Dry Humping in the Dark

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Dear Ms. Behavior: I have no clue how I got myself in this situation. All I can do is slap my forehead and sigh.

You see, my friend, since age of five, and I spooned on a cold night out camping. This led to some vague dry humping — a near “Brokeback Mountain” moment. By the gravity of that sentence alone I’m sure you now understand how I feel.

The culprits of this scandalous incident were freezing cold, hormones and stupidity (I guess those last two are practically synonymous). The night was colder than what we previously thought and our extra sleeping bag wasn’t offering much help, so I asked if he was “awake and cold” and once he said yes, we agreed to huddle next to each other for warmth. At one point in the night, I turn on my side; shortly after, my straight friend slides in and we’re spooning! I was shocked, turned on and confused.

It doesn’t seem right, although I have found him physically attractive since junior high school, which I can easily get over. However, recently we’ve been spending more time together and I’ve found the urge to kiss him, but have chalked this up as misplaced affection.

To make things even more complex, he’s dating a very close friend we’ve had since the seventh grade. And I don’t want to lose either of them as friends.

If I find the courage, I plan on bringing the matter of the camping trip up sometime when we’re alone. All he said, indirectly, the next morning about it was he had some crazy dreams and didn’t want to stay another night even though it was warming up a lot. I took this to mean: let’s pretend I was having this sexy dream while rubbing against you, but to be safe, fuck staying another night.

Really, I’d rather laugh about it than not say anything because now when we see each other it’s just well … at least, I get nervous as all hell, he seems fine.

Thanks in advance. — Neurotic Mess

P.S. I’ve realized how I’d feel much safer in a locker room full of gay guys than straight guys from any kind of grab ass. Here’s another question: Are all straight guys repressed fags?

Dear Neurotic Mess:

Who hasn’t fantasized about a Brokeback Mountain encounter? Practically everyone found that particular cinematic bump in the night to be raw and hot. Any sex that’s “forbidden” without being exploitative of children or innocent furry animals has the potential to be inspirational — regardless of gender or sexual orientation — to the masses, and perhaps even to your best friend.

Your situation is confusing because of your long history as pals. You sound like you’re embarrassed by what happened; you describe your wish to kiss him as “misplaced affection” and your desire for more as “idiotic.” Granted, he’s straight, so you feel vulnerable for even hoping that he shares your feelings. And the truth is that he may not. For your friend, the hip-thrusting may have been a momentary impulse, triggered by the heady combination of proximity, comfort and affection for you. It could have been a one-time deal inspired by an errant boner.

The truth is that you’re gay and, so far as you know, he’s not. It is, of course, possible that your straight friend harbors feelings for you but has been too fearful to act on them. If you want to find out more, you may need to broach the subject with him. But bringing up your encounter means that you risk facing rejection. Your friend could laugh it off, pretend he was dreaming or run screaming into the safe arms of his girlfriend. Are you willing to take that risk?

The fact that you’re spending more time together lately may suggest that he’s waiting to see what happens next. But, he may also be trying to reassure himself that spending time with you is fine, and that he doesn’t have to worry that he’ll end up inadvertently boning you.

As for your final inquiry — Are all straight guys repressed fags? — the answer is yes. Or, rather, maybe not, but it doesn’t mean they won’t, under the right circumstances, dry hump another man in the dark.

Meryl Cohn is the author of “‘Do What I Say’: Ms. Behavior’s Guide to Gay and Lesbian Etiquette” (Houghton Mifflin). E-mail her at [email protected] or visit www.msbehavior.com.