Dear Zad: Internalized homophobia, nervous flirting, and coming out late

Josh Mayhew aka Dear Zad
Josh Mayhew aka Dear Zad
Author: Josh Mayhew

Dear Zad is a comedy write-in column where readers can seek advice from their trusted Zad on all their gay dilemmas.

Please note that Zad is not a licensed or qualified counsellor, but is highly-experienced in not sugar-coating your petty dramas when you are having a meltdown. You can find him shit-posting on Insta at @joshmayhewnyc.

Submit your problems to Zad anonymously using the box below! 


T**ry in Shreveport writes: 

Hey Zad,

I’m gay but hate being gay. How can I be straight?

You know bbe, Zad recently had an overzealous happy hour that resulted in a nap with a wild fever dream. 

In this dream, I was frozen in terror to discover myself at a sports bar. 600 televisions played the same football game, dart boards everywhere, the whole nine. I was wearing boat shoes and had extremely pale legs, and was standing in a circle of other men who looked like thumbs. A Michelob Ultra was clutched tightly to my chest. It was only then that I realized that in this dream I was, yes, a straight male.

I tried to gain composure, but looked up to see our girlfriends standing there, barely an eyebrow in sight, saying “thank yOW” to the bartender instead of “you.” They had attempted contouring. I was sad and I was disappointed. I was confused.

Luckily, once the discussion turned to how “Aaron Rodgers was really showin’ up for the Packers this season”, my fever broke and I awoke back in the cosmopolitan, scented candle gayness of my apartment.

I was home… safe… surrounded by my lube and my smart scale and my décor that didn’t resemble a freshman dorm.

But despite my relief, I was also thankful. Thankful that it was all just a dream – a nightmare, really – and that I would be forever able to continue my life as a vain, materialistic, dead-inside horny faguette. And only then did I understand the meaning of true gratitude.

Cheers to realizing that being gay is a GIFT on this planet, and quite frankly I pity those who don’t get to live inside of it every day of their lives. 

But hey – if being straight really is still your goal then tell me where the clitoris is. Huh? What’s that? No idea…? Well zamn, sounds like you’re more like a straight man than you thought.

Love, Your Zad, @joshmayhewnyc



R***in in Austin writes:

Dear Zad,

I have no clue how to talk to cute guys. How can I do it?

What’s good, my lil baloney bop!

Despite living in a world rich with unanswered mysteries (How does Sandra Bullock still look 30? If God hates gay people why did he put a G-spot in our asses? How can I be the laziest piece of shit to exist and also have a beach body? Etc Etc.), your question is the stuff of medical marvels. 

When considering what to say, an equally as important callout might be what not to say.

For instance: if there’s one thing gay men are proficient in detecting, it’s thirst. Instead of receiving military training, we get this instead and we can sniff it out like a drug dog in a Phoenix bus terminal.

And why are gays so thirst-aware? Because we done seen it time and time again! So who’s to say you can’t leverage this information as a refreshing advantage?

In a culture where boys are constantly gettin’ hit with the ole 1-2 of pic chasers, unsolicited holes and dongs, and dirty compliments, something more “normal” might ironically give you more of an edge apart from a potential partner’s current DM sh*tshow. Yes, I said it! A normal agenda-free conversation!

This can 1- encourage them to lower their guard enough to discover that you’re a catch, and 2 – give you a sense of whether or not they’re even worth it in the first place. (Never forget, f*ckable and insufferable are not mutually exclusive.)

I call them “coworker conversations.” Examples of this could look like:

“I’ve been lookin’ to get a hair chop similar to yours. Any recs in the city?”

“What are the happy hour specials at this shithole?”

“I need a pair of shoes like yours for a work thing… where those puppies from?”

Look bbe, you cannot control whether or not a guy will be responsive to you, nor should you ever try to. BUT…establishing communication that doesn’t feel pressurized and solely transactional might give you a leg up with potential partners over a sea of sweet thirsty bebes who are tryna go for the Olympic gold without even doing a couple training laps first.

Starting the race jusssst a little slower than your counterparts might just mean outrunning them in the end.

Love, Your Zad, @joshmayhewnyc


Sh****n in Victoria,

Dear Zad. 

I ended up coming out well into my twenties, but “dated” girls all throughout high school and college and even a little while after. Now that I’m out and proud, should I apologize to my beards? 

Hey S,

I ain’t gon’ sit here and provide a doctrine on human sexuality or spectrums or the evolution of queer identity. I routinely find my wallet inside of my refrigerator and literally cannot even explain how that happens.

But what I do know a thing or two about is opening up the past, and for me that decision has always come down to choosing which feeling I preferred to live with afterward. Plain and simple.

Sure, you can write a letter to say what you have to say and then request no reply. But that might leave them feeling voiceless in the matter, and it sort of sounds like you are looking for something from them – forgiveness, maybe that they understand, etc etc. An absolution of some kind. 


No matter the outcome, reaching out will be essentially like taking a dusty book on the shelf and revising it with a different ending and a bunch of additional edits throughout. You will receive more information and there may be more layers to process. As of now, you know what you know with these gals and you’ve sat with it. Is whatever feeling you have now worse than the possible outcome of not feeling absolved? But by opening that door again, anything can happen. You ready for that?

One thing to remember is that you have probably always done the best you knew how with what you had, even then. Analyze your feelings and weigh the outcomes before being impulsive, and then commit to being content with whatever you choose. 

Love, Your Zad, @joshmayhewnyc


For more from Zad (aka Josh), he’s on Instagram right here

Submit your own dilemmas in the box below…