No, that's not an invitation to get frisky. It's a plea to help me preserve my virtue. I love how these moments come when I'm least expecting it. At a gym in Seattle. Or at BYU concerts. Or at local theater productions. ...I apparently have had it bad. I present the following evidence:
EXHIBIT A - Pretty-eyed gym boy
Working out at a gym on Broadway in Seattle (gay neighborhood) a few weeks back, I was rotating between a couple of machines. While returning to the chest press machine, I stopped upon finding it occupied by a good-looking guy with short brown hair. He pulled out his earphones and said, in an adorably gay but not-too-effeminate way, "Oh, I'm sorry, were you using this?" I smiled and nodded, saying, "Yeah, but I was thinking of using one with more freedom of motion anyway, and you've got it set up already, so don't worry about it." He apologized again, and I went to the machine I'd been thinking about using anyway. As I finished my set, he rounded the corner and, standing near my machine in front of me, waited for me to finish. I pulled out my headphones, and he said, "Hey, I changed it all back to how you had it because I kinda felt bad for taking it from you, so it's ready for you to use if you want to go back." As he said this, I looked into those gorgeously clear, blue eyes which seemed to attest to his sincerity, and I thought, "I think this is where I'm supposed to say you're sweet and you have beautiful eyes and would you like to have dinner sometime?" Instead, I thanked him kindly, and he smiled and sort of hesitated before walking away, possibly because it was obvious I was on the verge of saying something else but held back.
I sat there as he walked away, wondering if that's how it works for most people. I always thought it was weird that people just met each other in random places and asked each other out. I have guy friends who have seen girls on BYU's campus and eventually gotten the nerve to ask them out. Weird, I thought. I would prefer to meet someone through friends. But now I found myself wondering, "What harm would dinner be with someone you met someplace like the gym? At least you know you have one thing in common, to some extent. If it's terrible, you'll probably never see each other again, or even if you do, it's no big deal. It was just one date. And he really did seem like a nice guy. If I were at BYU, and he'd been a girl I was pretty sure was LDS, I would've had the green light from just about anyone. But he's probably not LDS, and those bosoms, though shapely, were definitely not attached to a woman, so many of my family and friends would be decidedly non-excited to here about the nice cutie I met at the gym. Oh well, they're not to blame for my lack of action. I'm a big boy, and I decided that on my own. It just would be nice to think the people I care about would be excited for me meeting potentials, but I understand it would be hard for them to be, and that's gotta be OK. I can't expect them to do all the understanding while I refuse to try to understand their perspective, especially since that's been my perspective, too, and could be again."
But moving on from those heavier aspects, I just smiled that I finally understood the inclination to ask someone out you don't have prior experience with, because their eyes seem sincere, and nice, and they are attractive, and they're obviously at least a little considerate, even if it is just with the hope of winning you over, and you'd like to find out if what you've seen is a facade or if there is someone interesting behind those initial impressions. I told myself, "First, you're just in town temporarily, so there's no point if you're not just looking for some fling or a hot makeout, which you're not, and second, you're not ready to ask out some guy at the gym with all the other stuff that's up in the air right now in your life. File it away, remember it, but don't act on it for now." I sighed and muttered a slightly longing farewell under my breath to the pretty-eyed boy who was now doing splits while stretching in the next room...which caused me to again quickly remind myself of all of my reasons for not pursuing it...while taking a couple of deep, calming breaths.
EXHIBIT B - The Cutie in B18
I went to see a couple of friends perform in a BYU Combined Choirs and Orchestra concert. An old friend from the college years who now lives here accompanied me, and she and I sat on the second row, right towards the middle. As we scooted in past people, I saw that our next-seat neighbor was a rather attractive-looking fellow, but the seat on the other side of him was available, so I figured his wife or girlfriend would be back at any moment. I sat down next to him and noticed he was reading a book. I thought about asking him about the book because it looked non-ridiculous. Then I thought, "No, you're here with a friend, and why strike up a conversation with some strange guy next to you when you haven't even gotten to catch up with her yet like you want to? Besides, would you be asking about the book if you didn't think he was attractive? No, you wouldn't. What are your motives, here?" "Ugh, why do you have to be so practical?" I grumbled to myself. And I turned and talked to my friend.
During the performance, my friend and I enjoyed picking out our favorites from among the men's choirs. Not incessantly. Not derisively. Just comparing notes and preferences. I liked the tall guy with sort of spiky hair near one of my friends and the other Peter Priesthoody one on the right. She liked the short-haired one up towards the back and the muscly one towards the middle. Good times. But more than that, the music was beautiful, and the performances were, as always, polished. Great show. "...maybe that guy next to me is watching his girlfriend or wife, and that's why no girl has come to sit next to him?" I thought. I checked his hand. No ring. "There's hope!" I thought. "No! Stop it. Wishful thinking, dude. He's watching his girlfriend. Stop trying to make every cute guy gay. Besides, look at those socks...he's not gay." Because I'm against stereotyping, right? *rolling eyes at myself*
After intermission, part of the show involved the choirs surrounding the audience. As I scanned my gaze from backwards over my right shoulder back to the stage, I briefly paused the scan on his face to get what glimpse I could more directly...and our eyes met. "OK, what was that? He was totally looking at me when I looked at him. Was that the 'I think you're family' look, or the 'I think you're hot too' look, or the 'stop looking at me, you disgusting homo' look?" I couldn't tell. It had been too brief, though I had to admit it seemed most like the "family-to-family" glance. I had a flashing image of kissing his kissable lips and tracing his jawline...ugh, why? No, bad me. It was a slightly strange experience, sitting there in the concert hall next to an old friend from pre-out days, watching a friend I used to be very attracted to on stage, sitting next to guy I wanted to ask out, with Elder Oaks of the Twelve just a few rows back waiting for a revelation from God that a nearby priesthood holder was lusting after the boy next to him and needed to be stopped by having Sister Susan W. Tanner, also a few rows back, come talk to him about the virtues and beauty of young women. OK, that was it. That was a mood-killer. Leave the BYU boy alone.
As we left, I noticed his white shirt had an embroidered design on it, floral if I remember right. I could still strike up a conversation. The glance, the lack of date, the shirt...no, on second inspection, I decided he was really young for me (not to mention I was probably too old for him to be interested even if he was into dating boys), and I wasn't looking to make new friends, and I certainly wasn't looking to find a date, so I let it go. Then he took out his cell phone and started talking. My friend and I looked at each other in the cattle-drive hallway exit, and we said, "Yup, that just got rid of any doubt." We laughed, and I sighed that the ordeal was finally over.
EXHIBIT C - Shirtless Wonder
I went to a play a friend is in in the Salt Lake area. Now, there were one or two fairly attractive cast members, but one in particular caught my eye. My friend who went to the play with me and I commented to each other that we were trying to decide if he was as attractive as he seemed. I was leaning towards "yes", but I just wasn't sure sometimes if I would think so without the make up and in person. Maybe a different hair cut? I wasn't sure. But one thing I did know: this kid made me wanna make out. A little bit. Then came the shirtless scene. I try not to be shallow. I like to think I'm not too swayed by a hot body. But I turned into a hormonally-crazed teenage boy at the sight of his rather lean, well-formed physique, so much that I held myself back from rushing the stage to get in on the action. I don't know who picked our seats, but I have a bone to pick with them. We were definitely on the wrong side of the stage. Mostly only his back! Why?! "Turn around, dangit! Face us! Up here! No! Writhing on the floor shirtless, all flexing and sweaty, and all I can see is your leg? I was robbed!" OK, it was at this moment of frustration when I realized I was pretty much being ridiculous. My friend ask if he should hose me down to cool me off. I insisted I'd control myself and laughed at myself, thinking, "This is why people tell you you just need to get some action."
After the show was over, I was talking with my friend who was in the show, and he just confirmed that the object of my admiration was actually a really nice guy. Dang it. That never helps. If you tell me he's a dirtbag, I'll just enjoy the eye candy and be done with it, but a nice guy? It's harder to just "get over" nice guys who are hot. But surely he's straight, so that always helps. Except...wait...after the show, there he was wearing...no...jeans that definitely not only showcased his physique rather well but looked decidedly non-hetero. Could we have a not-yet-out one here? I overheard a conversation among cast members about how difficult part of the scene had been when sexy-man was wrestling with this other guy and had pinned him down and... At this moment, the friend I'd gone to the play with leaned in towards me and said, "How're you doing? Doing alright there?" I turned beet red and started laughing at the comedy of what my face might have looked like while I was hearing this and probably subconsciously wishing I were the one getting pinned.
At one point thereafter, I was introduced to sexy-man and his friends, after hesitating but deciding, "What the H, why not say hello and possibly defuse this tension I'm feeling?" I was caught a bit off guard by his enthusiasm in shaking my hand. I tried to tell myself it was all self-flattery, but I could swear his eyes went directly to me, and he nearly knocked over his female friend to reach out for my hand. Friendly guy. Then he asked if he knew me from somewhere. I felt like saying, "Are you coming on to me?" or maybe, "Well, um, not unless you remember me from a couple of hours ago when you were hiding just offstage (above stage, to be exact), and I was looking up and fantasizing about you looking down and making flirtatious eye contact with me..." I know, I'm ridiculous. It was out of control. I wanted to find any sign to confirm he was gay and could be even slightly interested. We had a good, brief chat, and as I drove away from the theater, still cooling down from all that worked up energy, I realized meeting the shirtless wonder had, indeed, defused much of the tension. Thank goodness.
What's my point, you ask? I'm not sure. But combine these incidents with the random glances and attractive guys at the cafe, the gym, other theater productions, at friends' gatherings, or in our housing complex (well helloooo, cute neighbor who I could swear couldn't stop smiling slightly for no good reason while talking to me--no, stop, stop making everyone gay and interested), and I've decided: either my resolve is being tested as never before by satanic visions, or this is what happens when you're on your way to becoming a 30-year-old virgin (AKA sexual pressure-cooker), or it's early Spring and everyone's appetites are in full evolutionary swing, particularly mine. All of the above? Ah, hell...strap me down now, please.