WARNING: This post contains sexually explicit language. Please read on at your own discretion.
Now that I'm blogging about growing up with two mommies, a friend of mine recently asked me, "Did you ever think you might be a lesbian, since that's the lifestyle you knew from home?"
Obviously I have to answer this one with a story.
In the early spring of junior year of college, I was still a virgin, and a very busy one at that. I could not for the life of me figure out how to court and bag a male while rehearsing for shows and pretending to read for class. My lingering virginity was a time-management issue above all else.
All my male friends were gay and Southern and struggling with their own sexual crises, so they were off the market. The one guy I was really into, who was certifiably heterosexual, told me that he was flying to Mississippi to surprise his ex-girlfriend with a marriage proposal. So that was a bummer.
While rehearsing a terrific, contemporary, one-act play about domestic violence in a Rhode Island suburb (incidentally the only "real" acting I have ever been trusted to do), I befriended the totally marvelous Lucy. She was one of the only young lesbians I'd ever met.
Because I grew up hanging out with my lesbian parents and their lesbian friends, I came of age thinking all lesbians were in their '50s, had traveled a lot in Cuba, sang folk songs about labor movements and wore incredibly, almost ostentatiously comfortable shoes.
Meeting Lucy answered the question "were old lesbians ever young at one time?"
Lucy wore no makeup except for a fabulous shade of lipstick, sometimes red, sometimes a mocha color. She wore low-heeled leather boots and clothing made of nice fabric when everyone else was showing up to acting class in pajama bottoms. She had a bit of a tummy, but she made it work, because she just didn't give a sh*t.
And she was funny -- like, hilarious -- and monstrously talented, except that she couldn't learn her lines or show up anywhere on time. She was inconsistent, unemployable, well-traveled and awesome.
During a break from rehearsal, we sat outside the studio, and I told her some stuff, which I'll paraphrase as follows:
"You're like the only lesbian I've ever met under the age of 50," I told her.
"Really?" she asked.
"Yeah. I'm straight. I mean, I feel straight, but I'm still a virgin. Would you ever hook up with me, just for fun, if I'm telling you from the outset that I'm straight?"
And at this point she turned to me, creating a dramatic transition in our friendship that I can only explain like this:
Imagine Venus and Serena Williams immediately going from a family event, like, say, their uncle's birthday party, to playing against one another in the U.S. Open just minutes later. Imagine the moment they get on the court and eye each other from across the net, when they are no longer family and have switched, unequivocally, to playing for opposite teams.
That's how Lucy was now looking at me. And this is what she said to my pathetically half-assed proposition: "You want to have sex with a woman? You want a pussy in your mouth? It's hot, and it smells, and it's sticky and filthy, and it drips from your lips, and you love it, because that is what it is to make love to a woman. OK?"
"OK," I said, shaking my head to indicate that, no, I didn't want those things.
By May, with the domestic violence show finished and finals behind me, I had acquired a boyfriend. Interestingly enough, that relationship started with the same question. I told him that I was 20 and tired of being a virgin and asked if we could at least hook up. He quibbled for a tense three minutes and then accepted my proposal. We were together, off and on, for a year and a half.
As for Lucy, I harbor only delight toward her and her honesty. I spoke plainly, and so did she.
No, I don't think I'm a lesbian or that I ever was. Bi-curious? Sure. I would also like to go to the moon, but I'm not an astronaut, and I'm happy where I am.
Illustration by Leah Rubin-Cadrain
Read more about growing up and being a grownup with two moms at two-and-a-half-women.tumblr.com.
Follow Emma Tattenbaum-Fine on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EmmaTattenbaum