Frank Ocean is getting on my nerves. Not for the reason you're thinking. I don't care who you decide to love or sleep with. I'm frustrated because now that he has publicly clarified his sexual preference, folks are trying to predict who will be next.
Even Queen Latifah is catching flack. This past week while visiting The View, the musician, actress and spokesperson found herself dodging sexuality questions posed by Barbara Walters. In her 40's Latifah is childless and thinking of adopting which naturally means, it's time for her to address whether she is gay or straight. The awkward exchange didn't shake Latifah who declared that her private life is not open for discussion.
I'm not a celebrity but I have felt the prying eyes into my sexual origin.
I'm 31 years old, black and childless. Coming from an American-American family with strong southern roots, that means either I can't have kids or I'm a lesbian.
My mother got married at 19 and had me at 22. My grandmother got married late - 23. "And I was a grown woman," she likes to emphasize before reminding me that she also had seven kids. By their example I should have been married by now. They also don't buy into the "black women aren't getting married" hype that's managed to depress a lot of my girlfriends and sell thousands of magazines.
My singleness is a major issue of concern. "Chloe, I don't want you to be alone," my mother says with just enough love so I know that it's coming from a good place. I also know she fears that I'll end up being the old woman with 50 cats, eating cake frosting for dinner being featured on Hoarders: Buried Alive. Good thing I don't like cats.
Why would I subject myself to a life of solitude, unless I was a lesbian and didn't want my family to know? At a recent family gathering, I had a cousin flat out ask me "Chloe, do you like men?" Her bouncing her third child on her knee did not go unnoticed. "I've never seen you with one."
I've never been the type to bring every man I date around the family. There were no suitors calling my mom "Mom" or sitting on the couch watching the game with my dad. Throughout my entire dating life, I've only brought home two guys -- once in college and a recent ex. That leaves a gap long enough to keep my folks wondering what team I'm really playing on.
I could tell by the sound in her voice that she was hoping she would be the one to get me to crack. She would go down in our family history as being the one who "Chloe came out to."
But she was only right about one thing. She's never seen me with a guy because she lives 900 miles away. Apparently that wasn't a logical enough reason. No, I must be a lesbian.
When I told her I was indeed heterosexual, you know her response? "Well, when are you going to have kids?" While her first question had a sympathetic tone to it, this one had a heavy air of "girl, what's wrong with you?"
Just moments before she thought she was going win a toaster oven. Now she's advocating for Occupy Chloe's Womb.
There was a time when my default response to that question was "I don't have kids because I'm not married." But then I made the mistake of saying that to a group of women at a BBQ, all with kids, none of them married. The conversation started with each of them talking about how happy they were to be out without their kids. Then when they noticed I was quiet on the subject, their attention turned to me. As soon as the "d" on "married" came out of my mouth I knew I had successfully offended every woman there. I was the enemy. I considered myself better than them because they took on the task of procreation without a ring. I was insulting their service to increasing the black population by any mean necessary. I was the problem with the world, me with my old fashion values.
Over the years I've found myself dropping hints letting my family know that yes, I enjoy the company of men. I have deliberately let condoms fall out of my pocketbook or popped birth control pills at the dinner table. Don't worry, I did it with class.
My bible-thumping grandmother even shows her concern on occasion. While sitting at her kitchen table, where she holds court, she once told me the story of her friend who found out her granddaughter "liked girls."
"Miss Deloris," she began, taking a sip of her homemade iced tea filled mason jar with a million ice cubes in it. "Those kids of hers got her going crazy. The youngest grand calls herself liking girls." She bit her bottom lip and looked at me with an ultraviolet ray stare.
"Someone said they saw the child walking and holding hands with a girl dressed up like a boy."
Death ray stare.
"The girl wants to move in with her girlfriend. She's only 19."
Gamma ray stare.
I knew exactly how to end this. I took out my birth control pills and popped one.
Follow Chloé Hilliard on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Chloe_Hilliard