It’s time I came out. So, here goes:
I am not a lesbian.
Whew. There. It’s a relief to get that off my chest. It’s a thing people have been speculating about me for years, my nonexistent lesbianism, starting with those horrible months when I was 12, and someone started a rumor that I was gay and I used to have to sit in my math class with my head down while that bitchy girl behind me led a chorus in calling me a fag. I didn’t really know what they were talking about at the time, because I was 12 and I wasn’t sexually interested in anybody. I was interested in getting my braces off and not being laughed at when I walked down the hallways at school, but neither of those things would work out for me that year.
As I advanced in my teenage years, I became interested in boys, but I didn’t do much dating. I was awkward and shy and I mostly pretended that I found the boys to whom I was attracted were less appealing to me than getting some kind of fungal infection or something. It turns out that being terribly standoffish doesn’t really help one much in the dating arena. Crazy, right? I know. And by the time I reached college, my grandmother (who married at 18, so if it was good enough for her, it was more than good enough for me) had started in on her campaign to get me married off to someone. She told me that if I didn’t get married, people would think I was a lesbian (as if that was the WORST POSSIBLE THING someone could think about me, DUN DUN DUN, etc.), and I guess she had a point, because it turns out that people do. For instance, I found out recently that when Missy came out to her dad, he thought that I was possibly responsible for turning her gay. (For one thing, it doesn’t really work that way, and for another thing, I don’t think I’m on anybody’s “I’d Go Gay For ________” list.) And then this past week, it came up again. I’m still not sure how or why, and I decided I didn’t really want to know, but I guess discussing my sexual orientation makes for fascinating subject matter. I mean, really, in a world full of things to talk about, I can’t think of anything that would make for more riveting conversation than which gender I prefer to sleep with.
I’m not too terribly bothered by it, but it does give me something to write about, and I’m always on the lookout for subject matter, so hey! Let’s get this out into the open, shall we? We shall. So. Calm down. I like sex with men. I also like hanging out with men, talking to men, getting men to carry heavy things for me, and other such fun activities. Over the course of my life, many of my closest friends have been men. Occasionally, I have also made out with aforementioned close male friends. It happens sometimes. I also like hanging out with women, talking to women, and some of my closest friends are women, but I haven’t made out with any of my closest women friends. It’s just how things work out for me. Glad to have clarified.
As uneventful as it is, the truth is that I’m just an unmarried woman in my early 30s. I’m okay with this. Other people don’t seem to be as okay with it as I am, and if I have a problem, it’s with this. When I’m not in a relationship with a man, the only thing it means is that I’m not in a relationship with a man. It doesn’t mean that I’m a closeted lesbian, because the thing is, if I were a lesbian, I would be open about it. I’m not ashamed of who I am now, and that wouldn’t be any different if my sexual orientation were different. Gay isn’t a bad word to me.
I’ve been single a lot because it turns out that I’m picky. There have been times when I wasn’t as picky, or, no, that’s not it. I’ve always been picky. There have been times when I’ve been bored and dated people I had no business dating just for something to do. But I’m older now and I’ve learned from experience that dating people just to date them isn’t really all that fun. It can be, but I’ve had experiences with really dumb people, really unkind people, people who didn’t share any of my interests, people to whom I wasn’t physically attracted even a little, people who bored me nearly to death, people who turned out not to like me very much. And you know? I’m over it. Being with someone I don’t have any business being with doesn’t feel like a good time so much as it feels like a total chore. (I’ve also had good experiences, so don’t cry for me, Argentina.)
Love is a lot of things, and sometimes it is work, but despite my protestations to the opposite, perhaps I am a romantic after all — I don’t think having a root canal should be preferable to listening to your boyfriend talk about his day. Me and my unrealistic expectations.
I like the things that everyone likes — smart and funny. (One time someone tried to get me to go out with him by sending me a joke about talking muffins — not a euphemism, by the way. He was neither smart nor funny.) I like men who read. I like men who can keep up with me in conversation, which, especially when I’m overcaffeinated, is not an easy feat. I tend to bounce around a lot, sometimes even mid-sentence. The thing I find most attractive though is passion. I mean, god. Love something and be brave enough to love it. We live in an age of ironic detachment where it’s uncool to get excited about anything, but that’s such bullshit, because it is cool to get excited about things. Cool to the point where, paradoxically, it becomes hot. I enjoy clever banter too, but sometimes it’s necessary to be an unabashed dork about something. Or in my case, a lot of things. I am comfortable being a dork about so very, very many things, you guys, seriously, you have no idea. I’ve only ever dated blue-eyed men, but I think that’s a matter of chance more than an actual preference. I have a thing for strong, masculine hands. I don’t know. It’s in the way a guy looks in a t-shirt when his hair is wet or in the way he fidgets or in the way he smiles to himself when a thought drifts through his mind that I’m not privy to or or or. Attraction turns out to be made of so much little stuff, really, and when it fires on all cylinders, it’s a powerful thing. I’ve done my share of settling, and I’m not going to anymore.
If, in the meantime, that means that I have to spend some time hanging out with myself, that’s okay. I do a pretty good job keeping myself busy and entertained, and I do it all to a totally bitchin’ soundtrack. If I chill alone for awhile, that doesn’t mean I’m trapped in the closet, it just means that I’m single. I don’t really know why it’s necessary to speculate about singleness as if there’s something inherently wrong with it or suspicious about it. There isn’t. It’s merely a state of being. Everything changes, and what’s next will come along when it’s time. Until then, I’m okay, and everyone else should be okay with that, too.
And the next time someone feels the need to gossip and speculate about anything having to do with my sexuality, perhaps they should go with “Oh, that Jamelah. I think she must be a super-sexy ninja assassin! BECAUSE SHE SURE IS SUPER SEXY!” That’s far more interesting, really, and I’ve had enough of the same old boring thing. I’m a creative person, and I’d appreciate it if some creative effort went into the rumors spread about me.
Besides which, I could just be pretending to be a clumsy oaf. Maybe those scars aren’t from times I did dumb things like falling down in my kitchen, running into furniture, and tripping over nothing. Maybe I really am a ninja assassin. Anything’s possible. Hi-ya, et cetera.