By Matt Pizzuti
Eighth grade was a tough year for me. I was 13 years old in 1998, in an oppressive yet typical American middle school where “pack of wolves” could describe the student body. I was a big-eyed late-bloomer who enjoyed class more than recess and was irrepressibly talkative. Quickly, I became a focal-point of abuse for male peers, most of whom were bigger than me, had girlfriends, and were more developmentally advanced — some of these guys were even shaving already.
It was also the year Matthew Shepard was murdered, and the news felt personal. His death coincided with my realization that I was gay. Though I was still in the closet, bullies at my school gleefully pointed out that Matthew Shepard and I shared a first name. They taunted me as they poked fun at Shepard’s story, making clear that even murder is fair game for expressing disdain for homosexuality.
These components merged into a complex moment, historically and personally. Yet none would have the profound impact of a seemingly inane historical occurrence of 1998: Will & Grace first aired on NBC.
The very first person I came out to (not counting people I knew only over the Internet) was my friend Beth … “You’re the Will kind of gay,” she told me, and hugged me warmly. “You’re not like Jack, because I can hardly tell you’re gay at all.”
When contemplating whether or not to meet someone from online or mobile, the question always arises.
He’ll ask if you don’t ask first, in the universally-recognized instant-message shorthand, as if the cutesy language counteracts the outright audacity of what he wants to know:
how big r u?
Six feet tall, 160 pounds, you could say. Or if you really don’t like him, you could be sarcastic: normal sized human, which comes to about the size of two beer coolers stacked on end. But you know that isn’t really what he means.
Well!? How big r u?
At this point he’ already seen the picture of your face and probably one of your shirtless body, maybe even one that vaguely reveals the outline of your semi-hard cock through loose-fitting shorts. You’e sized each other up, and even if you’ve arranged to meet “just to hang out,” you’ve both emphasized that you’re attracted to each other and won’t brush the other’s hand away if later you find it creeping up your thigh.
But there isn’t a green light until he knows how big your cock is.