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How do you tell a boy you like him?

November 30, 2015

One time in elementary school, at the ripe age of 7 or 8, my girlfriend said she liked someone else. I didn’t really care about her, though, because I had a crush on the boy she wanted to leave me for. I never told him I liked him because, in my 7 or 8 years, I hadn’t learned how to tell a boy I liked him. The only control I had in my life was whether I actually napped or not during nap time. Any other situation, such as forbidden gay love, fell right through my fingers.

Christian Forte

The first time I worked up the courage to tell a boy my feelings for him was old school: Yahoo! Mail. We were in 8th grade. He was one of my closest friends and straight. One night we went to see the new “Twilight” movie, but it was just as friends. All I could think about while writing the email professing what felt like love was his red cheeks when he came to get me for the movie. Email, as it turned out, wasn’t a successful conduit for the feelings of a hormonal gay 13-year-old who liked a straight boy. Writing the email gave a false sense of confidence — I could write everything I wanted to say and look it over a million times. Hitting send, however, was like getting hit with a brick. After I sent those few words into cyberspace, I couldn’t stop them.

The email was sent, but to no avail because straight boys, especially those in 8th grade, generally do not go for their gay best friend. So I recoiled back into my head and refrained from ever sharing the dreaded emotions that compelled me to write that first email again. Maybe the best way to explain my feelings wasn’t from behind a computer screen. It was okay, I told myself — I’m learning.

The next time I told a boy I liked him was in high school. He was a curly, long-haired hockey player who smoked too much weed. My life in this moment seemed to be taken straight out of the screenplay for a “Degrassi” episode. We had dates during lunch period and saw “Wreck-It Ralph” together. We texted each other about our reciprocated feelings. But a week later, we stopped seeing each other.

The digital revolution had failed me. If not through email or text messaging, maybe feelings were better expressed in person, I thought.

I wanted to tell a guy I lived with freshman year of college that I liked him a lot, like a lot a lot. After I drunkenly initiated a lackluster kiss, someone opened the door to the suite and we immediately jumped back from each other. There was no magical spark or fire that started. We just live our lives now as if it never happened. Four Loko is no one’s friend.

Since then, there have been some successes and failures, but mostly failures. Most recently, I shared my feelings in a more intimate setting: on my bed after a “Parks and Recreation” mini-marathon. It was the first of two occasions that ended with me wanting to be in a relationship and him wanting to be noncommittal friends with benefits.

Now I can’t help but feel defeated. I first thought having control over a keyboard or a home-field advantage would give me control of the real-life situation. Then I realized the constant search for control, a product of my ambitious personality, could be the main culprit — the biggest cockblock — in my unfulfilling love life.

And so I offer this advice. If your romantic life consists of relationships defined by awkward drunk kisses or flat-out rejections, try to stand back from the situation and let yourself be vulnerable — give up control. I’m not sure if it’s going to work but, next time I tell a boy I like him, I’m going to give it a try.

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