Misty was the reason I questioned my sexuality for most of my young adult life.
We all had a crush on her. How do you not have a crush on a girl named Misty when you’re an Elementary School brat?
I never did find out how much older she was than us.
When you’re a kid, anyone older than a two or three years might as well be an adult. Before this I had sneaked my friends upstairs into my parents’ bedroom where we flipped through back issues of my Dad’s Playboys. There weren’t erections, or lust or desires. Just eight-bit arousal: girls, naked, secrets, want.
These were curiosities. The girls looked back through the pages and we boys looked right back at them, imagining a labyrinth of sexual jonesing we weren’t ready to navigate.
We knew that even if any of us got with Misty none of us would have known what to do. It was a few years before the internet became a thing. Playboy magazines, Rated R movies, hell, even PG13 movies, this was all we had to go on.
Someone said it first. Years later, after we’d sworn never to talk about it, someone mentioned that I had pressured everyone into doing it.
“We’re going to need to practice before we’re with her.”
We went upstairs into my room and climbed into my top bunk where I set up a small tent so that we could be private. We got naked and went inside in pairs. I don’t remember arousal. There was no kissing, or penetration or anything even remotely “sexual.”
Nobody orgasmed or got hard. We got naked, we touched each other, we laughed.
But that wasn’t all: we also shared an unspoken shame.
Certainly we had done something wrong. We swore ourselves to secrecy. Nobody would speak of it.
Even during our awkward teenage years when gay was the mightiest slur, our secret remained just that. In high school I was convinced that I was gay. I found the occasional boy attractive. I found more than the occasional girl attractive.
But that time with my friends in my top bunk, that convinced me. There was no leniency, no middle ground that I could claim.
I held onto the secret as evidence of my original sin. My girlfriends never knew. My friends never knew. Nobody in my family. Only me.
Apparently, I was a closeted gay man who attracted to an obscenely high number of women.
In my mid 20’s I dated a girl who told me she’d dated and been in love with another girl in High School. She considered herself bisexual.
I was baffled. I was confused. I was astounded.
You mean…you can like both?
I told her about me and the boys in the top bunk. Told her I was sometimes attracted to guys. Told her I was sometimes attracted to girls. I said it in such a hushed voice I’m surprised I didn’t play a John Williams score in the background.
She shrugged her shoulders.
“All kids do that. What’s the big deal?”
The moment soon faded. I got older. I played with girls. I played with boys.
It wasn’t such a big deal after all.
Looking back it was simply a first step into a curious world. We were curious kids. Curious about Misty. Curious about each other. Curious about the greater world we’d grow into.
I just wish someone had told me earlier that all of this was okay.
Author: Everett Scott
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: blushingmulberry at Flickr