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Friends With

Friends With


What's a little make-believe romance between acquaintances?

"That's him," Matty says through gritted teeth. "He's right behind you." Without hesitating, I seize Matty's torso, push him against the bathroom wall, and shove my tongue into his mouth. Matty melts into the kiss. I grind my crotch into his, and he moans. Moments later, the bathroom door slams behind us.

I met Matty three weeks before at the same Toronto nightclub we're in tonight. He's a sexy 20-something with the metabolism of a piranha and the enthusiasm to match. It was your typical boy-meets-boy-for-the-night story -- eyes lock on the dance floor, bodies gravitate toward each other, and the next thing you know it's morning and you're looking for your socks on someone else's bedroom floor.

We met for dinner a few nights later -- not so typical -- and both of us made a point of stressing that we weren't looking for anything but friendship. He said he had just gotten out of a four-year relationship with an abusive, cheating boyfriend, and I was the first person he'd "met" since. I was only in town for a few months shooting a TV show, so anything more than friendship would be complicated -- particularly with someone, ahem, 10 years younger than me.

Our acquaintance has many perks. Looking at Matty is as addictive as his energy. And every 10 minutes he tells me how hot he thinks I am, which is exactly the ego boost I need to offset nine years in Los Angeles, where I feel like a complete turd. When he introduces me to his circle of friends, I'm given a hero's welcome because Matty finally has a distraction from Jerry, the evil ex-boyfriend. These friends carried Matty through the years it took him to finally walk out, and they continue to stand by him as he pretends not to notice Jerry's parade of new flings.

Three weeks later, on our way to the nightclub, Matty gets a text message: "Jerry's here talkin' shit about u. :(" Apparently the ex heard Matty was hanging out with someone new and is shocked. Jerry was certain his ex would come crawling back.

Matty's eyes widen. He turns to me and says anxiously, "Will you do me a huge favor?"

"I'm not punching anyone."

"You have to pretend to be my boyfriend." He grabs my arm. "You'll be the hottest guy there. It would drive him crazy. Please?"

How could anyone with a heart and testicles say no to that? It was all the twink drama that I never had in my 20s. I'd watched juvenile scenes like this play out in clubs and told myself that the players were silly half-wits who weren't seeing the big picture. In truth, I wanted more than anything to be part of it.

"Sure. It'll be fun."

"Thank you! You are so-o-o awesome! I'm gonna have the sickest guy in the club and Jerry is so crazy jealous. His skin is gonna crawl!" Matty's eyes well up -- clearly this is cathartic. "You are so cool," he whispers.

I suddenly feel benevolent. It's strange how lying to hurt someone else's feelings can somehow be a good deed.

The charade feels awkward at first, but I manage to let that go. I don't know anyone in this town; who cares if they think I'm his boyfriend? I'm gone in a few months, and it's making us both feel like a million bucks. We smile and make out -- one of those really slutty make-outs -- in the middle of the dance floor.

I never get a good look at Jerry, but from what I can tell he's blond and chiseled with a 90-pack. Nothing like me. I do catch a glimpse of his bitter scowl as Matty slips his hand down the front of my pants. I love being used.

During a bathroom break Jerry steps up to the urinal next to me. I don't recognize him. From the corner of my eye I just see a cute guy checking me out while I try to pee. So I just do what I normally do in this situation. I squeeze like hell to make the strongest stream of urine possible, as though this will somehow impress him.

When I leave to wash my hands, I find Matty by the sink. He points out Jerry, and our bathroom make-out session begins. Apparently it's enough to send Jerry out of the club entirely. We don't see him again for the rest of the night.

But we don't stop pretending. We make out every chance we get. Against the wall. Against the bar. On the dance floor. Our groins are attached until closing time.

"What happened to Jerry?" I ask.

"He left hours ago. He was so pissed off," Matty says. "Thank you. That was the best night of my life!"

Silent alarms go off in both of us. We release hands.

"It was a lot of fun." I smile. "I should get to bed."

"Me too. I have yoga -- in a couple hours."

As we kiss one last time on the street corner and go our separate ways, I can't help but feel the real charade is Matty and me telling ourselves the whole thing is just an act. I catch him glancing back at me as he walks off into the sunrise, and a smile creeps across my face. I think I might be ready to handle Los Angeles again.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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