There are some guys at Yale who are in satisfying, emotionally fulfilling relationships, with beautiful, caring significant others. There are some guys at Yale who go out on weekends and regularly pick up significant others at parties. Then there are the guys at Yale who get no play. Sketchy guys. I am one of those guys. And these are my stories.

So last Saturday night I told a girl I was gay to increase the likelihood of getting play. The night started straightly enough, around 5 p.m. A friend of mine was having a barbecue in Stiles, with a cooler full of apple cider and Goldschlager, a keg of beer, and about 25 pounds of beef. There was even a football to throw around.

At any other school, this would be pretty sweet. But we are at Yale and I am a physics major. That means that people at said “sweet barbecue” amuse themselves with puns, I think about the range of the football as a function of trajectory. My few cool friends in attendance wish they had gone to state schools. Subtract 8 pretty sweet points. No wait, subtract 11 with an uncertainty of 5 percent. Yeah, perfect.

So anyway, about an hour and a half later, I get a few drinks ahead of everyone else (this always happens), and a little drunk. Not crazy drunk, mind you. I’m not staggering around and shouting obscenities. I was the kind of drunk where you find yourself sneaking onto WinAmp to play the new Camron song over and over again, saying dude more frequently, and trying to intercept the football while yelling, “Boo-ya,” at the other people who are calmly passing the ball. As the barbecue winds down, I get the let’s-do-keg-stands idea, followed by my friend Will’s let’s-play-beer-pong-with-twice-the-normal-amount-of-beer idea. Here’s where the night starts to get crazy … crazy bad.

But wait, I’ve said nothing about my failed attempts already. Aside from trying to sound as cool as possible while talking to my male friends and girls who I’ve already failed with (we call them female friends), my strategy at cookouts is smooth conversation:

Me: Oh, so you (are in involved with <> activity/are in <> college)?

Do you know <>?

Her: Yeah, I know him.

Me: Yeah, I know him too. (Awkward pause. I look down at my feet)

Or, sometimes they run like this:

Her: No, I don’t know him

Me: Oh, because I do. I do know him, that is. (Awkward pause. I look down at my feet).

This all changes after I go from a little drunk, to a lot drunk. My bumbling shyness dissolves, revealing Corky-like friendliness. This is how I arrived at Zeta Psi. At this point my vision took on a Terminator-esque quality, scanning for girls who are both attractive and approachable. In this process, you don’t necessarily go for either the most accessible girl or the most attractive, but rather the girls that you find at the point where the supply and demand curves intersect. (i.e., she’s willing to supply everything you demand. Who’s demand? I’m demand! Whoo!).

Side note: the definition of attractive is highly subjective and depends, of course, on alcohol intake (I have a friend who reports often getting beer goggles so thick he sees in binary.)

Back to Terminator-vision at Zeta Psi.

First girl: already making out with a guy. Verdict: Probably too late. Second girl: shyly asking frat brother for a Jello shot. Verdict: Probably not late enough. Third girl: sitting on beer-stained couch by herself, scanning the room with her own set of terminator goggles. She is wearing a shirt that’s too small and large hoop earrings (known as blow-job earrings). Target locked, baby. Advancing toward the couch I popped in my cheesy line clip and started firing.

“Yo, my friend over there was telling me how cute he thought you were, but he was too shy to talk to you.” I said, plopping down next to her and trying not to slur my words.

“Well tell him to come over here and talk to me.”

“Um, he doesn’t want to, he’s really shy. See, He won’t even look over here. What’s your name?”

And so, it started. From this short exchange I not only learned her name was Jill, but that she was also a prefrosh, and only here until the next day.

Now, whether to hit on a prefrosh is an ethical dilemma. On the one hand, they are naive to the ways of sketchy guys. On the other hand, directions home are a powerful bargaining chip when it comes to getting them to round one more base. Or so I’ve read.

At this point, while I’m considering my options, Jill’s friend comes over to the couch from the dance floor where DJ 4Play is grooving (earlier in the night, I requested the same Camron song I’d listened to six times already that day. He appeased me). Her friend asked my name and what I was doing to her prefrosh.

“My name is Burt, and I was just asking if Jill would get up and dance with me.” I said wholesomely, ignoring the fact I was macking someone who was probably 16. They exchanged a look. Jill’s friend responded, “Jill, I don’t want you hooking up with some guy. Only dance with him if he’s gay.”

So, honestly, what could I possibly say? What would you say in this situation?

“Oh, I’m TOTALLY gay! Let’s dance.”

We got up and walked over closer to the speakers. I waved to DJ 4Play. Despite my wave, it took Jill about 30 seconds of dancing to realize I wasn’t gay. It was probably the combination of trying to pull her closer to me (hey, I’m a sketchy guy), and the fact that, even for a straight guy, I can’t dance at all. This is where my evening hit rock-bottom.

“There is no way you are gay!” she shouted with disgust. She pushed me away. Her blow-job earrings swung with the momentum.

“I am gay! Look at my jeans! Would a straight guy ever wear these jeans? They’re ridiculous!”

There is a point a guy reaches when the prospect of hooking-up seems so close, so tangible, he will do anything.

Jill considered my jeans. Hold on a second, she said, and walked off. I went back to the couch, figuring she had gone forever and I had failed. Then, Jill the prefrosh did the unthinkable. She came back with a real gay guy. They both sat down with me.

“Now,” she said, “prove it.”

What? Thinking rapidly, I put my arm around both of them. Why was she doing this? If she thought I was legitimately gay would she lower her radar, forget her earlier decision, and hook up with me? The root of sketchiness is optimism.

I turned to her and said, “Hey, your friend is really hot. I think so because I’m gay. Really gay.” I then turned to him and said in a loud whisper, “Listen, I’m not actually gay. I don’t want to lead you on or anything.” I looked up at Jill for her response. She had clearly seen us whispering. Rather than looking turned on though, she just looked confused (the guy did too, although he was much more cool and chilled out about the whole situation than either of us). But I wasn’t willing to give up on this yet.

From here, the situation took this course: I would put my arm around Jill. She would angle away and make me put it around the guy, at which point I would thank her for redirecting me, citing my gayness. I would then whisper to him, “Listen, I’m seriously not gay, you have to believe me.” Then I’d try to put my arm around Jill.

After five or six cycles of this, Jill said, “Wait, Are you, like, bisexual?”

I rapidly tried to calculate what my response would mean. “Yes?” I said, hoping the answer would cause her to make out with me. She just looked at me. “That’s weird.” At that point I decided my life was truly hopeless and gave up. “Jill, I’ll see you later.” I was frustrated. The girl had toyed with me for about an hour.

“But I’m not going to be here tomorrow. I’m leaving in the morning, but I’ll probably see you next fall here!”, she said.

“Honestly, Jill,” I replied, “I don’t think you’re getting in.”

I turne
d to the guy, “And listen man, I’m sorry about this. Lets get mochaccinos sometime and talk about stuff, all right?”

Burt Helm ’04 likes to get drunk.