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 |
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?