So there we in our sleeping bags out under the stars in my back yard. I don’t remember our conversation ending, it’s just that there were longer and longer pauses between his comments and mine. As the pauses grew longer, I grew sleepier. But I know I wasn’t dreaming when my friend did something I didn’t understand then and still don’t fully understand now.
Just now I googled definitions for the word “tousle” and here’s what I got: “Tousle, to make something (especially a person’s hair) untidy. She reached up behind his head and gave his hair a tousle.”
That’s the word for it. My friend, my male friend, my 15-year-old active-in-the-LDS church male friend, had reached over and was tousling my hair. Maybe he thought I was asleep. Maybe he was just curious about what my hair felt like, but I know this: It wasn’t an accident.
It wasn’t just a single tousle that could be explained by a sleepy involuntary stretch that just happened to graze the top of my head. He tousled my hair deliberately and fairly slowly. It wasn’t just a few strokes for a few seconds. He went from my forehead to the back of my head several times.
I didn't realize it at the time, but as I've thought about it over the years, he was touching me in a very loving and affectionate way, or at the very least in a most curious, exploratory way. It was totally chaste in way, like petting a dog, but in another way it was also incredibly sexually charged because his fingers were in my hair, and he was a 15-year-old boy who was touching another 15-year-old boy as they slept out under the stars on a warm summer night. At least that's how I see it NOW as a married man and father.
But back then, as an inexperienced lad, I wondered what was going on, and I wondered what I should say or whether to say anything. What I decided to do may surprise you, or perhaps you’ve already guessed. To be continued.