Becca and I met in kindergarten, where we quickly became the best of friends. Becca was gregarious and had many friends; I tended to be a loner, so her friendship was very important to me. We played at each other’s houses after school and even had a couple of sleepovers until we became too old for them.
All through elementary school and middle school we remained friends. Sometimes in middle school I joined her and her other friends at the ice cream shop or at one of their houses, but I never brought a friend of my own. I didn’t have any. I guess, looking back on that time, her friends concluded that we were “an item,” although that thought never, ever, crossed my mind.
In our high school sophomore year we both became members of a small school singing group named The Select Choir. I sang tenor and she was a soprano. Since the choir sang concerts at various venues around the city and even away, we spent a lot of time together. Once in a while she would take my hand and hold it, but I never really thought anything about it.
At the beginning of our junior year, in 1991, a new boy, Carl, who had just moved to the town, joined the choir. Carl was a bass. We could hold our parts independently and enjoyed harmonizing so we often wound up sitting next to each other. He had a wonderfully rich singing voice, and his speaking voice was deep and resonant. Although I didn’t realize what was happening at the time, I immediately fell in love with him.
When I was supposed to be concentrating on the music, I stole sideways looks at him and sometimes made careless mistakes. He was tall and dark. His hair, I thought, was beautiful — glossy black and long, and his eyes were obsidian, the irises so dark it was impossible to distinguish them from the pupils. He was built like a Greek god — slender and muscular. Next to him I felt puny and ugly. If he ever looked at me the way I looked at him, I never saw it. Right from the start it seemed as though all the girls were after him, but I never saw him show much interest.
Carl also joined the football team as a running back. I was the team manager. The only reason I had decided to be a manager was that it got me out of Phys. Ed., the one class I really, really hated. In my first two years I was an assistant manager and got training from the older boys, both kinda wimps like me. I enjoyed hanging around the locker room, listening to the kidding and chatter of the team. There was a roughness about them, but clearly they liked each other and, in a game, they always stood up for one another.
Being in the locker room, I was, of course, aware of the equipment between the players’ legs. Some were well-endowed; others had less, but it didn’t seem to matter to them. Carl was one of the well-endowed ones.
Carl and I took to going for a Coke after the practices. He was usually tired and drained by then and wanted some quick energy. The first time we went, he asked me if I would go to the store with him. I shrugged, agreed, and tagged along. But soon I found I was enjoying his company and went readily each day. Carl always bought the Cokes. While I had one, he usually had two or three.
From time to time, Becca asked me about Carl — what he was like, were we friends, that sort of thing. Perhaps I answered a little too enthusiastically a few times, and when I did she grew quiet, but I still didn’t catch on.
Finally, one day after lunch, I was visited by a small delegation of girls from the choir. The leader of the group said, “Becca has told us that she has never been kissed. We think it’s your duty to do something about that.” All the other girls nodded and giggled.
I was flabbergasted. The thought had never even crossed my mind. I can’t remember now what I said, but I resolved to do something about it.
That weekend, Becca and I went to a movie. Taking her home afterwards, I stopped her on her front porch and kissed her on the mouth. She leaned into me and responded with her tongue. I didn’t know what to do, but I let my tongue meet hers before I broke away.
“Well, goodnight,” I said.
“Goodnight,” she responded, gave me another kiss on the mouth, and went into her house.
“Well, that’s over,” I thought. Little did I know! Every time when we were alone together after that, she expected me to kiss her. I did a few times, but it wasn’t something I enjoyed or ever looked forward to.
Finally, one day, she asked, “What’s wrong with you, Ben? You act like you don’t even like to kiss.”
Deciding to be truthful, I responded, “I guess I don’t.”
She looked hurt. She pouted and then asked, “Don’t you love me, even a little?”
“Well, yeah. I mean, you’re my best friend.”
“That’s not love, Ben.”
“Sure it is. I’d do anything for you.”
“How very romantic!” she snapped and flounced off.
For two weeks, Becca didn’t speak to me. Nor did the girls in the choir. I kept myself busy with school and the end of the football season.
In our sophomore year, Becca and I had gone to the Homecoming Dance together, and I assumed that we would this year too, but when I finally saw her and mentioned it, she turned around and stomped off.
“What did I do?” I called after her, but she kept walking, never looking back.
Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I decided I needed to find out why she was so angry with me. I went to her house and rang the doorbell.
“What do you want?!” she asked when she opened the door.
“We need to talk.”
“Why? I think you’ve said quite enough already.” She tried to close the door, but I had my foot in it. Stomping on my foot she ordered, “Go away.”
“Not until we talk,” I said, wanting desperately to grab my painful foot but keeping it in the door.
Finally she said, “I’ll give you five minutes. No more.” She came out on the porch. “Now, talk.”’
“Becca,” I began, “we’ve been friends since kindergarten. We’ve shared all kinds of things together, from jokes and gossip to movies and sodas, to dances and parties. I honestly don’t know what I’ve done to make you mad at me.”
“You’ve been leading me along for years. I always thought you loved me. Now I know you don’t. And don’t tell me you love me as a friend, because that’s not what I thought or wanted.”
“You didn’t want me to be your friend?”
“Well,” she replied reluctantly, “yes I did, but recently I’ve wanted more.”
“You wanted me to love you…romantically?” I asked, barely getting the words out. Something was happening to my stomach but I wasn’t just sure what.
“Wasn’t that natural?” she asked.
Taking a deep breath, I said, “OK, let me be very clear. I do love you as a friend. I
always have. I don’t love you romantically. I don’t love anybody romantically. I
don’t even know what that feels like. Can’t we just be friends?”
“I’ll think about it,” she said reluctantly and went back into her house, slamming the door in my face.
As I limped home, my foot still throbbing from being stomped, I was terribly confused. Why did she ever think I loved her romantically? What does it feel like to love somebody that way? I thought about the other girls our age and got no inkling of loving any of them. In fact, the only one I even really liked was Becca.
The next week, as I was walking down a school hallway, Becca stopped me. “Ben, I’m sorry,” she said. “I guess I’ve been unfair to you. Yes, we can be friends. But, if you see me with another boy, stay away. OK?” I nodded and she walked off.
Of course by then I had been jerking off at night for years. It seemed harmless and I loved it. I knew what that part of my body was for, but it never responded to Becca or any other girl.
However, I found that, when I was around the team in the locker room, my cock was certainly responding. That was OK because there were always a lot of boners around in the showers, but I didn’t really understand why it was happening to me.
A few nights later, as I lay doing my usual cock exercises, an image of Carl popped into my mind; I didn’t know why. I hadn’t been thinking about him. But there he was, and he was butt naked and he had a big boner.
“Oh shit,” I thought. “I’m not one of those am I?”
The question tormented me for days, weeks even.
Over Christmas, Becca and I exchanged little gifts, as we always had. She gave me some nice, warm mittens that she had made and I gave her a tape on which I had downloaded lots of her favorite songs. Before I left her house, she gave me a little peck on the cheek, saying, “Thanks, Ben, for being my best friend.”
Carl was now playing basketball, and you can guess who the team manager was. We didn’t have a large school, so most of the athletes doubled or tripled up on sports, and we only had one team per season. Of course, guys’ bodies are much more visible in basketball uniforms than they are in football uniforms with pads, and there were days when I couldn’t get enough of them, especially Carl. I’d sit on the bench feeling myself grow hard and holding a basketball in my lap to conceal my hard-on.
Throughout the winter Carl and I continued our Coke routine. One day, out of the blue, Carl asked, “Ben, is Becca your girlfriend?”
“Well,” I said, she’s a girl and she’s my best friend, but there’s nothing romantic about it.”
He took that in for a moment or two before asking, “Do you have a girl friend?”
“No. I’m just not into that stuff.”
“With girls or with anybody?”
Oh, fuck! How would I answer that when I didn’t even know myself?
“OK, I’m not into it now, but I guess I’m open to it if I find anybody who interests me.”
After that I noticed that Carl started acting differently towards me. He walked closer to me; he gave me little things; he called me at night and wanted to talk — a lot. Soon others began to notice.
One Saturday when Becca and I were having a soda, she said, “Ben, I have something serious to ask you, and I hope you won’t take it the wrong way.”
“OK,” I said. “Shoot.”
She cast her eyes down on the table and very quietly asked, “Are you gay?”
Oh, damn! Another question I didn’t want to think about.
Trying to delay the inevitable, I finally asked, “What makes you think that?”
“Well,” she said, looking up, “you’re spending a lot of time with Carl, and he seems to be paying you a lot of attention…and you seem to be responding.”
“Honestly,” I said, “I have no idea what or who I am right now, but I do find Carl kind of attractive and I guess I’m sorta hooked on him. What do you think I should do?”
“You should ask Carl that, not me. I’m no expert, but if you’re queer, it’s no wonder you didn’t fall in love with me. If you’re not falling for any girl and you’re finding Carl attractive, I think you should talk to him.”
“Yeah, but what if I say something and he’s horrified by the thought and won’t have anything more to do with me?”
“Well, at least then you’ll know.”
“That’s not much of a consolation.”
“I know, but, before you talk to him, you need to think about what you really want.”
Needless to say, I was uncomfortable having this conversation, even with my best friend. I was uncomfortable even having it with me!
I spent several days worrying about my problem. Should I talk with Carl? Should I stay away from him? What did Carl really want from me? After all, I wasn’t the stud he was. I was a puny, rather scrawny egghead. Even if he was gay, what could he possibly see in me?
Just as I had about made up my mind to talk to Carl, he said to me one afternoon over Cokes, “Ben, we need to talk.”
“No, not here. We need to be somewhere more private. Let’s go to my house. Nobody’s going to be home until later.”
I nodded and followed him home. I had been there often, and we had shared good times talking and laughing. Sometimes I helped him with his homework. In return, he showed me some simple exercises I could do to get stronger, and I had to admit they seemed to be working a little.
In the kitchen, Carl pulled a couple more Cokes out of the fridge and sat down, motioning me to do the same.
“Ben,” he began, “what do you really think of me?”
I thought a moment. “I think you’re a wonderful friend, you’re a hard worker, you’re a good athlete…and…and…you’re good looking too.” There, I’d said it — in a way. What would he think?
He smiled broadly. “There’s something I need to tell you. It’s my deepest secret, and nobody else knows it. You have to promise me not to tell anybody.”
“How can I promise when I don’t know what it is? You might be a serial killer or a rapist or a kidnapper.”
“It’s not at all like any of those, but you need to promise.”
“OK. I promise.”
Looking down at the table, he said, “I’m gay. Please don’t hate me for it.”
Hate him! When I didn’t even know who or what I was? Finally, I answered, “I certainly won’t hate you for it.”
“Whew!” He breathed deeply. “So now I’m wondering if you could possibly be gay too.”
There it was. The bomb!
I was silent for so long he started to fidget. Finally, I said, “I’ve been afraid to ask myself that question because I’m afraid I am and I don’t know what to do about it.”
I wanted to ask him a lot of questions like, how did he figure it out? How did he feel about it? Did he get a hard-on when he landed on some guy on the football field?
He said, “I don’t think there’s anything you can do about it except to accept it. It’s not something that can be changed or cured, I’m pretty sure.”
“So what do we do now?”
“Do you believe you could ever be in love with me?”
By then I was in a cold sweat and my stomach was churning, but I blurted out, “Yeah, I think so. I think maybe I am already…Yeah, I’m quite sure that I am. But how could you ever love somebody like me?”
“That’s one of the mysteries of love, Ben. When we love somebody, we love them, mostly for what’s on the inside. You’re kind, you’re gentle, you’re funny, you’re generous. Why wouldn’t I love you?”
“Because I’m skinny and kinda ugly.”
He smiled. “Well, you are kinda scrawny, but I don’t think you’re ugly at all.” Getting up from his chair, he came around the table, told me to stand up, and then planted a kiss firmly on my mouth. I was stunned. Something electric went through me, something I had never felt before. This certainly was nothing like kissing Becca! Slowly, his tongue touched my lips, and, without even thinking, I opened my mouth. My two hands were grabbing his butt and he was leaning into me so hard that I could feel not only my hard cock but his too. Fireworks were exploding in my brain and my heart was pounding like a pneumatic drill. Finally, he broke off.
“Wow!” I said.
“Yes, wow!” he responded.
“So now what?” I was so aroused I could have jumped into bed with him right then.
Reluctantly, he said, “I think we need to go slow. It would be awfully easy to let this become just sex, but I want it to be more than that. The sex will come, I guess, no pun intended, but I think we need to take time to get used to the idea.”
Soon after that, Carl’s parents returned home, and there was no more talk of either sex or love. I went home. That night, as I had done nearly every night for months, I jerked off with the image of Carl in my mind, only this time, it was so much better. I wasn’t just relieving myself, I was thinking of my love for him and wondering if he was doing the same at that very moment.
The next time Becca and I had a soda, she said, “You’ve changed, Ben.”
“Well, you seem very happy, and there’s a bounce in your step I’ve never seen before. Then too, you’re always with Carl and I seldom see you. Are you in love?”
Only a high school girl could ask that in such a straightforward way. I smiled and nodded.
“And is Carl?”
Again I smiled and nodded.
“And is he good to you?”
“He’s kind, and he’s gentle, and he’s loving. We’re not rushing anything, but we are very happy right now.”
Nodding, she said, “And you deserve it.”
Becca was the first person either of us had told. It was, after all, the early nineties, and being gay had not really been accepted by a lot of people. But by the end of the spring break, some of our classmates had figured it out. After all, Carl and I were sometimes seen surreptitiously holding hands when we thought nobody was looking. Many of the athletes were great about it, and two even congratulated us. A couple of them were not happy with Carl and me being in the locker room, but after a few snide comments they just stayed away from us.
Right after the break, Carl said, out of the proverbial clear blue sky, “Ben, I want you to go to the Junior Prom with me.”
I was shocked. As far as I knew, no same-gender couple had ever gone to a prom together at our school.
“You mean it would be like a date?”
“It would BE a date.”
“How can we do that? Would I have to wear a dress?”
He laughed, saying, “Oh, no, we’d both wear tuxes.”
I asked if I could have a little time to think about it and he readily agreed.
It took me a few days of thinking and worrying. After all, neither my parents nor Carl’s really knew about us, although I supposed they might have suspected. And I fretted a lot about how the other students would react. After all, Carl could stand up for himself, but I wasn’t big enough or strong enough or well-liked enough to do that.
When I asked him about our parents, he said, “Well, I guess we need to tell them.” He certainly was braver than I was, but he finally convinced me.
Our parents were all very understanding and caring people, but I had no idea how any of them would feel about our relationship. A few days later, we were able to arrange a meeting with all four parents together in Carl’s living room.
When we were all assembled, Carl said quietly, “Ben and I want to go to the Junior Prom as a couple.”
There was silence. All four parents looked at each other. My dad shook his head, I think in disbelief.
At last Carl’s mother asked, “Are you a couple?”
Taking a deep breath, I said, “Yes we are.”
“For how long?”
“Well, just a few weeks, formally, but I think we’ve known a lot longer than that.”
My mother asked, “Do you think the school would allow it?” Ah, so the focus had shifted from what our parents would do to what the school would do. Was it a good sign?
“We don’t know,” answered Carl, “but we never will if we don’t ask.”
“What will the kids at school think?” my dad asked.
“Some already know,” Carl replied. And I added, “But honestly we don’t know about the others.”
Then the Big Question came. Carl’s father asked, “Have you two been having sex?”
“No, replied Carl. “Not yet anyway.”
His father raised his eyebrows and my mother looked a little abashed, but neither of them said anything.
“Right now we’re just enjoying each other and spending all our spare time together.” Carl continued. “Someday, I imagine we will though.”
The parents all looked at each other again. Then my dad said, “Why don’t you both go to the Dean of Students and ask him? Do you know what you will do if he says no?”
“We haven’t gotten that far,” I answered.
So that was that. I was amazed that all of the parents had agreed, but I decided they were hoping the Dean would say no and they wouldn't have to decide.
The next day, we made an appointment with the Dean of Students to meet during sixth period, when Carl and I both had a study hall.
I met Carl outside the Dean’s office. Saying, “Well, here goes nothing,” I knocked and a voice told us to enter.
“What can I do for you boys?” the Dean asked, after shaking our hands.
It was Carl who said, “We want to go to the Junior Prom as a couple, and we want your permission.”
The Dean stood with his mouth open, saying nothing. Finally, he went behind his desk and slowly sat, motioning for us to sit in the two chairs facing him.
“Well!” he sighed, and then he was silent again. Finally, he said, as only a bureaucrat could, “I don’t believe I’m empowered to make that decision. You would have to submit a request to the School Board in writing, and then you would need to go to a meeting with them and plead your case. You can do it, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope.” When we asked, he gave us the details of how to make the application and told us that the next meeting would be the following Monday. The next one after that would be after the dance. So it was Monday or never.
We thanked him and walked out. It was now spring, so after baseball practice, we talked about it and decided to try. We worked on our request for a while and agreed to return to it the next day.
I told my parents what had happened, which did not surprise them. The only other person I told was Becca.
We finished the request the next day and took it to the School Board office. The secretary read it, looking increasingly astonished as she read, but she put us on the agenda for the coming Monday.
Monday night, my dad pulled the car into the school parking lot, and my mother exclaimed, “My! I didn’t know so many people attended School Board meetings!” As we went in, we encountered a lot of the high school students. It seemed as though most of the school was there. I noticed several policemen standing around, clearly keeping their eyes open. I wondered if they were expecting trouble. The hearing room got so crowded they had to move the meeting to the school gym and hook up the sound system.
When all seemed to be in order, the Chairman of the School Board banged a gavel for silence. First the board went through a number of items on their agenda while Carl and I waited, growing more and more anxious.
Finally the Chairman said, “We have a most unusual request from two of our high school students. I have put a copy of their request in each of your folders. Would you please take a moment to read it.” There was silence as the board members read.
Turning to the audience, the Chairman said, “Two of our male students have requested to go to the Junior Prom as a couple.” Then she turned to the board members and asked for comments.
The first board member to speak, said, rather angrily, “I think this is an appalling request. Such a display has no place in our schools.” Other board members nodded in agreement. There was a stirring in the rows behind us, but nobody spoke out.
Another member said, not quite so angrily, “The Junior Prom has always been for mixed couples. I see no reason to change the custom.”
By the time all the members had expressed their negative feelings there was considerable stirring and muttering in the audience. The Chairman turned toward us and asked, “Do you have anything to add?”
Carl took the microphone that was offered, thought a moment, and said, “First, I don’t know of any place where it is written that any event at the school has to be only for mixed couples.” There was applause behind us and the Chairman frowned. “Second, the school is a place which should serve all of its students without discrimination. To ban a same-sex couple from the prom would be a form of blatant discrimination. Third, as you can see, we have a lot of support here tonight, and I believe you need to take the wishes of the students into your deliberations.” At that there was cheering, and the students rose with an ovation.
Taken aback, the Chairman said, angrily, “Thank you for your comments. The board will now decide the issue.”
“Wait,” called a voice from the back. “Aren’t you going to hear any other comments? Is this just going to get railroaded?”
Ignoring the voice, the Chairman asked for a show of hands from the board. They all voted against our request. There was an uproar from the students while the Chairman banged his gavel and quickly called the meeting adjourned.
Students were shouting and chanting as they exited the gym. They stood in the parking lot and booed the board members as the police escorted them out, although nobody attempted to approach them. Carl and I just looked at each other before I finally said, “Well, at least we have the kids on our side. I wonder how they knew about the request.”
The next morning Carl and I rode to school together. When we drove into the school drive, there on the front of the school was a large, crudely drawn banner which said,
BOYCOTT THE JUNIOR PROM!
As we parked, we were met by students who again began chanting, this time, “Boycott the Prom. Boycott the Prom.” Inside the school there were signs up everywhere with the same slogan. Teachers looked unhappy; the Dean of Students looked unhappy; the Principal looked unhappy. But there was little they could do. I suppose they could have torn down the posters but the posters would have just reappeared. And there was a custom of putting up posters in the school which had never been challenged.
The school was in turmoil all day long.
On Wednesday, tickets for the Junior Prom went on sale. Only eight were sold. Meanwhile, students were talking about having an independent prom that was not sponsored by the school and that was in another place. Committees were quickly formed as the project gained momentum. It seemed that even some of the parents were behind the idea. Throughout the rest of the week, only a few more tickets were sold.
The following Tuesday, at the beginning of the day, an announcement came over the loudspeakers in the classrooms:
Yesterday evening at 7:00 PM, the School Board met in closed session. On the advice of the school system’s lawyer, the Board voted to reverse their decision of last Monday. Couples of any and all genders will be welcomed at the Junior Prom.
Cheers were heard throughout the school, along with a few boos. Some teachers could be seen frowning, but just as many could be seen smiling. We later learned that two of the teachers who had been recruited as chaperones said they would not do it, but they were quickly replaced. Ticket sales for the dance soared.
That afternoon, after baseball practice, Carl and I went to rent tuxedoes. I suppose the store clerk assumed we were both taking girls.
On the Friday before the Prom, we went to try on and pick up our tuxes. When we emerged from the dressing rooms with our jackets and trousers on, I looked at Carl and he looked at me. Even though we didn’t have the formal shirts or ties on, I thought we looked wonderful; Carl used the word, “Beautiful.”
While Carl picked me up the night of the Prom, he didn’t hold the door for me. We had agreed that we were equals and would treat each other that way. Our parents had all cautioned us to be careful and not get into trouble. I could see they were worried about what kind of a reception we would receive.
At the Prom, we proudly handed in our tickets and went into the dimly lit gym. Again, there were several policemen around, just watching. The DJ had already started to play music, and couples were dancing. “Shall we?” asked Carl. He held out his arms and I went into them as we slow danced across the floor. Other couples smiled at us, and an occasional ball player pounded us on our backs or butts, which is what jocks seem to do. A few times, we heard somebody mutter, “Faggots!” but most of the vibes were positive.
At one point, Becca asked Carl and me if she could have a dance with me, which Carl graciously granted while he went in search of Coke.
“You boys were so brave,” Becca whispered in my ear. “I would never have believed this would happen.”
I smiled and asked, “And who got all the students to go to the School Board meeting that night?”
She giggled and said, “Well, I started it, but I had a lot of help and things kinda snowballed. I’m really very proud of our students, but especially of the two of you.”
Near the end of the prom, Carl and I were slow dancing again right in the middle of the gym. Carl bent over, tipped my chin up, and gave me a long, luscious, warm kiss, which went on for some time. Slowly, we grew aware of applause beginning, and, as we looked up, we saw that we were standing in the middle of a large circle of students, with all of them smiling and clapping.
And so ended the most wonderful dance I had ever attended.
Carl and I continued as a couple in our senior year. When he broke his leg in a football game, I helped him as much as I could, carrying his books and seeing that he got to classes on time. Meanwhile, I actually grew some and began filling out. Of course we went to the Senior Prom together.
We decided to go to the state university. Carl had an athletic scholarship and I had an academic one. We roomed together the first year and then got a little apartment off campus.
As I write this, we are both entering our senior years in college and thinking about what will be next in our lives. One thing is certain: we will remain together.
Oh yes, and we did have sex. The first time was during our high school senior year when Carl finally got out of his leg cast. Actually, since neither of us knew exactly what we were doing, it got to be funny and we were both giggling. But it was a celebration and a moment to remember forever. Since then the sex has always been wonderful, but even more important has been our devotion to each other, and we are sure we will always remain together, no matter what the future holds.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: In 1979, a high school Junior, Paul Guilbert, applied to the principal of Cumberland High School in Rhode Island to be permitted to bring another boy to a school dance. The request was denied, the principal saying that he feared the reaction of other students at the prom.
The next year, Aaron Fricke, a student at the same school, asked again to be permitted to bring a same-sex date to a dance. He too was denied. With the help of a lawyer, he sued in District Court for an injunction that would allow him to attend the dance with his gay friend, claiming that his freedom of speech rights were being denied.
The court found in favor of his free speech claim and Aaron and his date, the same Paul Guilbert, were permitted to attend his Senior Prom, with the school supplying several police officers to keep order. While the boys were taunted by some students they did dance together.
Since then, lawsuits have been threatened and same sex couples have eventually been allowed to attend their proms.
Even today, however, many school districts continue to resist opening their dances to gay and lesbian couples. Should this happen to you, go on your computers and find what recourse you have.