Dearest Jerk, S.O.S.

photos by eryc perez de tagle


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
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.

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