Li Ming cleared his throat, actually looking a little embarrassed when he was just preparing to tell the story. Mo Fang’s expression lit up at that as well. It seemed that his boyfriend was taking this really seriously. That was great!
“This is about …” Li Ming trailed off and finally shook his head. “No, let me start differently. If I tell you what it’s about beforehand, it won’t sound as embarrassing anymore. Let me give you the full experience.” He laughed at that, and then put an arm around the backrest of the bench while looking at Mo Fang with a mischievous smile. “So, this was quite some time ago. I was fifteen or maybe sixteen and had really fallen in love for the first time.”
Mo Fang raised his brows at that. “For the first time? At that age?” He could hardly believe it. That seemed a bit … late?
Li Ming chuckled. This was precisely why he loved doing this. Even the things that he didn’t say would tell them more about each other. “I would say so, yes. It’s not that I didn’t have any crushes before but those were all fleeting moments if you want. This was the first time that I actually felt serious about it. It was also at this time that I realized that I was definitely gay and that this wasn’t just a fluke. So I actually felt a bit awkward about myself already. Just the idea of not being quite like the others who were talking about which girl they liked and looking at one of the other guys and thinking ‘Oh, yeah, that’s precisely I feel just that the gender is completely wrong’ wasn’t an of experience I liked at all.”
“Ah, I can imagine. You’re not like a stereotypical gay guy. People probably wouldn’t assume just from seeing you.”
Li Ming nodded. “Definitely not. They might have thought that I was a bit more old-school than some others and that was why I wouldn’t directly talk about girls but that was it. Nobody ever questioned whether I was into women or not. I don’t think it ever crossed anyone’s mind. And if it did, they probably thought that it was too ridiculous so they never brought it up. Not even one of my friends ever would have thought of it.” Li Ming kept quiet for a moment and looked at Mo Fang pensively. In fact, he did have a few questions in that regard but he wasn’t sure if it was a good moment to bring it up. After all, he was supposed to tell a story right now.
Mo Fang leaned closer and wrapped his arms around Li Ming’s neck. “Just ask if you want to know something. I don’t bite! Unless you want me to, of course.”
Li Ming chuckled and then just went ahead. “Well, since you said it’s alright … I was wondering if your experience in that regard was different. Did people actually assume you were gay?”
Mo Fang shrugged his shoulders. “Yeah. I would definitely say so. I guess I was pretty open back then already. If I liked somebody, I would just tell them and show it openly. And since that always happened to be men … I’m pretty sure nobody had any illusions about whether I was gay or not.”
Also, he was probably a bit more like what people imagined a gay guy to be. Li Ming had more of that masculine charm. And while he wasn’t a feminine guy either, he was at least the kind of person that seemed to be a bit more artsy. That was something that would be associated with being gay more easily, right?
“Did they give you grief for that?” Li Ming couldn’t help but worry about that. It was great that Mo Fang was able to be so open with everyone and it seemed like at least at the railroad station and with his family, things were going well but that didn’t have to mean that things had always been like this. And the thought of Mo Fang being so young and maybe being bullied for it really made him feel apprehensive.
Mo Fang shook his head though. “No, not really. I mean there were a few guys who had a bit of a problem with it but that was it. It never went anywhere. I guess you could say that I was actually kind of popular? I mean not even among the guys but just in general. I definitely got along with the majority of the girls in my classes and while some of the guys were feeling a bit awkward with me because they knew I was gay, I guess they also felt flattered when I showed a bit of interest.”
Li Ming raised his brows at that. He certainly wouldn’t have expected that. “They were really just … flattered?”
Mo Fang patted his chest. “Why? Don’t you think I’m good-looking enough for men to be flattered by my admiration?”
Li Ming reached up, lost in thought, and shook his head. “No, that’s not it. Just that I would’ve expected that at that age, they might have been a bit more reluctant to accept that you thought of them like this maybe. Don’t they always want to prove that they are especially manly at that time? At least I always felt that it was that way with the guys around me.”
Mo Fang just chuckled. “Well, that’s the good thing about not being a manly guy myself. I guess they just never felt threatened. And I might have been really charming and letting them know I thought they were attractive every now and then.
“You know, there was one guy who was trying to make fun of me for being gay. To shoot him down, I just looked at him and asked him what he thought I might be attracted to in him. Then I grabbed one of the other guys and said that if I was going for somebody, I’d go for someone like him who was at least a real man and not for a shrimp like him.”
Li Ming stared at him in a daze. He somehow feared that if this had been him, he would’ve been mortified and not dared to go to school anymore. As it turned out, Mo Fang could be really vicious if he wanted to.