He may be from the middle of freakin’ nowhere, but he’s not an idiot. At least, he’s not an idiot with some things. When it comes to how to act in the city, he’s borderline retarded. It took me three months to make him aware of the fact that having an out-loud conversation about certain stereotypes can be a problem WHEN THE STEREOTYPES ARE ALL AROUND YOU. I tried explaining this to him, but before he moved to the city, he’d seen about three black people. “But they know they’re stereotypes, right?” I remember him saying, “Shouldn’t they be okay with that?”
Like I said, borderline retarded. But then… there’s the whole Pierce incident.
Pierce was a guy I dated for a little under a month. Unlike all the other dicks I’d dated, this guy was really nice. He actually liked to hear me talk, we went out shopping together, he even offered to pay for dinner and said “excuse me” when he burped. On top of that, he was smoking hot and pretty damn talented in the bedroom, let me tell you. Pierce and I were over one night, and Ashley was in the middle of his “deadline zombie” phase. He was nice enough to stop and wave, allowing me to introduce him to the man of my dreams. He said hello, excused himself for being so busy, and went into the kitchen to get what was either breakfast, dinner, or both. I followed him in, feeling about as giddy as a twelve year old at her first dance.
“Hey!” Looking back now, I feel like a complete tool.
“Hey,” he answered, grabbing some Easy Mac and a Sprite.
“Could you sit for a little while? I’d like you to meet Pierce.”
“I know Pierce.”
“I went to school with him,” he said, putting the macaroni in the microwave, “he was in the theatre school, though. Got a few big roles, good actor.”
“Wow, really?” My admiration was growing, “He told me he was in insurance.”
“Not surprising, hardly anyone gets to work in the arts anymore right outta school. What’s that you like to say?”
I smiled.
“It’s shit all over?”
“Yeah,” he pointed at me and grinned, then yawned and furiously rubbed at his eyes.
“Cripes! Sorry, I haven’t slept in a while. Trying to get this damn mascot done.”
“Which one this time?” I asked as I grabbed myself a Sprite and took a drink.
“Wet Willie.”
That bastard. Hope he enjoyed his Sprite-shower.
“What, are you working for a porn shop?”
“No,” he probably would have been on the floor laughing if he’d been more awake, “The city water utility is taking submissions for a new ad campaign. You know, turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth, blah blah blah…”
He took a long pull from the bottle. I was immediately jealous for spitting half of mine all over the kitchen. He heaved a big sigh as he finally let the bottle go. If that’s how he kisses, I’m not surprised his prospects are nil.
“I’ve got about thirteen designs I’m sending in: everything from a Mickey Mouse dewdrop thing to something that can be animated.”
“Well, don’t kill yourself over a wet dream,” I smiled and took a drink, thinking myself quite witty. He gave a heavy, dry chuckle.
“Right… my mattress gets more action than I do.”
“That slut.”
We stood there for a bit before the microwave gave a ding! and the Easy Mac was done. Ashley pulled it out and gave it a stir.
‘Hey,” I tried to take his attention away from the noodles, which he was currently looking on as if it was the revelation of god itself, “Come on, take a break. Come watch the movie with us. Give your Willie a rest.”
That time, he actually snorted. Looks like he was waking up. He agreed to come on in and watch the rest of Hello, Dolly with us. Hey, not my choice, and it was in HIS collection, anyway.
“It’s a good movie,” Ash said with a bit of malaise, digging into his macaroni. Jesus, we watch a lot of movies, don’t we? Anyway, after that and some ice cream (Pierce was a sweetheart and brought over peanut butter fudge), we said goodnight and then it was just me and Wet Willie, who was gently snoring on the couch. I didn’t really mind that Ashley kept me from spending some more time with Pierce. It was actually kinda nice, the guy usually seems so demanding when it comes to sex. So I poked Ashley awake and set about grilling him. Hey, it’s my job as the roommate, isn’t it?
“You were a wonderful host.”
“Oh, come on, I know you’re not that tired.”
“It’s not just tired,” he said, his head lolling back and forth, “I just spent eighteen hours drawing a friendly blob of water, for cripe’s sake. This isn’t what I spent years at college for…”
“You should be happy! You’re actually doing it. I mean, look at Pierce, you said he was in theater and now he’s hawking insurance.”
“Hh,” Ashley grunted, “He’s a liar.”
Now, that got me pissed. Past experience notwithstanding, I like to think I’m a pretty fuckin’ decent judge of character. I mean, that’s my damn job. And I told him that.
“You don’t seem to be able to apply it to your personal life,” he said slowly, couching his words, “Pierce is gay.”
“He is!”
“Fuck you!”
“He was the biggest picnic basket on campus, Will! Everyone knew it! I wasn’t even in the same school and I knew it!”
“Maybe he…changed!” I knew it sounded weak, but things were going so well!
“Will, when he says he likes your dress, he means he wants to try it on.”
“Bull,” I said, sounding way too much like my father, “Besides, we do it. All the time. How can a gay guy get it on with a woman…and I AM a woman, just in case you were wondering!”
“Believe me, I hear the two of you,” he shot back, and his eyes seemed to shake a little, “but tell me… do you ever have the lights on?”

“Do you?”
“…That doesn’t prove anything.”
“And just how do you do it? Who goes where? How does he like to do it?”
“That’s none of your damned business!”
“He’s gay, Will,” Ashley tossed his bowl and spoon into the sink with a clatter, “and he’s lying to you. He’s not working in insurance, he’s probably trying to act his way into your favor so you’ll get him some more work.”
“I’d know if he was gay,” I retorted, “I work with actors every day, you know!”
“And I’m an artist,” he countered, “trust me, I know gay and fake-gay when I see it. Pierce was a flaming queen in college. Just wait. Actors will screw anyone if it will get them the part they want!”
It got really silent then, and we both just stood there, my angry eyes glaring at his bloodshot, tired, but almost pleading ones. He did have nice eyes…when they weren’t shot to hell.
“I think you need to go to bed,” I felt myself turning away from him, even though I didn’t know why, “and I do, too.”
I didn’t talk to him for days, maybe weeks. Within that time, Pierce “expressed a desire” to “return to the stage” and “wanted to know if I knew anyone that could help him.” I asked him right then and there if he was gay. He didn’t even act shocked, only pissed that apparently, his “character” wasn’t good enough. I thought about giving him a black eye to add to his “character,” but everyone sues everyone over everything these days, so I did the savvy thing and blacklisted him instead. The next time I saw him was about three months later, when “Dana Pierce” attempted to get represented at my agency. Apparently he’d gotten his Daddy in insurance to get him a little operation.
Ash was right… he had wanted to wear my dresses. And so, you see the usual process for me. Flypaper for douchebags. Oddly enough, Ashley came to me a few weeks after the original blow-up and apologized profusely, saying it was wrong for him to interfere and he won’t do it again… but he only did it because he was worried for me. He hasn’t said a single thing about any other guy I’ve brought home. Thankfully, none of the other ones have turned out to be gay, but still… sometimes I see him walk through the living room, or see us at a store or something…and I can tell he just wants to say something.
That’s probably what pisses me off the most about him. Some damned kind of… nobility.

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