Toe-tally Confusedby Frank Pittarese
Love your column, man. Read it all the time. You don't hold back, and that's cool. But before you answer my question with you're typical, "Ah, you're a closet case!" response, let me confirm something: I'm straight. Totally straight. Okay?
So here's my problem. I've been good friends with this guy "Andy" for about ten years. He's gay, and I've always known that he was into me. He told me this when we were drunk a long time ago. It's become a running gag. We fake-flirt and tease each other sometimes, and while I’m sure he'd enjoy messing around, it's never happened. That's just not on my agenda.
Back in May, we were hanging out at a bar with a bunch of our friends, just having a few beers after work. As the night wore on, Andy and me were at the end of the bar and got to b.s.ing, and then he got all serious and said he wanted to ask me something. From the way he was acting, I thought he was going to ask if he could blow me. I got a little nervous. Then after some back and forth, he finally got to his point.
What he wants is this: he wants to give me a foot massage. Okay, okay. I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but he went into this whole thing about how he knows I’m straight and he knows we can't have sex, but doing this would really turn him on, and I'd feel good without having to feel like I was doing something gay. Who wouldn't like a foot massage? Yadda, yadda.
Thing is, I would feel like I was doing something gay. Or I might. I don't know. And that's my problem. On the surface, who cares if the guy wants to rub my feet sometime. But what if I like it? Like, really like it. In that way. And I know he'll be getting off on it, if not during, then afterward. Do you see where I'm going with this?
So, QF, what do I do? We're good friends, and I don't want to turn him down, but I'm afraid of what it'll do to my brain. But if I do turn him down, he's gonna feel weird, things will get awkward. He's my buddy. I keep coming back to the heart of it, which is, what's the big deal about a foot massage? I told him I'd think about it, and the subject hasn't come up again. But dude, I'm...
Now, now, TC. What would ever give you the idea that I'd call you a closet case? Straight men can be such big homos sometimes. Just kidding, dude.
This little conundrum of yours sounds simple, but is pretty damn complicated. You managed to cover all the bases in your letter, too. It's just a foot massage, no big deal. It's sexual (for at least one of you). That might be a big deal (for at least one of you). You've got a friendship at stake, right?
But here's where I think you both can come out of this thing satisfied. Andy has been pretty honest about what he wants—even as far back as when he told you he was into you. I'm not sure, though, that in this instance, you've been honest with him.
"I'll think about it," isn't honest. It's a blow-off. Or a procrastination tactic. Did you tell him what your concerns are? It seems to me that if you guys talk it out, you can find some happy medium.
My suggestion is to go for it, but establish some ground rules. No action above the ankle, for starters. He keeps his hands away from your unit, and away from his own. Socks on? Socks off? Would one bug you less than the other, but still be okay with him? Make it clear that sex won't be part of the game plan. But ask the questions, TC, or you're going to turn this into more drama than Andy probably intended.
As far as you getting turned on, I'm sure it's possible, but obviously, it won’t make you gay. A straight guy can get turned on by a massage. It even happened to George Costanza. If that happens, there's no reason for you to tell Andy. Or maybe you can tell him, have a laugh over it, and break the tension.
At any rate, you said it yourself. What's the big deal about a foot massage? Throw the guy a bone, already. So to speak...