Saving Ryan’s Privates: Banging on closet doors, looking for love on Fraternity Row

Adriana Sanchez | Daily Trojan

This is weird,” he said, his Pillar of Troy deep inside of me, “but I don’t hate it.” Had it been anyone else, I would have been turned off. But it was him (you know the type), and I wanted so desperately to be his Tommy Trojan. I was ready to Fight On for his love.

He was the kind of boy I had been wet-dreaming about for years: tall, chiseled, muscular set of arms, slightly tousled hair — a Marshall School of Business student.

We met on the Row after a sorority event last fall. Separated from our dates, we engaged in tense small talk and eventually arrived at the drunk decision to stumble home together. His fingers would brush mine every few intoxicated steps or so, and that, I see now, was our first mistake. This continued until we reached his fraternity house where, under the glowing Greek letters, we said our goodbyes.

“Here’s my number,” he offered from the doorway, then shut the door. Giddy, I lingered on the porch for a few moments. It didn’t seem to matter that I would have to walk home alone.

What I didn’t know then was that this night would ultimately set into motion weeks, and then months, during which I would begin to question whether I was really experiencing that thing called “love,” whether my body was truly mine, whether two people can alter each other’s worldview — each other’s very sense of self — through sex.

One final detail about this dream boy of mine: He was straight, or so he would continually tell me throughout the semester.

In the beginning, things always happened in my room, on his terms. I would stay up and wait for him to confirm our planned sexcapades (“Don’t call. Just wait for me to text you,” he once messaged me). Inevitably, he would show up at my building, and I would guest him up to my dorm, then engorge his VKC Tower on command. Afterward, I would lay there with him, on my lofted bed, and listen to him tell me about all the girls that made him swoon.

I didn’t mind. I learned to focus instead on his declarations of love. If our sex was a USC football game, then he was the perfect yell leader, grunting “I love you”’ before every touchdown — every perfect orgasm. I thought of him as my MVP, always coming ready to play. In retrospect, though, I think it is more honest to say that he was only playing to come.

However, every football game must come to an end, and eventually we’d have to mop up the vanilla milkshake strewn all over my stadium. It was during this clean-up that he would avoid eye contact and mumble “I’m not gay,” words that slid out of his mouth conveniently, defensively after each time we had sex.

Still, his defensiveness appeared somehow sexy to me. His straightness (that is, his aversion to our gayness) was very much a part of the allure. Despite its problematic nature, this was my ultimate fantasy: turning a straight boy gay, making him mine. Everything appeared to be coming to fruition, and it kept me wanting more, night after night.

For a while, nights like those were easy, and they populated my mind with innumerable visions of us together. I could disregard minor details like his sexual confusion, my emotional instability, the fact that our relationship existed only between us, only where condoms — always Trojan — and lube were involved. I could disregard just about anything. On nights like those, I preferred to stay awake with him and be. Just like that.

But those nights seemed to end as soon as they began, though I cannot pinpoint when.

All I know is that things suddenly worsened. He stopped responding to my texts, and only out of the drunken need for a booty call did he contact me. Increasingly, too, he began to view my attempts to kiss him as offensive. Whenever I tried, he accused me of being “too gay” (“What are you doing?” he once grumbled, pushing me away as I leaned my head in toward his). We had kissed before, so what was the problem now?

By that point, we had become quite adept at using sex Tapingo. I was the sole item on the menu, and he could mobile order me whenever he craved a snack.

Yet after some months of half-hearted hookups, it became difficult to feign passion with him. I wondered what it would take to bring back our spark: Would a quick, quiet handjob in Leavey Library reinvigorate our relationship? Would our boring banging be solved by having public sex on Trousdale Parkway, in the bike lane, our busy bodies disrupting the flow of student traffic? Would I do just about anything for a thrill?

All jokes aside, things became especially difficult for me. I believed that I was happy, but I didn’t know what I was doing. I had heard of the coveted “friends-with-benefits” concept before, but I didn’t think the phrase applied — certainly not to our situation. Nevertheless, I persisted because I loved him (I thought I did), and I wanted, more than anything, for him to love me back. If I could hang on for a little while longer, surely he would come around.

He never did.

On our final night together, sometime late last fall, everything began as usual. He entered USC Village, and then me. And like a landscaper equipped with a mighty hose, he proceeded to power-wash me. Before he could give me the final facelift, he let out quietly, “I’m straight.” He was still on top of me when some unformed instinct struck me: I knew, then, that this must be the end.

Ryan Nhu is a sophomore majoring in English and law, history and culture. His column, “Saving Ryan’s Privates,” runs every other Wednesday.