By Cody Heck
We often forget that an entire generation of young gay men were also raised with Disney Princess dreams. We’re given this idea that as long as we try our best, remain relatively poised, and do the right thing we’ll be justly rewarded with our Prince Charming or knight in shining armor. This all seems harmless at first, until you’re finally slapped in the face with societal roles and the cold, harsh nature of reality.
A princess of my own sorts, 15-year-old-Cody was into theater and music. I didn’t have many close friends, specifically of the male variety. Being the only effeminate, openly gay boy in my school, I was alienated from most social situations and was left to my own devices on how to figure out the world around me.
Sophomore year of high school, Mrs. Hallson’s pre-algebra class, second period. I sat between a gangly kid, whose head was too big for his body and always smelled like canned cheese, and Evan, a varsity football player with a serious case of boy-band-hair who pubescent-Cody immediately decided was the love of my life. I took every question, every pass of eye contact as a sign of affection. I gave him the answers to our homework and let him cheat off of my tests. If he asked for a pencil, I would ponder and evaluate the motives for days on end: “What does it mean? Was it his way of making a move? Is the pencil a façade for something greater?” The semester continued on like this, eventually leading to the exchange of phone numbers for “homework help” (AKA my perfectly devised plan to talk to him outside of school and get to know him better). We grew more comfortable with one another, saying hi to each other in the halls, occasionally talking during class, texting semi-regularly. So, one could say our relationship was pretty stable.
Finally, a horrible combination of anxiety and puberty got the best of me. I decided it was time to tell him how I feel, to lay everything on the table. I had always been told, “Always ask. The worst that can happen is they say no.” With a newfound confidence, I approached him in the halls. He was surrounded by his football player friends and before even opening my mouth, I was immediately met with, “What do you want, faggot?” from one of the group. A cackle spread among them and tears welled up in my eyes, “Aww, fairy’s gonna cry?”
And there was Evan, joining amongst the laughter, with not even the slightest idea of why I approached him. All I could think is, “Why Evan? We could have coordinated ties to the senior prom. You could meet my parents and they could judge you under the same microscope I live under. Our honeymoon could’ve been in Greece, but the good part that’s a little less racist and we won’t get mugged. Doesn’t that sound fun?”
Unfortunately, telepathy was never my strong point. So, I walked away, defeated, spending second period in silence for the remainder of the semester. I was no princess and there was no happy ending to a situation like this. All I could do was chalk the experience up to charity for helping this bumbling peon pass pre-algebra.
Straight boys: Can’t live with ‘em… End statement.