“Jeremy” and I have been friends for more than 30 years.
He was my brother’s friend in college. Jeremy would come home to our house weekends since he was from Los Angeles and couldn’t get back to California often. And he loved my Mom’s home cooking.
So we started hanging out and soon he was closer to me than he was to my brother. My Mom called him her “Other Son.” Heck, they still talk on the phone from time to time.
Jeremy and I traveled together. Hit the clubs together most every weekend. And fought like cats and dogs but were thick as thieves the next day because that’s how friends do.
He was always the ladies’ man. Always pulled the girls while I almost exclusively dated my ex-wife. Now 34 years later he is divorced twice and recently broke up with a law school student young enough to be our daughter.
But I always wondered whether he could be curious about being gay. Or if he was already playing with men.
After I separated from my wife I was on business travel to Los Angeles and hung out with him. We were in the food court of a Walmart in South-central, eating at a Chinese buffet. I cleared my throat and confessed.
“Hey I just want to be honest with you and let you know I’m gay now.”
He didn’t miss a beat.
“Immanuel, I always thought you could be gay. Don’t worry about it.”
And we just kept talking like nothing happened.
Then I remembered way back in the late 80’s the things he would do.
Like we would go to the gay nightclub Traxx on “Straight Night” Tuesdays and one time he kiddingly tried to pull me on the dance floor like we were a couple while a group of women nearby gawked.
One week we hopped in my Nissan, pulled off the T-top and drove to Montreal. And when we got to the hotel room we shared he lay back on the bed and pulled his legs up in the air and jokingly said, “Come and get it” like he wanted me to fuck him.
And how, even though we were hanging out with girls we met there, Jeremy made it a point of taking me out alone to a fancy French restaurant to celebrate my birthday. And when we walked back to the hotel he put his arms around me as we walked the dark, cobblestone streets of Vieux Montreal.
Like what straight black man does that to his friend?
Thirty years later the hints keep dropping.
This Spring we were texting and he bragged casually about how big his dick is. Like what straight black man does this to his friend, especially one he knows is gay?
I just ignored it. Although in hindsight I wish I had asked him to send a pic so we could compare dick size.
Then in June he texted me to say he broke up again with the young girlfriend.
“So you know I broke up with Marlene. Bruh, the gays are all over me now. LOL!”
“Come get your mens Negro.”
I just played it off. Jeremy, a handsome, slightly thick pecan-brown brother with wavy graying hair, was always a joker. So I kidded back.
“When you get ready to try gay holler..I will pay for your gay training academy tuition lol.”
But I wondered. What straight black man would text something like that in the same text message to announce he broke up with a woman he had been dating for at least two years? And were Jeremy’s jokes hiding his true feelings?
My partner “Van” and I visited Los Angeles in August when I went out on business and we had drinks with Jeremy at Kitchen 24 in West Hollywood’s Boys Town. A guy we had hooked up with, “Devin” (Picking him up off the street in Los Angeles), was with us.
Devin, Van and I are gay but the conversation was about the hot mess that is Donald Trump, life on the East Coast versus West Coast and other stuff. It was Jeremy — the lone straight man in the quartet — who kept inserting gay into the conversation.
“You know I work out in this gym and there are a lot of gay guys there. They keep trying to look at this big dick. Shit man, I can even go to the sauna without somebody hitting on me.”
Devin, Van and I just laughed and changed the subject. I think I glanced across the table to get Van’s reaction. I knew he wanted to go all up and down Jeremy with questions but he didn’t — it was their first time meeting so I gathered Van wanted to be polite and make a good impression on my best buddy.
Later after Jeremy left Van said he probably is gay-curious and might have already tasted the Rainbow. So Van said the next time Jeremy traveled East I had permission to try to seduce him.
That was a good idea but I didn’t wait. Devin seemed interested in Jeremy so I gave each of them the other’s number.
“Hey Devin seemed cool but you know I’m not gay, right,” Jeremy said. “But I don’t mind hanging out with him if it’s at an event or something.”
Okay, we will see how this goes.