In 2010, I was supposed to go to Chile to manage a program in a University. Part of the process was the starting of the conversation with students in the program. One of them was Nicolas. Sadly, the program was scrapped off and I didn’t go to Chile. However, my friendship with Nicolas started.
I didn’t tell him about my sexuality when we started and I assumed the “bro” mentality when chatting with him. He was good looking, not a model good looking, but good looking enough for me to think a little. Not much. Just a little.
I knew straight away that Nicolas and I would become an interesting experience. We both shared the halo of loneliness and a shadow of melancholia that followed us and still does from time to time. However, we both shared the passion for making things happen, stepping out of our comfort zones, learning and bettering ourselves.
Two years into the friendship, I made the leap. I told him in a ‘I am gay and if you have a problem with that you should stop talking to me’ way. He didn’t. However, he said he was surprised about this and he also needed to learn more about it.
In a continent where you have the likes of Argentina and Brazil were same-sex unions have been legalized, Chile presents a different canvas, one that is conservative and not gay-friendly to be honest. He admitted about coming from a conservative family but he said he was for the long haul when it came to our friendship.
Imagine how that made me feel. Happy. Excited. Optimistic about a friendship between a gay and a straight man.
An important aspect of my life that I shared with Nicolas was my sexual adventures. More than anyone, Nicolas was the custodian of my hookups as I traveled through Europe and other continents. He came to know Grindr by its notification sound. He started picking up gaydar from me. As graphic as I am, I would indulge him in a series of graphic, detailed, step-by-step, don’t-leave-any-detail-out retelling of my sexual escapades. In fact, at times he would become my consoling other when my sexual adventures didn’t work out or when I fell in love with the wrong guy. He became my person. He was my Christina Yang to my Meredith Grey.
Throughout the experience, he became more sensitive to the LGBT issues and one day he said that if he would have a gay son, he would love him and take care of him; he would be the best father.
Fast forward to this year.
I have a friend from Brazil, Jardelito, that I have met before, twice actually. He is gay. He was looking for a job and it seemed he needed to venture outside, following the bad economic situation in Brazil. Before he knew it he got an interview for a company in Chile. Surprise surprise, it was the same company were Nicolas is working. He ended up passing the interview and his trip to Chile was set. By this time, I had introduced them to each other, Nicolas helping Jardelito with information about the company and the situation in Chile. This was the firs time in my life that two of my friends, one gay and one not, were going to work in the same company.
When he arrived in Chile, Nicolas was extremely helpful, showing him around the city, assisting him with the settling in process and I remember Jardelito praising Nicolas especially on how gentlemanly he was. I was on cloud nine. This added my appreciation and my love for Nicolas. He was the straight friend that every gay man needed to have. He was the real deal.
However, after a week, Jardelito told me that things were becoming a bit difficult since we hadn’t revealed the information about his sexuality to Nicolas. Our plan was for him to find it out by himself, after the years of being under my tutelage. Nicolas failed the test because he didn’t pick it up. Because he didn’t know, he was pushing Jardelito to pick up girls when they went clubbing. We needed to talk and talking we did. I told him, he laughed, he was surprised and I was surprised that his gaydar needed some brushing up. He said everything would be alright, I mean he is my friend and he knows about all my dirty secrets – he should be the most gay-friendly straight ever.
The following day he invited Jardelito to his place and they talked about it, I was elated that things were going to be okay between them, that some sort of a three-musketeer situation was unfurling between us. I was planning to go to Chile to visit them soon as we had talked about it time and time again.
But I was in for the biggest surprise.
He changed on Jardelito. He didn’t want to hang out with him when Jardelito invited him for a friendly hang. I was surprised but I immediately knew why.
I came to this conclusion because he liked Jardelito when he arrived in Chile and in fact he told me that he thought that Jardelito was ‘cool’ in a message that he sent me. The sexuality of a gay Brazilian finally revealed something about him.
I didn’t want to believe it, he had been okay with me all this time, and I had told him the graphic details of my hookups. It couldn’t be.
I did what I do best; confronted him. He said that he just didn’t liked Jardelito, that their personalities weren’t a match. What bull! I thought. To defend himself, Nicolas said he was in a stage of his life where he was more interested on hooking up with women and he sort of wanted a wingman who would support him through that process, something that Jardelito wouldn’t be able to help him with. What bull! I went again.
Numerous times, the topic of homophobia would resurface and at one time he agreed that he was at least a bit homophobic.
Deep inside, my sense of political-ness arouse with fiery ambers, about to burn something down. This wasn’t right and this wasn’t Nicolas. I was saddened because it is my belief that homophobia is not selective, that one can’t be homophobic to one person and not to another person. This to me signified that Nicolas’s homophobia was directed towards me as well even though I have never felt so. This challenged everything I believed.
During one of my conversations with him, my pacifying spirit came through when I told him that it was okay if he felt that way, because for the longest time he had been conditioned to feel that by the society. However, I told him what mattered depended on what he would do with this revelation. He could choose what do with it.
Today we have had our last conversation. A different one but similar. One that has touched on the nerve of our friendship, and one that has managed to obliterate it. We are no longer friends. It is sad.
There is a certain sadness about a friendship that has come to an end, one that has survived solely through Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype for six years. However, there is something more. Again going through the model of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, I have entered into a stage that despises heterosexual men. A stage where my anger is telling me that I don’t want to have any male straight friend anymore because at the end of the day there is always a pinch of homophobia that will break the friendship. This resentment goes back to the system, goes back to the status quo and in fact goes against a personal project that I was planning to start, inspired by my friendship with Nicolas. You see, I wanted to collect stories, anecdotes, and experiences of gay-straight male friendships, authentic ones, as I saw mine with Nicolas. This whole thing puts a dent on that, stops it midway as I am now dealing with the anger that is coming from the homophobia of a straight friend.
There is a feeling of dang! I wasted my years with a homophobic person, that I had invested my energy into a futile endeavor. However, I know I am a positive person who will come out with a positive perspective when I reach the Acceptance phase. I am bracing anger, frustration, “fuck you Nicolas” sentiment, and everything else that rhymes with all these.
It is sad.