No. 5 | Campus Crush

I try to find comfort in the assumption that I am not the only gay kid who’s had a crush on a straight boy. Another disadvantage of being in the closet is misusing your gaydar as an I-wish-you-were-gaydar. When you’re like me and have no openly gay friends, you’re practically oblivious to who’s gay or not. My gossip channel doesn’t get excellent reception, so I rely heavily on my lust and my instinct. Obviously, it’s a recipe for disaster.

I take both pride and shame in having two serious, soul-crushing, heart-breaking crushes in college. The first one was on one of the two cute boys in my freshman block. Early on, I committed to not having a crush on the other cute boy because I was sure that he was straight. If he were the type to bend over, I wouldn’t have been able to afford him. Besides, my gaydar tested positive for the boy I had a crush on. He was shy and always kept to himself. During lunch, he would only sit with girls, not to charm them but to just be friends with them, and when those girls befriended the other boys in class (myself, excluded), it was only then that he had male friends.

I found him to be attractive because he had this mysterious aura about him that I wanted to penetrate and to explore. Because he was so quiet, every new fact I learned about him made him seem so interesting. There was this one moment in English where he revealed how his family didn’t communicate in Filipino, only in English or in Chinese. He tweeted once that he found it funny that his dad flew in and out of Cebu thrice in a week when he could have just stayed in a hotel there. I also caught him using hand cream, which he pulled out from a small toiletry bag, in the school bathroom, which told me that he cared about his porcelain skin.

We became acquainted when we were grouped together in PE, during a class in the swimming pool. Having finished the activities early, he, a friend of mine, and myself were banished to the other side of the swimming pool, with other classmates who finished early, for free play. The three of us lost ourselves in small talk, blabbering about high school and who we used to be, until we found ourselves in the middle of the pool, which was also the deepest. Realising where we were, he panicked but calmly told me, “I think I’m drowning.” It was a plea for help, and my friend, who knew that I was attracted to this boy, quietly left us, so I could handle the situation alone.

He asked me to help him reach the edge of the pool. I told him to lie on his back, and I would carry him there, and he did. Thankfully, the situation weirded me enough to not give me a boner, which would have outed me ten minutes later when I had to leave the pool to shower. Even though I was carrying my crush, who was naked except for his swimming trunks in a pool, I guess I was more amused at how ridiculous he was being than I was turned on. When I got home, it dawned on me how hot that moment was. Let’s just say I didn’t need to go online to pleasure myself that night…

Later that night, I added him on Facebook, and we spoke until midnight. We continued chatting for that long during the days that followed until we became friends in real life.

I couldn’t muster the courage to tell him that I liked him even though I was sure about how I felt. I also didn’t tell him because I was content with what was going on between us. I usually tutored him somewhere we could be alone in campus after our classes, and he would always be thankful when he received a good grade for the corresponding exam. He started giving me gifts from his trips abroad, and he always texted me something nice before a test. I mistook his kindness for flirting, but I didn’t know that until…

Months after he told me that he was drowning, I stopped being content with being friends with him. I wanted “us” to move forward, so I played out a little scheme that would test how he would respond to me liking him. I enlisted the help of my high school best friend, now in a different university, who would text him from her phone that I was gay and that I had a crush on him. I would innocently tell him that I gave her his number because she saw a photo of him on my Facebook and thought that he was cute. It was the perfect scheme. I thought I had a solid alibi… except when she texted him, he tweeted five minutes later, “Got an anonymous text… I think it’s him.” Well, fuck. Now, I may have outed myself, and it became clear that he didn’t like me back.

I played it cool and pretended that it never happened, so I could salvage whatever was left of our friendship. It worked, but I continued to have a crush on him despite the obvious sign, as well as other signs from later on, that was given to me.

Writing about this now makes me laugh at how naïve I was. Because I was (and continue to be) a romantic, I genuinely thought that our friendship would develop into a relationship. It obviously never did, and for a while, I hated myself for being so different that I thought there was something about me that was strong enough for him not to want me as a significant other. It only became clear, later on when I started dating, that he wasn’t into me not because there was something wrong with me, but because, contrary to popular opinion, he wasn’t gay.


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