University Library: Wear Jeans If You’re Gay Day
When I was a freshman, I expected my college life to be a raunchy sex comedy, but it turned out that my roommate was having all the raunchy sex. To make it worse, he was having all that raunchy sex in our dorm room, so that meant I spent a lot of time in the University Library.
Most of the lack of sex was my fault. As a freshman in college, I was aloof about a lot of social stuff. I spent my money on comic books instead of nice clothes. Even when I bought clothes, my wardrobe was jeans, a few sweaters, and lots of comic book t-shirts. College women thought I was harmless, which meant there was no raunchy sex for me. My mind wandered a lot when I walked across campus, and I was rarely aware of my surroundings. That changed when I got conked on the head, but that happened later.
Anyway, my wardrobe was a low priority. Besides keeping my clothes clean, I wasn’t concerned about them. Since clothes didn’t matter, I didn’t think anything was wrong when I put on one of my usual outfits before going to class one morning.
As I headed out the dorm room, my roommate Kirk stopped me with a “Hey!”
“What’s wrong?” I said.
Kirk looked concerned. He was dragging himself to breakfast before the cafeteria shut down for the morning, but something had gotten his attention.
“It’s ‘Wear Jeans If You’re Gay Day’,” he said.
I knew I was wearing jeans. I hadn’t been aware of this social awareness day, but my college wardrobe was limited. I had jeans for cold days and shorts for warm days. It was late October, and though it wasn’t freezing out, it was still chilly, and there was no way I was wearing shorts instead of jeans.
“I’m going to have to risk it,” I said.
“It would be different if you had a girlfriend,” Kirk said.
Or if I screwed a different drunk chick every night like Kirk did, I thought, but I kept that to myself. Kirk seemed comfortable with his heterosexuality, but he was heading out in shorts and a sweater.
“You know they’re laughing at you,” I said to Kirk. “They just pressured you to wear shorts on a 40 degree day.”
“They probably want to stare at my legs,” he muttered.
This was back in the mid-1980s, and Seinfeld’s “Not that there’s anything wrong with it” episode hadn’t come out yet, and a lot of people thought there was something incredibly wrong with being homosexual. There was a guy on our floor who was reputed to be gay, and his ROTC roommate was trying to get a room switch. There was supposedly a significant gay community in our college town, but you didn’t really see it too much in the dorms.
“My friends think you’re gay,” Kirk said.
That kind of pissed me off.
“Do you tell them I’m not?” I asked. I thought of how the ROTC guy ostracized his roommate, and I didn’t want anything like that to happen to me.
“I know you’re not,” he said. “You hit on my sister, you filthy degenerate.”
That was true. It had happened the day I’d first moved into the dorms when I didn’t know she was his sister. She was just a cute, well-built girl in a skimpy outfit hanging around our hallway brushing her hair back and talking to me every time I brought a box into my room. The way she looked at me, I thought all those stories about college being a raunchy sex comedy were about to come true.
Then I found out she was Kirk’s sister.
And she was only 15.
And that Kirk would beat the shit out of me if I ever touched her (which might be considered ironic when you consider his own behavior with women).
Looking back, she would have been better off with me than some of the guys she ended up with, but we would have had to wait a few years, and it’s not something that I lost sleep over, I promise.
As Kirk and I walked down the dorm hallway, the ROTC guy wandered out from the showers with a towel wrapped around his waist. The guy was ripped (though ripped wasn’t a term back then). He was well-defined. I’ve always wanted a muscular, well-defined body, but I was skinny, and working out only made me skinnier. I admired what I could not be.
“Good morning,” I said to him really loudly. I startled him, and he gave me an angry look as Kirk and I strolled past him.
When we got to the elevators, Kirk said, “He’s gonna think you’re gay now.”
“He’s not that stupid,” I said.
“Yeah, he is. You don’t talk to guys coming out of the shower.”
“Really?” I had never heard that social rule before. I have startling gaps in my knowledge.
“It’s like talking to the guy next to you when you’re taking a piss in public.”
“Really?” I paused. “I do that all the time.”
I get stage fright in public bathrooms, and talking to the guy next to me relaxes me. If two guys are standing side by side in the public urinals, and nothing’s happening, the silence is awkward.
“Someone’s gonna kick your ass if you keep doing it.”
I was dumbfounded. “So it’s better to have stage fright and take up time in the urinal then talk and get everything over with.”
“Yeah,” Kirk said. “How do you do that? What do you say when you’re taking a piss next to somebody?”
I paused and chose my best conversation starter in a public bathroom: “It always smells like shit in here.”
Kirk shook his head. “I just don’t want you to get your ass kicked. There’s a lot you don’t understand.” After we got out of the elevator, we went our separate ways for the day.
Nothing happened to me when I wore jeans on Wear Jeans If You’re Gay Day. Nobody ostracized me. At least, if anybody did, I was too aloof to notice it. Most guys outside were wearing sweaters/sweatshirts with shorts, which was funny because it was cold and windy outside. There were a couple times I saw other guys wearing jeans, and I wondered if they were gay or if they just didn’t know like I hadn’t known, or if they did know but it was just too cold to wear shorts in order to celebrate their own straightness.
Other than that, I was just a college student wearing jeans to class. But later on when that weird thing happened to me at the University Library, I would think back to Wear Jeans If You’re Gay Day and some of what happened would start to make sense to me.
To be continued in University Library: Elevator Rage!
As I mentioned earlier, University Library is my raunchy college sex comedy.
The Writing Prompt, on the other hand, tells the story of my one moment of high school glory… and it’s NOT a raunchy sex comedy.