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Loving a Straight Boy

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Short-short Story: 3,000 words / 12 pages
Genre(s): Fiction

A short-short story that may have you questioning what you would endure for love.
Author’s Note (Sept 09, 2018):

Earlier this week, I sat on my balcony splitting my attention between the book I was reading, and watching a new neighbor move into our condo complex. (I’d later find out his name is Noah, he’s incredibly free-spirited, a painter (artist), a surfer, and has this really cool bohemian vibe goin’ on.) As I watched him––clad only in a baggy pair of cargo shorts, high-top Converse, and an interesting array of skin-ink––I couldn’t help but notice the way his friend/moving helper openly admired him.
Loving a Straight Boy was born.

Edited by Men in Ink
Cover Art by Karrie Jax

12 pages, ebook

First published September 9, 2018

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About the author

Joseph Lance Tonlet

7 books374 followers
Joseph is a born and raised Southern Californian with a twenty-year stint of living in the Midwest. He loves the laid-back lifestyle of San Diego and considers himself lucky to live where people dream of vacationing.

A lifelong reader of m/m fiction, he began his writing career one night sitting at his MacBook and has never looked back. He writes to bring the characters he dreams about to life.

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5 stars
38 (36%)
4 stars
22 (20%)
3 stars
19 (18%)
2 stars
12 (11%)
1 star
14 (13%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 52 reviews
September 14, 2018
This story makes me want to punch something. But I am not a gay man, so I had my brother, who is, read it too.

His words (heavy on the sarcasm): "Oh, yeah, every gay boy wants to hear how his straight crush fucked a girl in the ass."

Demeaning, humiliating, fucked up.

Update: My friend Daniel read it too. He texted me this morning, "What the hell is this garbage?"
Profile Image for ☆ Todd.
1,334 reviews1,470 followers
December 26, 2018

I guess this was supposed to be platonically romantic, but, uhhh, yeah, NO.

A true friend (straight, gay, or whatever) would encourage their best friend to find his own happiness, not play any part in allowing whatever the hell this dude's hangup happens to be.

People don't get their heart's desire ALL THE DAMN TIME, but they deal with that shit and MOVE ON as best they can.

This whole thing just has "unhealthy" tattooed on every square inch of its skin, down to the bone.
Profile Image for Martin.
738 reviews392 followers
December 2, 2018
You know what would get 5 stars from me? The inspiration behind the story. The author watching the new hot hunky (straight) neighbor move in from the balcony and seeing the guy’s best friend carry boxes and openly adore the man while they settle in? That would make for an awesome story.

But, what we did get was three letters: W.T.F ?!

This short is about a straight guy and a gay guy snuggling on a sofa. The gay dude is in love with his best friend, but the friend is actually straight, talks about sex with girls and doesn’t want his gay friend to be touched by other gay men, even though he himself wouldn’t ever touch him either?? I mean, WTF is the purpose of this story??

Thank God, it’s just a short and I’ll chalk up those 10 minutes of reading to my curiosity about another work of the author of ‘Quillon's Covert’ – which was the ultimate taboo breaker.

Still, I don’t get why this story was even written? It’s frustrating in every way you can imagine…

2 stars!
Profile Image for Trio.
2,900 reviews171 followers
September 10, 2018
Who else could get five stars from me in under 12 pages?

Damn those blurry lines between romantic love, sexual desire, and friendship. Then add in expectations and personal goals… well whatever form the future takes for these two men, fingers crossed JLT brings us along for the ride.

I can’t get the straight guy out of my mind. If he’s on the level, doing what he must so he doesn’t lose his best friend, then this is so bittersweet for both men.

We only know him through the internal dialog of the gay man, and the little bit of conversation between the two. It’s possible that the straight man is tentatively testing the waters, at a pace he feels comfortable with, and maybe there’s hope…?

However, if the sexual attraction and romantic feelings are truly one sided? I understand not wanting to lose someone you love, but stringing your smitten bestie along with occasional promises of “probably”, well darn, that’s cold.

If he’s a master manipulator, he’s loving the hell out of this.

Whichever way it is, I’m intrigued by the straight guy. He’s a complex and interesting character and I could just as easily love him as hate him.
Profile Image for Moony Eliver.
286 reviews155 followers
December 21, 2018
I wasn't going to review this 12-page short, but the more I think about it, the more impressed I am with what Tonlet accomplished in only these few words. If you've ever had a relationship where your stronger feelings were unrequited, or if you've kept someone on the line that you loved but not in the way they needed, this one will pierce you.
Profile Image for ♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣.
711 reviews149 followers
September 22, 2018
This is sweet, and for reasons specific to our two characters.

We're permitted entry into the inner workings of their friendship by way of one playing narrator, but I have a good sense of both of them. That's good writing, yo.

Successful storytelling is also conveying emotional responses twixt your characters in ways that allow the reader to empathize with and understand both of them. Two for two here, folks.

And to do this talented writerly type stuff in a short story: we've hit the trifecta, scored a hat trick, tripled down on a winner, pick whichever descriptor floats yer cayak cuz it's all true.

I looooove a good short story because they're such a challenge to write: fully formed characters whom I know better than when I started reading, and about which I'm still thinking now.

My only niggle: the last paragraph. Don't take me outta my fantasy, man. ;)

I love this. Thank you, JLT. <3
Profile Image for Elena.
722 reviews55 followers
January 16, 2020
I think it's me and not the book...

I don't believe a gay guy would act like that towards his straight BFF.

And what the straight MC asked the gay MC (not) to do is, IMO, simply cruel...

The writing style was OK.
Profile Image for DB Kimmers.
221 reviews41 followers
September 10, 2018
No tags here, because once you give this a read I think you will determine every reader will have their own, for this unexpected, yet delightful, short story from the talented Joseph Lance Tonlet.

Is Loving a Straight Boy bittersweet or just sad? Is it two men’s unique Dom/sub relationship or a twisted version of love? Is it gay for you or just gay?

JLT creates two very interesting characters we as the reader get a peek at by way of a gay man’s narration of his and his straight best friends’ nontraditional lifelong friendship. And as always, invites empathy. Which is what has made him one of my top authors from the first pages of his I ever turned.

For this reader this story portrays the overwhelming feeling of being so in love with someone you’ll give up that love being returned in the way you want, just for those rare, precious moments you do share with them. And yet, at the same time, allow that person to control and manipulate your desire for their own gratification. But… is that really the case, or are they both getting exactly what they want? It begs the question, “What would you give of yourself for love?”

Will Loving a Straight Boy leave you questioning and wanting more? Absolutely! But when doesn’t Joseph Lance Tonlet leave his readers yearning?
Profile Image for Adam  .
237 reviews22 followers
December 2, 2018
"What the f*** did I just read?", isn't something I've really used before. But this one definitely deserves that remark. This is one of the most dysfunctional "best friend" relationship I've ever read. It's really weird to me through and through, and I'm incredulous at the plausibility of such a relationship. I have so many issues with their relationship, I don't even know how to start.

The next portion of the review may contain spoilers!

For convenience of the review, I shall refer to the gay protagonist as G, while his "straight" best friend as S.

G has fallen in love with S for the longest time, and has even confessed his love for S long ago. While S does not reciprocate his love, S still remains his best friend. Firstly, it's unbelievable that S would allow that kind of intimacy with G (toying of chest hair, touching of nipples, the long list goes on..) when S knew that G is in love with him. Why did S even allow it? Why would any straight guy allow it? It does nothing but lead G on to think that he still has a chance someday.

Despite S already making it clear that he already does not have any romantic interest for G, G still clings on the hope that S will change someday. The intimacy they are sharing certainly did not help. The way G is infatuated and obsessed with S is so unhealthy and freaky, with G repeatedly trying to get S to love him. One quote certainly came to my mind:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results."
-Albert Einstein

The most disturbing thing of all is that S wants G to keep his virginity for S, when S will never fall in love or have sex with G. I'm not sure which is worse, that S asked for it, or that G is okay with such an arrangement. S doesn't treat G like a best friend, or friend at all. It's like G is some possession of S which cannot be shared with anybody else, and G is stringed along on a leash and unable to break free. Time to wake the f*** up, G...
I can only see this twisted story resulting in a tragic end.

It would certainly be interesting to read from S's point of view, because I am curious to know what is going on in that head of his.
Profile Image for JustJen "Miss Conduct".
2,269 reviews150 followers
September 14, 2018

4.5 star review by The Blogger Girls.

How much can you really say about a 12 page story without giving away too much? This one is just a quick glimpse into the lives of two young men, best friends for years and now in college. One is gay (aka the “GG”), the other not (aka the “SG). They both love each other, but not quite the same way. It is that love, I believe, that enables the SG to be a little flexible for his bff who, over the years, has not held anything back on letting his feelings be known. The SG has not been unclear about his feelings either, and there is only so much he is comfortable doing. Though they haven’t clearly laid all the do’s and don’ts out, they’ve reached a somewhat symbiotic relationship.

I’ve been a fan of Mr. Tonlet’s writing from day one. He has the ability to write characters that are a bit different, whether it be kinks or relationships, and make them completely endearing, so that no matter the subject matter, you just want to keep reading about them. This holds true for his full-length stories, this micro-story, and everything in between. In just a few short pages, I cared about these guys, wanted more for them and wanted to rally at the SG for the unjust nature of one-sidedness to the GG.

Bottom line – it made me feel, in all kinds of directions, and that is something that Mr. Tonlet accomplishes over and over. I highly recommend you pick up some of his work, and this free little gem is a great “JLT starter kit.” I have no doubt it will have you running for more.
Profile Image for Nanna Sander.
659 reviews39 followers
January 18, 2020
Heart-breaking and a unhealthy love/lack there of.

In just 12 pages, it intrigued me, and it painted a picture of a complex situation with complex characters.

Especially the straight guy intrigued me. Is he trying to come to terms with loving his friend romantically, or is he just a douchebag stringing along his friend - and essentially dooming him for a lifetime of unhappiness?

I wish there was more, and I would really like to see this be turned in to a full lenght novel (preferably with a HEA, of course ;) )
Profile Image for Cary.
103 reviews10 followers
February 14, 2020
This hit really close to home. I used to be in love with a straight boy. And this book reminded me so much of our time together. It was painful but I remember several moments of happiness when I was with him. But there were lines I couldn't cross. It was torture. But I endured it because I didn't want him to go away. I stayed because I needed his company and despite the fact that he did not need me the same way.
Profile Image for Dutchgirl.
552 reviews
September 14, 2018
What did i just read?? what an asshole is the straight friend he is fucking girls and tells his gay friend about it knowing it must hurt because the gay friend is in love with the straight boy (WHY I DO NOT KNOW!!) But listen the Gay friend must stay a virgin and pine after the straight boy for all his life. Now you tell me with friends like that who needs enemies??
Profile Image for Sara .
1,402 reviews155 followers
September 10, 2018
Stupid book.
^^^that means it made me cry^^^

I get it.
I do.

The discipline and self denial of being the one who wants to be wanted by the one who can't give what is needed.
I get it.
I do.

The blurred lines of platonic and romantic love and the heartache of unrequited love.
I get it.
I do.

The need to keep someone in your life even if it means being ridiculously selfish to ask for what you need because you know that person will do anything for you.
I get it.
I do.

I get everything this story is and yet it's sad.
I am writing this at my desk with wet stuff leaking from my eyes pretending it's allergies.
I get it.
I do.

But that doesn't mean I wish parts of this were different.
I kinda wish I hadn't read this.
I get it.
I do.

It made me sad.
Both men deserve better and yet both men deserve exactly what they are getting.
I get it.
I do.
Profile Image for Helena Stone.
Author 30 books120 followers
September 10, 2018
You know an author is beyond talented when he can take over your mind with just 3000 words. Hours after I finished reading this story I’m still playing the ‘what if’ game, wondering what might (or might not) happen next—if anything will ever happen and whether that would be good or bad for either or both of the friends featured.

Unrequited love, or rather unrequited attraction is often beyond heartbreaking. And yet, there is no denying the two ‘boys’ in this story deeply care for each other. All would be just dandy if it wasn’t for the fact that one of them is gay and the other straight. And while the straight guy is perfectly happy to be close and cuddle, his gay life-long friend yearns for more.

And that’s all I’m going to say about this gorgeous, breath-taking and heart-shattering short story, except that I think it poses more questions than it answers. Pondering those questions is both a delight and frustrating. Of course I can come with answers of my own. In fact, I adore books that allow me to work out for myself what might happen next, after the story on the page has ended. But in this case I can’t help wishing that maybe the author will one day feel the urge to let us in on what he imagines might (or might not) happen in the future.

The main puzzle I was left with though was whether or not this story described the ultimate form of tease and denial, and, if so, whether that means the straight guy is knowingly teasing and denying his best friend or the gay man has a masochistic streak so strong he’ll take it even if there’s no such intention from his friend.

Suffice to say that these 3k words will stay with me a lot longer than most full length novels do and that I’ve yet to figure out whether I love or hate the author. Regardless of the answer to that last question, there is no doubt that Loving a Straight Boy once again shows off Joseph Lance Tonlet’s incredible writing talent in all its magnificent glory.
Profile Image for Ann.
1,452 reviews125 followers
November 21, 2018
Always heed the tags with a JLT story.

Bittersweet doesn't even scratch the surface and this story is only 12 pages. But, it's a heartbreaking moment in time between two friends. One who wants and one who can't give.

Dammit Joe, you slay me every time.
Profile Image for Lisa Reynolds.
Author 42 books40 followers
July 31, 2019
Loving A Straight Boy (2018) by Joseph Lance Tonlet is a short story about unrequited love.

This is a great book which deals with the subject of unrequited love and the psychological dynamics that are often at play in such situations. The protagonist and the straight man he’s in love with are both very flawed characters in the situation and both their personalities make an incredibly difficult situation even harder for them both. Countless times I have been in the position of the main character feeling love for a person it isn’t going to happen with and I understood the pain, the emptiness and the longing that the author has written very well in the piece. But the way he is handling it is all wrong. His approach is very forceful and he is not accepting that this man has a right to feel how he feels too. But the other man’s approach is just as bad. He loves the power he has over the main character and the way he relishes in the power he has over him is sickening. He is leading him on in short even though he says nothing will happen. His actions are very different from his words with a lad he knows worships the ground he walks on. He may not ever want to be with him but he wants to always have complete control over him.

Ultimately it is quite a sad tale filled with needs for love, possession and lack of understanding and communication. This piece is very thought-provoking and is sadly often what does happen when you put your own needs always before the needs of others. Both characters are quite selfish for the vision of their own future that they see. It is a story of a very intense and toxic friendship for both of the characters’ wellbeings and you find yourself wishing they would get away from each other, have some space and maybe the situation would become more healthy. Maybe they could even still be friends but be able to find happiness in their respective love lives and not be so wrapped up in each other. Because they both are for very different reasons.

A really great read with great insight into the emotional dynamics of not been able to pull away or to even try to.
Profile Image for Silkeeeeeereads.
1,344 reviews91 followers
October 3, 2018
It’s been five days since I read this book. I told someone I had read it and I felt unsettled. I still feel unsettled. I don’t want to write spoilers, but hey, it’s a free read that you can download from this author’s website, I suggest everyone who likes M/M to check it out and see how it makes you feel. I love this author. He always makes me feel something. It’s not always comfortable, but life isn’t either.
Profile Image for Fiona Warner.
29 reviews8 followers
September 10, 2018
Breathtaking. I swear I didn’t inhale or even blink from the first word to the last! So full of angst, my heart actually hurts. Joseph has written a beautifully sad tale of unrequited lust between a gay man and his straight best friend. They love each other dearly, but not in the same way. How can the situation ever resolve itself? Read Joseph’s brilliant words to find out. Another truly excellent read from an exceptionally talented author.
Profile Image for BevS.
2,689 reviews2 followers
May 14, 2021
Thanks to JLT for this teeny, tiny freebie but it certainly wasn't my favourite of the stories I've read by him; Grif's Toy and it's sequel Wes' Denial are a completely different kettle of fish however.

I wasn't impressed by the 'Stockholm Syndrome' type thrall the straight best friend had over his gay bestie [the guy who was in love with him, and had been for some years. Not a secret], and to insist that GG [gay guy] didn't give his virginity up to anyone before he was 'given' permission just smacked of someone who's a total control freak....as long as everything is going his way, who cares how it affects anyone else. I also didn't like the way the SG [straight guy] used a woman as a substitute [and bragged about it] for the GG he supposedly cared a great deal for, but apparently not enough to enter into a physical relationship with. That of course is his right, he's not gay but I don't think cruel, demeaning and degrading are too strong word-wise for the way he treats his friend....oh, and let's throw humiliating and cheap in there too for good measure. All in all, SG was a complete and utter sh*t!!

JLT always signs his books off with the phrase 'pleasure through denial', and I usually understand that in the context of the BDSM stories that he writes. On this occasion though IMHO, the denial was not an organic thing....I could definitely foresee mental and physical issues for GG in the future.
Profile Image for Nicoletta.
53 reviews1 follower
January 3, 2019
It was good, in a very messed up way. I mean, if this is not a toxic relationship, especially for the gay guy, I don't know what it is. This is not romance, nor friendship. There's nothing good, nothing healthy in this relationship.
The story, though, is written very well, because I felt all the anguish and the hopelessness of the main character.
But really, if someone finds themselves in this kind of relationship, they should run away as fast as possible.
Profile Image for J.
437 reviews
January 16, 2020
This a sad and stupid read. Like this boy is dedicated to his selfish straight “best friend” who wants him to never look for a love conquest and forever be his and stay a wanting virgin forever. While he goes about screwing females Willy nilly. And this idiot thinks his infatuation for the selfish douche is love, and is willing to sacrifice his entire being to this guy and watch him live his life and never really play an important part of it. What a useless misguided soul. Thought this short would go further and show how this ‘doormat’ of a boy would grow up from being taken for granted but nope it ended with him accepting being unaccepted as his fate. Like I said just a sad and stupid thing.
Profile Image for BB.
298 reviews7 followers
September 10, 2018
I love the inspiration behind this short story, but it’s truly heartbreaking.
It’s hard to read because I empathize with the one who’s so in love, you want him to standup for himself and move on from him. On the other hand I want to get angry at the other guy for being so selfish and damn manipulative, but they’re both in that situation because they choose to be. So who am I to judge..

How can JLT put so much feels in just a few pages?! Because he’s that good, that’s why!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 52 reviews

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