TuesDATE: Don’t Talk To Me

photos by roger wingfield

Him:  Hey.  Remember me?

Me:  Oh God.  No.  Don’t.

Him:  What?

Me:  I do remember you.  Excuse me…

Him:  What’s wrong?  Don’t you wanna talk to me?

Me:  I don’t want to go into it.  People are meeting me here soon and I just want to have a good time, and not have a scene or whatever.

Him:  What??!  I’m not going to cause a scene!!  What did I do??

Me:  Honestly?  You don’t remember?  Come on.  When was the last time you saw me?

Him:  Here?  Didn’t I meet you here one night?

Me:  You did, but that wasn’t the last time I saw you.

Him:  Oh my God!!  My mother was here that night. 

Me:  She was.  Yes she was.

Him:  Oh, me and my mom drink a lot when we get together.  It’s not pretty.

Me:  Right.  You guys were both very flirty with me.

Him:  I remember pouring on the charm, wait, my mother was flirting with you too??

Me:  She kept asking if she could ‘grab my basket,’ and reaching for my crotch.

Him:  Oh, no!  How embarrassing. 

Me:  That was fine.  I mean, it was odd, but I didn’t think too much of it, other than it was strange.

Him:  Well you can’t hold that against me.  It was my mother.  I didn’t do that.

Me:  I know.  But then I saw you after that…

Him:  When?

Me:  A few weeks after that.  On the train.  You don’t remember?

Him:  Refresh my memory.

Me:  Uh…  You and your friend were wasted…  It was around midnight or so, on the L from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

Him:  You’ll have to be more specific.

Me:  Um, you were drunk and talking very loudly.  Then some guy indicated that maybe you should be a little quieter, and not bother everyone.  Does this ring a bell yet?

Him:  I mean, it’s getting clearer, but I have a tendency to have altercations on the train when I’m drinking.

Me:  Okay, so, rather than quiet down, you started talking all ghetto, saying how you were a black lady who grew up in the projects and that you’d been on welfare and subsidized housing programs your entire life and that you didn’t have to take that kind of abuse from some over privileged white hipster boy.

Him:  Oh I remember that night!  Everyone on the train was laughing at that. 

Me:  Well, at first…  For the first 30 seconds or so, the hipster kids were really into your little rant.  But then it went on and on, for like 8 minutes.  Your friend was egging you on at 3rd avenue, but by the time we got to Bedford, nobody was laughing anymore and your friend was begging you to be quiet.   But, uh…  you kept going.

Him:  I don’t remember that.  I only remember being very funny.  Everyone was laughing. 

Me:  At first there was this certain amount of laughter, but then you took it way too far, and started talking about watermelon and chitlins, and all sorts of offensive stuff…  I don’t want to go into what all you said, but there were a growing number of people of color on the train who looked like they wanted to strangle you.   And to be honest, so did I.

Him:  Oh my God.  I don’t have to listen to this.  I have every right to say what I want on the train…  Why don’t you try having a sense of humor, for once?

Me:  You know what bothered me the most?  After you’d successfully alienated everyone on the train?  After that, you made eye contact with me and pointed and said, ‘Oh!  I know you!  You’re the flirty guy from the bar!’  And let me tell you, I was never so glad for it to be my stop as I was right then.

Him:  Oh sorry, Mister High-and-Mighty – I didn’t realize I’m not allowed to talk to you in public.  I drink, okay?  I like to have fun, okay???  I have a sense of humor and I won’t be censored by some tight-ass that doesn’t know how to have a good time!!

Me:  Listen…  I won’t lecture you or even tell you that your little rant on the train was racist, uncomfortable, and possibly worst of all – unfunny.  But don’t talk to me.  If you’re going to make that kind of scene in public, and alienate everyone on the train, DON’T turn around and involve me in your little circus act.  I’m not interested.

Him:  Okay…  Fine…  I won’t talk to you in public.

Me:  No.  You’re not hearing me.  I think you’re an obnoxious, racist brat.  You get wasted and grand stand for attention, which makes people titter for a few seconds, but ultimately leaves them feeling alienated and uncomfortable.

Him:  I think that –

Me:  You’re boring.  I don’t care what you think, or what you have to say.

Him:  How old are you??

Me:  Here’s what’s going to happen, okay?  Don’t talk to me.  Don’t ever talk to me again.  Okay?  Go get drunk with your mother and compete for boys, or whatever you do.  But don’t talk to me.  I will punch you, if you talk to me again.  Got it?

(long pause.  he opens his mouth to say something.  another long pause.  he closes his mouth.  he turns.  he walks away.)

 

Advice

photos by eryc perez de tagle

Hey, you seem to give good advice a lot of the time so I figure you might be able to help me.  I’m 21 years old and have been out for about a year. All of my friends were completely cool about my coming out, and I guess it was a relatively seamless process.  Didn’t lose any friends or anything like that. But at the same time I’m still feeling pretty alone though.  I don’t have a single gay friend.  Not one.  And as much as I enjoy hanging out with my straight friends, it seems like I always end up being the token gay one who’s not going to meet anyone, ever, because we always seem to go places where there are no gay people.  The constant 5th wheel.  One of my friends has said she’s willing to go to a gay bar with me, but I would kind of just feel awkward about the whole thing.  I don’t know why; I can’t really put it into words.

At the same time that I guess my shyness is keeping me from meeting any other gay people, I feel / know that my life needs to change.  I need to get out there somehow and start meeting people or I’ll end up spending my life alone.  I’ve had a few flings with guys, but nothing serious.  It’s not even the sex that’s what’s important right now.  I just want the community, a sense of belonging somewhere and not being the odd one out if you understand what I mean.  i just have no idea how to get started.  So, this sounds really silly but my question is, how do I make gay friends?  Sorry if that just made me sound a little retarded. Ha.

Hugs,
Martin

Hey Martin,

Thanks for writing in.  Well, I think there’s a number of things you can do, if you want to get more involved  in the Gay community.  I hate to think of you out there, openly Gay with no like-minded friends to share the experience.  Since there seems to be Gay bars near you, I’m assuming you’re in a metropolitan setting, or at least a college town?  You should be able to do a quick Google search to find some LGBT groups near you that meet up in person at least once a week.

The other thing is – go out with your Straight friends that are offering to take you out.  Yeah, it might be awkward at first, but consider this:  they want the opportunity to support you and help you make Gay friends, so you might as well take it.  And, while being Gay doesn’t completely define who you are, it is a large chunk of you.  Your friends are curious about that side of you, and you’d do well to expose them to it.

The bar scene is not for everyone, so don’t get frustrated if you feel like an outsider, or if people seem a little aggressive, weird, or coarse.  People act surly sometimes when they’re drinking.  There should be lots of other, sober minded activities for LGBT people near you.  I know in New York there’s Gay Kickball and Gay Dodgeball, amongst other things.

My main advice is this – get out there.  Be gregarious.  Also, stay friendly and upbeat.  When I meet someone who seems ‘over it’ or sour, it’s a real turn off.  Also, if you meet someone you’d like to become friends with, ask them to hang out with you at a later date.  Make it clear you just want to be friends, but ask them to lunch, or shopping, or a movie.  You get the idea.  More than anything, this just takes the guts to walk up to someone who looks like they might be interesting, and say ‘hi.’

You can do it.  Be brave, Martin.

Michael

Hate Mail: Part One

pie photos by eryc perez de tagle

Him:  Hey, out of curiosity, I read a little of your blog, and I’d like to know how everyone BUT you can be a jerk when you end up saying some pretty inconsiderate things.  Yea, I know, the world has a few assholes in it, but why spread the bitterness, and then publicly post these conversations as if to reassure yourself that your side of the experience was the good side.  All I’m saying, is if you wanted a normal, safe place to live, where people behave accordingly, you shouldn’t have come to Brooklyn, or NYC for that matter.

Me:  I don’t think that everyone but me is a Jerk.  I don’t think I’m too inconsiderate, too often, but then again I think I’m being funny all the damn time.

You really think I’m spreading bitterness?  That’s interesting.  Most people contact me with the opposite reaction to my posts.  I’m not trying to reassure myself that I’m on the good side of anything – I’m just using my blog as an outlet to process jarring, awkward, or cringe-worthy things that happen to me, sometimes.

I guess it’s great that you’ve contacted me with your feedback?  Thanks?  Certainly I’m glad to know I’ve struck a chord with you, and that even if your reaction to my writing is negative – it’s resonating somewhere inside you.

Feel that?  It’s me.  Resonating.  Deep inside you.

But hey – are you really trying to imply that I should get out of New York if I don’t like this type of treatment?

Did you contact me just to tell me you don’t like me?  Interesting choice.

In any case, thanks for reading.

Jerk.

TuesDATE: The Closet

photos by eryc perez de tagle

Him:  Thanks for meeting up with me.  It’s good to see you again.

Me:  Yeah.  How’s Chicago?

Him:  Eh.  Chicago is small.  It kind of holds you down.  It’s stifling sometimes.

Me:  I hear you.  Hey, sorry about the email.  I meant to email you back and I had a busy week.

Him:  Yeah, I was wondering.  You probably get a lot of email, though.

Me:  I do.  And sometimes I’m having a busy week, and they pile up, and some of them are really long and detailed questions about relationships.

Him:  That must…  Does that ever feel heavy?

Me:  Ha…  Nah…  It’s uh…  it’s fine….

(pause)

Yes.  It feels extremely heavy, sometimes.  There’s a guy I correspond with sometimes who lost his lover last year in a car accident.   He’s paralyzed with survivor’s guilt and he’s trying to find a way to mourn his boyfriend.  He’s having an awful time and sometimes I don’t know what to say to him.

Him:  Yeah.  That seems pretty difficult.

Me:  How are you feeling?

Him:  Yeah, I dunno.  I feel strange.  I’ve been in my situation for so long, that I don’t know what to do about it.

Me:  I take it you’re still in the closet.

Him:  My friends and family don’t know that I’m Gay.  I don’t want them thinking of me that way.

Me:  What do you mean?

Him:  Well, I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m Black.  So that’s always been a thing with me.  I feel like I want to be known for someone who’s me, and not someone who’s Black, and now if I come out of the closet people will look at me and see a Black person and a Gay person, and I just want to be known just for being me.

Me:  I understand that.  But don’t you think you’re making the world better by coming out?

Him:  How so?  I don’t get why I have to run around saying I’m Gay all the time.  Straight people don’t have to do that.

Me: But they do, in a way, don’t they?  Doesn’t every movie or tv show feature Straight love interests and such?  Isn’t proclaiming your heterosexuality kind of ubiquitous?

Him:  I guess so.  I just don’t want people to think different of me.

Me:  They won’t.  Or, if they do, it will only be for an adjustment period.  Sooner or later they’ll realize you’re just the same person you were before.  I think if we live our lives openly we give Straight people the opportunity to digest our sex lives as normal.

Him:  I dunno…

Me:  Well, it’s certainly a load off your shoulders, when you come out.  It feels like a heavy weight is lifted off you, and you don’t have to pretend anymore.

Him:  I’ve heard people say that.  There’s a guy at my office that I have a crush on.  I kept asking him to coffee, and I’m pretty sure that he can’t tell if it’s social or work related coffee.  I thought about that for weeks, before I asked him to coffee.  I planned it out forever.

Me:  See?  If you were out, you could just ask him out, and not worry about it for weeks.  I mean, you’d still worry about it for weeks anyway, but not for the same reasons…  Hey.  What if he’s Gay, and he likes you back?

Him:  What?

Me:  If he’s Gay and likes you back, what will you do?  Won’t he want to go places with you as your boyfriend, eventually?

Him:  But then it would be okay.  If I had a super hot boyfriend it would be okay that everyone knew I was Gay.  Or if I made a lot of money.  Then it wouldn’t matter, either.

Me:  Is that how it works?

Him:  That’s how it works.  Do you want another drink?

Me:  No.  I have an early day tomorrow.  But thanks for getting in touch with me.

Him:  Thanks for meeting with me.  It makes me feel better to talk to you.  I think you’re great.

Me:  I think you’re great too.  Can I have a hug?

(we hug for a long time)

Me:  Take care of yourself?

Him:  Of course.  Always.  But who takes care of you?

(pause)

Me:  I do.

(pause.  we hug again for a long time)

Him:  Okay, bye. 

(I turn to leave.  I start walking away.)

Him: Jerk.

(a smile spreads across my face)

ThursDATE: Sup Bro?

Lex Millena

Him:  Sup?

Me:  Ha.  I ate earlier.  I don’t usually eat this late.

Him:  What?

Me:  Nothing.

Him:  You ate earlier?

Me:  Yeah.  You said ‘Sup.’

Him:  Yeah.  Like ‘Sup, bro?’

Me:  Right.  Like in a locker room.  Ha.  Sup bro?

Him:  Not much Bro, just chillin’.

Me:  Okay.  Me too.  Chillin’ up in Mc Carren park with a man I met on Grindr at midnight on a Thursday.

Him:  Heh.  Yeah, you like to Grindr it up?

Me:  I do.  I like social media.

Him:  Feel like grinding down on something?

(pause)

Me:  My name is Michael.

(pause)

Me:  And your name is…

Him:  Paul.

Me:  Hello Paul.  How was your night?

Him:  Pretty chill bro.  This weather’s got me antsy though.

Me:  Heh.  Yeah.

Him:  Been horned up all day.

Me:  Okay.  I get that. I hear that.

(pause)

Me:  You’re a good looking guy…

Him:  Yeah?

Me:  Yeah.  What do you do for a living?

Him:  Subway.

Me:  You work for the MTA?

Him:  Subway sandwich shop.

Me:  Your Grindr profile says you’re 32.

Him:  That’s right.

Me:  Are you a manager…  Or?

Him:  Nope.

Me:  Any hobbies?

Him:  X box.  Is weed a hobby?

Me:  I think it qualifies, why not?

Him:  You bottom?

Me:  What?  Seriously?

Him:  Is that wrong to ask?

Me:  No.  I’m fine with the question.  It’s just.  This conversation.  It’s jumping around.  Do you like working at Subway?  I love the chipoltle mayo.

(Pause.  He rests his hands on his thighs.  He glances from my eyes to his crotch and back to my eyes.)

Me:  (snort laughter)

Him: What??

Me:  Nothing.  You’re really pouring it on.

Him:  Come on bro, I asked you too meet me in the park, late at night.  You think I want to talk about sandwiches?

Me:  No.  I’m awkward.  It’s my fault.  Sorry.

Him:  You bottom?

Me:  Yeah.  Sure.  I’m versatile.  I top and bottom.  Do you?

Him:  Top only.

Me:  Ugh.  I hate that.

Him:  Why?  You like to bottom.

Me:  I know, but the way you said it.  ‘Top only.’

Him:  I only top. 

Me:  I know, but that’s annoying.  Do you suck dick, at least?

Him:  I don’t like it.

Me:  Ugh.  Yeah.  That bothers me.

Him:  Even for a midnight hook up in the park?

Me:  I dunno.  This could have been a date.   I’m not Victorian.  I can have a hook up.  NOT in the park, but presumably we both live near here.

Him:  I live with my cousin.

Me:  Sure you do.  Well I live alone, near here.

Him:  Let’s go. 

Me:  I dunno.  You’re really hot and all, but I don’t like this whole ‘top only’ idea.

Him:  Why?  What does it matter?

Me:  I don’t know.  Gets under my skin, how you said it.  There was an underlying sense of pride, superiority even.

Him: (shrug)

Me:  Plus, it’s pretty obvious you don’t want to make polite conversation for like 15 minutes before we make out and see if there’s chemistry or whatever.

Him:  I’m on Grindr because I like to fuck.  Don’t be a pussy.

Me:  Yeah.  We’re not on the same wavelength, I don’t think.  I get it.  I used to be like that too.  Just wanted to hook up or whatever, but as I get older it’s more about connection of some sort.  Even if I was on vacation in Europe or something.  I’d still want some sort of connection.  Thanks for meeting up with me.

Oh my god.  Put your dick away, Paul.

(pause)

Put.  It. Away. Moron.

I’m serious.

Him:  Do you like it?  It’s big.

Me:  It’s pretty sizable, I’ll give you that.

Him:  Do you want to touch it?

Me:  Yes, but I’m leaving.

Him:  Why?  Why not stay?

Me:  Because.  Somebody has got to stop rewarding your terrible behavior/attitude.  Besides, WE ARE OUTDOORS.  Put that thing away.

(He puts it away)

Jesus.  What an idiot. You could have gotten a ticket.  There are people over there.

Him:  Part of you thought it was hot.

Me:  It was shocking and a little hot, and terrifying.  But I’m not going to give you head and let you bone me and not get anything out of it.

Him:  What do you want?

Me:  Reciprocation.

Him:  Nah.  I don’t do that.  Not into it.

Me:  A sandwich?

Him:  I don’t have keys to the store.

Me:  Then I gotta bounce.  Thanks for the date.

Me:  Jerk.

FriDATE: One of a Kind

photos by roger wingfield

Him:  So this is Brooklyn.

Me:  That’s right.  Oldest borough. You look cute.

Him:  Thanks.  Oldest borough?  You mean Manhattan, right?

Me: I’m pretty sure Brooklyn is older than Manhattan.

Him:  That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: Um…   (short pause)  You have really nice hair.

Him:  I ought to.  I spent like 120 dollars at Kiehl’s the other day.  I hate when I do that.  That store is so easy to go crazy in there.  I went in there for eye cream and 120 dollars later, right?

Me:  Right.  I feel that way about my deli.  I go in there for Kim chi, and I wind up buying Kim chi and watermelon like a Rockefeller.

Him:  What do you use for eye cream?  Who’s a Rockefeller?

Me:  They’re like Donald Trump.  Pretend I said Donald Trump.

Him:  What about the eye cream?

Me:  Lotion.

Him:  What??

Me:  I use hand lotion.  Cetaphil, to be exact. They make a face lotion but I just use the hand and body lotion on my face too.  Why not?

Him:  Ew.  Doesn’t that clog your pores and dry out your skin?

Me: Nope.

Him:  I don’t believe you.

Me:  You shouldn’t.  I lie to people just for the sheer pleasure of it.  I like to see the moment of shocked betrayal when they find out I’ve been playing them for a fool.

Him:  Oh my god, do you?

Me:  No. That was a joke.

Him:  I don’t get it.

Me:  It wasn’t a good joke, is why.

Him:  Why did you tell it?

Me:  I had to try it out, to see.

Him:  Is that what your life is like?  Failure?

Me:  Um.  What?

Him:  I don’t mean it like that.  Wow.  That sounded bad – don’t blog about that.

Me:  I will, don’t worry.  That color looks good on you.  Really brings out your eyes.

Him: This is a one-of-a-kind garment.  The designer only made three of these.

Me:  So, it’s more like a one-of-three-kinds garment.

Him:  Um.  What?

Me:  You said the designer made three of them, so by logic, it can’t be one-of-a-kind.

(pause)

Him: It’s unique.

Me:  I’m sure you’re right.  The other two were probably lost in  a house fire, or the Holocaust, or got sucked into a temporal worm hole.

Him:  This shirt was 400 dollars, on sale.

Me:  Jesus.  That’s how much my guitar cost!

Him:  Really?

Me:  No, my guitar was a hundred bucks.  BUT.  That’s how much four of my guitars cost.  But you’d never be able to buy more than one of my guitar because it’s one-of-a-kind.

Him:  Is it?

Me:  Yes.  The manufacturer only made thousands.

Him:  Oh.  I get it.  You’re being a dick.

Me:  I’m being a dick.  You move really gracefully.

Him:  Really?  Thanks.

Me:  You’re welcome.

Him:  All these hipster types around here.  Ugh.  Makes me nervous.

Me:  Does it?  Why, I wonder?  It’s just a sub-culture, like hip hop, or redneck, or ivy league.  It’s just a small subset of a larger culture.

Him:  First of all – why do they want to stick out?  I just want to blend in and be accepted.  Second of all, if you look at them, they all have the same style which doesn’t make them unique at all.  There’s a conformity to the non-conformity.  It all looks the same to me.  I don’t get it.

Me:  Well…  I don’t get hip hop culture.  But it’s a counterculture to the mainstream, right?  But on the other hand, it doesn’t bother me that other people participate in it.  I just don’t get it.

Him:  Shhh.  Don’t say that.

Me:  What??

Him: You shouldn’t say that you don’t ‘get’ hip hop culture in public.

Me:  Why?

Him:  That’s racist!

Me:  Are you being ironic?

Him:  What’s irony?

(pause)

Me:  Me saying that I don’t keep up with hip hop isn’t racist, darling.  It’s the same as someone saying that they don’t like bluegrass music or the culture surrounding it.  I will admit to being ignorant about hip hop, though.  I don’t follow a lot of it.

Him:  See.  You shouldn’t be ignorant.

Me:  That’s a reductive statement.  Everyone is ignorant about a whole shit ton of stuff.  Most people are ignorant of the nuances of expert level Scrabble play, for instance.  But, you don’t see Scrabble players getting offended by that ignorance.

Him:  What?  Scrabble?  Do you like my shoes?

Me:  Yes.

Him:  They’re vintage Kenneth Cole.  They cost a lot of money.

Me:  Mine too.

Him:  Who are your shoes?

Me:  Who?  Oh.  You mean who designed them?

Him:  Yes.

Me:  They are from K-Mart.  I got them for free.  They were a costume in a play.

Him: Ew.  You’re an actor?

Me:  Yes.  I mention on the blog that I act and do comedy.

Him:  I only watch the videos.  I don’t like reading.  I like the pictures.  This might not work.  I don’t know about dating an actor.

Me:  Tell me about it.  I dated one. What do you do?

Him:  I work in the accounting section of a popular women’s fashion magazine.

Me:  Which one?

Him:  I prefer not to say.

Me:  Is it a fashion magazine for lady CIA agents?

Him:  No.  I just prefer not to say.

Me:  Okay.

Him:  I know it’s okay.  It’s my prerogative whether I tell you exactly where I work or not.

Me:  Know what?  It’s getting late.  I have to be up early.  Let me walk you to the train.

(long pause)

Him:  No.  I’ll take a car.

Me:  What?  It’s six blocks.

Him:  I’ll take a car.

Me:  I’ll call you one.  Jerk.

Him:  What did you say?

Me:  I said you’re one-of-a-kind.

Dearest Jerk, S.O.S.

photos by eryc perez de tagle

Michael,

Let me get it off my chest. I’m a huge fan. And I envy you everything.
Call me Mehdi (or whatever is easy to you); I’m 19 and gay. Found out your blog months ago and been a huge fan ever since. There’s something about it that just calms me. I find in it the laughter I need, the friend I never had. See, I live in a Muslim country. I’m not allowed to say any gay-related word. Not even think about it. This has been exhausting to me over the years, not being able to be who I am. Who I wanna be. So I find comfort online, and in your blog. So please don’t stop it. 
So now that I’m done with the my-life-is-miserable part, I’m actually writing to ask you for advice. 
There’s this guy in my class (I’m in 1st year of medical university) and he is totally…what’s the word? I can feel him. Deeply. Whenever my eyes cross his, I get this feeling in my stomach. It’s terrible and addictive at the same time. (I’m sorry for writing such a long mail, I have so much on my mind and you’re the only one I can talk to about this)
He’s cute, HOT, and straight. At least I think so. I’m 19 and I’ve never met a gay boy. Ever. At least not one who was open about it and proud of it. I myself tried to hide it, but since I got into college, I’m more myself then ever. I decided to say fuck all the others. If they hate me for being gay, then they’ll hate. Nothing I can do about it. So yeah. Back to the guy. I really want to ask him, but I’m afraid. What if he’s straight? What if he’s homophobic? Even worse, what if he’s gay and is too scared to admit it? What if he’s gay and is homophobic? oh god. I don’t want to lose him. (Not that he’s mine, but you see).  Okay now I sound like a horny twink that’ll jump on the first thing that crosses his way! Dear god. I’m not like that. 
I’m not. 
I hope you answer me, but I’d understand if you don’t. Just writing about this is making me feel better. (Sorry again for the length) (and sorry for the grammar mistakes) 

PS : There’s this girl that’s constantly flirting with him, and he doesn’t seem to notice it. (Hence why I think he’s str8. Only us gays can see when a girl is trying so hard) Can I just kill her? 
Love you Jerk, xx
Mehdi,
Aw.  You’re such a sweet jerk for writing that letter!  You really made my day.
Well, sort of.  Hearing all the nice things you said made my day.  Hearing about your struggle with homophobia in a hostile environment did not make my day.  I hate to think of sensitive, wonderful, empathetic guys like you suffering in a bigoted society.  I hope someday you can make your way to a more open, accepting part of the world (just not Jamaica – trust me, you don’t want to go there).
So, if you’re having deep ‘feeling’ type moments with this guy, maybe he ‘feels’ you too?  There’s a reason he’s ignoring the flirting girl and making prolonged eye contact with you all day.  Ask him to lunch, or to grab some tea.  It could be that he’s Gay and that he wants to have an affair with you, or just confide in a Gay friend.  It could be that he’s an empathetic straight man who wants to befriend you because he likes you.  It could also be that he’s a royal jerk, who is just noticing you stare at him in class.  But Mehdi, you’ll never know unless you try to become friends with him.  Just put the friendship first, and let whatever develops happen naturally.
And if he winds up being a homophobic jerk? Well, you can stop loving him immediately.  We don’t waste our time with homophobic jerks, right?
As far as the girl is concerned –  be nice to her.  It’s my understanding that Muslim society is frequently oppressive toward women, too.   Let’s consider her a kindred spirit in an oppressive society, and have some mutual respect.  If she winds up being a homophobic jerk, then that’s her problem.
Please don’t kill her.  You think being Gay in a Muslim country is hard?  Try being Gay and incarcerated in a Muslim country.  Not.  Good.
Hey.  I hope you can sift through my sarcasm and find some decent advice.  You’re a beautiful, kind young man and I was touched by your letter.  I think you owe it to yourself to create a network of people around you that can support you and love you.
Make friends.  See where things go.  Keep your heart open.  But, stay tough too.  I’m proud of you.
Thanks for writing.
Jerk.