“Do you want to try? Get to know each other. You don’t have to like me very much, just open your heart to me”.
– Sarawat, 2gether: The Series –
Have you ever come across a person so intriguing that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get to know them better? Whether it’s because of some superficial reasons or their witty Instagram captions, you have this burning desire to explore the things that could happen with this person. You are aware that, in reality, this person might not live up to your expectations. Still, you couldn’t care less about the possibility of being let down as you’re more interested in knowing the inspiration behind their puppy pics on Instagram. This person is the projection of your ideal partner. I personally don’t believe in the idea of love at first sight, as I believe that love is a culmination of tedious processes. So I guess you can call this experience, what, an initial attraction? Whatever this thing is called, it’s the feeling I felt with my first gay crush.
P.S. This is the long-awaited continuation of Chapter III. Feel free to go back to that chapter for a quick recap!
The last stop for my family’s jam-packed road trip was Los Angeles. My parents decided to spend the last week of their visit to explore Hollywood’s glitz and glamour and all the available Korean BBQ in Koreatown. It was one laidback morning, and I began my day the way I always do: checking my online dating apps. I aimlessly scrolled down the app to see if there’s new meat in the market, only to see the same old faces I had ignored, fucked, or allowed to damage my sanity. Just when I was about to reach the time limit I set for my online dating app consumption for the day, I saw this one thumbnail picture that intrigued me. I hadn’t seen this picture before, so I assumed this guy was either visiting LA or just moved into town. I clicked on the image, and for a second, my heart stopped.
It’s the profile of my first gay crush.
I had not seen or talked to this guy for almost two years. Before my move to LA, we didn’t have a chance to meet in-person. First of all, to quote Tai from Clueless, I was “a virgin who [couldn’t] drive.” I wasn’t fully out-of-the-closet, so our interactions back in the days were limited to online chat and the occasional exchange of flirtatious, semi-nude pictures. Because my experience with romance was extremely limited, I naturally became obsessed with the idea of dating him. It got to the point of me Google searching whatever information I had about him, finding out the kind of boys he liked, and excessively comparing myself to those boys. I didn’t even know if he’s real, but I could not care less. Back then, my thirst for this guy was real.
Another reason why we hadn’t met in real life is that, before my move, he was in a super complicated relationship with someone else. You already know that I’m a magnetic force who unintentionally pulls men into the friend zone. Somehow, my awkward online persona and lack of sexual appeal really solidify my status as the token gay friend everyone goes to for questionable life advice. So it didn’t surprise me that two weeks after we started chatting, MY crush started blabbering about how HIS crush didn’t reciprocate his affection. You might be asking, “Hey, why did you stick around? It’s obviously a toxic environment to surround yourself with! Well… part of me was hoping that my mature responses to his relationship challenges could open his eyes and made him see me in a different light. But mostly, it was just me being a dumb bitch; I mean, what else is new?
It came to me as a surprise that two years and countless fuckbois later, I still got butterflies in my stomach when I saw his profile. It’s hard to believe that seeing his dorky smile again could make me forget all those nights of wishful thinkings and disappointment. But I immediately came back to my senses and thought, “now what?” I obviously wanted to pursue another opportunity to get with him because, clearly, *insert sarcastic tone here* two years wasn’t enough. But I wasn’t sure the best approach to win his heart this time around. Should I start messaging him on the app and pretended that we had no pre-existing relationship? Or should I be a straightforward bitch, text his number, and be like, “Heyyy, I saw your profile on Grindr just now, so I guess things didn’t work out with that guy?”
I decided to go with the former option because I learned that a confrontation rarely instigates sex, and your boy was dehydrated as fuck.
My crush did not immediately respond to my passive-aggressive attempt at rekindling our non-existent romance. I was slightly demoralized by my crush’s lack of enthusiasm, but hey, what else could I do? The virgin me would have been immensely anxious and overdramatic about the slow response, but I was a changed man. Living in Los Angeles taught me to be that carefree bitch who texted in all lowercase letters and strictly did not double text. The situation with my crush, however, did make for a gloomy family’s day trip to the San Diego Zoo. In retrospect, I was really grateful for those adorable pandas as they were the only thing that kept me from having a mental breakdown in front of my family.
P.S. Upon writing this chapter, I did a quick Google search, and I found out that the pandas are not a part of the zoo anymore?! Nothing good truly lasts forever.
Hours had passed, and I still hadn’t felt any vibration coming from my phone. At this point, I was close to giving up the idea of reconnecting with my Andy Murray doppelgänger. Well… it’s either that or me channeling my inner chaotic Grindr psycho persona and bombarding my crush with gazillions “Hey.” Just before I hit my temper tantrum phase, however, my phone screen lit up.
He finally replied and confirmed that he still remembered me.
I felt hashtag blessed.
My heart was racing. I could suddenly feel the warmth of San Diego’s scorching summer heat and hear the rhythmic flapping of the butterflies’ wings. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration, but the inside of that butterfly house was, indeed, motherfuckin’ hot. I was blushing and smiling because I was re-reading his texts all day. It got to a point where my mom had to stop me, so I didn’t look like a fucking weirdo who’s smiling at penguins. To say that I was happy is clearly the understatement of the century. In hindsight, it’s hard to believe how two text bubbles on a dating app could affect my head.
my overly dramatic initial reaction I regained my composure, I began responding to his text in the most calculated manner. I was determined to not fumble the ball this time around. Basically, we were catching up with each other’s lives, and I learned that:
- He recently just moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry.
- He still remained pretty tight-lipped about his relationship with his (previous?) lover.
- He still found me kawaii AF.
I could sense some awkwardness in our conversation. I didn’t know if it’s because of the long break or our combined incompetence in having a normal chat. However, I wasn’t going to give up that easily. Like how I wrote this chapter, I tried my best to keep the conversation going by bringing up random, gibberish topics (cheers to being self-aware!). I desperately wanted that man to be mine, or at the very least, to be inside of me. Although my crush’s responses were not super enthusiastic and elaborate, he did ask if I wanted to meet and showed him around town. Unhesitatingly, I responded with a resounding yes.
There’s only one small problem standing in my way of potentially meeting the love of my life: my family was still in town. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, and on any other occasion, I would love for them to stay longer. I was super close to plan another quick escape to satisfy my sexual need, but suddenly, it hit me. This guy’s not a stranger who only deserved twenty minutes of my time. He’s a man who taught me the feeling of reciprocated attraction. He was willing to help guide me through the confusing times when I was exploring my sexuality. And because of that, I decided he’s worth the wait. Besides, this time we would be living in the same city for, at least, a while. He’s my first crush, and to me, he meant more than just another piece of disposable meat. It couldn’t be a coincidence that two years went by, and I miraculously found my way back to him. Because of that, I decided to wait.
To be continued...