You were either a Dawson Leary or a Pacey Wittier girl. Was it the intelligent, sensitive boy next door or the wise-cracking, sexual bad boy? For me, it was always Dawson, no questions asked.
Then after several seasons, along came Jack McPhee. The boy from a troubled family who stole Joey away from Dawson. His sensitivity wasn’t as angsty as Dawson’s, yet he seemed to have more of an excuse to have “woe is me” moments. He was the perfect brother to his sister, a great friend and even Dawson couldn’t hate him for too long. Jack McPhee shook things up for me. I started doubting my dedication to Dawson once his character appeared.
It was the green jacket that he wore that started it all. The characters all wore clothes from J-Crew that season and Jack McPhee sported a green jacket with a white stripe going down the sleeves. He wore it in almost every episode that he first appeared in. Dusty wore that same jacket. It was his favorite. We used to call it his “hip 90s jacket” and I’m not sure why we called it this, but it was the only thing it was referred to as.
He and I had been going out on and off throughout high school and I considered him my best friend. He, along with several other friends of ours, would meet after school on Wednesdays at my house to watch Dawson’s Creek. We called ourselves “The DC Crew”. Dusty and I would wait after everyone left to talk about the episodes and how we wished we lived in Capeside.
“I’d wanna be Jen,” I’d tell him, because I never could stand Joey. To me, Jen was the true gem of the show.
“I think I’d be Jack,” Dusty would say and then we’d kiss for hours until my lips would start hurting.
“I can’t believe Jack is gay,” my friend Jeremy said after the episode in which Jack revealed to the others that he was indeed gay. “I’m so not watching this show anymore. I don’t know what I’d do if one of my friends were gay. I’d probably stop talking to him.”
We were all shocked. I believe it was the first time we were ever introduced to a gay character on a TV show that we watched, and the fact that it was Jack McPhee, this totally un-gay personality. Jack McPhee, Joey Potter’s boyfriend. Jack McPhee, Dawson’s arch nemises – we just couldn’t believe it. And … he was wearing the “hip 90s jacket.”
“You know what that means don’t you?” Jeremy teased. “Dusty must be gay too if he and Jack have the same taste in clothes.” And we’d all laugh, including Dusty even though the statement would always just kind of hang in the air. It was not the first time the question of sexuality lingered around Dusty. The boys in our class had called him a fag plenty of times because of he could get any girl he wanted, yet he refuse sex from everyone of them. The fact that he got every part he tried out for in every school play and his awesome fashion sense certainly didn’t help.
“Would a gay guy wanna do this?” Dusty would ask me after I’d give him his fifth blowjob for the week. And I’d find myself thinking, sure he would. I’m not the one getting oral pleasure, you are.
But then Jack came along. He shook up Joey, he shook up Dawson, he shook up me and he shook up Dusty. A week after that episode, Dusty and I were sitting by my pool sharing a cigarette and we watched as the fire fell onto his “hip 90s jacket” burning a small hole.
“I hate this jacket anyway,” he said.
“You love it.” I said.
“It’s hip,” I insisted.
There are moments in my life that stick out more than others. I remember how I felt crying in the bathroom after I lost my virginity. I can remember my tremors of excitment when the boy I met on vacation removed my pantyhose from underneath my party dress. I remember seeing my mom cry as she drove off from dropping me off at my college dorm for the first time. The moment Dusty told me he was gay will always be fresh in my memory and the lump it created in my throat is irreplaceable.
I can’t watch Dawson’s Creek anymore without being bitter, because I refuse to believe it was anything else.
Dawson’s Creek made my boyfriend gay. There, I said it.
Carrie Nations hopes no one was harmed by the mention of the word “blowjobs.” She’s still trying to get that stain out of her blue dress. You can impeach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.