When Hulu first announced its new gay rom-com, I was sceptical: a young, attractive, white tw*nk who falls in love with his high school bully … where have I heard that one before? At first, I wasn’t even going to bother watching this if it weren’t for the star of the film, my celebrity crush and true king of the twinks, Jake Borelli (move aside Timotheé Chalamet). I mean, I’m just so tired of queer media feeding us the same stale storylines over and over again — the homophobic bully turns out to be gay, the white and middle-class protagonist struggles to keep his sexuality a secret, someone realises ‘hey, maybe I’m into [insert gender here] and I’m in love with my best friend,’ etc.
However, at one of the lower points of my love life, I decided to give it a watch, and man, do I hate the fact that I actually love this film to bits! As cheesy and overdone the premise may sound, boy does it hit me in a place I thought I had buried deep down to prevent me from feeling any unnecessary emotions.
For some context of my emotional reaction to this film: this year, after years of finding the heterosexual male inherently unattractive, I fell head over heels for one. Not only that, this guy was light-years out of my league: cool, popular, exceedingly alternative, and everything I could never be. Similarly, Sam, the film’s dorky protagonist, falls in love with Harry, a man who he would never have imagined eventually marrying. Harry (Niko Terho) – what a MAN – encapsulated all the boys I believed would’ve never paid attention to me … or perhaps even avoid me at all costs.
The truth is, for many queer men (especially those of colour who are gender non-conforming), most of our relationships with other men have been contoured by harassment, bullying, and to some extent, even violence. So when a man starts treating you like a human, sometimes you can’t help but think they’re in love with you — because our trauma clouds what it means to feel loved. I can’t help but see myself in Sam’s shoes, as he starts developing feelings for someone who he’s only ever known to hurt him. I slowly brace for impact, because deep down I cannot help but feel as though the worst might happen. Except it doesn’t. They fall in love and live happily ever after.This film gave me comfort at a time where I felt the greatest anxiety. I came to realise that maybe I can find a happily ever after with the men I’ve learnt to fear — perhaps not romantically, but I’m definitely not afraid to open myself up to a potentially great friendship. There are many overdone queer storylines, and this film succeeds in avoiding one of them: that all gay love stories must end in heartbreak and tragedy.