I wasn’t out my first semester at Christian college. Some of my friends suspected I was gay, but most—especially my dorm brothers—were perfectly happy accepting, and defending, my heterosexuality. “Nah, bro, trust me,” they’d whisper. “He’s one of those English majors. They all dress that way.”
One guy in my dorm, however, didn’t buy it. His name was Jim. Chocolate eyes, flowing hair, scruffy, chiseled jaw line—he looked like a Lebanese soap star. And he played classical guitar. I loved watching the veins in his forearms twitch as his fingers picked a Flamenco riff.
We met in music theory. He came in late, sat in his chair backwards, and made sex eyes at me as our professor lectured about… well, who knows.
One day at the end of class, my professor let me tell everyone about my upcoming mission trip to India, and ask for their prayers and money. Most students gave me a couple coins, and a few even gave me a whole dollar.: Jim handed me a twenty, and then quietly left the classroom.
That night, I thought a thank you was in order. And so, after two hours of primping and rehearsing my casual laughter in the mirror, I unexpectedly found myself knocking at his apartment.
“Jim? It’s Jim, right?” I asked when he opened the door.
“Yeah, Jim.” His hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail, and his happy trail was peeking out just above his low-hanging jeans.
“And you’re Brandon,” he said, and smiled because – it only made sense – he’d been waiting for me to come over all night. Why else would he have donated money to a missionary?
—To disregard the brute fact of anatomical difference is to willingly harden one’s heart against God Himself. As Paul has written, pursuing homosexual desire is the evidence of a depraved mind – a mind that has exchanged the glory of the Creator for the temporary pleasure of the creature.—
“Come in,” he said, as he opened the door all the way. He placed his hand on my shoulder, and guided me inside. “You want a drink? I mean, we only have water. You want water?”
I did that thing where you’re not sure if the hot guy just told a joke, and if he did, it wasn’t even funny, but you’re tossing your head back and laughing anyway because you want him to know you really care about him, and he should totally take another shot.
“Dude, you’re crazy,” he told me. “Laughing like that. It’s really cool.”
“Thanks,” I told him as he placed the glass of water in front of me. “Uh, actually, that’s why I came over…”
“Dude, take off your coat. Where you going?”
I was confused by how he said it, and he could tell.
“You’re crazy, dude,” he repeated, and laughed through a wide smile.
His roommate opened his door and told us to shut up. “I’m trying to sleep, nutsack! Go in your room and close the door!”
Jim apologized for his cranky roommate (“He probably has a test or some other gay thing in the morning”) and told me we’d go into his room and keep talking in there.
—What’s the harm in letting two men marry? Letting two women marry? Why not, then, take it one step further and allow three men to get married? Or a woman and her horse to get married? If we do not draw the line somewhere, then we run the risk of living in a world where nothing is off limits. As it stands, our modern culture is on a collision course with extinction.—
Jim took off his shirt. His torso was perfect. There was just the right amount of hair leading up from his belt buckle, widening out into a patch of fuzz in the center of his muscular chest.
“I gotta hit the gym,” he told me, squeezing his arms together so his pecs bulged.
“Why?” I asked. “It looks like you hit the gym enough.”
“Thanks, dude,” he said, his eyes still fixed on his chest. “But I really want to get stronger.” He looked up at me and said, “I’m hairy, huh?”
“Not too hairy. It’s really… good, um, a good amount of hairiness. I mean…”
This made him scream in laughter. “Dude, you’re so gay. You’re gay, right? I mean, obviously you’re gay.”
I wasn’t sure how to answer. I was gay, but I needed him to think I was straight long enough to give me the chance to seduce him.
“Dude, it’s fine,” he said. “I’m a fucking musician. I don’t care. Listen: I don’t care.”
I still hadn’t said anything.
“Aww, shit, dude,” he moaned.
“What?” I asked, noticing him rubbing his own shoulder.
“My shoulders are killing me,” he said, wincing.
I thought about offering him a massage, but as it turned out, I didn’t have to make the first move.
“Dude, you think could help me out?” Jim asked. “I mean, I’m real sore.”
I told him I thought that would be fine, and he sat down in his desk chair, straddling it like he did in music theory. He took the band from his hair, and shook it free, letting it flow where it wished. He gave one final stretch before resting his head on his forearms.
“I really need this,” he said as I made my way over to him.
—Male and female: this is the sexual standard that God, in his infinite wisdom, has erected. The consequences of abandoning that standard will be legion.—
I came over to Jim’s apartment a few nights a week to help soothe his sore muscles. I usually came by an hour or so before curfew, and left when the RA kicked me out.
One night he asked me if I would help him with his paper for his required English class. I told him I’d do anything he needed.
“Cool cool. Well the paper’s about gay marriage,” he told me, his sound muffled by the pillow on which he was lying.
My hands momentarily stopped prodding.
“I get it,” he said, turning his head to half-look at me. “I mean, look, don’t worry about it. I can – “
“No, it’s fine,” I told him. “I can do it.” And I resumed the massage.
After a few minutes, he asked me if I understood the assignment.
“Yes,” I said. “You want me to write a paper arguing against marriage.”
“I mean, yeah…” he said, and he sounded embarrassed.
He reached behind him his right hand and grabbed my fingers. “Look, it’s just a bullshit paper, and it doesn’t mean anything. And you know how I feel about you. I mean, dude… I am naked right now.”
—Of course, we will not be able to measure the outcome of legalized homosexuality marriage for several generations; but in the meantime, why should we risk the security of Our Great American Empire for the sake of appeasing less than 1- 3% of our population, regardless of how shrill that minority may sound.—
Jim opened the door for me, shirtless and beaming.
“Dude, look!” he yelled, showing me the title page of the paper I’d written for him.
Great work, James! Well-researched and argued Defense of Biblical Marriage. A+.
I felt like Jim was too grateful. I only spent about fifteen minutes on it, shamelessly cribbing from the textbook from one of my mandatory freshman General Education clases – you know, classes that taught me how to shame atheists in just eleven words.
“How can I ever repay you, Brandon?” he asked me.
“Well…” I started, but was cut short by the kiss that –
Well, okay. That’s not exactly what happened, although it may or may not appear that way in my diary.
In actual fact, Jim did get a good grade, but he was not as grateful as I hoped he’d be. He just told me thanks, and then let me give him another massage, during which I affected to be a bit more hand-drunk than previous times. We never talked about it except for the next day when I came over to massage him again, and he said, “Dude, no ball stuff.”
—And so I end this paper with the conclusion with which I began: that the only natural, moral, and God-intended expression of the sexual union is within the marriage covenant between one man and one woman. But I should hardly need to convince you, reader, of this brute fact – why, even barnyard animals know it to be True.—
Brandon Ambrosino identifies as a post-evangelical, orthodox, gay Christian. He studied Literature and Philosophy at Liberty University. Brandon is currently a member of Actors’ Equity Association and wanders around the U.S. dancing and writing. He has written for The Atlantic, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and Relevant.
[Image by Sam Woolley]