It all started because of a TV show actually. Which just goes to show that that shit is bad for you. Or maybe it shows how you never know how your whole world can get knocked around like a snow-globe in a hurricane if you’re not careful.
I was washing dishes and watching, more listening to than watching actually, an old episode of Two and Half Men. Not that I usually watch that shit, but there you go. It was an old one. A re-run. From back when Charlie Sheen was still on the show. Charlie was in his therapist’s office, talking to that actress who plays the butch gym teacher on Glee.
They were going on and on about something and I wasn’t really hearing what they were saying, it was just, blah, blah, blah, as I ran the water. And I turned off the water and then all of a sudden the actress said loudly, as clear as day, “You know Charlie, when a man continues to go through women like water he’s usually gay.”
“Nooooooo,” I said out loud.
“Noooooo,” Charlie Sheen said.
I turned around and looked at the screen. He was staring at the therapist with his mouth open.
So was I.
“Nah,” he said. Then he chuckled an uncomfortable chuckle and waved his hand like he was waving away a load of crap he just couldn’t handle. “Nah,” he said again.
I clicked the TV off.
“What the fuck?” I said to myself.
I realized I had forgotten to wash one pan but I was done with kitchen chores, that’s for sure.
“I’m as straight as they come,” I said out loud.
I grabbed my leather jacket and my car keys. “Fuck this, I’m getting out of here, I could use a drink.”
I usually keep beers in the house but I was out. Besides, I was in the mood for something harder. I got in my car and drove around, not really seeing.
I drove and drove, telling myself it was stupid to get all twisted in the head over a stupid show. I just hadn’t found the right woman yet. Right?
Except… what if that wasn’t it?
I wasn’t homophobic, not in the least. But it never occurred to me that even think that I might be…? Nah.
I pulled into a bar with a big red sign and a well-lit parking lot and slammed the door of my pick-up truck way too hard. “This is ridiculous. You’re not a teenager. If you were….anything… you would have realized it by now,” I mumbled.
But then I wondered. Was the reason I dated and dated because I was avoiding something? And yeah, I’d had a lot of sex but I had a lot more dating that hadn’t ended in sex. Was I going and going because I was trying to prove something?
I sat at the far end of the bar and ordered a shot.
I stared at the glass and then put my face in my hands. I’m straight. I’ve always been straight. I’m super straight. Straight as a fucking arrow straight. Straight, straight, straight. I’m a fucking lumberjack for Christ’s sake, how straight can you get?
I felt someone come up next to me to order.
I tossed my drink back.
The bartender took the drink order from the guy next to me and I said to the bartender, “Another shot, make mine a double. Actually, double doubles, go ahead and bring my next one now.”
“You got it,” the bartender said and walked away.
“Sounds like you’ve had a bad day,” the guy said.
I looked at him. Tall, wiry, long brown hair pulled back in a low ponytail. I wondered if he was some kind of artist or musician or something with that hair.
“Ah, my brain’s just been blender-ed and I think my whole world’s just been turned upside down,” I said.
“Well they say that’s good for the soul,” he said.
I stared at him like he was from some other planet.
“After it stops sucking, I mean,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Listen, my band’s playing here tomorrow night,” he said. “Why don’t you come out and hear us? We’re really upbeat and fun but still seriously rocking, the kind of thing that will get your mind off your troubles.”
He pulled out a shiny black business card with a picture of a guitar on it and handed it to me. It had his name and his band’s name on it.
“Brandon,” I read. It fit him; somehow he looked like a Brandon.
“Yeah,” he said.
“Paul,” I said putting my palm on my own chest before I extended my hand to shake.
We shook hands and I said, “You know, maybe I will come see your band tomorrow night, I could use to have some fun.”