In seven minutes, Tim Kuhn will progress from first date to realizing he'll never be straight. And that terrifies him.
As part of Monday night's Stoop Storytelling show at Center Stage, Kuhn will share with a crowd of strangers how he came to terms with being gay. As the show approached, he spent a considerable amount of time revisiting his breakthrough moment, practiced his monologue several times and now says he's more or less ready. So what's the hitch?
"I'm kind of terrified of storytelling," he admitted in a phone interview. "Well, not storytelling, but public speaking."
Still, given his subject material, the Harford County native is eager to conquer his nerves. The theme of Monday's show is "Eureka!", with the evening's seven performers discussing discoveries, breakthroughs or brave new worlds. Kuhn's coming out story consists of all three.
The brave new world was Hood College in Frederick. Only two years after the school had become fully co-educational, Kuhn enrolled with the intention of surrounding himself with women in order to "become straight by necessity."
It took one date -- his first ever -- for Kuhn to realize his plan was naive. Looking back at the events years later has has only reinforced the point.
"That seems like a false start," he said. "That's an impossible premise to base any major life decision on ... to break from the rural country high school to go to an all-girls school just to be straight. I'm a bit embarrassed about that."
And if Kuhn is a little ashamed and nervous, what about the girl who made this story possible?
"She doesn't know," Kuhn laughed. "She transferred after that first year, and we're not in touch."
If you go
"Eureka! Stories about discoveries, breakthroughs and brave new worlds" is at 8 p.m. on May 20 at Center Stage, 700 N. Calvert St. Tickets are $20. Call 410-332-0033 or go to stoopstorytelling.com.