A few weeks ago, I was sitting outside, basking in the beautiful, nighttime Fire Island air with a group of oh-so-lovely, shiny new friends. We were sipping wine like it was going out of style and gazing at the surplus of stars exploding across the charcoal sky.
When you live in Manhattan, something about being out of the city and breathing country air and staring into shiny bright stars is both intoxicating and mesmerizing. We become drunk on starlight and ocean smells.
Or maybe it's just all the pot and booze. Whatever. I don't know. I don't care. But babe, for whatever reason, we were ~opening up~.
Naturally the subject quickly turned into sexuality. With hazy eyes and sun-kissed skin, we began to discuss the fine line of wanting to be a girl and wanting to have sex with a girl.
In between sips of Sauvignon Blanc, the beauties were all telling tales of blurring the lines between idolization and sexualization.
I was unusually quiet as I took in the sea of stories. I stared into my white wine and really began to think about it. Have I ever been confused about wanting to be a girl and wanting to have sex with a girl? Nah, not me. I've always wanted to have sex with the girl. Oh, I can be one smug kitten, can't I?
The following night, when I was in the throes of a nightmarish sleep between cold sweats, I remembered: There was girl in 9th grade who we'll delicately refer to as Marina.* Marina was a junior and I was freshman, and the moment I saw her in the school hallway, girl, I felt something. Something new. And like all things new, the feeling scared the living shit out of me.
She had no idea who the hell I, spindly, pimply Zara, was, but I spent months in the cafeteria staring at her with young doe eyes. She was a little punk rock chick, with winged liner and cat-eye glasses. She looked like a grunge pin-up model. She wore creepers, cool shirts with band names I'd never even heard of and distressed top knots before they were even trendy.
She had that thing. That thing certain girls have that make you notice them in a crowd. The thing that makes you stare at just one dancer on a stage of 100 dancers. She had that spotlight hanging above her head.
When I crossed her in the hallways, I clumsily dove into a classroom because I was too wildly intimidated to be in her presence. Her coolness and her beauty and her rockstar style was too much for me. I was afraid it would knock skinny, pale me into the dirty carpeted floors of my shitty high school.
I knew I was in the throes of a crush. Only I couldn't tell if she was just the kind of girl I really, truly wanted to be, or if I wanted to jump her porcelain bones. I knew I was attracted to women, but this felt different. I was only 15, but I had already had sex with a girl the summer prior and loved every second of it, so I wasn't exactly in a state of confusion over my sexuality.
But I was confused about this damn girl. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine kissing her Angelina-like lips. I closed my eyes and imagined our clothes off, my legs wrapped around her, pale body against pale body, having sex like I had done with Casey* beneath the bleachers the summer before.
The fantasies would start out with us kissing, but then I would get distracted and imagine us going to a cool underground show together, or creating an amazing feminist zine together, or sitting alone, exclusively in our own little elitist bubble at lunch, scoffing at the basic bitches. I wanted to smoke cigarettes with her behind the cafeteria. I wanted her to teach me how to blow smoke rings. I wanted her to teach me how to be fearless and badass and have SWAG like her.
I realized I wanted to be her, not have sex with her.
Look, kittens. This is a confusing thing that all girls -- gay or straight, bi or fluid, pans or trans -- go through. We have these prototypes in our heads of "cool girls" that we just want to emulate.
I always wanted to be like Marina. Short but curvy, thick-lipped, madly rebellious with cat-eye glasses and arched brows. But I'll never be short but curvy, thick-lipped, madly rebellious with cat-eye glasses and arched brows. I'm more of a tall drink of water, big-eyed, quietly rebellious with long, mega-lashes and a full brow.
But I wanted to be her so hard, it felt almost visceral. Like I would have done anything in the world to be her best friend. She intimidated me as ferociously as my actual crushes, but it was different.
Because, well, I wasn't obsessed with the idea of going down on her.
I know, I know, it's crass! But kittens, it's FRIDAY, and I'm here, writing this article to be real with you. I've promised you in the past that I would never lie, and I'm not about to break that during these trying times.
If you're confused about if you want to be her or date her, do this: Close your pretty eyes. Imagine sliding down her designer jeans, slipping off those lacy boy shorts and going down on her. Like, really going down on her. Not a quick, thirty second light tickle of the tongue. Like, hardcore going down on her, your tongue pressed up against her, tasting her until she explodes into an orgasm (that will consequently be all over your face later).
Does this turn you on?
If it does, well then, GOOD NEWS! You want her. So don't be shy! Ask her for her number! Take her on a charming date to that cute bar you frequent in Brooklyn. The crush is real, baby.
If not, GOOD NEWS, too! Ask her if she wants to grab a drink or go thrift shopping and then pick her style brain, because you probably love the way she dresses! Have a sleepover party and exchange beauty secrets, not kisses. Because if you can't imagine sticking your face in her girl parts, you're besotted with her because you want to BE HER, not because you want to have sex with her.
* Name has been changed.