One of my first crushes happened in drama class when we had to act out an emotion without words on stage. One of my guy friends made himself cry, and when asked what he was picturing to bring himself there he said that he imagined himself at my funeral. And I thought that was so sweet. Ever since then it’s been hard for me to have platonic relationships because anytime a boy is even remotely nice to me I get a crush on him. (And by “nice to me” I mean he remembers my name.) (And really he doesn’t even have to get it exactly right, it can just be in the ballpark.) (Brian is fine.)
In elementary school when I was still unknowingly in love with my best friend James he started introducing me to his other guy friends, which was a huge mistake. It was like being invited to meet his family if his family was only interested in Pokémon and fart jokes. To be fair, I’m great at meeting new people because my shyness tends to make them feel good about themselves and their own social abilities, but things did take a left turn when I was hanging out with James’s friend Brian and accidentally let his 15 year old dog eat an Oreo when no one was looking. I was mildly devastated later in the week when I found out that chocolate is poisonous for dogs but, to be fair, it was double-stuffed so really the cream to chocolate ratio was all off anyway, so who really knows how much damage it actually did.
A year and a half later his dog died and I never spoke to him again because Brian was not fine and I totally blamed myself.
After high school I became best friends with a boy named Peter that was essentially exactly like me if I was cuter, knew how to drive, and had any marketable real life work skills. We met on a gay dating site but agreed to be completely platonic since he was exiting a really fragile 9 year relationship with the love of his life, and I was exiting a really fragile three month relationship with a muscley boy I’d gone on five dates with. It was a rocky time for both of us.
Pete and I instantly bonded while having synchronized anxiety attacks about ordering Starbucks inside vs the drive-thru, which was really helpful for me because normally when I meet new people my brain goes into full apocalypse mode, starts sounding those nuclear alarms, and tries to convince me to stop, drop, and roll into a bathroom to hide until everybody else has gone home.
Pete and I did everything together on Long Island, including investigating this gay youth group that we were pretty sure was a cover up for either some underground gay sex traffic ring or a secret gay cult brotherhood, but really it turned out that it was just a gay youth group the whole time. It was crazy. When we got there Pete and I took turns drooling over the leader of the gay cul- youth group, who was actually a really hot 20 year-old gay gamer named Chris. He let me win a fighting game which I thought meant that it was true love, but others since then have told me might have just been the result of accidental well-timed button-mashing.
We eventually went into the actual activities for the youth group which involved a safe sex seminar, Q&A, and then the part Pete and I were most excited about which were the games. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned a thousand times yet but I’m a Monica with a Rachel rising and a Phoebe moon, which is to say that the main thing that gets me out of bed with a smile every morning is the thought of crushing someone in a competition. This particular competition involved Pete and myself racing against a bunch of other teams to write down as many unsafe sex practices as possible on our large sheet of paper. I got way too into it and started screaming out anything I could think of that I would never do, like, “BDSM! CHOKING! GLORYHOLES!” All the while I didn’t realize Chris was standing behind me or that the entire room was staring at me, because you know that thing of when you get really into a competition and start screaming “GLORYHOLES” at the top of your lungs?
Gloryhole-shouting aside, Pete and I won and Chris invited us to join the brotherh- come back to the youth group anytime. We didn’t, but only because Pete and I were both super flakey when it came to everyone but each other. (Which is where the Phoebe Moon part comes in, by the way. Phoebe is totally flakey.)
Ryan C. Robert is the writer of multiple comedy blogs, most of which are satirical and self-deprecating. He writes about his life in his personal essay series "Before Color," parodies cooking blogs in "Trish's Dishes" and posts writing prompts every single day.