One of my best friends, whom we’ll call Helena, has caught the affection of a 16-year-old Russian boy. Let’s call him Michail. Not just because I want to protect their anonymity, but because fake names make life feel like a soap opera!
I’m not surprised Michail hearts Helena. She’s blonde and beautiful, and the object of many men’s desire.
Michail grew up in Russia and Ukraine and moved to Vancouver two years ago. He’s a jock with a thick accent and a sexiness that he hasn’t quite grown into yet. It’s still boyish, awkward and endearing.
Helena thinks it’s sweet that Michail is into her, but she doesn’t take him too seriously. More for kicks than anything else, she invited him to join us at a lounge downtown. When she told him that she was with her gay friend, he texted, “I fucking hate gay people.”
I was ready to loathe him as much as the antiquated beliefs of his birth country but told myself to give him a chance. I think a part of me wanted to change his view. I figured that a 16-year-old boy from Russia probably hadn’t been exposed to many gay people (that he knew of), and so, by being myself and showing him there was nothing to fear except fun things like outrageous fashion choices and snarky jokes (I faithfully deliver the stereotype), I might change his way of thinking.
As soon as Helena went to the bathroom Michail apologized about the text. He was so nervous and earnest in a teenaged kind of way, I couldn’t help but warm to him. And yes, his youthful glow and chiselled jaw didn’t hurt. I instantly saw why Helena likes having him around. Sometimes, even though it’s cruel, you can’t help but be a heartbreaker. Especially if your heart has been broken. I don’t know if it’s the kindest thing to do, leading on a teenaged boy who goes anywhere his head (the one in his pants) tells him, but I also couldn’t help but think he was enjoying every minute of it.
We Hawaiian hot-boxed the bathroom back at Helena’s apartment. Michail took off his shirt and stood so close to me, I could feel his damp skin pressing against mine.
I know he’s young, but there was something about his charm and innocence that was making me hotter than the steam and higher than the joint. Was it just me, or was he standing a little too close? Purposely. I told myself I was being delusional. I have a bad habit of thinking everyone is in love with me. (It’s a blond thing.)
Although maybe my suspicions have merit, because afterward, Michail told me he’d watch my gay porn videos if I made any (I was telling him my hopes and dreams for the future). Initially, I thought he was joking. But then the three of us spent the next day at Kits Beach, and afterward Helena texted me, asking if I think Michail is bi. “He seemed into you,” she wrote. I didn’t know what to make of it. I thought he was mildly flirtatious, in the way straight boys are sometimes. Mostly because they can’t help themselves. They like being liked too much. And I definitely thought he was curious. He asked me some questions about my sexuality that were almost educational, with a twinge of eroticism that I thought was only in my mind. Although he did smirk, blush and say “Nice” when I told him I like to take it . . .
The next text from Helena read, “Omfg!!! He literally just texted me, and I quote, ‘Your gay friend is super cute.’” I thought she was probably making too big a deal about it. I believe in the grey area. No one’s sexuality is black and white, and when you’re a teenager, you’re just beginning to realize that.
But there’s no denying that the cute Russian boy’s evolution from homophobe to bicurious is kind of amazing. He went from “fucking hating” gays to liking one. Maybe even liking liking one.