I haven't posted a Boyfriend List on the site in a while, but since the gorgeous OMNI of the Ruby Oliver novels, THE BOYFRIEND QUARTET, is now on ebook, I figure I should do some more. They used to be the most popular element of this blog, and you can see them all by clicking here -- including lists from Paula Chase, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, John Green, Diana Peterfreund and more.
Here is the Omni jacket in case you don't believe me it's gorgeous.
OKAY. Now, a girl and then boyfriend list that is as thoughtful and sweet as the novel it's promoting.
Michael Barakiva is the author of the adorably Armenian and romantic ONE MAN GUY, a gay love story with lots of humor, skateboarding, delicious food and charm. Barakiva is a theater director and yet ANOTHER Vassar grad who has written young adult fiction (here's a list), and went to Julliard as well. He plays soccer with the New York Ramblers, has recently founded The Upstart Creatures, a theater ensemble dedicated to creating events that co-mingle art and food, and lives in Manhattan with his husband, Rafael.
Michael Barakiva's Girl/Boy Friend List
1) Cindy – Cindy and I met when we were 11, and spent most of the year awkwardly flirting with each other. Then I screwed my courage to the sticking place and asked her out to the Fifth Grade Dance. We lost touch until a few months ago, when she read about OMG online and got in touch with me via the magic of Facebook. I see now that Cindy is happily partnered to a woman with two beautiful children. Were Cindy and I drawn to each other because of our queerness? Who knows?
2) Debbie and I dated for like three weeks or something when I was in seventh grade, but drifted over the summer and pretended it had never happened when we returned to school the following autumn. She was one of the few other people who was in both band and choir, so we obviously had lots in common (she an alto and clarinetest, I was a baritone and bassoonist). We didn’t really last, but I remember thinking her brother Frank was hella cute.
3) Gail – This is really where it got serious. Gail and I had known each other since 1st grade at McKnight, before my family moved a few blocks and I got rezoned to Drew. Then we became friends again in high school, where all the schools fed back into each other.
Gail was in the Lutheran Choir, as was I (don’t ask how an Israeli/Armenian ended up in the Lutheran Choir). We started dating my freshman year of high school and I thought we were very happy, until her best friend Sarah Barnes told me that Gail wanted to break up with me but didn’t know how. I did it for her, on the back of a school bus, on the way down to Culpepper, VA on a band/choir exchange (band and choir are figuring much more prominently than I would’ve guessed in this list).
Ironically, I met an oboist on that exchange (the double reeds are always sat next to each other) whom I would briefly date when he and I re-met in NYC a decade later.
Gail, like Cindy, got in touch with me recently when she read about OMG. She works in the same building in Central Jerse as my sister and my mom. Gail sang like an angel, and I’m incapable of thinking about her without hearing her dulcimer sounds.
4) Kim – Kim and I met after my sophomore (her freshman) year of high school, at McCarter’s Summer Shakespeare Camp. We continued dating for years. I remember the first year or two happily, and the rest as…well…how shall I put it?
Kim remains one of the smartest, most talented and most beautiful women I’ve ever known. I always felt like we were soul mates, and after we finally finally finally broke up, I kept on waiting for the time we’d become friends again. As is incredibly clear from her rejection of my facebook request, she is clearly not eagerly anticipating that time. We still have a few friends in common from our Shakespeare days, and occasionally I can fb-stalk her via them to she what she’s up to, but I can’t help but feel a sliver of sadness because I think if I had already been out when I met Kim, she and I would be great friends today.
Or maybe not. Maybe Kim’s narrative is radically different than mine, and I’m just this annoying guy she met who detoured her romantically for a few years. Who knows?
5) It’s hard for me not to get sentimental when writing about Linsay, my last girlfriend. We met in college. She was a director, also. She was a Drama/English double major, also. She was a year ahead of me. We became good friends. She graduated. We started dating. The best parts of my senior year I remember spending in her railroad apartment on 6th between B and C. Linsay grew up outside of the city, knew it well, and introduced me to it, much the way Ethan does to Alek in OMG. My 21st bday fell in the six months we dated, and she took me to Lutèce.
We broke up. It wasn’t pretty.
We tried to be friends again. It didn’t work.
We didn’t talk. It wasn’t pretty.
Then we tried one more time.
This time, it really came together.
Linsay and I have seen each other through everything. Her daughter Julia, the most gorgeous creature on the earth, is my goddaughter. Last weekend, my husband and I went to Brooklyn to celebrate Linsay’s birthday in Prospect Park, where I realized I liked her friends almost as much as mine.
Linsay’s best friend from college, Joy Peskin, is the editor of OMG and the reason it happened. Linsay is one of the best board game players and cooks I know. Sometimes you wonder who in your life is going to be there forever. Sometime around ten years ago, I stopped wondering with Lins.
THEN I CAME OUT
6) Ricky was the first person I met when I started backpacking through Europe. It was the summer after my second year of grad school. I was supposed to start a theater company but the funding fell through last minute and I was depressed so I marched into Juilliard’s Financial Aid Office, insisted on taking some crazy loan with crazy interest rates that I’m still paying off, and used that money to flee to Europe.
Ricky was a smashingly handsome 6’4 Aussie who was kind and fun and the kind of person whom everybody loved. I met him in the hostel in London, he joined me in Paris the following weekend, I skipped Budapest to spend an extra few days with him in the middle of my trip, and then he sorta showed up in the States ten days after I’d left him because we decided we couldn’t be apart.
We dated for almost two years and broke up right before 9-11. He’s back in Oz now (Sydney, I believe) and if he’s still single, snatch him up, Ozzies. He’s a catch.
7) Raymond and I met at one of the more underground gay bars in the East Village. He was pale with blue eyes, a combination I should’ve learned to avoid by then because of how my knees quiver around it. He had a real job, and a real apartment, and lots of other real things that real adults have. He also had lots of real problems, which I didn’t realize often accompany real adulthood.
We lived together for 12 of the 18 months we dated. When it was good, it was good. And when it was bad, well… We’re not in touch much, having gone through that post-break up phase where we ignored each other, then that next phase where we went out and drank too much wine and one of us would cry and apologize for hurting the other so. Now we’re in that phase where I refuse to call him because he always made me initiate everything, and he doesn’t call me because he never called me, before during or after our relationship.
He wrote me the loveliest email the day that OMG came out. I wish him well.
8) I met Rafael shortly before I left NYC for a year on a gig. We wrote each other letters. Real letters, with postage and envelopes and everything. We fell in love in absentia, which I believe is really the easiest way for other people to do it with me. I came back. We started dating. And even though our relationship has not always been “a bed of roses,” and we are no longer “spring chickens,” (both examples of phrases he uses that made me fall in love with him), we got married on May 26th, 2013 and I have been happier than I thought I could with this warm, handsome and incredibly kind man.