Declaring romantic intentions is a scary prospect for most teenagers. It’s even scarier if the teenager is gay and uncertain of the other person’s orientation. It’s scarier still if that gay teenager lives in Alliance, Neb., in 1993.
In such a case, the safest course is to give the object of desire a mix tape of love songs, even if they are heterosexual love songs by the power-pop rocker Matthew Sweet. It provides the sender plausible deniability. One can always claim, “Oh, I just like the music.”