Ben was a workmate of mine back in the Stone Ages when I had a regular job. I know! I can’t believe it either. I mean what are the odds of having a workmate called Ben? He was beautiful. Ripped, too – he was a semi-pro swimmer and I suppose he needed a job because of the “semi” bit. He liked taking his clothes off, which sadly happened very rarely because for some reason he didn’t do it at work. Neither did I though, so fair deal, I suppose.
Ben came from a different culture and let’s end it here because everybody who worked with me already knows who he is, and I’d like to stay alive for a bit longer. He had this thing where he’d come over for some reason, shake my hands and not let go. He would just stand with me having a nice chat and holding my hands. For, like, five minutes. It was very nice to have my hands held by someone impossibly hot, but it was also very confusing. Is this supposed to happen in his culture?
(So I just googled that which is the obvious thing that occurred to me never, because I have the intellectual capacity of a dead boar’s skull, but even my sudden IQ increase didn’t help because there is no answer to that. Which I suppose technically means no because if an entire nation had a habit of holding hands man-to-man with someone who is your workmate that should surely be publicised?)
Ben would also come by and put his hand on my back, which would get sweaty very quickly for reasons unrelated to temperature in the room. This happened both when we were alone in a room and in public, which added to the confusion. And I got stuck. Because there is no way that I am aware of to ask your workmate who might potentially be homophobic or accuse you of some sort of shenanigans “mmm Ben are you gay by any chance? Just asking for a friend, but if the answer is yes, do you fancy me and should we discuss that in my bed?”
And then the thing happened.
We’re in an elevator, just the two of us and Ben lifts his t-shirt for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON and shows me his abs. My mind sort of blanked so I lifted my t-shirt to show him my lack of abs. Then we got out, stood outside the door leading to department of finance and he said in a very low growl “I like your tattoos very much”. And then the door opened, someone irrelevant came out and I said “gottagobye” and ran inside.
I have never forgiven myself for that. Until two weeks ago, when they had an outing and I saw pictures of Ben with his kids. I was blissfully unaware that there were kids. But it dawned on me: they must have been made using some sort of female woman of opposite sex. Which meant bad news. Still, I liked him even without body objectifying, so I copied the photos to a separate USB stick and went to give them to Ben.
You should have seen the reaction. His face dropped as if I said he was getting fired for not taking his top off enough. I was nice to him, I wasn’t drunk or rude, I definitely didn’t say anything wrong, in fact I found it lovely, because the kids totally looked like Mini-Hims. But he took the USB stick, mumbled thanks, bolted out of the room and never held my hand again. And things were going to get worse. I bumped into him at a rather elegant party – this was a special event for me because I am a person that is legally forbidden from entering elegant parties. I was in disguise though – disguised as a normal person wearing something that isn’t leather or forge-dirt-stained. He was extremely handsome in a suit and holding hands with a female woman of opposite sex. Who – yeah rub it in – didn’t just look gorgeous, she looked like a nice person. Thanks, Universe.
He couldn’t pretend we don’t know each other, what with me shrieking “OMIGOD Ben it’s so nice to see you here,” so he introduced me to Suzanne. She totally looked like someone who’s name is Suzanne. Definitely not an Adele or Helga if you catch my drift. And then I said “hey, why don’t we take a pic together,” and Ben said “yes of course, I just have to go to the bathroom first”. Two minutes later I saw them leaving in a hurry. To this day I don’t know what exactly he said to her. On one hand I’d kill to find out, on the other maybe it’s one of those things it’s better not to know.
Having had a few years to think about it, not that I think about it daily or anything, I figured out he was bi and one of those who don’t want it publicised. And essentially the moment I found out there was somebody else in his life I moved from “I like holding his hands” to “RED ALERT” category. I am aware of the internal turmoil that must have caused. But, proving yet again I am a bad person, all I can think of is what would have happened had I not ran away when he complimented my tattoos.
That was me banging my head on keyboard, lads and ladies.