The Gay Cliché

The Gay Cliche
KR Szyszka

This is the gay cliche—

You’re born in a small farming town,

A pretty little Christian girl from a pretty little Christian family.

Before you were even old enough to comprehend, people would tell you how

You were destined to grow up and marry a handsome little Christian boy,

Have pretty little Christian babies of your own.

But then one day, you wake up,

And you realize that you don’t want to grow up and marry

A handsome little Christian boy.

Really, all you want to do is listen to pop music and hold hands with your best friend

Who is also a pretty little Christian girl.

This is the gay cliche—

Your first kiss happens in the dark.

You’re eleven, and spending the day at your best friend’s house out in the country.

She doesn’t have horses like you thought she would,

But she has her own room and a computer to watch movies on,

So you cuddle up in her bed surrounded by a sea of blankets,

And even though she keeps talking through the movie and giving you all the best lines,

You aren’t paying attention to what’s happening on screen.

Rather, you watch the way shadows dance over her face,

How her eyes glow in the dim computer light,

How she smiles at you every time the love interest appears.

And you don’t remember who leans over first,

But your mouths collide and it is


Like how couples kiss in the movies.

Mostly, you’re just laughing about how awkward it was

But she kisses you again, softly, regardless.

When you get to school the next morning, she asks you to not tell anyone,

And you can’t explain the ache in your chest that forms when you tell her okay.

This is the gay cliche—

You’re thirteen now, and desperately in love.

Still not with a boy,

But with your new best friend.

Only, this one loves you back just as fiercely.

You hold hands during class and press lipstick kisses to each other’s cheeks,

But as soon as either of your parents arrive to take you home,

The distance between you feels like miles.

You don’t end up together, but she’s still your best friend.

That’s good enough as is.

This is the gay cliche—

You fall in love with the prettiest girl in your church,

And being around her is intoxicating.

You want to hold her hand and call her Love and give her the world ten times over,

Not that she’d ever take it from you.

You’re standing in a graveyard on Christmas eve,

Alone with her and the fog and the headstones,

And she kisses you.

Every nerve ending in your body lights on fire,

Or maybe you just glow.

You hold her hand on the way back to church,

Spend five minutes in the car laughing because

Your lipsticks smeared together on her mouth.

(It’s the prettiest shade you’ve ever seen.

You’re never going to see it again.)

This is the gay cliche—

You fall in love with the very gay, very proud, very liberal Latina girl

Who sits across from you at book club.

It starts slow,

You meet on Halloween at a corn maze,

Spend the night flirting-but-not because you’re still very new to this whole “gaydar” thing

(and you’re pretty sure yours might be broken, anyway.)

She cuddles up next to you on the hayride,

Holds your hand while you walk through the maze,

So you “don’t get lost” she says,

But you notice how she still holds on to you

Even after you’ve found the way out.

It’s February 29th when she asks you to be her girlfriend,

And you’d spent the whole day subtexting her on social media

Through couple-goals posts and dream dates,

And your heart turns to pudding when you tell her yes.

(You date for a total for 54 days,

And the fallout is a disaster.

It still aches when you hear her name.

To this day, you remember the way her hair smelled like a forest

When you hugged her goodbye that very last time.)

This is the gay cliche—

You’re sixteen now and new to the school.

New to your whole self, really.

This you is out and proud and comfortable in her skin.

(Well, out, proud, and comfortable enough.)

You meet in the heat of August,

When sticky lip gloss smiles and hands skimming

Over bare knees can easily be passed off as


Her hand twines with yours in the lunch line,

Out of the blue,

You don’t pull away but hope beyond hope that she can’t feel

How your pulse jackrabbits inside of you,

Like the slide of her palm against yours has

Brought your heart to settle right below your skin.

She walks you to your next class

(that you don’t share)

Presses a kiss to your cheek that leaves you feeling


This is the gay cliche—

Something in you aches when she scoots away once people start to notice.

“We’re just friends” is acid in your throat,

A lie that slips from your tongue with




This is the gay cliche—

You meet in the dark,

A church supply closet you shouldn’t have known about.

You focus on the dust sifting in front of the sole window

So that you aren’t focusing on how close she’s sitting

Beside you,

How she rests her hand on your knee,

How she turns her head and laughs against your shoulder.

Kiss me, you think, but it comes out a laugh.

Kiss me, you think, but it comes out as silence.

You turn your head away and it hurts.

You look at her and it hurts.

You exist, and you want her, and it hurts.

This is the gay cliche—

She kisses you,

Or you kiss her,

Or both of you kiss each other at the same time,

But it feels like a fever dream.

It feels like all the laughter and smiles and pet names in one.

It feels like a secret that no one will ever talk about,

No one will ever know about.

But then she’s pulling away (again, again, again) and it feels like betrayal.

You want to kiss her everywhere—

Outside in the daylight,

In the halls between classes,

In front of everyone who says you’ll never work.

You crave her, always, and you’re sure she craves you, too.

But when you leave the closet, it’s like nothing happened.

You start to feel like nothing ever will.

This is the gay cliche—

You hold onto hope that one day you’ll get out

Of the small farm town you grew up in,

Move to some big city filled with other

Pretty, gay, Christian girls,

Who feel just as reckless and pent up and wild as you.

You hold onto hope that one day you’ll meet a girl

Who loves you just as much as you love her

And the timing will work this time.

You hold onto hope that life will love you, too, one day.

After all, God gave you the rainbow as a promise.

The rain will end, and life will carry on, and love will grow.

First published in Fresno State University’s Spectrum, KR Szyszka is a procrastinator first and an author second. Currently attending PCC, they can be found spending most of their time searching for the right playlist to write and never finishing their tea.
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