After the dissertation monster is slain, I’m back at it again. Thinking hard and long about homosexuality that is – in specific, my own. A very close friend, who has been unfortunately quite unsupportive through my coming out complained to me the other day about how she has been traumatized by the fact of lesbians making passes at her.
Traumatized? I asked, wondering aloud, what kind of passes girls had made at her.
Oh, they looked moony when they told me I looked beautiful she said. Then, she added in a horrified whisper, one even said she wished I were her girlfriend. Then she paused and swallowed.
Ah. There’s more?
She nodded. And added, to my mixed feelings of frustration and bemusement, there was one who was a good friend. She hugged me once. Hugged me, can you believe it? And then asked if maybe I felt the same way as she did.
And you said No?
Of course I did
And she didn’t try anything after that?
No. She did ask a few more times if I was sure. I said yeah, I was. She gave up after that.
I shrugged. Well, fair enough.
This girl, whom we’ll call Vita was angriest, she told me, that people had questioned her normal straight sexuality and sullied her beautiful platonic friendships by asking if there might have been a romantic attachment involved.
Has this never happened with a boy, I asked? Has no one ever mistaken a close male friend for a boyfriend or asked if something was happening with you and a boy when nothing was?
Of course. She said. That’s different, ya.
And boys have never made a move on you when you felt differently about them?
Of course they have. It’s flattering.
Well, you should be flattered about a girl falling for you too. It’s the same thing, dude.
No, she explained, as I debated walking away, let anyone who wants to be, you know, the l-word, be that (yes, this girl has a problem saying lesbian. She can say “gay woman”. The l-word, it seems, is too dirty for a lady). But why hit on straight women?
Because gaydar can go very very wrong, I explained.
I’ve given up on Vita and her views. But every time she throws her homophobic “I’ve been hit on by lesbians and thus I hate them” excuse at me, I think of my friend S. S should, by Vita’s rules, hate the guts out of me. I’ve written about S on this blog before. S was the last man I chased and he’s gay. When he told me so, finally (putting an end to my futile but laboured pursuit), we ended up coming a lot closer. Ultimately when I couldn’t live a lie anymore and wanted to come out, the first person I told I was gay, was S.
So S not only made friends with the lesbian who fell in love with him, but was also the one who took me to my first LGBT event at my university. He’s the one I call when I’m crying in the middle of the night and need a hand to hold. We’ve laughed about my running after him, wondered how I managed to pick a gay man to have a crush on and discussed his boyfriend and my dates.
Then in the course of the last few months, I fell in love with a woman I was convinced was gay. After a bit of flirting, I managed to ask her and she told me she was in fact straight. I was, needless to say, quite disappointed, and worse, afraid, because, by this time I’d had my conversations with Vita. When she told me she was straight, I was working the bar in my college and I’d just served her a drink. She pulled up a stool, sat down and said I think I need to tell you, I’m actually straight. I said Oh, feeling too many things at once. And then waited for her to stand up and leave but she leaned over and said Yeah, but don’t worry about flirting with me. I had a crush on that one over there (S!) before I knew he was gay. We ended up talking all night.
Am I just lucky I wonder? But it’s the likes of Vita who scare me – the ones that call themselves gay-friendly, “so long as you lot stay where you have to be”. Too much, if you ask me, like race segregation back in the 1950s. It’s okay if a white man flirts at a dance. A black man? Cause for complaint indeed. Not so different at all to say it’s okay if a straight man “flatters” one with his attentions. Let a lesbian woman try her luck and oh dear! Is that the virtue police I hear?