9 Struggles Of Being A Lesbian I Wish Someone Warned Me About
I've known I've liked girls for a long time. In fact, I was telling my editor just yesterday that I distinctly remember going to a restaurant in Boston with my family at the pimply age of 14 and totally having the hots for our waitress.
I couldn't tell you the name of the restaurant or what kind of art was hanging on those walls, girl. I don't even know what I ate. But I could tell you what I wanted to eat: the waitress, obviously.
She was an acid bleach blonde surfer tomboy babe, and she had total lesbian energy. I stared at her the whole night, giving her my best sultry, low-key sex eyes. Because even though I was an adolescent in outrageously hideous platform boots and a try-too-hard, haphazardly cut-up $50 "vintage" T-shirt from Urban Outfitters, I was very confident in my eye-fucking skills.
Over the next year, all I could do was dream about having sex with this random waitress that I had only seen once. I had dirty, dirty thoughts about her.
I knew it wasn't the whole "I'm not sure if I want to have sex with her or BE HER" debacle that so many lesbians tell me they've experienced in their youth. (Yeah... I always just kind of knew I wanted to have sex with her.) I knew that when the time was right, I was going to be hooking up with, dating and falling in love with girls.
I just knew my future would look like this:
But I also knew that when I finally emerged on the girl-on-girl scene, I was going to be confronted with some challenges.
Yes, I knew that certain people in the world wouldn't accept my sexuality, but that didn't really scare me because I planned on living in Los Angeles, a town that's run by salacious queers.
I also knew that I would probably be objectified by men because I had already made out with a girl in front of a group of boys at a stupid high school party. So, I knew the testosterone drill.
I also knew it was going to be an uphill climb politically. I knew it was going to be awkward to out myself in the work place because, you know, I had watched "Queer As Folk"and I got those kinds of things.
I also knew that there were bigoted idiots out there who might harass me on the internet. (LiveJournal was all the rage back in the day.) I knew conservative, red-faced, homophobic politicians would try to bestow their hateful laws onto my precious community. I read the books, devoured the newsletters, got the memos, read the papers and did the research.
And yeah, some of that stuff is really hard to deal with. (Mainly the conservative politicians trying to stop me from having basic human rights.)
But I also came to find that there is a whole laundry list of very, very unique challenges when you're a lesbian creature in this cruel, cold world that NO ONE ever tells you about.
Here are a few I wish I had been warned about:
1. You will never have an on-the-sly hookup again.
OK kittens, I'm going to give it to you straight (er... gay?): Never again will you be able to hook up with someone on the sly. Now that you've entered girl world, everyone you touch, kiss, have sex with or even go on a simple date with will be connected, somehow, to another lesbian you know.
You can be on Mars. You can be in rural Pennsylvania. You can live in West Hollywood and meet someone while you're on a job in Manhattan. But after a few drinks with her, you will discover that you have three exes and one hookup in common. And then you will get a Facebook message from some dyke you've met ONCE, saying, "Oh, I heard you met so-and -so! She's one of my realllllly good friends."
We are nosy, we are hyper-curious and we're all a little bit predatory. (Calm down, girls! Predatory can be hot if you're into the person.)
The six degrees of separation has nothing on the sex degrees of lesbiaNation. So, you had better keep your nose clean, babes. Nothing in this scene is under the radar.
The six degrees of separation has nothing on the sex degrees of lesbiaNation.
Which leads me seamlessly into point 2...
2. You will run into an ex every time you go out.
"Oh, I don't want to go, I will run into my ex!" I heard a straight girl at work say the other day.
"Ha!" I wickedly chuckled to myself. If I was worried about running into an ex, I'd never be able to go anywhere... ever.
Because our community is so fucking tight-knit, we all gather at the same places. There will be awkward run-ins in Fire Island. There will be tension at Pride. There will occasionally be a liquor-fueled brawl at a gay club.
But you know what, my queer kittens? You will get over it. You will get over it, and you will learn how to handle uncomfortable situations like a champ. You won't be like the wimpy straight girls, afraid of being in the same vicinity as an ex because you will be used to running into three per night. You will be used to sharing freaking hotel rooms at Dinah Shore.
You will realize that you can survive. And maybe – just maybe – you and your exes can all be friends because we're really just one big, gay, dysfunctional happy family anyway.
We're really just one big, gay, dysfunctional happy family.
3. You will PMS at the same time as your girlfriend, and it will be hell.
No one ever explained to me that when I'd get into a relationship with another woman, our cycles would get linked up. We would PMS at the exact same time, and it would be hell.
Imagine two women who live together, collectively bleeding in a small, overheated apartment. Imagine both being irrational, wildly oversensitive, hormonal and sexless.
You will contemplate breaking up every month, no matter how in love you are. You will feed each other's meltdowns.
"I'm just really UNHAPPY at work!"
"Are you UNHAPPY at work, or UNHAPPY in life?"
"I don't know!" you'll say, sniffling with your eyes welling up with tears. "BOTH."
The only good part to this is when the whole period from hell escapade is over in five days, you can both laugh about it.
You deeply understand what the other has been through in a way that no man ever could. You will never be undermined for your menstrual meltdowns again.
4. You will never again be able to order fish tacos without the whole table making lewd jokes.
And I really, really, REALLY like fish tacos.
Sometimes, I'm just not in the mood for an oral sex joke, you hear? I just want to eat my fish tacos and not connect it to eating pussy. So, kindly shut up. Thanks.
5. You will be asked if you're a top or a bottom.
I knew what a top and a bottom were at a very young, tender age because my older sister was buddy-buddy with a ton of lewd gay men who constantly talked about the intricacies of gay sex. But I assumed it was a boy thing, and a boy thing only.
So, I was shocked one night at a gay club when a girl with an armful of prison tattoos – who was chain-smoking mentholated cigarettes like she was going to the electric chair – blew her cigarette smoke right in my face, looked at me like she wanted to either savagely fuck me or murder me (or both) and declared, "You're a bottom, aren't you? Aww."
What. Did. That. Even. Mean? And how was I giving out "bottom" vibes?
I was quickly schooled in the world of lesbian stereotypes: It's assumed that if you wear dresses, heels and lipstick, you lay in bed like a pillow princess and allow yourself to get rammed by more masculine women.
But what if those kinds of strict roles didn't appeal to me? What if I wanted to do both? Did that mean I would have to wear a dress, and then juxtapose it with some steel-toed dyke boots in order to physically display my versatility?
My head was spinning from the top-bottom confusion, and I was angry that none of those sassy queens my sister hung out with had warned me that these roles exist in the LESBIAN community too (although I still dismiss them).
6. You will constantly be surrounded by people you have nothing in common with, except that you all LIKE GIRLS A LOT.
I really had no idea how real this one was until I came out.
If you were straight, you would probably mainly hang out with people directly connected to your field of work. Magazine people hang out with magazine people. Plumbers hang out with plumbers. It makes sense because you want to be around people who get you and speak the same language you do.
But being gay is like being part of a church (only with booze and rainbows and drag queens). You gather in these places of worship (gay bars) and are surrounded by a bunch of people you really don't have anything in common with... at least, not on the surface.
When you're gay, you're all at a gay club together, dancing to Lady Gaga like tomorrow doesn't exist. There are police officers, actresses, financial advisors, personal trainers, graphic designers, boho artists, androgynous fashion bloggers, novelists and security guards all rubbing elbows at the Cubbyhole.
This can be challenging and uncomfortable at first. You might think, "I'm in finance. What am I going to say to a weirdo artist with pink hair?" Conversations might be a little awkward at the beginning.
But let me tell you, sweet ladies, this is the real, honest-to-god blessing of being a gorgeously sinful gay woman. You will have all kinds of friends. You will hang out with people who have entirely different world views. You will take shots of tequila with people from all walks of life.
And you will find that you can connect with all kinds of people, not just people from your town, culture or field of work.
You can connect with all kinds of people, not just people from your town, culture or field of work.
I actually think this is what makes us gays vastly more successful in business than our straight colleagues. We're used to being outside our comfort zones, and we know how to charm and find a common thread with anyone. This is very valuable, especially in sales.
Plus, you will have a lesbian friend in every industry possible.
Need a plumber? Call Donna. She'll be over right away.
Need a new job? Call Sarah. She works in your industry, and her company is hiring.
Need to bail a friend out of jail? Susie is a bondswoman.
Need a criminal lawyer to help your friend who was recently in jail? There is a whole roster of lesbian lawyers in your Rolodex.
7. Straight people will think you're hitting on them if you compliment them.
Yes. But it's kind of cute.
This used to offend me wildly, but now I just let them have it.
Whether we're gay or straight, we all get a little ego boost when we think we're being hit on. If I can brighten up some basic straight girl's dismal day by making her think that the fact that I'm just paying her a compliment on her new lob – I love that haircut – is actually me salaciously hitting on her, well, good.
Purr. The world is a happier place when we all think we're being ~flirted~ with.
8. You will be expected to attend a shit ton of sporting events, even if you hate sports.
Lesbians love sports. At least, most lesbians love sports. I didn't get the gene.
However, these sporty lesbian amaze me. They know all the players, they get the game in a visceral way and they call out fouls before the refs have even had a chance to blow their whistles. And they're all in adult sports leagues: soccer, volleyball, the works!
On the other hand, I still have PTSD from gym class. I hated playing sports. I just wanted to curl up, read fashion magazines and masturbate to lesbian erotica in the air-conditioning.
But you know what? I support my kind.
Plus, if I want to hang around my people, I have to go where my people are. They're watching the old sports game, baby. And I'm like the straight-girl cheerleader, cheering on the lesbians in my crop top. I never thought this would be my destiny, but these things can't be helped.
But yes, I was never warned that, as an adult, I would be sorely out of context, wearing pointed red suede boots with an oversized quilted Chanel bag hanging off my shoulder, pretending to understand a freakin' soccer game.
It's small price to pay for having mind-blowing lesbian sex.
9. You can never fake an orgasm.
When I had sex with boys, I faked orgasms all the time. They couldn't tell the difference.
You can't fake anything sexually with another woman. We can instinctively tell when you're feeling it or not feeling it.
It's deceptively challenging because now, you're forced to confront when you fall out of physical attraction with your partner. You're not getting away with faking it this time, kid.
The beauty of this is you will have real, connected love sex while your straight friends will have to fake orgasms for the rest of their married lives.
So there it is, babes. While this life has its very specific challenges, I wouldn't have it any other way. Because it's glittery, it's colorful, it's got rainbows, it's got drag queens and it has authentic orgasms.
It's not basic. It's beautiful, and all beautiful things are a little bit challenging.