Here is something I don’t like: saying no. Rejecting people. Resisting the urge to start nodding before the question is even asked. (I just want people to like me??? Is that a crime???)
Here’s something I do like: parties. I like Absolut and dancing and treading on the fun side of “too glittery”. (Who makes the rulez anyway? Fight me. I have more glitter than you will ever understand.)
Here’s an experience that connected these two things and revealed something small and unimpressive about myself:
I was standing at the edge of a party, panting and getting ready to rejoin the fray, and I saw a Boy approaching. A boy that had already approached my friends but had been put off by their defensive group formation. But I was alone, and recovering from a surprise piggy-back, and there was nothing I could do apart from wait.
He swooped and slotted next to my bum with his delighted grin already prepared, showing his slick teeth. There was nothing less I wanted in that moment than to speak to him. Nothing.
He said words which I could not hear over the bass but it really didn’t matter because we can probably all guess. I definitely caught the word “beautiful”, which is always a bad sign when from someone you don’t know.
I grimaced at my friends who gave me cheerful thumbs ups and laughed. Cruel friends!
This boy got closer and closer and my feeling of please don’t touch me got closer and closer to overcoming my politeness until he said something like “so, are you here alone,” and I was like. No.
The time honoured excuse of
“I’m sorry, I’m a lesbian.”
This is not true. In the plastic language of describing sexuality to teenage straight boys, however, it is partially true.
I am into boys. I was not into this boy. At this point, I was really into spinning in circles with my excellent friend until light smears and we collapse laughing, and at the back of my mind was a fierce desire to obliterate anything that got in the way of that.
The boy says “What??”
And then “You’re too cute to be a lesbian. I never would have guessed.”
And then “Are you sure?”
And then, blessedly, he detached in search of some goddamn straight girls.
When I was less drunk, I thought about this incident and what it shows about how I perform being queer and a lady – alternate hidings and dramatic reveals when it suits me.
The way I just described this, it sounds like I was against it from the beginning. Although I was never going to do anything with him and it was too noisy to flirt properly anyway, the vibe he got from me at first was probably “Lol, whatever, at least this boy appreciates this dress because none of my friends gave me enough credit and I look like the one hundred emoji tonight.” I was not flirting with him, but I was also not giving him the No as soon as he walked up, probably because I was too out of breath to move fast. He took this as a yes – lol @ entitlement – but this is kind of his problem. However, I didn’t say no. Is that my fault?
So why didn’t I? Why did I semi-lie to get him to go away? Why is the word no trapped somewhere deep in my throat when it comes to situations like these?
I turned him down with amusement, with the word sorry of all things because no way in hell could I just say no. I was so unable to say no that I couldn’t just say I’m queer and therefore interested in all genders (true), I had to shut him out completely, provide an excuse for not being interested in him and not appreciating his unwanted attention.
Being a lesbian, in the snap judgement I made at the time, more acceptable to this random guy’s ego than a straight (( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)) rejection in a situation I was uncomfortable in.
I mean, it worked! He went away! But this entire experience – and it’s not just a one-off – makes me realise that I should work on rejections, because my sexuality is not, technically, a reason, but my lack of attraction is.
Another thing: I am femme AF. Make-up, shiny everything, heels, whatever. This is why this dim boy thought I was ””””too cute”””” to be gay.
People think I’m straight, all the time (itself a form of erasure)*, which can make life easier for me in specific situations. It can hide me, and I am often hidden. If I am flirting with a boy, sometimes I purposefully don’t tell him I’m queer for fear of putting him off (I’m fully aware I have bad taste in boys and don’t know how to flirt.) I’m also white, cis, acceptably-bodied, etc. (see below for me breaking this down further). I also don’t want to deal with the endless nonsense of explaining what queer means and having people say, actually from a straight person’s perspective I don’t understand and think you’re wrong. (Good).
IN SUM TOTAL: FUCK MALE ATTENTION AND APPROVAL 2K16 BUT ALSO STAY SAFE GALS, DON’T FEEL FORCED TO COME OUT UR NOT LYING TO ANYONE FUK DA SEXUALITY POLICE. KEEP ON TRICKIN THOSE FUCKBOYS @ PARTIES AND LAUGHING WITH YA GALS, WHO GIVES A SHIT.
*two interesting articles about femme privilege and whether it exists or not. It’s all about intersection of identities, guys! The main point is – the shit I get is shit that all women get, and the good stuff is probably due to white privilege. WoC, trans women etc. are likely to have a very different experience as being femme from my middle class white one. Still interesting points though. And also, is people wilfully ignoring the possibility of queerness a plus? Are small favours rooted in misogyny (free bus rides, free drinks etc.) really evidence that I’m lucky? idk