(This one is probably going to be revisited, so if you find something horribly lacking in this brief exploration, stay tuned! Although good reader of the Internet, if you are looking for thorough examinations of serious topics, click the back button a couple of times.)
An explanation of the term: having been out for a little over two years now, I've picked up on a bunch of things that I wish someone had told me when I came out. Recently, a friend of mine came out, and I found myself in the position of being a gay mentor. Which is to say, a gay guy who can answer some basic questions but also empathize in a way that hags and the Internet and other question answerers cannot.
So this kid, pseudonym Clementine, came out. He was one of those acquaintance friends where we always got along but never really grew close. This was for two reasons. One, Clementine prides himself on his sassiness, and thus resented when his friends enjoyed talking to me more than him. Two, I resented Clementine for being closer to people that I think I treat better.
This all changed when Clementine came out of the (glass) closet. I was pretty happy for him, in that way that only people who have been the closet can. I offered to take him to the Ritz, a popular gay bar in the area. To my delight, he texted me expressing an interest, and off we went on a big gay night out, much to the chagrin of our mutual friends. Clementine had a great time too, which I was not sure was going to happen. More than the dancing or ogling, the night's success came from being able to talk.
It was cool being able to answer questions about gay things. Is it okay to have a type? How do I hit on someone? Why do I like this techno beat so much? I felt like some sort of Dear Abby but answering questions about penis size and relationships that I didn't realize that I had answers to. It felt like giving back to the community, to the next generation, an idea particularly laughable given that I'm 18.
The thing that's been the best about it is the casting away of the cynicism. As we were walking back to the Subway, Clementine told me that his goal for the next time (he was already planning on going back Wednesday) was to find a boy that he could kiss. In that moment, I realized that C was going to go through all the things that made me feel jaded and wizened. His first relationship, his first one night stand, his first pair of ass flattering jeans, his first break up, all these things that the breeders get to have without the fun of realizing you're gay and then being okay with it and then telling people. And yes, his first kiss. Something so John Hughes movie, and so rite of passage-y. It made me want to have a first kiss. Again.
Which is why being a gay mentor is great. Because you get to see someone experiencing things for the first time, and you get to be there for them. You live vicariously, and learn to recapture that weird euphoria from right after coming out.
Y'all, I could get behind this.