A few years ago on the season premiere of HBO's sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry, the show's protagonist, had an amusing first encounter with his girlfriend's precocious, bordering on flamboyant, 7-year-old son, Greg. Greg was likely not aware of his gay tendencies (e.g., Project Runway was his favorite show), so Larry referred to him as being "pre-gay". I could relate because, looking back, all the indicators were there for me as well. Here are nine of them, memories from when I was a boy:
- When I was six years old I'd wrap my sweater around my shoulders. If I was lying on my stomach on my bed or on a beach towel I'd kick my legs up and swing them like I was Annette Funicello or Sandra Dee.
- I had a crush on actor Bill Bixby and the Beatles' Paul McCartney.
- When I played with boy friends in my sandbox, I liked to have them take off their shoes and socks so I could pour sand over them.
- I liked to look through my Dad's issues of Sports Illustrated in hopes of catching a glimpse of athletes in their bare feet or bare chested in the locker room. (I remember feasting my eyes on a bare chested and bare footed Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica sitting in front of his locker.) I also liked to watch post-game locker room celebrations on TV in hopes of catching a glimpse of a sweaty bare chest.
- My musical tastes leaned towards Carly Simon, the Andrew Sisters, Manhattan Transfer, Bette Midler and the Carpenters.
- I still remember the cologne my first male teacher, Mr. Heller (6th Grade), wore - Jade East.
- I liked playing with my girlfriends' Barbie dolls.
- Photos often showed me posed with my right hand on my hip.
- Finally, in the First Grade I had a crush on a schoolmate whose name was Jefferey Bidding. I was crushed when he moved at the end of the school year.
However, at the same time I also possessed some traditional boylike characteristics. For instance, I liked cars, airplanes and building blocks, enjoyed playing wiffle ball with my brother and when I occasionally played touch football with the neighborhood kids I'd get exhilarated whenever I got roughed up. I also enjoyed making fires and crushing my metal and plastic cars with bricks. And blue was my favorite color.
My parents never tried to steer me in either direction and I did the things that appealed to me; my brother and sister never harassed or ridiculed me. Furthermore, I never suffered at the hands of bullies, although looking back I certainly could have - kids weren't as mean and hateful as they seem to be now.