An Unlikely Friendship

One of my closest friends (and wise gay mentor) Richie warned me, “Vic, whatever happens, don’t fall in love with that straight guy.”

It’s not hard to fall for him. While ‘decent’ is hardly the best adjective to describe him – our iMessage conversations are littered with him referencing his junk countless times – in the short span of our friendship, he has proven himself to be one of few people I know who is virtuous to his core. He is, simply put, of high moral character.

The genesis of our #bromance had a very unlikely beginning. He didn’t even cause a blip in my radar until some of the young creatives I work with for TEAM Mag insisted that we feature him for a profile I was doing on my dragonboat team. “Really, you all think he is hot? Him?!? I don’t see it but whatever,” I said. I interviewed him for my piece and concluded that he was “a nice enough guy.”

Our first real conversation did not happen until a few months after. It was during my first race and both of us were warding off boredom while seeking shelter from the noontime sun underneath a stage. Our discussion topic? Judging who among our teammates were gay. (It was a long list.) And soon thereafter, the shallow exchanges became deeper dialogues that revealed more layers of our personality. And that was when I discovered that this guy – this straight guy who I dismissed as “not hot” was truly something else.

It’s easy to see that he is funny. But I don’t think many people know how truly hilarious he is. He is the one of the few people who doesn’t bore me even after hours of conversation on iMessage because I would just be guffawing all the time. (The way he would say the word ‘sad’ to mock people always gets me cracking.) We both have the same juvenile sense of humor and self-deprecation. However, a guy who is solely funny doesn’t impress me much.

As I have (relatively) matured over the years, my criteria for impressive men has changed. At the end of the day, what I have learned to seek in people I want to associate with is goodness. Countless times, he has proven to me that he is filled to overflowing.

A concrete example was during my birthday this year. Knowing that I was having a shitty time because of a boy, he has shown himself to be a man – offering to take me out for a birthday breakfast so I can blow off some steam and not completely ruin my day, and, unbeknownst to me, talked some sense to the boy who caused me some unwelcome birthday blues. At my party, he acted as a semi co-host making sure that people were having a great time. (They were. I have never thrown a flop party. But I appreciated the help.) Towards the end of the night, when alcohol took the better of me and engaged in some gay drama about not having a Plus One for my best friend’s wedding, he (without batting an eyelash) automatically volunteered, “Vic, I will be your Plus One.”

The depth of any friendship is not measured by time. It’s with the amount of trust, honesty and genuine concern both parties are willing to invest that deepens it. I may have been friends with him for a little close to a year, but at present, he and his lovely girlfriend (who is herself a genuinely good person – but I don’t write about girls) are two people I consider as very dear friends, as some of my favorite people.

He and I have had conversations – about music, about relationships, about family, about our dreams and fears – as we drove around the city in his reliable pickup truck, as we shared meals both pedestrian and expensive and as we guzzled countless liters of alcohol. I have learned that he is quite the shy person; he has learned that I am actually surprisingly kind (his words not mine.) I have learned of his deep love and admiration for his older brother; he has learned of mine. I have learned of his “number” – it’s respectable. He has learned of mine. (“Putangina, bilib ako sa yo, Vic. Ang dami nun.”) We both learned that men our age are not immune to the silliness that is Snapchat.

In this day and age when I have been encountering thirtysomething boys who irritate the shit out of me, it is refreshing to be friends – close friends – with someone whose language and sense of humor would not warrant him to be described as a decent gentleman, but who is ostensibly and undeniably a good man.

I have always listened to one of my closest friends (and wise gay mentor) Richie whenever he dispenses nuggets of learning. So no, I have not fallen in love with the straight guy, but it doesn’t mean that I love the guy any less.

© 2017 Victor John Platon
All Rights Reserved.

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