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A man coerces his friend to emerge from the closet on Nude Day.
“Well?” Brad looked at his friend Bruce with impatience.
“Well what?” Bruce shot Brad a look of annoyance.
With his body in the shape of a pretzel, Bruce curled in his chair in the living room with his arms folded across his chest and is legs tightly crossed as if he were a high fashion model posing for a fashion magazine photographer. In the way of a jackass not wanting to walk, Bruce returned Brad’s stare with unmovable stubbornness.
“What do you mean, well what?” Brad stared at his friend with irritation, before sighing out his question. “Are you coming to the Nude Day beach party or not?”
“It’s so hot outside, Brad, and I don’t tan, I burn, especially if I’m standing out in the hot sun all day,” said Bruce with an apologetic look. “You go ahead without me. I’m fine right where I am,” he said pulling his arms around his thin body tighter. “I still have a lot of cooking and cleaning to do. Then, there’s that pile of laundry, too.”
“I have plenty of sunscreen you can use and, with the tent they set up on beach to protect the food from the sand and the insects, there’s lots of shade there, too,” said Brad with satisfaction, while ignoring his friend’s household laundry list. “C’mon, let’s go. I don’t want to be late. I don’t want to miss anything.”
“I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m so tired,” said Bruce with a big, phony yawn and without making eye contact with his friend this time. “I’m too tired to go. I’ll go with you next time. I promise,” said Bruce shooting Brad a phony smile.
“You can take a nap on the beach,” said Brad with an answer for every excuse his friend made. “They have those comfortable chaise loungers that you can put in the water to soak your tired body, when it gets too hot and there’s lots of big umbrellas to protect you from getting too much sun, should you fall asleep.”
“I’m not feeling very well. I think I’m coming down with something. I feel feverish,” said Bruce with a sudden look of listlessness. Unfolding his arms and legs, he felt his forehead. “Suddenly, I feel sick to my stomach. I think I may have the flu.”
“For Christ sakes, Bruce, you don’t have a fever,” said Brad feeling his friend’s forehead. “You feel and look fine. Just get in the car, Bruce. Please, just get in the car. I’m tired of this nonsense.”
“Nonsense? What nonsense?”
“Any time I want you to meet my friends, you make excuses, why you can’t go. I’m tired of going everywhere alone, Bruce. Just once, I’d like to have you by my side,” said Brad with a hurt look on his face.
“I’d go, really, I would but I’m expecting a package and I never know when UPS will arrive. If they leave it, I’m afraid someone will steal it.”
“They’ll leave it on the porch, Bruce No one will take it. Now, c’mon. Let’s go.”
“Gees, Brad. I’m out of excuses. Obviously, duh? I just don’t want to go to the Nude Day beach party, Brad. Okay? Sorry, but I just don’t want to go,” said Bruce looking up at his friend with apologetic eyes, while wrapping up his body tightly with his arms and legs.
“No kidding. You never want to go anywhere with me. You never want to meet my friends. Why don’t you want to go this time? Why don’t you want to meet my friends? Are you ashamed of being seen in public with me?”
“Of course not. I’m not ashamed of being seen in public with you. Don’t be silly,” said Bruce with a half smile. “And I look forward to meeting your friends, one day, but not today.”
“Then, if you’re not ashamed to be seen with me in public and if you’re looking forward to meeting my friends, then why won’t you go to the Nude Day beach party with me?” Brad looked at his friend waiting for him to answer.
“Why? I’ll tell you why,” said Bruce untangling himself and sitting up in his chair with attitude. “Because it’s all men. Men, men, men. The only friends you have are men. Don’t you know any women?”
“Duh! It’s a gay Nude Day beach party. Women are welcome to attend, but not many straight women want to hang around with a bunch of naked, gay men on Nude Day, when they’ll have better chance of getting lucky with a bunch of straight men.”
“But I’m not gay, Brad,” said Bruce sitting upright to punctuate his straightness.
“Seriously, Bruce? You’re not gay? Are you kidding me? You’re gay. Matter of fact, there’s not a gayer man on the planet.”
“Seriously, Brad,” said Bruce rolling his eyes, while sighing. “I’m not gay.”
Being that it will be a while, before leaving for the Nude Day beach party, Brad went to the kitchen and poured himself another cup of coffee. Then, returning to the living room with it, he made himself comfortable on the sofa and took a sip of his coffee, before responding.
“Good coffee, Bruce,” said Brad, after taking a sip of coffee.
“Thank you, Brad.”
“So, where were we? Oh, yeah. You’re not gay and you won’t attend the Nude Day barbeque because everyone there is gay. Did I get it right?”
“That’s right. I’m not gay and I don’t want to go to the Nude Day barbeque because I’m uncomfortable being around so many gay, naked men,” said Bruce with a nod of his head, as if he was giving the secret sign to an auctioneer to increase his bid.
“Having had this conversation over and again, it amazes me that you still believe you’re not gay. Here’s a newsflash, Bruce. You are gay. Born gay, since the day you first opened your eyes, you’ve always been gay. Matter of fact, if you were wearing a pink tutu, sprouting white wings, and wearing a bejeweled tiara, you couldn’t be any gayer,” said Brad pointing his finger at his friend, as if he was his fairy Godmother and had just granted him his wish.
“You’re just angry because you’re gay and I’m not,” said Bruce validating his vindication by pursing his lips with an angry stare. “You’re an angry gay man, that’s what you are,” said Bruce sticking his tongue out at his friend.
“You’re the one that’s angry, Bruce. I dare say, sort of like the man, who wears a ridiculous toupee and pretends he’s not bald, you’re angry because you know you’re gay and pissed off that everyone around you knows your gay. Matter of fact, if you were the only gay man standing in a room of one hundred straight men and a man, gay or straight, was asked to pick out the one gay man in the room, they’d all pick you.”
“Fuck you, Brad.”
“It’s time you came out of the closet, Bruce. It’s time you embraced your homosexuality and marched in the gay parade. I’m so very tired of your heterosexual charade.”
“I already told you, Brad. I’m not gay. Just because you think I’m gay, doesn’t make me gay. I’ll never be gay.”
“Okay, okay, it’s time for another intervention, Bruce. Now, we can do this the hard way or the easy way?”
“What’s the easy way?” Bruce looked at his friend with fear.
“You get in the car and go with me to the Nude Day beach party.”
“Then,” said Bruce gulping, “what’s the hard way?”
“I hold the gay man mirror up to your queer face and you finally see that you prefer men to women.”
“It doesn’t matter what you hold up to my face, even if you held your cock to my face, I’m still not gay.”
“Are you saying that you’d like for me to hold my cock up to your face?”
“No. I’m not saying that at all. What I’m saying is that you can’t make a straight man, a gay man, just by saying that he’s gay. Eww, that’s so gay.”
“Shall we begin, then?”
“Begin with what?”
“The gay intervention,” said Brad.
“I’m not playing your gay intervention game again,” said Bruce curling his body back in the shape of a pretzel.
“Just answer my questions, Bruce,” said Brad studying his friend, while formulating his questions. “Have you ever kissed a man?”
“Secure in my heterosexuality, I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’ve kissed a man. Kissing a man doesn’t make me gay, Brad,” said Bruce, “just because I kissed you. Lots of heterosexual men kiss men,” said Bruce playing the gay intervention game, even though he said that he wouldn’t.
“Newsflash Bruce. Heterosexual men are heterosexual because they don’t kiss men.”
“I’m not gay,” said Bruce in a quiet voice.
“Have you ever had sex with a man?”
“Go fuck yourself, Brad. That’s none of your business. Besides, you know I’ve had gay sex with you and having gay sex once or twice doesn’t mean that I’m gay, just gay curious,” said Bruce folding his arms even tighter around himself, as if protecting his perceived heterosexual self from his gay friend.
“Actually, we’ve had sex at least a dozen times over the years,” said Brad, “but who’s counting,” he said with a laugh.”
“A dozen times? We have?” Bruce looked at Brad. “We have not. Maybe, when I was drunk, you took advantage of my naked unconscious body, but that doesn’t count as gay sex. That’s rape, Brad. How could you do that to me, rape your friend,” said Bruce raising his head in defiance.
“Drunk or sober, I can assure you that I’ve never had to force you to have sex with me, Bruce,” said Brad. “Now, allow me to count the ways that you’re gay. Shall I begin?”
“Listen, pal, much like a political poll, by putting a spin on everything you say, you can make your count amount to whatever answer you want,” she Bruce with attitude. “I’d be the first to know, if I was gay and I’m not gay.”
“You live with an openly gay man, Bruce.”
“So? Why wouldn’t I live with you? We’re childhood friends. Best friends, forever, I’ve known you since kindergarten. We’re best buddies,” said Bruce with a fond smile.
“We only entertain other gay men. If that doesn’t make you gay, then it makes you suspect to be gay,” said Brad, licking his finger and marking an imaginary board, as if keeping score.
“I can’t help it, if all my neighbors are gay. Besides, you’re the one who fell in love with this old, Tudor house. I can’t help it if the house is in a mostly gay neighborhood.”
“We sleep in the same God damn bed, for Christ sakes, Brucie.”
“Don’t call me Brucie. You know I hate that name. I don’t like being called Brucie. I prefer being called Buck.”
“Buck? Okay, Buck, I’m sorry to tell you this, Buck, but, much like the stars in your favorite movie, Brokeback Mountain, you are gay…cowboy. Giddy up,” said motioning his hand to his mouth, as if giving a blowjob.
“Fuck you, Brad. Besides, I only sleep in the same bed with you because the bed is a Tempur-Pedic and I love how comfortable the bed is,” said Bruce shooting Brad a look. “Where else would I sleep? On the couch? Moreover, it’s a king sized bed and I only sleep on my side of the bed.”
“You walk with a wiggle, juicy Brucie,” said Brad.
“I do not walk with a wiggle,” said Bruce, “and stop calling me that. I hate that name.”
“You wear gay clothes,” said Brad.
“Oh, I do not wear gay clothes,” said Bruce with a face full of anger.
“You have a pink shirt, Bruce, and yellow pants. If you played golf, modeled for Ralph Lauren, or was fabulously rich and lived in Palm Springs, Boca Raton, or Beverly Hills, I’d give you the benefit of the doubt. Yet, you don’t play golf and you don’t model for Ralph Lauren. Instead, you live here with me and can barely support yourself.”
“Must a straight man be gay to love color? Must a straight me be gay to embrace fashion.”
“Look at our dog,” said Brad looking down at the dog.
“What’s wrong with Coco?”
“Besides his name being gay, instead of a real man’s dog, a lab or a retriever called Buster, you bought the same damn, ugly dog that Paris Hilton has, a Chinese Crested. And if that’s not enough, you dress him in a different outfit every day,” said Brad looking at the dog, as if afraid to touch him. “Now, if that’s not gay, then I don’t know what gay is.”
“I named the dog after Ice T’s wife, Coco, because she loves dogs. I just love her. And she has such a fabulous body, so boldly shapely, a woman with real curves.”
“I think you more like her gay, best friend, Soulgee,” said Brad with a laugh.
“I’ll not deny that I like him, too. He’s funny and adds a lot of drama to the show,” said Bruce.
“Yeah, well, no matter, even Coco has a Bulldog. Do you think Ice T would ever buy a Chinese Crested?”
“Well, I think he’s cute. Come to Daddy, Coco.”
“You don’t even like sports and that alone makes you gay. All heterosexual men and even most gay men love some type of sport.”
“I do, too, love sports. I love ice skating. That’s a sport.”
“I’ll give you that. You do love ice skating. You even know the names of all the moves and jumps that the skaters make on the ice. If not a gay ice skater, you, without doubt, could be a gay ice skating judge. Yet, unless you’re watching the Bruins cross checking someone in the boards, ice skating, especially for a man, is very gay.”
“I just love watching them gracefully skate, while wearing those skin tight, sparkly costumes. I think they’re artistically pretty,” said Bruce swooning with his hands under his chin and his eye lids fluttering.
“That’s gay, Bruce.”
“Oh, and I love watching the high diving competition in the Olympics. Greg Louganis was my favorite Olympian of all time,” said Bruce with his hands under his chin, as if he was in love.
“Greg Louganis, although very talented, as you know, full well, was gay.”
“So? A lot of athletes are gay. Just because I enjoy watching the Olympics doesn’t make me gay.”
“You’re gay, Bruce.”
“You’re nuts, Brad. I’m not gay. Just because you’re gay, you think everyone is gay.”
“You drive a gay car.”
“Oh, my God, I do not drive a gay car. I drive a man’s car. I drive a Mustang. I couldn’t drive a more manlier car, unless I drove a Corvette, a Viper, or a Hummer, but I can’t afford any of those vehicles.”
“You drive a wimpy, 6-cylinder Mustang with an automatic transmission. Mary Tyler Moore drove a 6-cylinder Mustang with an automatic,” said Brad.
“I love that little, powder blue Mustang,” said Bruce. “It’s such a classic.”
“Powder blue is a gay color for a Mustang, Bruce,” said Brad with a chuckle. “You should have, at least, bought a red one or a black one, or even a silver one with big, bold racing stripes. Besides, real men drive Mustang GT’s and Shelby Cobras with a six speed standard transmission.”
“God will get you for calling my Sally gay.”
“It’s gay to name your car, Sally, Bruce.”
“Yeah, well, at least I didn’t give my car a man’s name like you did. Who names their car Bruno, anyway?”
“A gay man,” said Brad.
“I’m not gay, Brad,” said Bruce.
“You still have a poster of Freddie Mercury of Queen on your wall.”
“I loved his voice, is all. I don’t have to be gay to be a fan of Freddie Mercury and of Queen.”
“When the only other posters you have on your wall are of Elton John and David Bowie, instead of a poster of a woman in a skimpy bikini, then you’re gay.”
“Putting up a poster of a pop star doesn’t make me gay. It just makes me a patron of popular music,” said Bruce in defense in his taste of music.
“Speaking of popular music, I found your gay collection of popular music,” said Brad with a laugh. “Those Cher, Madonna, Bette Midler, and Barry Manilow records that you stored in the garage are gay, gay, gay, and gay.”
“I can’t believe you went through my personal things.”
“Trust me, I didn’t. Out in the open, as you are nearly out of the closet, you don’t hide your gay taste in music, as well as you try to fruitlessly hide your gay, sexual orientation.”
“How can I be gay, if I like women? Duh! Answer me that. Huh? Go ahead and answer me that. I adore women.”
“Doing their hair, Bruce, is not liking or disliking women. It’s your profession, as a hairstylist. Speaking of which, being a hairstylist in a beauty salon is a gay profession, too.”
“You’re so wrong about me being gay that I could scratch out your eyes,” said Bruce with anger.
“Scratch out my eyes? That’s gay, Bruce.”
“Okay, then, I could slap you across your face,” said Bruce with a self-satisfied smile.
“Slap my face? That’s gay, too,” said Brad smiling at his friend. “You don’t even have a girlfriend.”
“I’ve had lots of girlfriends.”
“Playing with Barbie dolls with the girls, when you were a kid is not considered having a lot of girlfriends. When was the last time you dated a woman?”
“I’ve gone to lunch and had drinks with the girls from work,” said Bruce with a self-serving smile.
“Having lunch and drinks with the girls from work is not a real date, Bruce. When did you have a real date, where you made out with a woman, felt her body, stripped her naked, and then had sex with her?”
“I never have,” said Bruce in a quiet voice with sadness. “Oh, wait,” he said suddenly excited. “I went to my Prom with Becky.”
“Becky is lesbian, Bruce. I’m sure you two had a great time.” Brad remained silent, while looking around his apartment. “Just look at this place.”
“What’s wrong?” Bruce looked around the apartment with him, before looking back at his friend. “I meant to vacuum, but it’s been so hot lately.”
“You’re a gay version of Felix Unger. The way this place is decorated and kept so clean, I feel, as if I’m living with Martha Stewart.”
“That reminds me. She has this recipe for–”
“Stop,” said Brad throwing up his hands. “Please just stop.”
“What? You don’t like my cooking now?”
“I love your cooking, Bruce. You are a wonderful cook, a wonderful homemaker, and you will make someone, hopefully me, a wonderful wife, one day.”
“Wife? Eww. Nasty! That’s so nasty. Are you crazy? I’d never marry you or any man. Eww. That’s so gross.”
“Saying eww is gay.”
“It is not. Saying eww is the same as saying yucky.”
“Saying yucky is gay.”
“Must I watch everything I say now?”
“May I remind you that you’re wearing a frilly, pink apron,” said Brad looking at his friend and laughing.
“Oh, sorry. I meant to put that in the laundry.”
“You do all the laundry and that’s gay.”
“Doing the laundry is not gay. Who’s going to do the laundry, if I don’t.”
“You do my laundry, too.”
“I do your laundry because you don’t even know how to turn on the washing machine, never mind select the correct cycle for colors or delicate fabrics.”
“Selecting cycles for colors and fabrics is gay. Real men would just wash all their clothes, whites, colors, jeans, and delicates in the same load.”
“Eww! That’s just so wrong,” said Bruce with a limp wrist. “Sorry that you think I’m gay for doing your laundry, but I like doing laundry. It’s therapeutic.”
“Only a gay man would say that doing laundry is therapeutic and only a gay man would punctuate his words with a limp wrist.”
“I can’t help it, if I talk with my hands. I’m half Italian. Next you’ll be saying that I lisp my esses.”
“You do lisp your esses and have always lisped your esses, ever since you were a kid.”
“So now you’re going to make fun of my speech impediment? That’s so mean of you, Brad,” said Bruce putting his head in his hands. “Please just stop calling me gay. You’re hurting my feelings. You’re going to make me cry.”
“Real men don’t cry, Bruce. Crying is gay,” said Brad.
“Real men do, too, cry,” said Bruce defending his sudden, phony tears.
“Okay. I promise not to call you gay and/or insinuate that you’re gay anymore, if you do just one thing for me.”
“What?” Bruce looked up at his friend with a face full of pain.
“Come to the Nude Day beach barbeque with me and meet my friends. That’s all you’ll have to do. Nothing else. Okay?”
Brad looked at his friend, while waiting for him to answer. Bruce remained silent, while playing with his apron ties, before answering finally.
“Will I have to get naked?”
“Of course, you’ll have to get naked. Duh! It’s a Nude Day naked beach barbeque,” said Brad laughing at his friend’s modesty. “But I’ll make a deal with you.”
“Okay. What’s the deal?”