This tale comes from our friend “Sid Mohammed” who stayed with us over the New Years holiday. He’s a multi-talented guy who also happens to be hilarious. Enter Sid:
Bed-Stuy was as washed out as Eddie Van Halen’s jeans when I came out of the subway, laden with bags, and squinting like a naked mole rat put in a tanning bed. As I crossed Malcolm X Street I was trying hard to adopt a gait that would project an air of confidence and street-smarts without looking like an arrogant prick or an angry douchebag. Maintaining my dispassionate, and disinterested seen-it-all-before demeanour proved particularly difficult when I saw across the road an empty wheel-chair sitting beside a massive SUV with a legless man squeezed underneath doing some auto repairs. Welcome to Brooklyn.
I arrived at the door of the hostel and rang the door bell a couple times before the curator, Brent, came down to get me. I said something that I hoped made me sound cool and experienced enough to handle myself in the environment. I haven’t asked him, but I don’t know if he bought it or not.
Maybe all of this has nothing to do with the story I’m about to tell you, then again, maybe it does. The sunblasted streets of New York have another quality. It seems like if you’re walking around in New York alone, no matter how many people are bustling around you, you’re still alone. Maybe that’s what Ricky was feeling, and maybe it got to him when he was out on New Years.
My first impression of Ricky was that he was pretty fucking annoying. I don’t remember exactly what he was doing when I first met him, but very quickly he had pulled out a white-board and began drawing incredibly shitty renditions of all of the people in the room, some of which were pretty offensive (I ended up looking something like Osama Bin Laden with down-syndrome). I wasn’t particularly impressed with this kind of Carrot Top-esque prop comedy routine, although everyone else seemed to be taken with Ricky’s drawings. Ricky was an Australian, but insisted on speaking in a British accent for half the time. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure his British accent was terrible, which is kind of surprising since it seems like the gap between an Australian accent and a British accent is fairly small. I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I thought Ricky was a twat.
My second impression of Ricky was that he was a homophobe. A number of the hostel residents had gathered on the roof to take in the evening view of the projects that birthed the rapper Fabolous (a very un-gangster name for such a gangster dude) and Manhattan across the water. There were probably 6-8 of us up on the roof, and we were chatting away. My memory of what exactly Ricky said is fairly faint, but it was something like “I would let a guy suck me off… NOT, I’m not a faggot,” or something equally idiotic and offensive. The words were delivered in such a vitriolic tone that in the chillingly awkward silence that ensued I thought to myself, “Wow, Ricky really hates gay people, I sure hope nobody up here is gay.”
The following night was New Year’s Eve. Somehow, Ricky managed to hijack the planning of our night’s activities. He had been out the previous night and had met a girl who he was convinced wanted him and he therefore intended to make sure that no matter what, the plans for the night landed us within a block of her and her friends. That’s how the majority of the hostellers ended up at the lamest place in New York to spend New Year’s Eve: Ulysses Folk Bar. Ulysses is in the financial district, which, on the 31st of December, looks much like an abandoned town in a Western, but with less people and darker.
To make a long story short, horny Ricky had dragged us down to a part of town that was completely empty, other than Ulysses, which was full of young douchebag financiers, so that he could meet up with some girl that had probably just been nice to him because she thought he was a brain-damaged Brit. Things quickly went to shit.
Bored, I began arguing with some annoying hostel guests from Toronto who had come along with us, as well as with Ricky’s girlfriend and her friends. Meanwhile, another hosteller who had decided that it would be a good idea to take a non-descript pill that was some kind of amphetamine before heading out, between grimacing and grinding his jaw, had smacked his best friend in the head because one of Ricky’s girlfriend’s friends had made up a story about the best friend hitting one of them.
During this chaos, a stranger — a young, good looking black dude, we’ll call him James— approached a male member of our group and openly bragged that he could “turn any of your friends gay.” James was politely told to perhaps try somebody else, which he did, with a great deal of success.
In 1996 a few scientists attached something to some dudes penises to figure out if they grew when shown gay porn. What they found was that 80% of the thirty-five test subjects that were homophobic were aroused by the homosexual pornography.[†] This information is often referenced in various scenarios, but few have a chance to observe its implications.
The girl Ricky had dragged us all to Ulysses to pursue had, as I had predicted, had no interest in Ricky.
Ricky, however, hardly seemed to notice… since he was busy exploring James’ tonsils with his tongue and having his testicles checked for lumps in return while grinding heavily to nondescript rock music. Ricky, it turns out, was, until New Years of 2011, a closeted homosexual.
James had, as promised, used his good looks and charm to smash the closet door into kindling. The couple continued grinding and kissing late into the night, and when the rest of us left the Ulysses, Ricky stayed behind.
At this point, this is a very happy story. In 2011, Ricky had been a self-loathing man in denial, but as the New Year approached, he broke free of the shackles of stigma and went home with a dashing, openly gay man who was definitely out of his league. Ricky definitely had a better New Year than the rest of us. I spent close to three hours trying to figure out if one person had in fact hit a girl and therefore deserved the street justice dispensed by his best friend, or if justice that night had been blinded by the amphetamines and had become perhaps a little overzealous on very little information. Someone did get a blowie on the roof, so they may have had as good of a night as Ricky…
Ricky and I happened to be sharing a room, so I was the first person to see him when he came back at seven in the morning. He came into the room at about 8AM and fell onto his bed. I pretended to still be asleep, watching him with half open eyes as he stared, wide-eyed, at the ceiling. I wanted to find out what had happened.
I made a show of pretending to wake up and asked him “hey man, how was your night last night?” Ricky responded, “I got too drunk, I barely remember it.” I’m pretty sure he was lying about the not remembering it part, his eyes sure looked like he remembered something. Although he did not look as comfortable with the memory of having James’ hand on his penis as he had been with James’ hand being on his penis the night before.
I pressed him, “did you do anything crazy?” Ricky’s reply came slowly, “Uh, yeah, I think I kissed a guy…but I kissed a whole bunch of girls afterwards.”
Not only was this answer pretty implausible (unless James had a bunch of girls at his place) but it was very disappointing. Ricky had basically only been out of the closet for about 8 hours. Upon becoming sober Ricky had quickly come to the conclusion that the world outside of the closet seemed to be a very daunting place, and he promptly dove headfirst back in, trying to rebuild the door with lies about memory-loss and making out with girls.
Ricky wasn’t going to tell anyone any more about the night, and I didn’t want to make him any more uncomfortable, since I was much more of a fan of gay Ricky than ashamed, pretending to be straight Ricky. That said, I’m pretty sure James got some… I mean, you don’t go sleep over at a guy like James’ house without putting out a bit.
It’s kind of a sad ending. Ricky tasted sweet sweet freedom, but the immensity of his emancipation daunted him and sent him careening back into his denial ridden den.
None-the-less, I gained respect for Ricky, albeit brief. James was way out of his league, exponentially more than the girl that brought us to Ulysses. So obviously Ricky can pull…if he’s on the right team.
[†] Adams, H E., L W. Wright, and B A. Lohr. “Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal?” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 3, no. 105 (1996): 440-445.