It was my sophomore year in college when Chris started talking to me out of the blue. He was older than most students, working on a second bachelor's degree in historic preservation. Chris was like no one I had ever met.

Anne, my girlfriend at the time, described him as an old soul. She said I was a new soul and I think both she and Chris were attracted to that about me.

One afternoon, with Anne's mother in town for a visit, we ran into Chris. We'd never been to his apartment and he invited us over to see it.

We walked into what seemed like a professionally decorated home. Chris had done a lot with the space he had. After a short visit, Chris offered to drive us all home. On the way out to his car, Anne and her mother were further complimenting him on his taste in decor. And that's when I said it.

"Don't mind her, she just thinks that men with taste are gay."

I didn't see Chris' face at that moment. I didn't even notice that everyone else got quiet. I just looked out the window unaware of the unease my comments had caused.

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Immediately after Chris drove off, Anne called me on it.

"I can't believe you said that."

"What?" I said, oblivious.

Not until that moment that had the thought even entered my mind that Chris might actually be gay. My mind started racing. He didn't have a girlfriend, didn't seem interested in women at all. But, then, he didn't seem interested in men either.

I searched through every memory I had of Chris, trying to find one that would point his sexual orientation in one direction or the other. I'd never known anyone who was openly gay, so I didn't know anything about it. All I had to fall back on were the stereotypes I'd grown up with.{ continue }