It started with a date three years ago. I liked his boyish good looks. His average, boy-next-door, preppy style - benign and DC attorney-like. You know, average. We shared similar tastes in music. He was a "rock star" (for DOG's sake), fronting a college band and he even performed on stage with Paul Westerberg one drunken time in his youth. Now, that's rock and roll - not hair band rock and roll but smoke-a-pack-of-cigarettes-pop-beer-tops-with-your-mouth-punch-a-kid-in-the-mouth rock and roll. He was from upstate New York. He was apple pie.
We seemingly hit it off but for whatever reason never went out again. I guess I expected a full court press because I was popular in those days, what with the Yukkell and The Carson, et. al. He remained passive yet kept in touch over the years. I didn't pluck any "he loves me" "he loves me not" petals.
For three years we exchange very cursory emails. Small talk, if you will. I always thought he had a girlfriend and when things went bad, he would email me for some kind of male ego-stroking.
Like I said, this goes on for three years. Some bizarre online chat with some guy who, at this point now, I can't even remember what he looks like. And all I remember about him is the descriptor I gave you in the first paragraph. We literally are virtual strangers.
But this last time, he sends me a different kind of email. A drunken slur of "ohmigod I can't believe I did what I just did last night! OMG OMG. But don't ask me, I can't tell you. It's sooo embarrassing!" Of course, just like when mom said, "Don't look under the bed or in the closet for your Christmas presents", you look under the bed and in the closet. And so I bite back with "tell me more" and then he lays it out.
The story comes out in layers.
Him: I had a date with a guy I have had a crush on for awhile.
Me: Whoa! Hold the sausage. I didn't know you were gay.
Him: Oh yeah, I thought you knew.
Me: No, I don't even know who you are really, what you look like.
Him: What? This whole time? Three years?
Me: You are they guy I had drinks with at the Mayflower, right? You're a Westerberg fan?
Him: Yes, that's me.
Me: Were you gay then?
Him: No, not out of the closet yet. But I always liked your style and thought you were really pretty.
Him: I'm actually a cross dresser and I like transvestites.
Me: Whoa! Hold the Hairspray. So you came out of the closet WITH A DRESS ON?
Him: In full regalia. I'm actually a passable woman. I never leave the house without my wig and full makeup. It feels good to be telling you this.
(The full description of his lovefest is redacted. The FCC will shut me down.)
So we remain pen pals. But now he signs off with "Luv ya hon, Betsy." And I laugh everytime.