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Studying the percentages

The younger man said, finally, that he was '95% straight.' So why was he coming on so strong?

January 05, 2013|By Jerome Cleary
(Joseph Daniel Fiedler,…)

I have now become the Ellis Island for bisexuals. I tried to avoid it, but they are drawn to me.

Consider my recent experience at the Laugh Factory on the Sunset Strip:

I go there to hang out with some of the comics and watch the show. It's a very straight club, and I grab a seat in the balcony near my straight comic friend.

I can't help but notice that there's a guy staring at me. He's a looker — and straight. He looks like he could be on "NCIS" or "JAG." He's a friend of my comic friend, I think, so as they clink their beer bottles to toast, I introduce myself.

The looker's name is Evan. He smiles and immediately adopts me as his new best friend. He tells me that when I walked in, all the energy in the club changed for him. That makes two of us.

Evan says I remind him of a friend he has lost touch with. He treats me like his frat brother, repeatedly slapping my back at jokes that he likes. He grabs the back of my neck. As the night continues, Evan sits closer. So close we are almost touching. Then we are touching.

At this point, I look over to my straight comic friend who looks at me, squints his eyes, smiles and says: "Are you going to turn him?" Straight male comics love to say this to me. As if I am the representative from gay town stopping by to recruit.

The night gets more confusing as Evan is even chummier. And I am thinking about how I just came to the Laugh Factory to watch comics tonight and get inspired.

But it's been a while since a young looker has been interested in me. So just for tonight, I am cool and fun because a twentysomething thinks I am cool and fun.

My straight comic friend goes on stage. He is the headliner, the last to perform. During his routine he drinks two large shots and a beer that someone brings to him.

At this point, Evan has his arm sort of around me. We are sitting in the balcony. I look down to the main floor of the packed club, and I see a guy in the audience notice us. Evan sees him as well and removes his arm. And I'm thinking: "Hey, guy down there in the audience: Haven't you ever seen a young-looker-straight-twentysomething-guy put his arm around an older gay guy before?"

The show ends, and Evan and I go down the street to an even straighter bar. (My straight comic friend never shows.) I get beers for the two of us. This is my second, and I drink only half. This is Evan's fifth or sixth drink.

Probably to sober him up, I say: "Evan, you know I am gay."

He replies: "I figured it out."

Then he tells me, again, that I have really great energy and that as soon as I sat down next to him, his whole night changed for the better.

I ask: "Evan, are you straight?" He pauses and scrunches up his face in an Einsteinian, mathematician way. As he pauses, he seems to be calculating and says: "I'm 95% straight." I want to laugh or run, but there is something adorable about his final answer.

Then the evening gets less adorable.

Evan tells me he has a felony conviction for stealing a car and that he is living with his 35-year-old, 8 1/2-month-pregnant girlfriend. He tells me he does not like her. He tells me he is 28. He looks 20.

Last call is announced at the bar, and we move out to the sidewalk. Evan kisses me. (That must be the 5%.)

Then he asks me to drive him home to Burbank. Which is a long way from the Sunset Strip, especially when you are transporting a felon.

I've seen too many bad episodes of "Cops" in which someone is driving home their "new friend" and they get pulled over. I know how it works: Suddenly the cop finds out that the new friend is carrying drugs, is a felon and has violated his parole. Then the new friend and I end up in jail.

So instead of a ride, I give Evan $20 to take a cab. It's the best money I've ever spent.

The next day he calls and says he wants to get together.

"Why?" I ask. "You're 95% straight."

He says he wants to be friends. All I wanted to do was see comics.

Cleary is a comic, writer and blogger in Los Angeles.

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