At this point it would seem appropriate to say that "I have a few gay friends which are cool", but since I don't know to a personal level any gay men, I can't. The only people I met who were gay were at university and they called me a 'breeder,' which is (so I'm told) the derogatory term they call straight people... uh, okay. The only person I knew quite well was a guy I went to high school with whom I shared one thing in common: his name was Leandro also.
When Leandro told everyone he was gay, the news spread through the school at lightning speed. Many had no idea who Leandro was, or that were two kids with the same name in the same school, but for sure everyone knew that he was gay.
Of course, this brought the joyful greeting I would receive when people introduced me to someone else:
"Are you the gay Leandro?"
"No, I'm the other one."
What else do you answer?
My only other experiences with gays were rather brief:
"YOU'RE A NICE GUY, DO YOU HAVE A BROTHER?" - I was told this at a party, from one of my girlfriend's gay friends. I didn't get it right away; in fact, my first expression was "wha?" Eventually, halfway through the dinner, when the little gears in my head had finished rotating, and finally combined the comment he'd made with him being gay, I looked at him and started laughing (he and everyone else at the table returned the same look I had previously). Granted, I'm slow, but flattery is still flattery.
"NICE SHIRT" - This one was a bit my fault. I was looking for a particular magazine which the local store I used to go to discontinued carrying. Desperate, after searching several bookstores, including "The World's Biggest Bookstore" (which usually has every possible unimaginable magazine on the face of the earth) didn't have it, I began entering just about anything that had any relation to the world of monthly publications.
As I enter the last store, I started looking left and right for the hobby section. I am greeted by the usual stuff that sits on the shelves that you can find at a 7/11. The next row of shelving contained what probably was the biggest variety of raunchy pornographic magazines. Realizing that this was definitely not the type of "modelling" I had in mind, I ask the guy at the counter if he has any idea who sells this particular magazine I have been looking for.
"I'm sorry, I have no idea who carries that." Then he rewards me with a big smile and a wink as he says "Nice shirt". He passes me his business card, winking, which I grab, my brain still struggling with the total of 2 + 2, obviously.
None of this clicked in while it happened. I thanked him, grabbed the card and walked out of the store upset that I couldn't find the magazine. The whole process of being hit on didn't occur to me until later that day, when I had finally found a store that sold what I wanted and threw out the business card, ''call me'' hand written on it.
Okay. So I am slow. And to think, I was wearing an old high school t- shirt.
"NO MORE MISTER SUCKI SUCKI" - Gerrard Square is a mall that--had it been situated in the middle of NYC's Bronx--probably would've had better clientele. With a tavern across from it, and a railway bridge on the other where many deals went on, it seemed that the mall was the perfect place for folks to cause trouble.
The security guard at Gerrard Square introduced me to Mr. Sucki Sucki in the most wonderful way. We entered the public washroom on our usual routine to ensure that everyone had left the mall after it had closed. We did it together, because it gave us a chance to better defend ourselves from the maniacs that sometimes lurked around there.
Usually the washrooms were empty by the time the mall closed, but not this time. There was a strange moaning sound from stall number 3. We tip-toed to the door, and since the dividers were not all that tall, we took a look over, to see what was going on.
There were two oriental men, one performing oral sex on the other.
The receiver, scared, jumps up and runs away (we later caught him
downstairs trying to open the doors which we had diligently locked
before our routine inspection) while the giver was just sitting there
with a stunned look on his face. He looked at us and said:
"Ah, no moe' sucki sucki?"
Nope. No more.
(As a kid, I should add, this was pretty weird for me; now a days... who am I to judge?)
"I WISH CANADIAN TIRE SOLD FAKE PUSSIES SO I COULD FUCK YOU WITH ONE" - He was my last experience. Mr Rana, or so he introduced himself to me, had been following me since my first job at Gerrard Square mall, a place where both IMPROV and I share many memories. When he discovered I got a new job at no frills, he happened to shop there every day and would follow me around the aisle talking incessantly about his life, and how great he was.
A few days of this and I couldn't take it anymore, so I asked him "Why do you follow me constantly and tell me all this stuff? I don't care. What do you want?"
"Oh Leo, you don't know how much I love you. I've been following you since you worked at Gerrard Square in that handsome mall uniform. I just wish Canadian Tire sold fake pussies so I could fuck you with one".
I just stood there motionless as if someone had hit the Pause button. No thoughts crossed my mind. I was "Did I just hear that?"
To a sixteen-year-old kid, being told such a thing, is pretty bizarre.
Unfortunately for him, my manager, who was coming to talk to me, heard him as well. My manager had the courtesy to show him where the exit was, and asked him never to come back. Although I was grateful, my manager kept laughing about it for several weeks.
I'll end this with a comment on homophobia. Am I homophobic? I don't know. I enjoyed the company and talking to my girlfriend's gay friend, but for sure I did not like the "fake pussy" comment. Does this mean I am homophobic? No, I doubt it but I'm sure someone will scream "hater!" rather than engage in a conversation to help me understand or educate me. Ultimately, I think that the those events fall in the same category as if an extremely unattractive girl (unattractive to me and not necessarily a physical attraction) came up to me and said she was interested in a roll in the hay. I'd probably run away screaming just the same.