Dinner with the Lesbians

Last night (Friday), G and I had dinner with a group of our friends and acquaintances in the lesbian community here in town. This is an informal group of women who try to get together on Friday nights either for dinner at a different local restaurant or with a potluck. We know most of the women in various different ways, but we’ve kind of been out of the social “loop” for a while and it felt good to be “out” with the women. There were about 11 of us, ranging in age from 40 to about 73. It’s is a pretty cool group of ladies. I found out that one of the women (in the age-70 range) is pretty well known in town for being the former coach of the women’s b-ball team at the local college! Had no idea.

During the course of the dinner at my end of the table, I found out that most of the woman there had been married at one time, and so the question naturally came up, “When did you know?” For some it was since forever, for others, when they met their current partners. For me, the answer is a little more complex.

Growing up, from the time I was about 4 till I was in high school, I had virtually no friends. This was due to a number of reasons: family moves and being in different schools all the time, being taller, bigger and smarter than most of the kids in most of my classes (kids don’t really like ugly fat girls with buck teeth), being shy as a result of aforementioned physical accouterments. I was always the “new kid” which is never easy, which then morphed quickly into the “fat girl” or the “nerd girl”. Teachers loved me and the rest of the class usually ragged on me for that. It’s a good thing I WAS a good student and really enjoyed the learning part of school, because socially, I was a disaster. Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Fuhgeddaboutit. All I wanted to do was get through the day without getting picked on.

When I got to high school, things finally settled down geographically. We didn’t move any more, and in the 9th grade, I started hanging around with a group of girls who would be my BFFs through graduation. I had crushes on boys and discovered drama (the onstage kind), but my main focus was still academics. I realized one big thing, and that was that I really didn’t like being in class with guys. All they wanted to do was joke, and cut up and make crude remarks about either the teacher or other girls in the class. It totally pissed me off. I think that probably played the biggest part in my decision to go to a women’s college.

I’d like to say that I had a huge revelation during those 4 years, and knew from then on that women were my “cup of tea”. It didn’t happen that way, but what I did gain was a knowledge that I would much rather be around women than men. I was just more comfortable BEING with women. Still, the light bulb hadn’t gone on yet, and I kept thinking I wanted a boyfriend. Sometimes smart women can be SO dumb! It was like I got all my emotional and social needs met by women, but I couldn’t quite make that leap to getting my sexual needs met there, as well. It wasn’t that I was turned off by the idea; as I said, I was always active in the theater and picked up knowledge of “gay” almost by osmosis. It’s just that it truly never occurred to me to “experiment”.

OK, that’s not exactly true. There was this one girl during sophomore year. We lived on the same floor but at opposite ends of the hall. She was 1 year ahead of me. About half way through the year, we discovered we were mutual Star Trek freaks. OMG! WTF! We started spending a lot of time together, and one night I ended up in her room on a Friday night. She was also studying to convert to Judaism (I don’t remember why), and so she was burning the Sabbath candles. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but we ended up lying on her bed (dorm room twin bed), and I asked if I could touch her hair. We lay there for a while, just talking and me stroking her hair. It didn’t go any further than that, but I remember being just a wee bit surprised at being horizontal with her. I THINK that if anything HAD happened between us, the entire course of my life would have been different. But the light STILL didn’t go on, right?

Fast forward through first marriage, and then getting online in 1992. This is where I met my 2nd husband, but also where I somehow wandered into the butch/femme bbs (WAY before online chat), and now the questions started coming. I had spent tons of time in gay bars during college, disco-ing my little heart out, acted onstage with flaming queens, but to my knowledge, I had never met a “real” lesbian, nor did I have any idea how to go about it. I didn’t really want to talk to my friends about it for fear they would think I might be coming on to them, so I felt kind of in this odd “limbo” and the BBS subjects and various e-mails that I started to send and receive felt like suddenly coming home.

When I packed my Ryder truck to move west, the question did enter my mind that I was moving to Colorado to marry a man, but I was continually being pulled to lesbian subjects and BBS. I was so gung-ho about getting to Colorado (which I think was really bigger than the desire for the marriage), that I just ignored the questions I was asking myself.

Once here, once married, once I discovered that my husband was WAY more in love with Michelob than he was with me, my search began in earnest. I was married for 8 years; 6 of those were celibate. That gave me a LOT of time to think, to chat (AOL Women’s‘ Space was a GOD send), and to realize just who and what I was and what I wanted.

So, I can’t say there was just “a” moment when I knew. My knowing and growing evolved and developed obviously over a period of years. But, truthfully, I could not be happier with how my life has turned out, and if everything that I went through was what I needed to go through to get me hear, then I simply would not change one single thing.

Here’s to “knowing”.



4 thoughts on “Dinner with the Lesbians

  1. Very good post. Sometimes it takes a while to know ourselves doesn’t it?

    But I think I’d rather be in the know about who and what I am than never figure it out.

  2. GG- just found your blog via RSG. Hers was one of the first online resources I found when I began questioning. My journey has lots of similarities to yours- getting all your emotional needs filled by women and yet never making that “leap”, and looking back and wondering how I missed all those cues! 🙂 Great post- thanks.

  3. It’s pretty neat how we all come to where we are in different ways, but arrive in generally the same place – with our own embellishments. One of the many things I love about women is our ability to evolve and grow and be who we are in such a big and beautiful way.

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