A freelance journalist's story about an old high school bully hitting him up on the gay dating app Scruff is going viral this week.
In an op-ed published to BuzzFeed on Nov. 1, John Paul Brammer, who is currently based in Washington D.C., details when an old bully messaged him on the app while visiting his hometown in Oklahoma.
"Hi," the first message sent to Brammer read. "What's up?...I think you know me lol."
The person, who had a blank profile, then said they "went to school together."
"We did? Who are you?" Brammer replied.
"You probably don't like me... haha. I was a little mean to you," they said.
Brammer, who said was often harassed in school, said the man on the other end of the app, wasn't a main bully but "he was everyone who didn't stop it."
"I think it was the casual way he joined in on the harassment that made me hate him," Brammer wrote. "The way after someone called me 'faggot' he would parrot them, ally himself with them, use me to form solidarity with others."
"Are you mad?" he asked Brammer.
"Yes," he replied, asking if he remembered the way he treated him in school.
He said "no lol...but I was a real asshole back then."
"I thought about it, and when I calmed down, I reached a conclusion I didn't expect," Brammer wrote in his BuzzFeed piece.
"This person wasn't the one-dimensional villain I'd made him out to be. All this time, he'd been closeted," he wrote. "Just like me. Yes, he had hurt me. Yes, he was wrong to hurt me. But I realized he was a victim too. In the town he and I had grown up in, being gay was seen as one of the worst things you could be. You might as well not even be human.
"When he saw me getting pushed or getting my books smacked out of my hands or getting slurs thrown my way, he must have been relieved it wasn't him," he continued. "And I can't forgive that. But I can understand it."
"Want to fool around?", the profile told Brammer.
"No," he replied. "Have a good life, man."
You can read Brammer's full op-ed piece via BuzzFeed by clicking here.