention. I had wanted to take a course all through college, but they only ever offered them in the evenings, when I was rehearsing for shows, so I taught myself bits and pieces from the internet.  It turns out the fella’ she was signing with had been watching me too, and she brought him over to me and introduced us.

He was quite cute, very youthful in his energy, and excited about being at what I later learned was his first gay event. He was planning to be a priest, but guess who converted who. -.o

We swapped numbers and chatted over the phone quite a bit. I think it was the next week that I went to hang out at his apartment for an end of school party, which was on the top floor of a catholic church near the campus where he was studying. We started hanging out at lots of other places too. Having just recently come to terms with his orientation, he was keen to take it slow, and I certainly didn’t mind. For me the company is the most important part of a relationship. It was while snuggling during a late viewing of Dumbo that I realized I loved him.

When he finished his job at the church, having survived an intervention by some of his housemate, and I finished a house-sitting stint, we found apartments close to each other. He came along to my families Christmas get together, which was a great insight into the acceptance and love they have for me. My older brothers even seemed to be in an unspoken subvert competition with each other to express their acceptance of my chosen relationship. And I spent a holiday celebration with his family even taking their family picture, we fit well in each others lives.  

The boy and I had lots of fun, were in some shows together, attended concerts, did some photo shoots and crafted art, but we ultimately weren’t quite on the same level. For me it felt a bit like having a sidekick, someone who was very enthusiastic about all the adventures I wanted to have, but still so fresh to the unbounded possibilities of life that he didn’t really initiate anything, or perhaps it was more deferring to my judgment, and not feeling that his ideas or desires were at the same level. I can’t truly say what the cause was, just that it felt imbalanced to me. So I told him, and we kept dating for a couple of months with that in mind, ultimately untying after not quite a year of officially dating.

I suppose it's a bit unconventional that we moved in together after we'd broken up, and stayed housemates for longer than we'd dated. I’d made arrangements for another house sitting stint, and they were expecting him to be there as well. Since it was free housing for us, we didn’t think it would be an issue sharing the space. And it wasn’t. We continued to have adventures, to discover great movies and books, and when we finished house-sitting we rented an apartment together, and then when I bought my house he was my first roommate.

Eventually he moved to his own space, after we'd lived together for two years or so. Once he moved out he took some time to himself, and we sort of lost touch. Even so, it was a great first relationship for me. I learned a lot about myself, and what I was ultimately looking for. And I have some fantastic memories. lml/