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A brand new community question for all of you guys to chime in on for the next issue of Imagine Magazine! Every month, we try to get a variety of answers from you guys on a topic that we feel needs to be discussed out in the open. So if you've got any thoughts at all on any of these issues, please feel free to comment in the reply section below! You can use your screen name or answer anonymously if you prefer. You can also send me your answers at Comicality@webtv.net if you want. All responses will be posted in a future issue of Imagine! So dive in on the 1st and 15th of every month for a new topic! Become a part of the discussion! We'd love to hear what you have to say! :)





Red flags! I know you've seen them before! You've sensed them, deep in your heart. In the back of your mind. Sometimes you just feel it in your bones!


Lord knows that I have!


You see a guy that is really cute, seems really approachable, has a good head on his shoulders and has a lot going for him, right? So maybe you decide to test him out. You get to know him a little better, and maybe even go out on a date together. Sounds like the normal progression towards a happy and healthy relationship, right?




Sometimes, you might see a little red flag pop up that tells you that something isn't exactly right here. It might be subtle, and it might NOT be so subtle. Maybe he cringes every time you touch his arm. Maybe he spends the whole night talking about how wonderful his 'ex' was. Maybe he flirts with another guy at the bar. Or maybe he punches a wall because your reservation was pushed back at the restaurant. Somewhere between a few 'off colored' comments, to a lustful grope of your ass without permission...you may suddenly be alerted to the idea that this may not be the guy for you.


But how can you tell ahead of time? For all of our younger Shackers, and some of our older Shackers too, who might be trying out this dating thing for the first time...what constitutes as a 'red flag' when it comes to finding someone to call your own? Are they possessive? Jealous? Do they suddenly pull out a burnt spoon and a lighter to shoot up with heroin? Hehehe!


When looking for a companion, what would alert you to stay away from certain people before that even becomes a problem that you don't want to deal with? Let us know down below!


Chances are...if your first date has a guy asking you, "Do you want to see a dead body? I brought condoms!"...you may want to back out of that situation and run for the hills as soon as possible! Hehehe!

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There is one red flag that I have never been good at determining how genuine it is but have gotten lucky to spot on occasion. Expressed homophobia. We’ve all seen this and it often hurts...but is it genuine or put on as a smoke screen? That’s the problem with this one.


A good example I can think of was a crush I had on this kid Billy when I was about 14. (Name May or may not be made up, you decide.) Billy moves into our neighborhood and he was a dream to look at. Beautifully bronze tanned, slim build, soft wavy sun bleached blond hair, ice blue eyes... OMG thinking about this kid now STILL gives me a shiver. I strategically wormed my way into his daily routine and immediately tried to get a fix on his interests. Like me he loved the beach, his main transportation was his bike or his skateboard just like me, he loved hockey and loved to play street hockey...We had so much in common that I found myself seriously falling in lust with him. I soon decided to test the water a bit and see if he was game. 


This one day I was watching TV and he came in wearing the usual summer uniform, his yellow “short” bathing suit and ratty sneakers; nothing more. Anyway, I was sitting in a chair near the door and he put his foot on it, giving me a very good view of one of his “boys”. I pretended not to see at first so I could burn the image into my mind before deciding to go for broke. I looked at him and shook my head “You come over to show off?” I laughed and motioned to his shorts. He looked down, and then really looked and realized how exposed he was. This beautiful boy, this kid who for the past couple of months had become my right hand man and had so much in common with me looked back at me and with a dead straight expression replied with “What, are you a f*ck*ng homo?” in a very disgusted tone.


The worst part part of it all is never being sure if this is an actual red flag or simply over doing it with the “No Homo” mask that some of us wore when we weren’t ready to come out to the world. That overcompensation that develops when some of us think that it “shows” somehow. Over reaction or not, when you are just as young and just as unsure of how you will be taken, the only way to take it is at face value. I sighed and said “Jesus dude, I was joking.” and got up and left him in my house. I took a walk to the store and got a drink, then went down to the tide wall and watched the ocean for an hour or so and decided that I no longer wanted to spend any time with someone who could be that mean at the drop of a hat. He took the hint and went home. He tried a few times to pretend nothing had happened but, it just hurt to think that he had the potential to hate me because I liked him. A few months later when winter was in full swing, his family moved away. Never knew where he went and he never knew any more about what happened that day other than I saw an ugly side of him that I wasn’t willing to tolerate...no matter how much else we had in common. Until that moment, ugly was miles away from him and then suddenly, it was all I could see in him. I didn’t know it until years later but, I may have been lucky to recognize that as a red flag. If not and he really was that homophobic, back in the 80s he would have been able to cause me some serious grief with others in the neighborhood.


It turns out, because I was so blinded by his beauty that I didn’t see, or chose not to see that he was just a jerk to anyone who he didn’t see as cool as himself. Always trust that gut feeling I suppose.


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Well, I've talked about my first kiss a few times before. The boy whom I shared it with was a classmate of mine in the 7th Grade. We kissed and held hands a few times during school (in private corners of the building), but he never offered to invite me to his house, and if I asked him over to mine, he'd give some pathetic excuse about why he couldn't. I realized, after a few weeks of running around in circles, that he wasn't willing to publicly come out to his family or friends, hence the need to insulate his time with me from the rest of his life. We drifted apart and stopped speaking outside of Science class, and I never had any more classes with him after that. Bottom line is: If you love someone, or you think you love someone, but they're reluctant to let you be a part of their life, they might not want the same things that you do. You might as well whack your head on a rock. If I could go back, I'd ask him about how "serious" we were, or what he wanted to get out of our relationship. That's why I believe it's important to communicate your intentions clearly.


Edited by Page Scrawler
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