"Ok, my turn," Jimmy the Boy Toy says. "I'm going to tell you about my romance with a real celebrity."
Jimmy and I have been dating for about a month. He's the housemate of my older platonic friends, a student at the university, 21 years old, slim, sandy-haired, with the most perfect uncut Kielbasa I've ever seen.
I've just told him two celebrity dating stories, with me and Gregg Sulkin of The Wizards of Waverly Place (made up) and Nate Richert of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (real).
"But you're from Bismarck, North Dakota," I protest. "Where did you meet someone?"
"Yeah, I grew up in Bismarck. My parents are divorced. I was living with my Mom, but when Dad got a new job in California, I moved there with him. I only stuck around for a year -- I didn't like it. But I liked Dylan."
"Dylan who?" I ask.
Jimmy smiles. "Dylan O'Brien. Stiles on Teen Wolf."
He expects this to be a startling revelation. I've never seen Teen Wolf or heard of Dylan O'Brien, but I pretend to be impressed. "Wow, that's amazing! How did you manage to hook up with him?"
To a 15-year old gay boy from North Dakota, California seemed like heaven. Wall to wall beach hunks and movie stars! Jimmy expected to see gay couples walking hand in hand on the street, rainbow flags flying from every front porch, classes in gay studies at the high school...
But West Hollywood was 20 miles away, impossibly far when you didn't have a driver's license, and Manhattan Beach was wealthy, conservative, homophobic. No open gay couples, no rainbow flags. Mira Costa High School had a Gay-Straight Alliance, but Jimmy didn't fit in with the androgynous genderqueer drama-and-poetry crowd: he liked playing football and working on cars. Nobody even knew that he was gay, unless he told them.
No one knew that Dylan was gay, either. He was a senior, a little shorter than Jimmy, very handsome, with unruly black hair, prominent eyebrows, a slim, tight physique, and a cut Bratwurst beneath the belt.
"Why didn't anyone think he was gay?" I ask.
"He hung out with guys all the time. Isn't it crazy that liking guys marks you as straight? And he was a sports geek, playing soccer and basketball and watching all the games. No one realized that gay guys are about more than shopping for shoes at the Mall."
When Jimmy made the basketball team, an honor rarely bestowed upon a sophomore, Dylan gravitated toward him. Soon he was being invited to Fatburger with the posse after school. They watched games in Dylan's family room, made funny videos for youtube, and talked about their futures -- Dylan wanted to be a cinematographer, like his father, and Jimmy wanted to play pro basketball.
It was nice being part of a group, especially since they discussed sports, not girls.
Then one day Dylan texted him a photo. A selfie, taken in his bathroom, naked, with an aroused Bratwurst. "Thought you'd like dis," he wrote.
Jimmy was shocked. He thought Dylan must have made a mistake, meant to send it to a girlfriend, so he said nothing.
A while later, Dylan texted him again. "Hey, J, cool if you not into it. Wuz just hoping, lol."
Soon Dylan was driving him home from school every day. They sat in the garage, drinking beer and making out, and going down on each other.
"This is just buds fooling around," he said once. "I only like dating and romantic stuff with girls. You understand that, right?"
Jimmy was sort of in love with him, but he accepted the restriction, hoping that Dylan would change his mind someday.
But he didn't. And Jimmy didn't meet any other gay guys that he was interested in during the year. Finally he decided to move back to North Dakota, where he felt at home.
Plains, April 2014
"That's a really sad story," I say, still not certain who Dylan O'Brien is.
"Oh, no, we're still friends. We still hook up when I fly out to L.A. to visit my Dad. I should text him now...."
He pulls out his cell phone. I look over his shoulder while he texts.
Jimmy: Whazzup, Dylan!
Jimmy: Chillin with bf.
Dylan: Da boy w da big one?
Dylan: When u bring him to LA? Gotta meet.
Jimmy: Soons I get da time. Summer mebbe.
Jimmy logs off. "So how about we go out to L.A. this summer? You can meet Dylan, and show me all your old places in West Hollywood?"
I agree: I never turn down an excuse to go back to West Hollywood, and besides, planning an event is a sure-fire way to keep a boyfriend interested.
It didn't work. A couple of weeks later, Jimmy dumped me for a 22-year old.
Although we still hooked up on occasion
Jimmy is certainly friends with someone named Dylan who lives in L.A., and since he offered to fly out and introduce him, it's probably the actor Dylan O'Brien.
But nothing about their interaction suggests that they had a physical relationship. Jimmy could have been making that part up, a combination of wishful thinking and a desire to top my celebrity dating stories.
Dylan O'Brien is apparently involved in an intense bromance with his Teen Wolf costar Tyler Posey, and they both like to feed gay rumors, which suggests that they're actually heterosexual.