Following my debacle of a night with Sexy Eyes, I woke early in the morning to go back to my apartment and get ready for alumni weekend at my college.
The previous night, while sitting on my couch, I received text messages from a teammate of mine from college. Unbeknownst to me, many of my teammates were attending the wedding of one of the guys I swam with in college. The texts started off saying hi and asking if I was still going up to school the following day, but then they took a turn I wasn’t expecting.
A little over a year ago, when I came out from behind the brick wall I built up, I started telling my friends as I felt comfortable with the news myself. I was hosting my annual holiday bash, and I invited many of my teammates from college who were in my graduating year. The guy I was dating at the time would be in attendance, so I felt the need to clue my friends in on this news as not to blindside them if they decided to attend.
I sent out emails, text messages and instant messages to many of them. They were all supportive. It was very refreshing to see their positive reactions. I did ask them to all please use discretion since it wasn’t yet public knowledge. I figured by telling them all around the same time, they could chat amongst each other, rather than with the people I hadn’t had a chance to tell yet.
Fast forward to today, and many of my younger teammates still didn’t know. That is, until the wedding. I’m not sure how it came up, but one of the guys I graduated with told one of the younger girls. I do have to say, I’m surprised and impressed he lasted that long before telling anyone. It was only a matter of a few hours before it spread like wildfire among the rest of the attendees. I’m certainly not mad about the situation. It’s a slightly uneasy feeling — I felt very vulnerable. I would have preferred telling them myself at a comfortable and convenient time, but what’s done is done. Now, they all know.
So the text messages began with: “So I heard you came out.” I acknowledged the statement and asked how he found out. He wouldn’t tell me. He wasn’t going to give up the source. I told him I wasn’t mad about it, but more just curious. I wanted to know who knew, so I wouldn’t say anything dumb or lie to someone who already knew the truth. He finally told me one of our female teammates told him. I asked her where the intel came from and she led me back to the source. The text conversation with my male teammate ended with him telling me he had something to tell me, but only in person the following day. A small red flag went off in my head, but only the following day would solve that question. What couldn’t he send me in a text that he had to say in person?
I assumed they all went up there early to go out to the bars Friday night. When I arrived on campus and found out they were all there for a the wedding, I could only assume my entire team knew at that point. Surprisingly, no one said anything about it to me, and no one treated me any differently. Not that I immediately noticed anyway.
We had an alumni swim meet Saturday morning when I arrived at the school. My main concern was not looking fat and swimming at least decently well. I wanted to be the guy who stayed in shape or even looked better than college instead of the pudgy men many of my teammates have become. It was just my inner gay coming out at that point. Much to my surprise, one of the fittest guys on the team asked if I’d been lifting and commented on how I looked more muscular. I was thrilled. Goal 1 — Accomplished. Then we swam a few races, and I actually had the top time of anyone in the pool. I felt great, especially since many of these guys were much more talented than myself when we were in school. Goal 2 — Accomplished.
Following the meet, many of the swim alumni hung out together. We drank in the parking lot, hit up the campus green, toured new buildings, etc. One of the younger alumni, whom I’ve never spoke to before, was chatting me up throughout portions of the day. I didn’t really notice this until that evening when I was leaving. One of the guys who lives near me in Jersey and I decided not to spend the night. We just made a day trip of it. When the younger alumni learned of our departure, he came up to me and inquired about us not going to the bar that night. I found it odd he would care I was leaving. Then I remembered the topic of conversation among the group the night before. It just seemed to come out of left field the way he asked the question and said, “Well, maybe some other time then.”
Between the drinking on the green and getting in the car to go, I decided to stop by an old friend‘s apartment on campus. He was my freshmen dorm’s mentor and a close friend over the years. It had been over a year since we last spoke, and I wanted to make a point to catch up with him. I took two of my teammates with me to visit him. We had a nice chat, and I chuckle when I think back to the point in the conversation where he asked me about dating and marriage. I smiled and told him I was a bachelor, at least for the time being. He is a religious figure, and I wasn’t 100% ready to tell him right then and there. I do want to take the time to tell him since he is such a good man and good friend, but I still need to find the right timing and setting.
On the ride home, I realized my teammate never told me what it was he had to tell me in person. When I texted him, he didn’t remember making that statement at all, and claimed he was very drunk the night he was sending them. He thought it was just who the source of intel was, but I doubted that. I’m not sure what he had to tell me, but I hope he would feel comfortable telling me whatever it was he needed to say. But maybe it was simply what occurred the night everyone found out. Who knows?
He also took the opportunity to reiterate his support of me and noted he has many gay friends he supports fully as well. It was nice to hear because he was a good friend in college when we swam together. I know he has a big heart, and it meant a lot to hear it all from him.
All in all, it was a successful weekend. It’s relieving to know the cat is out of the bag, and I received no negative reactions. I can never know what was actually said or joked about when they found out, but that’s simply human nature. I can only hope they come to accept me for who I am and be happy I’m finally happy…Follow @onegayatatime