As a lesbian, it’s awkward as hell when a straight guy hits on you. It’s not that you feel annoyed or whatever, you just spend the whole time looking for the right moment to drop the L bomb.
Coming out is a lifelong routine. Once you’ve come out the first time, you have to come out again and again and again.
The most regular case of the come-outs happens with hetero guys. They schmooze up to you at the bar, leaning forward all coy, smiling like old dogs and really it breaks my heart. When is the appropriate time to slip into conversation that this old dog is barking up the wrong tree?
Perfecting the gateway into the subject of sexuality is tough. Say it too soon and you sound presumptuous. Leave it too long and you’re a tease. Even once you say you're gay, plenty of guys assume you’re lying. So what is the best way to come out against come-ons?
No one wants to come across as egotistically audacious or boringly defensive (well, almost no one), so it’s weird to say it too soon. Anyway, they'll only think you’re some turbo dyke trying to trample upon useless suitors. After all it’s still nice to talk to strangers, that’s the whole point of being in bars most of the time -- but let’s face it, most people’s gob is a gateway to their pants.
So, when you say, “Actually, I’m lesbian,” before they’ve even asked for your number you often find them straightening up in a huff and flapping about for a bit pretending they weren’t digging you anyway. Then they walk away.
Recently I was in Barcelona and after chatting to a Parisian bloke for an hour, in broken English and pigeon French, he invited me back to his place, I asked my friends, “Er.. how do you say ‘I’m a lesbian’ in French?” He overheard and stormed off in a cacophony of “Un salope!” before I had time to get it translated. I guess, it’s pretty universal. But I was like, why does everyone walk away from me?
This was only a week after meeting Charlie Big Bollocks himself at a house party. He heard I was gay through a mutual friend, then marched over to reassure me it was okay, we could work something out. Then he proceeded to launch his scary male lips at my poor unsuspecting face. Needless to say, we didn’t work “something” out, though not for his lack of trying.
Should the opportunity arise, I’ve figured out that the best time to drop the L bomb is when they ask for your mobile number. Though if they’re anything like the past two guys I’ve done this to, they'll take your number anyway and bombard you with texts hoping to change your mind. Which results in you singing “I want fanny,” into his answer machine to the tune of “I want candy.” Then they call you a cock tease anyway.
They wouldn’t expect it from me. I don’t look a lesbian! Am I sure? Aren’t I just saying that so they’ll back off? This is the kind of bull I have to let take up space in my limited mental filing cabinet. Really I take it with a laugh and push on with the truth but eventually I’m forced to turn my back on the pressure, the whole while wasting time not looking available to other harassed lesbos in the room I actually want to be hassled by.
Not everyone gets quite so mad at you. Some of them get excited. When I started working in an office and the chicks around me would ask about “the boyfriend situation,” I’d casually reply “Actually, I’m gay.” Oh Lord, complete and utter glee. Chinese whispers ripple across their forehead before they start firing questions like, “But have you ever even slept with a man?”
I often wonder if I was supposed to be keeping it a secret, especially when lovely women you just met on the bus look around them before asking, “Wait, you mean to say... you’re a lesbian!?” in a hushed voice as if they’re being naughty just uttering the L word.
It’s quite fun really, until it gets tiresome and you start wishing it was the 90s again and you could run around slapping stickers on seats that say “A lesbian sat here.” We’ve come a long way, and don’t get me wrong, I’m hella glad we’ve got to where we’re at in the grand scheme of things, but essentially it’s the daily stuff that counts.
It’s the daily stuff that makes me wonder whether it’d be easier to just go hetero and reserve my energy for being a miscreant in private. Like Maria, Aldous Huxley’s first wife. But, then Susie Bright rings in my ears, all “If you want to be in gay life, then you sit your ass down in the middle of it.”
Maybe I’m pronouncing it wrong, I have a bit of an accent so I figure ‘lesbian’ sometimes sounds like ‘leprosy’ or ‘I’m gonna kill your mom.’ Maybe on a household level we’re just not as accepted as them-in-charge say we are. Maybe it’s jealousy because everyone knows lesbians have the best sex, ever.
I’m going to go with the latter because it helps my haughty “’S’up with your gaydar, bro?” response roll of the tongue much more confidently. Which, actually, works wonders on extinguishing the sexuality flames. Still want those stickers though.