A Mind Dump: Hetero Men, Ending My Gaycation, and What If He Wants to Watch?

(I know I pretty much never write here any longer. Consider this my return.)

I have a lot of moments of sheer brilliance while in the bathroom. Don’t we all? In the shower yesterday, washing my baby fro, I thought about what happens when a heterosexual man tells me “lesbians are cool,” or something similar. As if being a lesbian (cisgender specifically, as trans* identified lesbians are often not on the straight dude’s radar) is somehow a pair of sneakers or a hoodie or some fucked up slogan tee shirt. Like someone’s identity can be or is trendy. Not a good look, straight dude(s).

Of course, these conversations have been had plenty times: male gaze, blah blah blah, I’m a person and not a fantasy, etc. But it’s pulling at me specifically because I am a queer identified (pansexuals, stand up!) woman who’s been seriously considering ending a self-imposed gaycation. That is, I stopped dating hetero men for a while — because I often found myself being stressed out by the dynamics of navigating these dealings outside of a fuck buddy relationship. I often found myself chirping up to defend and explain queer folks, queer culture, etc. It became exhausting. I chose to take a step back. Maybe I was too sensitive. Maybe it felt like too much work. “You can’t make everybody get it,” I’d tell myself. It was/ is true. Everyone isn’t gonna recognize their privileged thinking and or behavior. Everyone isn’t gonna stand down long enough to understand that intent doesn’t make oppressive behavior any less oppressive.

So, here I am, thinking maybe I can take another swing at dating straight men. And then the alarm bells go off in my head: BUT THEY’RE GONNA FETISHIZE YOOOOOU! Because some folks don’t get the complexities of queer identities. Because some folks (straight and gay alike!) still think bisexualiy is the place you go before you’re “just all the way” gay or something. I’ve basically given myself an unreasonable amount of around feeling safe when entering the dating world.

I decided that, instead of building my angst, I should identify what’s bothering me, and see if I can’t navigate it on my own. Here are my concerns, in no order of importance:

  • I am queer, and automatically perceived as a threat to any/ every heterosexual man’s sexuality.
  • I have to explain myself, and maybe even justify my existence to somebody.
  • If he asks to watch me have sex w/ another woman, what do I say?
  • I can’t bring these motherfuckers around my queer friends, I’ll feel like a traitor/ asshole/ saboteur if I do. I can’t prove that someone’s an ally, or that they are “okay” or cool.

I had to stop myself. Where was all this coming from? The short answer: kyriarchy.  The long answer: what I’ve lived through, what I’ve seen happen with other folks, what folks have told me about their lives. Because many USians are socialized to regard the experiences/ viewpoints of white hetero able bodied men as the norm, any single person who does not fall in line is considered “other,” right? So I’m black, fat, queer, and not interested in centering a worldview that counts me as less important. There’s friction. And I’m not afraid of friction. I just don’t know if I want to be The One Who Teaches You Better.

That is, I have made it a point to build a community of loving, affirmative folks around myself. Folks to whom I don’t need to explain my queerness, or answer questions like, “Why would you date a woman who dresses like a man, instead of an actual man?” or “What do you mean ‘self-defined woman’?” I’m tired of that. That’s the world I live in any damn way. I feel like I deserve sanctuary in my interpersonal relationships.

So I guess it could be argued that I ain’t for everybody. And I know I’m not. It would seem, though, that the thing that most sticks in my craw: what I do in bed w/ another consenting adult — regardless of gender identity — isn’t for anyone but the two of us. It’s not for anyone else’s enjoyment, not for anyone else’s pleasure, unless we make it that way. Further, the idea that anyone should watch two cis women fucking suggests specifically that the relationship between these two cisgender women is sexual only. That there is no romance. That emotional intimacy can only take place in a relationship in a cis hetero relationship. Not true. I mean, I know that. But why do I HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE THIS?

Ugh. More later. I’ve been at this an hour already and have somewhere to be.

couldn’t have said it better myself!

my big sister omi just laid it allllllll the way out in this blog post.  (i’ve italicized it for clarity between it and my own words.)

12.12.2009
an exercise in restraint
i’ve done a bit of meeting and greeting lately. feels good. i am grateful for the confidence and clarity it’s brought. plus, i haven’t done deep visualization in a long time, so it’s been catalyzing.

it’s also reminded me how impatient i can be in the “will he/won’t he call” stage.

typically, i don’t mind doing a little legwork if i think the guy’s worth it. if you want something, go get it, right?

since i’m nearly always operating from my intuitive, heart-self and not my head, i often see and am attracted to said potential. therefore, my natural inclination is to give them what they need without deep regard as to whether or not they are able to return the favor. i always get the basic, “decent guy” packaging, so they are at least willing to try to reciprocate.

unfortunately, where i can get ocean-deep, they often flounder. and that’s when things fall apart. so i’ve decided it’s probably better to step back and let them show themselves first.

now more than ever, i am totally focused on cultivating intentionality in my relationships–even in the beginning stages.

love can come and will be reciprocated as applicable. i’m open to that. and i’m still gonna get mine when i want it. however, there will be no commitment without real, tangible outcomes, and i have no problem stating that very clearly.

you want me? that’s sweet. prove it.

over the last thirteen years, i’ve learned three big lessons: first, there’s a thin line between mysterious, creative depths and the masking of unearthed and unacknowledged pain. second, if i need a crowbar and forceps to approach your psyche, it’s not gonna work. third–and probably most important–a well-rehearsed melange of coping and defense mechanisms is not a personality.

lots of really “nice guys” have all that going. in spades.

so, yeah. i’m ready to hop back on the merry-go-round.

…just understand that i am heavily armed.

this goes, for friends, too. shit.

dear young strappin’:

it’s over. it’s been over. i liked you, a lot, for a long time. you are tall, dark, handsome, you have a strong back & you’re pretty damn smart.  we had some good times, you know?  late night pancakes, the time you lifted me over your head, the time you drove from new england in the rain just to see me for my birthday . . . & the sex was great. it was. i really enjoyed you.  you seemed to really enjoy me.  you were the perfect casual sex partner. conversation was good enough. you weren’t old enough to drink legally when we me but initially, that gap in age really didn’t mean a whole lot to me. because i wanted some no-strings-attached fun.  you provided that.  i was so grateful, especially that night you came out in a snowstorm just to look at me . . .

but then you got comfortable. i’m not saying i didn’t get comfortable as well, but damn.  you knew i had a kind heart & a soft spot for broke college kids & their elderly grannies. so, i let some shit slide that i wouldn’t have. it was the usual: i allowed my understanding of your situation become an excuse for allowing dumb shit. that’s not okay under any circumstances.  it implied that you were not responsible, on some level, for yourself.  you needed gloves and a hat for late season football practice and i broke my neck to get them to you. you still have them 5 years later (presumably a testament to how appreciative you were and most likely still are, no doubt), but the first time sets the precedent.   cuz my dumb ass shoved $50 in one of the gloves as a show of kindness, affection, and “you know this pussy will be waiting for you when you come home” type feelings. oh, how foolish i was! because you were gonna come get it anyway — the culture shock of all those beckies in one place was too much for you that first semester. you had to get used to your surroundings before attempting to fall off in the sorority houses, etc. & you didn’t like me nearly as much as you were fascinated and intrigued by me. the feeling was mutual, as much as we both sought to hide it.

and i carried a torch of sorts. you were that bridge between the rapper and whatever was next. i said good night to him & met you not even 5 minutes later. you served a purpose and represented something. i don’t resent or regret one moment of the time we spent together. i really did enjoy it for what it was. but things started to shift.  there was the time you took a call from another woman in my presence and told her the same shit you always used to tell me: you were hanging w/ your boys.  that didn’t sit well with me. because you were fucking me, but sleeping in her house. you were lying to both of us in some way. & since i’d taken the time to make our interactions about forthrightness (as much as possible), i was insulted. you asked me not to take that shit personally, but it’s kinda hard when you’re fucking someone and they’re complicating a relatively simple situation with half-truths.   but i stuck it out, cuz i figured you were young & didn’t know any better.  i presumed that you really didn’t know how to articulate your needs in a way that was comfortable for you. & though that was probably the case, i had no idea.  i tried to anticipate you. i tried to meet you three-fourths of the way because it made me feel like i was doing the right thing.  oh, young strappin’, what a fool i was.

when i moved to my new apartment in north philly, you had my back! you helped me move some stuff in.  you helped me hang curtains.  you fucked me on my new bed & scared the living shit out of my then-roommate’s piece of trash boyfriend. i appreciated you even more.  we were still functioning in that same fuck buddy space, but there was a new element. you could easily use my space as an overnight crash spot. i was okay with that. you distracted me from my situation with someone whom i’d met in the interim. you were competition for the dope boy over on jefferson street.  you gave me status, so to speak, when i was still learning that another person’s attraction to/ desire for me had nothing to do with the number of admirers i had.  oh, young strappin’, the things i’ve learned!

by the time i was settled into my routine and apartment in west philly, some things had changed. i was studying the yoruba tradition almost exclusively and contemplating taking the steps toward initiation.  i had cut my locks and gotten a tattoo.  i was beginning to explore my craftiness, my activism, and my sexuality in new ways.  i had new friends, i was finding community, and loving myself more.  that evolution marked the beginning of the end of our thing, this long & somewhat drawn out series of encounters that really should have been meeting over coffee or a random phone convo. but, when folks genitals are involved, it’s not always like that.

now, it’s been five years. we’ve both had some major changes in our lives. tats, piercings, haircuts, passing fancies, deaths in the family, graduations, trips abroad, championships . . . if i’d had to guess, i never would have imagined my relationship to you would be impactful.  i never would have thought that you’d be the only person i’d fucked in this bed. in this third, bigger, more expensive apartment.  & i would have never, ever, ever imagined that we wouldn’t be at least friendly any longer. i don’t know how that even happened. our last encounter wasn’t even good. i was in a new headspace then.  it was one of self affirmation, of self love, of making sure i was getting what i needed/ wanted out of every situation i entered.  & you couldn’t give me what i needed. it just wasn’t the right situation for me anymore.  & it still is not.  your stresses about the health & well being of your grandmother and younger siblings had you distracted. you really needed someone who was more open to soothing you. that wasn’t me at that point. & it quite possibly isn’t me now. i’m sorry we couldn’t do more for each other, yet thankful that it was what it was. 

so, i’ll keep your number and you’ll keep mine.  maybe we’ll cross paths somewhere in the city.  maybe i’ll reactivate my facebook account and send you a message one day, and we can do drinks or pancakes. we can catch up. you can show me your girlfriend or wife, your kids, your goddaughter . . . whatever. but, for right now i’m not answering any late night text messages. nobody wants to just say hi to me at 1:34 in the morning.  i’m not wasting my time responding to anything that isn’t an emergency.  so, i pray you’re safe. i hope you’ve found your dream job.  i wish you nothing but the best & brightest.  heaven knows you deserve it. you should be blessed infitely for your hard work. love & happiness are your birthright.

dear potential future boocakes:

listen. i . . . i know i probably talk too fucking much. and i know that you might think i’m weird.  but i know you like me. because i just happen to know these things. so, if you wanna bake me cookies that’s fine. we have to work on some sort of dairy, egg, and soy-free kind (because that’s really the cookie i need in my life) and if you dare make me oatmeal cookies they’d ought to have craisins in them cuz raisins are just wrong. um. yeah. and i’ll make you iced tea, ginger limeade, and whatever else you want (within reason).  because i’m a doting kinda gal. i always felt like the gold star sticker was more important than getting the 100 on the spelling test, ya know?  let me be the good marshmallow in your hot chocolate; the garnish.  i’m that flourish in your signature that makes it slightly illegible but mostly fabulous. 

& also, potential future boocakes, you should really know that i’m not a huge fan of traditionally represented concept of  monogamy right  now. it feels confining, it feels like a social construct more than it does anything natural to me as a human being. i don’t much like the idea of being bound to one person indefinitely (or quote-unquote forever, the way that the marrieds tend to be).  so, if we start kicking it, understand that it’s not about any sort of loose-in-the-booty-ness on my part.  & i’m not out here doing any ho shit, either. i simply desire to deal with folk who understand where i am in this whole growing up thing. i feel very strongly that my consideration of polyamory is both a great thing for me and a potentially disastrous for you and any other potential future boocakes, depending on the kind of relationship you wish to have with me. we’ll take it one day at a time, though.  we’ll figure it out.

potential future boocakes, i know you are capable of being a great lover (or activity partner or cuddlejawn or whatever we make out of this thang).  i’d very much like the chance to explore that with you.  so, please remember that i am open. it would honor me so much for you to remain open, as well, to what’s out there.

(and by that, i mean willing to have rather serious makeout sessions and play scrabble with me while drinking lindeman’s lambic framboise, peche, kriek, cassis, or pomme)

oh, jill.

jill, jill, jill. i feel this song fully.

i’ve been there. with more than one paramour, quite honestly. it seems like they all end up the same way, too.
we split up for whatever reason(s), you get somebody new, i get somebody new . . . we both live our lives, & may even still be really good friends. but i know deep down inside that i feel like i’m not finished, that you’re not finished. not so much a regret that we split — when something isn’t working, it’s just plain not working — but something like a deep want to try again. i’ll ignore it, because you’ve got someone else you’re kicking it with (you’re not wasting any kind of time, since you don’t want the chance to miss me) & i’m doing whatever i’m doing . . . i won’t let myself regret you. i won’t convince myself that i should apologize profusely & call you up trying to see if there might be a way back in. this is primarily because i can’t handle the idea of being rebuffed when i want to be desired & refuse to try too hard at anything i’m prone to suck at. i’m prideful that way. i’m trouble that way. & she isn’t. that’s why you like her so much — she doesn’t challenge you to be a better person, quite honestly. she’d never encourage you to reach for everything you’ve ever wanted — because you’re all she’s ever wanted. a daddy, financier & lover all in one. you have the bankroll for her to hit target without flinching — note, i said her, because she’s never considerate of your money situation. it only matters when she has to pay. you don’t think i know she sees you as an open wallet/ bank account/ whatever, even though you essentially make the same amount of money she does? you don’t think i’ve noticed all these things when you talk about her to me the way you would one of your homeboys?
but you’ll allow it, because it’s easier than being alone. because it’s easier than trying to get back to what you know was harder to keep, but more worth your time.
& maybe that’s why i let go, too. because i’m too comfortable running shit & it’s not even about control issues — the only issue i have is that i wanna be in control. period. when i’m not at the helm, it’s only because i let you be. i think that you enjoyed that as much as i am accustomed to it.
so now here i am, after the fact, wondering why the fuck i even care.
because i love you. & in the back of my head, i imagine where we’d be had we stuck it out or reloaded the whole thing. if we’d said “let’s try one more time,” & said yes to a do-over. i wonder if you would have taken my hand, had i extended it.
i don’t live w/ regrets or guilt, but the what-ifs surely can be a beast.