I have it bad for my coworker at the pizza place. We’re both gender non-conforming, and we hit it off immediately.
I thought they were cute when we first met, but I brushed it off, since I typically don’t date coworkers. My car broke down in February, so they started giving me rides home. All hell broke loose in my gay little brain. I was engulfed by a high school-level, sighing, woeful crush. This freaked me out, because my dating life up until now has been far from great. However, this person is very cool, and I enjoy their company. In an act of rebellion against all of the weird shit that’s happened so far, I decided I wanted to see what happened next.
We’d talked about hanging out for some time, so I took the lead and asked them to meet me at a time and place. We rode around in their car and talked. I dressed a little cute; they dressed a little cute, but we didn’t establish it as a date.
It’s been like that ever since. We hang out, we get stoned, we talk about why we’re afraid to commit to relationships, stare at each other, get flustered, and go home. Side-eying each other and talking to our coworkers on the down-low, literally getting laughed at by some of them because we’re so obviously emotionally constipated. I am losing my mind.
So. I need to form a love confession. We live in a beautiful area, so I’m thinking outside? Help!
Reader, I must confess: since this submission is now several months old, our delivery lad might seem a lot more emotionally constipated than intended. Knowing gay people, however, there’s a 75% chance they’re still stuck in the same position as they were back in the spring, conveniently assuaging my guilt about keeping this on the backburner for so long.
That aside, Pining Pizza Boy, I do apologize for waiting to respond until the edge of winter. While I would caution against running headfirst into passionate romance, I admire your commitment to move from “unspoken sexual tension” to “dramatic declaration of love.” In my own dating experience, “love” has been a powerful, game-changing word for the parties involved, representing a boundary crossed from casual encounter to intended commitment. I know many others who view it as an offhanded term, but if you’re not sure of their stance on the matter, I suggest stowing it in your back pocket for when you’ve mutually agreed to act upon your shared attraction.
But how to express that attraction in the first place? Well, beautiful, natural areas stay fairly beautiful year-round, so your original outdoor destination may not be out of reach. Regardless, there’s nothing as impactful as being open with your feelings, especially when they’ve been marinating for months. I’d suggest not overplanning this — the words themselves will make the moment memorable. For example, you could invite them on a hike through snow-dusted woods, breath fogging the air, letting slip how you’ve been dreaming of kissing them for weeks. Or you could stroll with them down a store-lined street at dusk, curling your fingers toward their hand as the lights gasp on. It doesn’t have to be explosive; it doesn’t have to be loud. Long-lasting love is more often found in the quiet things — but no matter how you present(ed) your confession, I am rooting for you.
HYPER/TEXT is a queer advice column for the digital age: a space for subcultural dilemmas that leave offline friends scratching their heads. Should you block your best friend over lesbian discourse? What on Earth is a “kinnie?” Check in biweekly for answers to these questions and more as we explore the lives of the hyper-online!
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Fox Auslander is a nonbinary poet born, raised, and based in Philadelphia. They are one of three co-lead poetry editors at Alien Magazine and one of two co-editors at Delicate Friend. Find them on Twitter @circumgender.