Guys I Wanted To Fuck in High School is a series of short essays about growing up frustrated in small-town Pennsylvania.
#1 – Gym Class
I don’t know if this is normal, but in the early mornings before I left for school, I would actually get down on my knees and pray to God for the whole gym class to fuck me. Even the teacher. Especially the teacher.
There were two gym teachers at my high school – one was kindhearted and gullible and taught sex ed. The other – Mr. Wolfe, my gym teacher – was masculine and always angry. He was perfectly built and yelled at us like we were his soldiers. He would do walking handstands in front of us, and his arms tensed to show off the thick cords of tendon; his shirt would drift toward his head and I could see his belly, flat, punctuated with muscle, hairy. He had a beat-up face. When we played dodgeball, the losing team had to rush to the locker room door one by one, a door that was lined on either side by the winners, who pelted you with the mottled pink balls. He made us run til we puked. He called us “pussies” and told us no girls would want to smell our stinking bodies after class, so we’d better take showers.
No one took showers. The big open shower room, dry, unused, didn’t even show up in my fantasies. Instead my thoughts would all center around the locker room itself.
I could see their balls in the spaces between their underwear and their thighs. Their dickheads would push aside the front opening of their boxers. They’d daringly moon each other. One of them, Brian, pulled his waistband below his ass and strutted around. He was making a joke, but I missed it. It couldn’t have been more serious to me. Every week, twice a week, I was surrounded by half naked boys. Dave, Sean, Jamie, Brian, Marco, Ethan, Brad. Their dicks would sway in their underwear as they undressed. Our skin was smooth, although most of us had armpit hair and leg hair, and some with hair just below our belly buttons.
Amazingly, I never got hard. It wasn’t that I could control it: I’d get hard in the halls, on field trips, in classes; I was constantly getting erections. There was no control, just mysterious mercy that kept me from getting caught.
Not that it mattered. Eventually, I was being called “faggot” anyway.
A high school gym isn’t like a gym you work out in as an adult. It’s only a big open space with a wooden shine where everyone can see you. We’d bring out nets and play volleyball, bring out mats and wrestle, follow Mr. Wolfe with equipment to the baseball field. Or we’d run to the big hill next to the track and play flag football. No one had ever taught me how to play football – my Syrian father didn’t know anything about American sports except boxing – and so my teacher and teammates were invariably disappointed in me. I couldn’t catch footballs or hit baseballs. Being picked last became a badge of honor. We’d bring out the horse and bars do gymnastics, and I was better at that than most kids. I have strong legs. They didn’t save me.
Until I was a senior, I was taunted and teased. Sometimes I was pushed into lockers. Once I was punched in the stomach.
I wore shirts with the names of bands – The Jesus Lizard, The Cows, Seaweed – that no one had ever heard of. I was constantly questioning the teachers, showing off some sort of angry iconoclasm. None of these things fit, so I was “gay” to them. The other kids knew I was off before I did. I knew I was attracted to men, but I wouldn’t have ever identified as gay, and was especially reluctant to when I found out that identity was nothing but an insult.
Dave kicked the bottom of my shoes as I walked, making me trip forward. Ethan pushed me as I ascended the stairs. Jamie grabbed me by the neck. Sean called me a faggot. It felt like everyone was calling me a faggot, even the girls.
When I became 17 it suddenly stopped. Maybe that was because I became friends with some of the more popular kids, or because the main instigators – one class above me – had graduated.
I thought (like most kids?) about blowing up the school. I thought about picking up my fork and going absolutely apeshit and stabbing the eyes out of my persecutors at lunch. I thought of ways to ruin their lives and cripple them. I didn’t create that violence, it was brought to me, pushed and shouted and taunted into me each day.
I hated going to school, except for gym days. And I hated gym class, but I wanted it anyway. My feelings were competing in me, and I wanted to stop competing. What were we always competing for, anyway?
Instead of killing them, I’d take my lunch and sneak upstairs everyday to the empty media lab, full of TVs and cameras. I jerked off in there and ate my lunch alone. As long as I had that time to myself, as long as I could think about them fucking me, I could keep all of us safe.
On the wooden benches, by the lockers, I’d imagine them taking turns, sliding their underwear down to their ankles, their asses were all smooth, their bodies were all young, and they were fucking my mouth and my ass. I’d think of them talking to each other over me, while they were inside me, almost as if I weren’t there. I wanted to be what made them feel good, I wanted them to meet in me. And I’d be invisible. If they were in me together, maybe I could experience their comradery. At the end, I’d see myself appear again and they’d pat me on the back and tell me I did well. I’d imagine one or more of them putting their arms around me in school the next day. I’d jerk off to them being my friends.
Dave, a year ahead of me, the most relentless of the bullies, once said to me during gym class, “You sexy bitch.” No one else was around, and to this day, I don’t understand why he said it. I wrote in my confused and urgent journal that night that he must have secretly loved me. We were reading A Separate Peace in English class, and I was consumed with thoughts of loving and hating someone at the same time. But he didn’t love me or hate me; I bumped into him at a Borders a few years after my graduation and he didn’t even recognize me. All that meaning, all those times I hated him or jerked off to him, all the times I thought about stabbing him in the throat with a fork, and I was nobody. He walked by with his pregnant wife and looked at me the way you’d look past someone you’ve never met and aren’t interested in. He had long hair but was still handsome.
Is this why so many men identify with and long for the men who dominate us? Sex was reaching its unbearable teenage fever in me at the same time that I was being pushed into walls, torn away from my backpack, berated.
In his office connected to the locker room, Mr. Wolfe had a separate shower. I imagined that little shower was for him and for his special students. I didn’t know what that meant, “special students,” I just thought the most athletic kids got to shower in there for some reason.
And when I wasn’t imagining getting gangbanged by my classmates, I’d be in Mr. Wolfe’s shower with him. He’d turn on the water and fuck me. I’d always envision him holding onto me, so that we were both standing, bent over, and his hard, hairy chest was on my smooth back, and his legs were touching my legs. His dick was huge and painful and all the way in me. My head was in the crook of his neck. His arms were wrapped around me.
I imagined all this and I prayed for it. But they never fucked me. I was never a good athlete or called into Mr. Wolfe’s office. They never put their arms around me. And we never became friends.