“The Green Sweater” by Mark G. Harris from Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction (Cleis Press, 2014).
I’ve spent many an evening at an opening night party like the one in this story. I’ve also suffered through the wild mix of runaway hormones and romantic dreams that plagues the main character, Jay, after hitting it off with a really nice guy at said party. (“An hour’s conversation was sufficient to make Jay want to mate socks with Doug at a Laundromat years from now” is one of several great examples the story gives of that particular state of mind.)
It’s going great, and they’ve been chatting all evening. But now Jay is in search of a restroom, and the break affords him a chance to stop and think, and that means irrational self-doubt starts to seep in. I can’t imagine what I would have done if I’d encountered the shocking situation he is then faced with in this tale. Probably I would have fled the party and never looked back, which doesn’t make for much of a story, I know. Thankfully Jay isn’t inclined to run all the way away, nor is Doug inclined to simply sit and wait for him to return.