Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hey Girl...

I’m always scouting around for new places to be published, and a very kind Twitter acquaintance offered me the details of someone looking for same sex attracted female writers to blog for a prominent local queer publication. Exciting right?

Well, yes and no. I am definitely same sex attracted. Women are GREAT. But there is also a great fear I have of being rejected for not being queer ENOUGH – the same fear that stops me from attending local queer events. I’m afraid that I won’t really have anything of relevance to say on the subject, because while I AM queer, I’m not particularly active about that queerness right now. For all the time I spend ogling pretty ladies like a fifteen year old boy, I haven’t actually done anything with a woman for AGES (like a fifteen year old boy), and haven’t ever had a long term relationship with another woman as such (like a fifteen year old boy). I’m failing pretty badly at queer right now. Incidentally, this is largely why I haven’t written more specifically about my queerness here, and generally limit my discussions of sexuality to heterosexual relationships. It’s not that I don’t have squishy feelings about women, and don’t wonder how the things I write about relate to same sex interactions - I just don’t have a great deal of experience with same sex relationships, and so I feel self-conscious talking about it.

It’s not just fear of not being queer enough that stops me from getting more involved though – I think it’s also an inherent distrust of all things femme and female, including other women. Which is a pretty messed up position to be in as a femme woman. You know the real kicker? The women I am most attracted to are the stiletto wearing, beautifully coiffed noir vixens – in other words, the femmest of the femme. I’ve written quite a bit here about my long term distrust of the trappings of femme; how I felt for a long time that an interest in makeup and skirts and pretty trinkets made you inherently vapid and shallow. But not only does that distrust effect how I see myself, it effects how I see other femmes. My fear of femme is inextricably linked with my fear of my own queerness and my attraction to other femmes. I want to dress in a more feminine way, and more wholeheartedly embrace my feminine characteristics, but I’m afraid of being judged. I’m afraid I won’t do it “right”, I won’t do it well enough, that I’ll make a fool of myself. These are pretty much the exact same reasons I can’t approach a woman I find attractive without falling into a faint from sheer panic.

In an effort to try and extricate myself from this tangle of self doubt and paranoia, I’ve been thinking about where it all might have come from. The most obvious root cause is, of course, that some women I have known DID fuck me over, and DID treat badly enough that having a sense of paranoia about women makes sense. I suffered a great deal of gossiping and bullying at school from the girls in my year, while the boys either treated me with total indifference or gruff kindness. The popular girls were always making up some bullshit about me being gay, or alternatively a slut, behind my back, and taught me to always be suspicious of what women REALLY mean when they talk. Because all the boys I knew communicated in an extremely upfront way, I thought the smiling backstabbing bullshit I got from the girls at school was just how women communicated, and for a long time I wasn’t interested in being any part of it. I didn’t want to hang out with other girls, or do “girl things” because all the girls I knew were horrible.

There is a girl totally out of frame of this picture - that was me in
high school.
I did make some female friends before finishing school – well, two. They communicated with me in a straightforward, honest manner I’d previously only expected from boys, and I learned that maybe not ALL girls were out to get me. Well, not these two. Probably.

Unfortunately, I later ended up in bed with one of these two friends, and it did not turn out well. The ensuing fall out was an unfortunate collision of my mistrust of women and my budding queerness, that ended with her emailing me to declare that not only was she not bisexual in any way and our tryst had been a huge mistake, but that the thought of me touching her made her physically ill. You’ll be shocked to hear we didn’t speak for many years after that.

(Interestingly, the next time we spoke it was because she was calling me out of the blue to ask if she should go home with a girl she really liked. Last I heard, she was steadfastly straight again)

It bothers me though, that I hold these past experiences against women as a whole, and not men. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s not like I haven’t been fucked over by men too – since all my long term romantic relationships have been with men, it’s probably actually fair to say they’ve fucked me over MORE. I’ve certainly never had a woman move my stuff out while I was overseas on a holiday, and not tell me until they picked me up from the airport that we were breaking up. (No, really, that happened.) I’ve had (and still have) some incredibly supportive, loving friendships with women. In fact, my longest standing friend to date is a woman - she has shown me more love, patience and kindness than anyone else who’s ever been in my life. And yet, I still hold this fear and suspicion of all things female deep in my heart, and can’t seem to shake it. I wonder if it’s in the end simply fear of the unknown – while I’ve had more negative experiences in relationships with men, I’ve also had more positive ones. I’ve just had more experience with men full stop, both as romantic partners and friends.

When I realised my fear of femme was rooted deeply in a lack of exposure, it was a relatively easy thing to figure out how to start fixing it. I just exposed myself to it more. I bought myself some pretty things, and made an effort to use them. I gritted my teeth, waiting for the teasing and the ridicule…and it never came. I have been expanding my repertoire ever so slowly – using more colours in my eye shadow palette, wearing skirts more often, adding more jewellery to outfits. It’s going well, and while I still feel skin crawlingly self-conscious about my new hobbies sometimes, it’s hardly the end of the world I thought it would be. But I can’t do that with my queerness. I can’t just surround myself with pretty girls and hope that I get okay with it, because they’re, you know, people, not objects. So maybe I should apply for this gig - see what it's like talking to queer women who are more okay with their queerness. I have quite a few queer female friends, but we're ALL terrified of other women. Maybe taking a tentative step outside that circle will help...but I'm still so nervous I haven't even sent an email inquiring.

So, ladies…who wants to date me?


  1. Beautiful entry. You're so open and raw with your writing that it's hard to believe you're afraid of anything! But even as a completely straight-engaged to a man type of gal I can absolutely admit to finding the classic femme fatale attractive. I've never really thought to delve into what that might mean, but I'm thinking it might be my own brand of envy - I'm not a catty or mean person at all so the thought of belittling anyone to make myself feel better doesn't come natural, but admitting another woman is HOT instead is.

    I definitely agree that the 'bitch cycle' still runs rampant. Especially in school age girls. Bitches grow up and raise more bitches because they don't see the error when their own daughters start to exhibit the same exclusionary and downright mean behavior that they did. You can bet your ass that if I have a little girl that I will do my best to make sure she knows that kind of thing not only hurts, but scars.

    I know I don't comment all the time, but I love reading your blogs.

    1. Hahah! Oh lordy, I'm afraid of MANY many things - but especially girls. I'm just also stupidly honest :)

      The fact that lots of straight girls I know are happy to acknowledge the hotness of femme fatale types is, I think, part of what makes it feel not properly queer. It makes it seem to...mainstream? Like if I was properly queer, I wouldn't be into the same girls that straight girls are.

      As for the bitch cycle...*sigh* all I can say is that I'm extremely grateful I will most likely not ever have to set foot in those vicious waters again.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment! I always get a special little buzz when readers who might have come here for one aspect of my blogging (ie. nails) end up enjoying the other aspects as well.

  2. Thank you for sharing, I have had similar feelings of distrust myself and have recently been thoroughly embracing my femmeness.
    The fact that you identify are Queer, and see the world through Queer eyes, it doesn't matter how much action you have had with other women, your voice is still valid in the community. Good Luck!!!

  3. Cassie I read your posts all the time now, and I have decided that we would totally be friends in real life.

    Anyway, I have commented on your heartfelt posts about bitchiness before....unlike you and Kaz, I like to think that the cycle fades over time. I am hopeful that bitches I went to high school grew up to a point where they look back with shame at some of their behaviour. I know I do - I was bullied and I certainly recall occasions where I picked on others to redirect negative attention onto someone else. I regret it and would never do it again.

    I completely understand your fear of girls. I refuse to go to Hen's nights and avoid baby showers for that very reason. Forcing female's a funny one.

    Go for gold on the queer blog!

    1. Ugh, I loathe baby showers, and have been to exactly ONE hen's night and that was for my bestest friend in the whole wide world. Otherwise, forget it! I've always resented these sort of events because they assume that women should get along because they're all...well, women. Despite having absolutely nothing in common with a co-worker and speaking two words to them in months, I would get an invite to their baby shower. I found this most confusing, and quite awkward. Am I supposed to go and stand around and talk about Women Things? I'm not very good at that. :(

  4. All the inherent issues society has going on make me sad. First, they try to make us label ourselves to begin with, then they make us worry that we don't fit the neat little description, so we're not qualified. I hate that something is making you feel like your experiences are being so policed and as though you don't have a valid contribution to make to the community. I hope that made sense. I just woke up. >_>

    I like to think that once you're out of high school, we all get better at communicating. To be realistic (if stereotypical), men do tend to sort out their problems in a more straight forward way. However, I actually find that I prefer women because they seem to understand my emotional needs better. If you find the right people to be in your circle of friends, they'll convince you that we're not all stuck in some loop of Mean Girls. I know it's very easy to say and a lot harder to do, but I hope you keep up with exploring your femininity and what your queerness means to you. People need to show you that it's okay to trust.

    The unknown is scary, but hey: - I think that image describes it best. :P

    Good luck. <3

    1. That is a fantastic image. I think I should print it out and put it over my computer :D

  5. Forgive me, I might be wrong. I also don't mean to offend; I just recognize myself a bit in this post.
    It sounds a lot like you suffer from internalized misogyny because of you know, how fucked up sexist, homophobic and male focused our society is.
    I see a lot of use of "queer" in this post, it's a word that could mean anything really. (other than stereotypical male-focused het vanilla intercourse or whatever)what I don't see is the word lesbian. Or bi. Is that too scary? To be lesbian, to be female in a sexist society, and to love other women? Women who are painted as each others rivals in media from an early age, and we experience it during school.

    I hope you can find a good community somewhere. Groups specifically for lesbian and bi woman are scarce these days.

    1. I think your suggestion of internalised misogyny is an entirely fair one - I believe I say as much in the above post. That certainly is part of my fear of women and all things feminine - I've had messages from external sources telling me these things are bad for a long time, and it's hard to shake.

      However, I use the word queer rather than bi or lesbian because it's a more accurate descriptor of my sexuality, rather than any fear of identifying as specifically being attracted to women. Lesbian wouldn't be accurate, because I have a cisgendered male partner currently, and have had plenty more before that and enjoyed it thoroughly. I did identify as bisexual for a while, until I became more aware of the gender spectrum, and just how wide it is. I don't feel like it accurately reflects my interests anymore, as it's so firmly locked in the idea of a binary gender image. I'm interested in trans folk, in gender fluid folk, in gender queer folk, as well as cisgendered folk both male and female. Bisexual just doesn't cover that, to my mind.

  6. Your story sounds a lot like mine (especially the bicurious friend who suddenly became straight)! I had similar experiences with women in high school and am still terrified of them (even though I'm currently dating a straight man--it took me YEARS to learn how to have female friends again).

    Best of luck in all your endeavors--queerness doesn't need to fit in a box. Be yourself and all will be well. :)

    1. As I get older, I start to wonder if there are any same sex attracted women who HAVEN'T had the bicurious friend who fucked them over?
      I like your point about queerness not having to fit in a box...I guess it would just be nice to fit in a box sometimes too.

  7. OH MY GOD, THIS POST, SO MUCH. I have a friend (who may be a mutual friend) who feels the same. And the both of us are getting married to men this year, which we're paranoid drags the queer points WAAAAAAY down. Reassuring yourself that, yes, it's really just about how you identify sometimes isn't enough - I want THOSE lesbians over there to recognise me as a lesbian, too!

    I also have the problem where I just don't want my family to know I'm queer. I don't know why. Too many questions or awkward moments, I guess?

    1. To be perfectly honest, the only reason I told my mother about my queerness was to prevent bringing a girl home one day from being as awful as it could have been.


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