Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Dating Pool

I always thought finding the right partner was similar to buying a new car. I wanted the model to be just right, it had to have style, character, class and most of all speed for excitement. I wanted the interior to be understanding of my need of comfort and support. I needed the interior to have a lot of room; possibly for all the baggage that I may bring into it. The headlights (the eyes of the car) had to sparkle; had to give the car a personality of its own and had to shine above anyone else. The back end had to be cute, but enough trunk space to really make it stand out above the rest. My car had to turn heads, had to make people think, “Wow, how did she get into that car!” What if I couldn’t afford the ‘perfect car’? Would I have to settle for less? Would I have to resort to finding an economical ‘cute’ car? The constant struggle of finding Miss Right lies in the hands of God. I do believe that we have more than one soul mate. There are plenty of ‘perfect’ mates out there—so why is it so hard finding her? Do we need someone to set us up on dates? Those people that set us up on dates are ‘car salesmen’ if you really think about the analogy I have given above. They think that their friend or ‘their car for sale’ is the best one out there. This is perfect for you!—but is it? (Is she?) Does it suit my needs? Will it carry my baggage? Will it hug all my curves-- regardless of how narrow or wide my curves are. Will it break down on me? Will I have to pick up the pieces or go out and find yet another car? Will I have to spend tons of money and end up broke?

We look for specific characteristics in people when we are hunting for the right mate. Did you ever hear someone say when they are dating more than one person, “She’s gorgeous, but only if she only had the personality of that girl—she’d be perfect?” Some people date more than one person to get all of their needs met. One girl has a great personality, you love going out with them, and they’re a social butterfly and loves to be around people. This mate has the ability to talk to people, she is very attractive and you’re proud to have her by your side. The other girl is an introvert. She doesn’t like going out too much and is a bit of a homebody. She is very deep, loving and caring and you can open up to her and talk about anything. She is more domesticated, and you can really see yourself ‘settling down’ with her. Then you have the other girl for that sexual excitement; the passionate relationship that is full of lust. The only problem with this girl is, after your sexual encounter, the thought of her in your bed in the a.m. hours is horrifying! When you see this person, you’re automatically turned on and on ‘ready mode’. You get an instant shock in your genitals, and then up to your lower stomach that rises up to your heart and makes it palpitate. This is called lust. Lust can be easily confused for love. The chemical reaction you get with lust is simple. You feel lust when you only feel sexual around that person. You can hardly speak because you are so aroused. When you are ‘in love’ with a person, you get another source of excitement which is similar, but your heart pitter-patters before your genitals do. Of course you may get aroused with the person you are in love with, but you actually want to see their face in the morning. There’s a big difference there. Time goes by so quickly with this person because you cannot get enough of her.

Now, the question here is, how do you get all these wonderful traits in one person? Newsflash—you don’t! If you want the perfect person, you will skip from date to date trying to seek the exact qualifications that your heart is seeking. When you are ninety-five years old & gray and still searching, you’ll find that you did something wrong down the line. Finding love depends on you. It depends on how accepting we are, how conditional our love is and how we can make our time incredible with them. If you think that the person you are dating is boring, you may want to look at yourself first. The first step is remembering that each and every individual is so different from one another; much like a snowflake. Remember, everyone has a past that created who they are today. Their life experiences, their ex-lovers and past family history all come into play when they get into a relationship. A lot of people let their past affect how they behave in a relationship. One person may have had many people in their lives leave them, for whatever reason—break ups, divorces, relocating and even deaths. In their minds, everyone ‘abandons’ them. It happened once, so why won’t it happen again?—is the way they think. Fear of abandonment issues trickles into major insecurity issues as well. They feel unworthy enough for you to stay in their lives. It can become so bad that they end up severely depressed and unable to maintain a healthy relationship with anyone. Another negative emotion that tags along with this ‘wonderful fear’ is jealousy. Anyone who flirts with the idea of possibly taking their mate away from them is going to pay serious consequences… Either they get upset with the person who initiated the flirting, or they take it out on their partner. This leads into many arguments and may result in a break up—which then results in abandonment in that person’s mind.

Insecurity is such a panicky feeling. The thought of constantly wondering when and if their mate is going to leave them can reek havoc on one’s mind. This even goes back to primitive times when the men would guard their wives by hugging them (well actually holding them like prisoners so that no one would go near her.) This is a form of letting others know their territory. The same holds true for when you see a couple out in a public place and one mate is constantly putting their arm around the other, or they are constantly displaying their love in public—this is an act of insecurity in some aspects because it shows other people that this person belongs to you. When someone is too controlling in a relationship, it usually means it’s a sign of insecurity. If they lose all sense of feeling ‘in control’ they may become more distant, or even leave you before the possibility of you leaving them. It’s almost like a game—who can leave who faster. The other person may not even realize that this is a one-sided game that their partner is playing. These people have been left so many times by others in the past that they don’t separate you from anyone else. Whatever you say is almost 98% doubted in their mind. How can they truly believe that you’ll stay when no one else has? Having lost so many people in their lives, their self-esteem becomes extremely low, making it difficult for them to accept themselves; therefore having difficulty accepting you. If someone is truly unhappy with themselves, how can they make anyone else happy? If someone does not love themselves enough, how can they love anyone else? They only rely on other people for their happiness. A majority of women focus on other people to be accountable for their happiness in life. They blame other people and ex-mates for why they are so miserable. If you are not happy in your relationship, do you really think that your partner is? The biggest problem that most couples face is communicating. There are many reasons why this happens. Sometimes a partner feels as if they address a certain topic to their lover, then they risk losing this person and possibly having them break up with them. This all comes down to trust. Do we trust our partners 100%? Does anyone trust their partners 100%? Relationships are much like investing in stocks. Taking chances is how a lot of people end up successful. If we never took a chance on love, how would we find happiness? Sometimes we lose out and sometimes we win big. If we don’t invest, we will never know. We can sit around and become stagnant in what we have at the present time. Love is not a feeling, but a choice. Love comes in many forms. We choose to love a certain person; the same as we choose what stock to invest in. Of course we want the best one so we can be ‘successful’, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. That’s why it’s called ‘high risk’. Our hearts are fragile and sometimes very well guarded. Sometimes our hearts are so guarded; we build a huge wall so that no one can possibly get through or penetrate it. When we let people in our ‘wall’ that we built so highly, we are leaving ourselves to be vulnerable. What a scary word! Vulnerability is frightening to a lot of people. The word alone gives me anxiety. When you become vulnerable to the person you choose to love, you are opening yourself up to them, letting them see the true you, letting them see everything that makes up ‘you’. The big fear here is getting hurt again. “Oh God I can’t go through that again!” Keep in mind this is a different person with different characteristics, different personality traits, a different background and a different heart. If you go into a relationship with that mindset, it will affect your true personality and the way you open up to this person. You’ll appear as ‘distant’ to them and emotionally unavailable due to your fear of being vulnerable. This can actually make the other person who is with you feeling as though you are not truly interested in having a relationship with them. They begin to doubt your feelings for them. Being ‘open’ and being vulnerable means that you are letting this person inside. You are letting this person feel special enough to get the chance of knowing who you truly are. The sooner you let this person in, the sooner you will see just how wonderful this road can seem. Most likely, the other person will start to trust you due to your openness, therefore opening up to you which enable great communication in a relationship.

You want to have the three following things with your partner: a best friend, a loving relationship, family all in one. Each relationship has a foundation. The foundation should be your ‘friendship’ with your partner. Just as you would buy a house, you would want the foundation to be made before building your house. If you have no foundation, your house will not be stable. After your foundation has been built (friendship) then you work your way into the love department which can be the living room of your home. You want to feel secure, safe and warm. You want to display love, trust and honesty. Relationships are complicated; there are many rooms in the house where you can create new and exciting ideas for your relationship to work well. There are also some rooms people create that store all their ‘junk’ so to speak. This room holds the things that you are not sure you want to get rid of. Things from your past, things you truly don’t need and things that don’t work anymore that you’re thinking about getting fixed. This is the ‘issue room’. We all have our own little issue room whether we admit to it or not. It’s best when you just get in there and start cleaning. You might find some things you didn’t know you had in there. Once your issue room is clean, you can begin to feel better and possibly make it a room for something productive, like an office or a big walk in closet. Have your partner help you clean out your ‘issue room’-- it may be very revealing, but very therapeutic and helpful to your relationship. Your partner should be the one you go to for advice, companionship and someone you can talk to without any reservation. To have an open communication with your partner is a very intimate thing. Telling her your most inner thoughts, your desires, your dreams and your fantasies can be quite the aphrodisiac! The more you communicate with words, feelings, thoughts and inner spirituality, the more you connect on a physical nature as well. Communicating and physical intimacy goes hand-in-hand. Communicating in the bedroom is another great source for great sex. Think about it, if you don’t communicate while sharing intimate moments, how will you know what your partner wants? How do you expect your partner to know what you want? Communicate…

The Sunday Morning Paper

How I used to look forward to the weekends when I used to have the conventional-type career. Now it’s just a plain ol’ Sunday. I used to love Sunday mornings. I just got the paper this morning and made an observation... I find myself resenting some of these ‘newlyweds’ who have all these success stories. Why is it that every wedding and engagement announcement only has successful people in the paper? “Bill Smith the bridegroom is a graduate from Harvard and a stock broker for Wall Street and his lovely wife Jane Doe is a graduate of Yale University and a professor for NYU.”

For once I would love to see an advertisement such as, “Joe Shmoe is a high-school drop out from Monroe Woodbury now currently trying to find himself living on disability due to his Carpal Tunnel pain from playing the guitar too much and his lovely wife Nancy Jones is a GED graduate working now as a cashier at 7 Eleven.”

Let’s be realistic here and put ‘real’ people in these ads instead of these successful lawyers and doctors! It’s not a wedding announcement, it is an announcement saying:

“I’m doing better than you are sucker!”

Beaver vs. the Dam

Safe sex and protection should always be a priority when we are about to romp around town or find ourselves entangled with a new sex partner, but not everyone cares whether or not they use protection. Not every woman believes they can catch an STD through having an intimate moment with another woman. As lesbians, we have challenges as far as sexual protection paraphernalia goes. Heterosexuals and gay men have it so easy when it comes to protecting themselves. Lesbians, well, they have dental dams. Why do we have to settle for a piece of rubber that is much like a fruit roll up on our partner’s genitalia? If only this lovely invention tasted like a fruit roll up, it wouldn’t be half bad. The only option for avoiding that horrific latex taste is to use Saran Wrap… What a romantic thought, huh?
“Hold on honey, let me grab the Saran Wrap!”

Heterosexuals and gay men have it fairly easy when it comes to this option. They can roll a condom on their penis, and have it stay there. Lesbians have to literally hold up this square, flat piece of floppy rubber-like paper on their partner’s genitalia and try to poke their tongue through this pliable barrier. Who thought of this? A woman’s anatomy is complex, and has so many different areas that need to be attended to. I’m not saying that the dental damn is a bad thing, and that it should not be used; I just wish that we had another option.

The other flip-side of this problem is the act of ‘genital-to-genital’ sex. Do you think a dam is going to stay in place during this activity? The most known case for lesbians to contract an STD is through genital-to-genital sex; through vaginal secretions. It baffles me that we have not come up with better solutions for “better sex”…Women have to get creative a lot of times living as a lesbian. Sometimes we even resort to sexual toys. The one thing to remember is, when protecting yourself against an STD; always, always wash off your ‘pickle of love’ before using it on your partner, and vise/versa. Depending on the two people involved, this can be a very enjoyable way to experience a sexual encounter with someone, and yet—be safe. There are a lot of lesbians who do not prefer toys. They like the ‘natural way’… If you are single and playing the field, either keep that Saran Wrap handy in your glove compartment, or consider using a fruit roll-up! I’d rather use that than a dental dam any day.

The funniest thing is to watch these old sex therapists on television explain ways to have better sex, and answer questions from callers around the world. Have you seen this? An old lady comes on television and basically gives sexual advice in explicit form. The sex therapist was explaining how to use the dental dam. She held up the flat, square piece of rubber, and started darting her tongue through it. This was enough to make me turn from lesbian sex all together. I have to say, this was very comical. I give this lady credit for even going on television to demonstrate dental damns, vibrators, dildos and other wonderful things in her bag of tricks. No doubt, the best way to stay safe is abstinence, but…umm…really now… I can suggest it, but will you even listen? Will I even listen? I’d be a hypocrite to even give that advice! Sex is a wonderful thing and should be enjoyed. It’s a shame that we have to fear it for dear life. The question remains, do all of us fear it? That is even a scarier thought. A lot of people do not fear unprotected sex, which makes for an unsafe community. Why have we become so careless--as if we didn’t care if we live or die? It is a matter of life or death.

The consequences of our actions are crucial. Thinking before our actions is so important. Believe me, I was no angel when I was younger. I have had some wild days that will last me for a lifetime. We all had to sew our oats at a certain point in our lives, but there comes a time when we just need to settle down and get hit with a reality slap. I got hit with a huge scare in my life. When I was nine-teen years old, I went with a woman and had unprotected sex with her. Unbeknown to my knowledge, this beautiful woman who was four-teen years older than me was a prostitute. She led me to believe that she was monogamous in our relationship. Not only did I find out she was a prostitute, but she was also a drug user. My heart was literally broken. I loved this woman and thought the world of her. Why wasn’t she honest with me? We had unprotected sex, and I had to find out myself if I contracted anything. I’ll never forget walking into the doctor’s office having to tell him that I was a ‘lesbian’ and that I had sex with someone who had numerous partners. I requested an HIV test. They took blood tests and sent me on my way. “We’ll call you with the results...” It took two weeks for them to call me back with the results. Those two weeks were torture! The frustrating part about this was, when they did call, they asked me to come in. Come in??? That must mean bad news. I was shaking like a leaf. I thought right there, my life was over. I was about to be given the worse news of my life. As I sat in their office, the doctor calls me in. He sat me down and said, “Well, you’re not pregnant.”
Err… Where did this guy get his degree? He then went on to explained how it is so important to have safe sex and lectured me on my irresponsibility. At this point, I thought he was about to give me bad news. He didn’t. I was HIV negative. I was so happy and relieved to hear this, yet very pissed off at this doctor for putting me through the stress of ‘his little scare tactic’. I’m glad he did that though, because it gave me a slap of reality, and some sense of awareness. I went home feeling as though God had given me a new life; a new beginning. I just couldn’t believe how careless I was when I was young and dating numerous women at a time. I thought I was invincible; as though nothing could overcome me.

I even went with straight women, brought home barmaids, had one night stands with women in night clubs, as well as have multiple girlfriends at the same time. It was careless and irresponsible behavior on my part, which I regret. In another aspect, I do believe that we all go through certain things in our lives in order to make us realize what’s really important. I think if I hadn’t gone through that crazy ‘wild life’---I think I would still be trying to sew my oats today—and a scarier thought, I probably wouldn’t be afraid of a sexually transmitted disease.
There was a time when I was working as a temp for a corporate company, and I started becoming close friends with my immediate supervisor. As time went on, we began to establish a friendship outside the office. She was married to a man that she has known practically all her life. The troublesome part of it was, he constantly cheated on her with other women. She confided in me and was upset, as well as confused. I made it known to her about my sexual orientation, and she was okay with it. The only thing that bothered me is how much she would remind me not to tell anyone in the company. For personal reasons, I didn’t plan on doing that anyway, but for her to remind me made me feel as though I should be ashamed of who I am.

Time went on, and we started spending every weekend together. We went out for lunch, got our nails done together, went shopping, had dinner and even had sleepovers. We were practically best friends at this point. Her husband worked long hours as a cop, and then went out every evening with his friends… (or so he said) One evening, while dining at a local restaurant, she started asking me a ton of questions regarding my sexual preference, how long I have been gay, and would I ever date men again. We talked, and I was trying to be as honest and open as I could to her, since she was open with me. She then told me that she had a three year relationship with a woman before she married her husband. She said she was gay. How could this be? She married her husband out of fear of what her parents would think. He was a childhood friend who was in love with her, so she felt ‘comfortable’ marrying this man. Needless to say, we started being intimate and having unprotected sex not too long after that. Our relationship was an intense one. I fell in love with her and wanted more, which I knew that may never be possible. I had to end everything due to my strong feelings towards her, and had to accept that she would never leave her husband for another woman. My point of this story is-- having sexual encounters with this woman led me to the thought of her intimacy with her husband, as well as his intimacy with ‘other women’. So, by me having sex with her, I was ‘in a way’ having sex with her husband, and all of his mistresses. Where does that bring me? Yes, back to the ol’ doctor’s office for a check up. It was well worth it, and I was happy to find out, once again, that I was HIV negative. Sometimes we all get into situations where we have no control over our actions due to our intense emotional bonds that we create. We don’t want to believe that the person that we fell in love with has a disease, so in most cases, we tend to block it out of our minds and continue being careless. Hopefully it doesn’t come to a point where the ‘scare’ becomes a reality.

I do believe there are differences between gay men and lesbian women in the sexual aspect. Although, both men and women are all susceptible to all diseases if we are exposed to it, the increasing amount of men who are contracting the HIV virus is becoming almost mainstream. Since men are more apt to satisfy their sexual needs at will, the increasing amount of men who are catching this virus is overwhelming. There are certain groups where they call themselves, “Bug Chasers”… These groups of men actively seek HIV positive men to give him ‘the gift’----which is HIV. In their mindset, they would rather diminish the fear of contracting HIV, so that they can have sex with anyone they want, without a condom; without thoughts of ‘what if I catch it’… By contracting HIV, these men will set up “POZ parties” (HIV+ parties) so that there are no need for concerns. ‘Barebacking’---which means men having sex without protection is being practiced at an alarming rate. Barebacking parties are mostly found on the internet so that these men could have access to look this up at any given time.

In their eyes, sex is worth all the medications and headaches that go along with being HIV positive. Since medicine today is doing a better job having HIV positive men live longer, the disease now is no longer considered, ‘dangerous’ in their eyes. There are stories where men catch HIV, to only die within that year. It depends on each individual and how strong their immune system is. Has sex become such top priority for men that they are willing to risk their lives for it? What does that mean for lesbian women? The majority of lesbian women with HIV have already had an encounter with a man or they are bi-sexual. I’m not saying that you cannot contract the HIV virus through another woman, but in most studies, it shows that women mostly get HIV if they are heterosexual or have been with a man at one point in their lives. There are women who have contracted HIV through women, but not as much. It’s a rare occurrence, but should still be taken seriously. Mainly, if a woman had high risk activity in her past, such as unprotected sex, the use of intravenous drugs/unclean needles, then precautious should be taken. The topic of safe sex has become taboo for most lesbian women. HIV can be among anyone, even if they look healthy. Never be scared to ask your partner about their past, or their HIV status, or other STDs-- and never be afraid to both get tests together.

The Inner Circle

Have you ever noticed illegal immigrants that cross over from whatever country they are from, usually all flock together within their ‘same people’? They all know one another, and work in the same fields sometimes. Mostly all of them will rent out an apartment and have numerous roommates to help with the rent. Almost all of them that are living within a one hundred mile radius all know one another. It’s comforting for them to know their own kind in a society that is foreign to them, and a society that most likely will not be so accepting to ‘illegal immigrants’.

I almost find the same situation in our own gay & lesbian community. We all know one another most of the time and we hide out in our ‘hang out spots’ that are mainly for our community. We even have some that team up as roommates as well. It is comforting for us to know that there are other people like ourselves. Discrimination has run so freely among society that it has all of us scrambling for a ‘safe zone’, and remaining in the comforts of our own people. Now there are advantages and disadvantages of this inner circle that we have now created.

One advantage is, we can all relate to one another. We can share the challenges that we all face being homosexual and living in a heterosexual world. We come to each other for support and understanding. We can be ourselves in these ‘groups’ of ours, where holding hands with your partner at a gay establishment wouldn’t give anyone a heart attack if they seen this public affection. We’re able to come out freely, not fearing the possibilities of discriminating cruelty. I relate foreign immigrants to our situation because they face the same challenges as well. Some people do not mind that they are here, living among us. A lot of people hire them for work due to the opportunity to pay them off the books. They are hard working, and they are trying to make a better life for themselves, here in the U.S. A lot of people would disagree with illegal immigrants being here. It is a challenge for them to even come here, no less gain acceptance from society. Isn’t that true for us though? Some people do not mind at all that we live among them, but in other cases, they are outraged that there are gays and lesbians living in their neighborhoods. It’s no wonder why we make groups for ourselves and establish places designated for ‘our kind’---however, don’t we make room for heterosexual people too?

That’s the difference. We accept society, but why don’t they accept us? That question is so vague and so many answers can be given. Why they don’t accept us is a question that each person can answer differently—whether it be for religious reasons, social reasons, the fear to reveal their ‘true’ feelings, and fear of rejection, etc. If a person is comfortable with themselves, then they will accept you---for who you are…whether you are gay, lesbian, transgender, bi-sexual, or even if you are a holy-rolling pastor who constantly throws scriptures at us telling us we’re an abomination to God.

My point here is that whether we like to admit it or not, we are in a circle. I poke fun at the fact that we are in this vicious circle of lesbians who know one another. We have to scan our little black book so we don’t offend one of our buddies, if a girl we start to date is one of their ex’s. One of my biggest fears about these social events and gay establishments is walking into an ex-girlfriend. Why am I scared to run into one? It’s just uncomfortable for me in general, and another reason would be all the gossip that flows like a babbling brook on a steep mountain. We all talk, especially if we know someone who is dating a friend’s ex or dating our own ex, we are women, maybe not all of us are washwomen, but regardless…women are known to talk, talk, and talk! We’re like a bunch of hens tossing around our private stash of rare eggs that we’ve been sitting on for so long, until the right time comes for those to be hatched. We anticipate the hatching of a new story, news regarding an ex, news regarding our own friends, and news regarding our own situations at times. Were we born with it? Or is this a choice; to gossip?

One fact remains to stay true is that we all have our little ‘cliques’. We tend to stay in this particular group of friends almost as if we were protecting ourselves in a bubble. No one can penetrate this bubble unless there is a weak link within. One of the weak links within may have possibly over stepped her boundaries with making inappropriate gestures, insinuating her admiration for a certain party in that group. At times, there are secret affairs within the circle that eventually comes to a head once it is out in the open, or once they get caught; making this ‘clique’ and unstable one. Usually, in this case, the two parties involved have to make other arrangements as far as leaving this clique, for another group who will accept this new couple.
In my personal experience, my cliques seem to change every six months or so. I believe it has a lot to do with the ~six month wrap up~. It’s much like the seven year itch with heterosexuals. People meet, fall in love, try and make their new relationship work as healthy adult lesbians, but there is an underlying tug that rattles up this beautiful partnership—leaving them to make crucial decisions at that six month mark. If they pass it, then I believe that these two may work well for the long haul. If they can’t pass the six month mark, they are going to experience either a break up, or a rocky on & off type of relationship. Why does this affect the ‘clique’? Much has to do with new relationships, leaving their buddies to discover this new found love they have just experienced. It’s normal and it happens frequently. We tend to make choices much sooner, and end this much sooner as well.

The classic way for lesbians to meet is through the personals, usually online websites. Even lesbian couples put their ads out to meet other couples to go out with, for friendship only. This makes it easier for us to expand our circle of friends through a discreet (or not so discreet) method of meeting new people. Don’t be surprised if you live in Ohio, and a person in Alabama knows your whole life story. Gossip is spread via internet as well. It’s almost as if we have this great power in our hands—the computer; our communication launcher, our ways of reaching out to those lesbians in different parts of the country, as well as the entire world. Have we opened a whole can of worms by tapping into a personal website, and communicating with lesbians from different areas? Does this make us susceptible to becoming targets of gossip? Has this made our community vulnerable to the gripping pull and tug of the inner circle?

Regardless, if you have more than one ex-girlfriend out there in the ~loop~, then most likely you will be apart of this circle. Many times, lesbians will stay content in their circle, not venturing out into the world that we are apart of. They start to enable this defense mechanism by avoiding social heterosexual settings, and having resentful feelings towards innocent people who have done nothing wrong. We then start to ‘stereotype’ our heterosexual community. We then, begin to discriminate at times, automatically thinking that the world is against us. Remember this, not everyone is going to like you, or me. We can’t satisfy our happiness by feeling loved by everyone, because that’s just not going to happen. We want to feel accepted and loved; all of us do. We need to accept that people are different, people will either accept you, or they won’t. We can’t force society to just put their hands up and say, “Hey, I’m okay with it now!” In most cases, the reason why they focus so much on discriminating against us is because they are unhappy with their own lives. We need to stop hiding out. Let’s meet at a heterosexual lounge/bar or restaurant. We should let others know that we are here, we are people too, and we’re no longer going to hide any longer. We need to accept ourselves more, love ourselves more, and most of all, respect ourselves more. I was speaking to my girlfriend’s mother on the phone one day. She made a valid point. I was telling her how we were going on vacation to Provincetown, MA—a fun gay community. She asked me, “Why do you two always feel the need to hide out in these gay communities when there are so many other beautiful and fun places to visit?” I immediately put up a defense and said, “Oh we don’t hide out, we just love that place and we are familiar with it.”

Come to think of it, we do go there for ‘hiding out’ so to speak. What I mean is, we go there so we can be with our ‘own kind’--- we can relate to the other gay and lesbians out there who are vacationing from the heterosexual world. It’s true though, why are we hiding ourselves when we’re losing all concept of the wonderful experiences of traveling to places that we fear may be ‘too straight’ for us to deal with? Maybe we have good reason to hide out if you really think about it. There are people out there with harmful intentions when they witness any homosexual. It’s scary how many hate crimes are out there that we don’t hear about. That is one of the many reasons why I headed over to the gay communities, so I wouldn’t have to deal with prejudice people. Now on the other hand, my mother made a good point one day. Perhaps not a good point, however, a scary scenario. Think about it, these gay parades that fill the city streets with our ‘brothers and sisters’, the streets are flowing over with proud homosexuals. Whether it is a gay pride parade, a huge gay & lesbian community, “or” even a gay & lesbian bar, we can still be at risk of being targets of hate crimes. There are people out there that will go out of their way to make our lives miserable. I remember one evening while enjoying a cocktail with a friend at a gay & lesbian lounge in Nyack, New York that had live entertainment every night, people of all walks of life enjoyed this café, and it was a place where you can feel comfortable being ‘you’. As the café started packing in more and more people, I noticed a very scruffy looking man. He wore a huge beige hunting jacket and hat that matched, old torn up jeans, and dirty old work boots. He wore sunglasses in the café! It was 11:00pm! He had dirty blonde hair that straggled out of his hat with a full beard that looked as if he had been in the mountains for months. Okay, so I accept the fact that people are different and come in unique attire to establishments, but there was one thing that stood out from all the rest. He was holding a big duffle bag; big enough where he had to place it under his arm to get a grip—due to the heavy contents. What disheveled looking man comes walking into a nice café like this? I left immediately out of fear of what could happen. I still remember that evening as if my life was in danger.

Now, if we were all spread out and walking among the heterosexuals as if it was our ‘own community’, wouldn’t it be true that we’d have more places to go? We would definitely have a lot more places to vacation as well. Let’s get out of our cliques and safe havens and start branching out so we can be comfortable almost anywhere. Our inner circle can expand a bit more.

All Work & No Play

All work and no play makes Jane a boring girl, as the old saying goes. Being in a monogamous relationship for more than a few years may become a bit redundant at times, depending on the two people. Especially today, it is extremely challenging to make ends meet off one income. It’s even more of a challenge for a couple to have a normal life with two incomes due to the lack of time together, and the fatigue that comes into play when there are two people working in the household. Real estate keeps going up and up, as well as renting an apartment or a condo. Working has become the means of ‘living’. We live for our work. Most of us are in careers that we don’t even like, and if you are fortunate enough to be doing something you like—you are indeed very lucky. The whole bottom line is, when do we get enough quality times to be with our significant others? When do we start making time for our lover?

Procrastination has become a big part of being in a relationship. Of course, when you’re in a new relationship, it’s a bit different, and you make time with that person you care for. Why can’t we hold on to that concept and use it for the future years to come? You literally have to ‘make a date’ with your partner to actually have sex with them, if they’re not too tired from the daily routines they’re accustomed to. I can remember a time when I was working for a telecommunications company and my partner was working for a car dealership. Both companies demanded a lot of our time. She worked twelve hour shifts, and I worked twelve hours shifts in the beginning of the week. At the end of my week, I had the weekends off, but my partner didn’t. Her day off was on a Tuesday, and a Sunday once in a blue moon. It was hard to schedule any events with her due to the conflict of work schedules. We argued a lot of times due to this and I also complained of how we never got to go away on weekends together or do normal things that other couples did. Were other couples having this problem though? Of course they were, but to me, it seemed as though we were the only ones facing this dilemma. Eventually, our intimacy faded out, there was no time, and I would come home, eat dinner and do my regular evening routine, then go to sleep. My partner would come home, eat, and then go to sleep because she came home much later than I did. We basically had no time to talk, because there wasn’t any left at the end of the day. Communication started to diminish and our relationship was more of a ‘roommate’ situation now.

Time went on, and my partner was going through a depression. I thought that it may have been that she didn’t love me anymore. I didn’t talk to her about it because I was scared to hear those words come out of her mouth, so lack of communication on my part was evident as well. We eventually had to make that awful decision of whether or not to implement separation. The only thing we were good at back then was arguing. It was an unhealthy situation that needed to be addressed; but who the heck wanted to address it? Not me, that’s for sure, but I wasn’t going to just leave it like that and become one of those couples who don’t talk or communicate. I finally sat her down, and explained how a separation may be beneficial to us right now. Separation can either make or break us---is how I thought. It was during that time of separation where I began to realize that our jobs, careers, what we do for a living isn’t as important as our loved ones.

Yes, making ends meet is a must, of course, but to put work priority to your partner and shutting them out is extremely detrimental to one’s relationship. If you cannot avoid the work situation and long hectic hours of the day, then it’s wise to communicate and ‘make time aside’ for a date with your lover. When my partner and I got back together, she made a point to take Sunday and Mondays off, which was great, because now I had those days off as well and we could do things together. She made such an effort that it amazed me. I was very shocked to see the changes that had been made, and very pleased. It is very common for couples of any lifestyle to go through this, and especially to have their intimacy slowed down a bit due to their hectic lifestyles, but with a little effort and communication, you will be amazed at the results. The key with anything in life is moderation. Work in moderation, intimacy in moderation (or above!) and of course time for ourselves, as well is very important too. Don’t forget that we need time for ourselves to think things through without surrounding influences and time to pray & meditate; whatever it is that makes you relax and become closer to God or closer to what you believe in. For me, it is extremely crucial that I have time aside to pray to God and meditate, I feel more grounded and secure. When I do this, I become more serene with myself, making better decisions and wiser choices. My understanding on what my partner goes through increases, and I become someone she wants to talk to, as a friend. I am fortunate enough that my partner is the same religion as me, being a Christian, so we pray together as well. That’s one huge thread that binds us together. Our faith in God makes us stronger as a couple, and harder for us to be apart. What is the thread that binds you and your partner? If you can answer that quickly, you are very fortunate.

A lot of people say that you need to have a lot in common with someone in order to get along. My partner and I have almost nothing in common, but the one thing we do share is God, which makes us more lenient and open-minded to each of our interests. I don’t know if opposites attract or if you need to have everything in common, but if you find a similar ‘tie’ that holds you two together, go with it. Making time aside to do something fun with your lover let’s her know, “Hey, I care, and I want to spend time with you.” It shows effort. I also want to note that the little things are so important as well, such as, little love cards sitting on her pillow, bringing her a single red rose home, sending flowers to her office (just because) and making your partner her favorite dish when she gets home at night is a special treat for her. You can even write little notes and place them in her pockets of her outfit that she picked out for the next day. This doesn’t go unnoticed, believe me. They will always remember what you did. There are so many ways to show your love, so many ways we can say thank you, and so many ways we can make time for them. It’s inevitable—life gets in the way of our relationships, but the key here is, let’s get in the way of life and stop it from ruining our precious time with our significant others. Let’s start communicating more and making our short time on earth here a never-ending vacation.

If you live with your partner, one of the many interesting things that happen is, the two of you most likely don’t e-mail one another anymore, since you two have the same living quarters. If you do e-mail each other through work, it’s short and brief usually. Many people communicate more freely through the expression of writing. I suggest you write her a long e-mail expressing all of your feelings, emotions and how you feel about her—openly. Be honest, be direct and be detailed in everything that you write to her. Start communicating through e-mail (the way we all started at one time or another!) I think it’s a great idea if two people find it hard to talk one-on-one in person. It’s sad to see the romance fade after years of being together. It’s almost a shame to see two people who loved and cared for one another so much, to break up after somewhat years. Don’t get me wrong, I know that it happens and it is a normal process of life, and hopefully those two made an effort to work things out before the break up; nevertheless, it is still a shame to see that occur.

The other side of the spectrum is couples who work together at the same place. Now this can either make or break the two depending on the circumstance. I used to work with my ex-girlfriend for approximately one year or so, I got her a job with me working for the telecommunications company, and it was fun—till it got hairy! When we fought, I couldn’t focus on my work, I was not concentrating on anything, and when we passed one another by in the hall, we gave each other snarling looks---or just ignored each other all together which was even worse. She thought every person I went to lunch with was my new girlfriend or new ‘interest’. At times, I even saw her take her breaks the same time I took mine, and this made me feel a bit awkward, and a bit stalked to tell you the truth. The company ended up laying people off and I decided that this was the end of my work here; I needed to move on and get out of this place. For me, working with my girlfriend was very stressful and unnerving. They always say, never do business with family; well I think the same is true with your partners as well. Your workplace is sometimes your sanctuary to get away from your partner at times, as sad as that sounds. What’s even a nicer thought is that your partner can’t wait to get home. This is truly a fortunate thing to have. The anticipation to come home to your lover is definitely a wonderful sign for you two. Whether you love or hate your job, if you feel that excitement of coming home to your baby, I think that you have it better than most.

As the Dorothy tapped both her shoes together in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz”-- and said, “There’s no place like home.” I think she got it down right! That’s how it should be. Your home should be your sanctuary, the place that you desire going back to, the place where you are loved, the place that holds love for “you”, and most of all, the place that you share your inner most ‘self’ with the love of your life. That is what I call, “home”…

Conversation No-Nos

Dating is hard enough when you are living a homosexual lifestyle. There are so many various types of people out there and so many people who do not fit what you may be seeking. Even e-mailing a few people for potential dating purposes can be extremely exhausting. Going over and over about your life and what you’re looking for may feel redundant and down right boring. You start getting sick of your own stories and background. There’s only so much to talk about when meeting someone sometimes. Most of it depends on what their values and beliefs may be. I have come across many conversations that led into a debate due to my religious and political views.

I’m sure you have heard time and time again about never to bring up religion or politics when engaging in conversation. I have a different point of view regarding this. Bringing up your beliefs is actually a way of opening up your heart to someone. Don’t come off as if your belief is better than someone else’s. The key word here is ‘sharing’ and opening up to that person as far as your religious and political views. I feel that religion and politics are very important to talk about considering that this may be a potential partner. Are we so afraid to express how we feel regarding our spiritual beliefs and political views that we are willing to shove them in a box until the right time? Better to discuss it now than later. The one thing that I have observed while being shuffled around in the dating pool are topics regarding their past loves. Talking about your ex is like talking about the most uncomfortable topic you can imagine. When someone constantly refers back to their ex lover, it’s usually a red flag that they are still living in the past and not recovering from a past relationship. They can instantly show you how much they can complain or how much they can display their lingering feelings for their past love. Big hint here- if they start ‘ex-bashing’, this usually indicates that the issue lies in the hands of the one who is bitching and moaning. They will deliberately make out their ex to be the bad guy and have you thinking that they were hurt deeply and done wrong.

Side effects include playing a small violin and possibly holding a pity party; ask your doctor for advice.

In some cases it may be true; however it’s best when things are just kept within. For me, when someone speaks negatively about their ex-lover, I immediately think, “Hmm, if I were to date her, and we broke it off, would she go and bad mouth me like she’s doing about this other girl?” That would be my thought…Think about it, even when someone gossips way too much about other people, do you think you’re excluded from this gossip fest? Of course not—once your back is turned, you become the big ‘talk du jour’. I don’t trust people who talk way too much about their ex or who talk negatively about their ex or other people. It shows a lack of integrity and character. Of course we can dabble in the past—but at the right time. Never get into the ‘ex-files’ upon first meeting. Give me a political debate any day!

First time meetings and first dates are like a game. We have to be careful and play our cards right. We have to watch our words very carefully and comb out any flaky topics that may lose their interest. Remember that people love to talk about themselves. I love to talk about myself! You love to talk about yourself---but the trick here is, listening and making it ‘all about them’. Is seems so bazaar that talking about your past and sharing of yourself has become such a faux-pas these days. I guess the right thing to do is to answer any questions asked—and not to volunteer any unnecessary details that weren’t requested. I usually like to ask about their lives, where they live, where they used to live, why they moved (if they relocated) and if they’re close with their family. Usually this question can reveal a lot about the person and who they are today. I have a rule of thumb for a certain answer. If she goes on bad mouthing her parents – especially her mother, it’s a huge sign of how she will treat you in the future. All mothers say, “If he/she doesn’t treat his/her mother right, they won’t treat you right.” I think this was a selfish remark on all mothers’ part…but a cute tactic to only go for who your mother likes. Oddly enough, there is much truth to that statement. This can be debatable, but this is what I personally go by. If it goes too deep into personal areas such as abuse, family problems and/or resentments upon first hearing about ‘the family’, the emotional status of this girl that is across the table from me may be a bit too much before the appetizer comes. You can read a lot into things, but these are things I look out for.

Let’s talk about eye contact. That is a huge thing for me. Engaging in eye-contact ‘to me’ is being truthful and letting the other person look into your soul. No, I’m not getting ‘deep’ here; I’m just stating that it is a very awkward thing to look someone ‘in the eye’ the whole time while talking if you are being even slightly untruthful. If you are lying about something, chances are you will not look the person directly in the eye due to lack of truth----and looking away means that you are not letting the other person see what’s behind those lying pupils of yours. Again, this can be debatable and sought out as ‘nervousness’. Okay, fine…say the person is too nervous to look you in the eye; awkward period! If someone appears way too nervous, this can send a negative message meaning that they are not comfortable in their own skin; they lack self-confidence which is a turn off by any means. I look for fidgeting, constant smoking (which to me is a turn off right there) constant sipping of their cocktail or beverage, tapping their fingers on the table and shaking of their leg in a nervous manner. Another thing they may do is twirl their hair. (Providing they have enough to twirl with)

This to me is an indication that they are very interested in you. Twirling of the hair is a display of a ‘good type’ of nervousness. Body language is a huge source of communicating. We just have to be aware of what one behavior may mean from another. It’s important to notice these things especially when someone is talking about a specific topic.

Okay, now on to sex. Sex is a great conversation piece, anyone will agree with you on that. The only bad time to talk about this is on your first date. I don’t care how open-minded your date may seem or how provocative they may come across—the fact remains—no sex talk! I cannot emphasize this enough. Leave that to be settled in one’s imagination alone. If your date indicates to you that her ‘past loves never had anything to complain about’---or insinuates that she is a great lover, this may be a sign that she is absolutely a sack of potatoes in bed. She definitely wouldn’t make it as one of those ‘marks’ on my bed post, that’s for sure. Bragging about sex and how good you are is like death to that date. Are we so desperate that we need to advertise that we are good in bed? Think about it, isn’t that up to the two parties involved? What one may think is ‘good sex’-- the other may think is awful. It all depends on what each individual likes. I had the pleasure of going on a date and hearing about their sexual adventures. Oh boy, this was an enlightening experience for me. I sipped a lot of wine that evening in order to just remain as if I was still paying attention. This happened to be a new friend I made online who was at my house sharing a bottle of wine and conversation. Do I really want to hear all of this? Do I want to know what your shaving preferences are? Do I need to know how long you enjoy foreplay? This to me is “TMI” (Too Much Information)
You probably heard that expression before, well this applies here. Anyone who discusses sexual explicit detailed events is most likely already tearing your clothes off with their eyes. If they are talking about sex, in most cases, they are hinting to you about ‘what they like’ in bed, and that you may be a potential lover. Now the other party hearing all of this spewing out of their wine flavored mouth may think, “Hmm, this sounds like a lot of work, this sounds as if she is too picky about how sex should be conducted, I’m too scared to ‘go there’…” So the person who is elaborating on what they like regarding sex is actually lowering their chances for a little night cap later on. Stop with the sex talk people! Being tactful, discreet and leaving one for the imagination is such a sexy quality in someone. It shows absolute class.

Let’s talk about careers. I realize that people sometimes emphasize a lot on job status. The big question when you meet someone for the first time and don’t know what to bring up as far as a conversational piece is, “So what do you do?” That seems to be the most famous question when meeting anyone. Not many people would think this, but that can be a touchy topic for some. If you’re meeting someone who is in between jobs, they may feel uncomfortable telling you about their unfortunate situation depending on how they are coping with it. Some people think that their job is not a ‘high profile’ one, so they simply get embarrassed by their place of employment. Other people may have a job that is so high profiled that they are ashamed or hesitant to discuss it due to the fact that you may judge them for being ‘a snob’ or coming across as “I’m better than you”….. It depends on how people handle that question and how they feel about their own situation. For me, I simply do not ask what they do for a living to avoid any uneasiness. I avoid that topic like the plague due to some responses I have received in the past.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I'm Coming Out!

For many people, coming ‘out of the closet’ (revealing your sexuality) can be a difficult task to do; for others, it may just come natural. Depending on your parents and how they were raised, it may affect the way they consume all the information that they’re about to absorb. Religion has a lot to do with it in most cases. “It’s wrong, it’s an abomination, God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.”---yada yada yada! In my personal opinion and as a Christian myself, I believe that each and everyone of us on this earth falls short in the glory of God, that is why God is a forgiving God; He loves us equally. There is a scripture in the bible that says, “How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father and mother, ‘Why was I born? Why did you make me this way?’” ~Isaiah 45:10 To me, what this scripture basically says, is that God made us perfect. How can we even think God has made mistake? There are many scriptures that refer to homosexuality as being an abomination, being wrong and being a sin. Most of those scriptures are written in the Old Testament which is just that—old… I don’t mean to disrespect the Jewish beliefs, but being a Christian, I believe that Jesus has set us free and we are made right in His eyes. For other religions it may be different or it may be similar to what I believe in. I don’t mean to disregard any other religion or belief; I am just making a point that we are ‘okay’ in God’s eyes…

A lot of gays and lesbians get depressed; almost to the point of suicidal thoughts thinking that God doesn’t love them. What kind of message are we sending to our kids? People convey this strong urge to make our own children feel bad about who they are as a person---what they were born as. We have to come to terms with parents and other people who are ‘old school’ and who strictly are set in their ways due to their background. I know for most people it’s a matter of finding ‘the one’ first, then making an attempt to come clean about who they really are to their family and friends. Sometimes we might as well just stay in the closet due to who we end up with! For a lot of people, it’s not worth the agony of putting your parents through this massive thought process---“Well what made her this way? Did we do this to her? Didn’t I show her I loved her enough? Did I not show them the right path? Am I a bad parent?”

No…no…and no! Parents have to stop feeling this sense of guilt just because their child is gay. This has nothing to do with the parents. It is definitely genetic. Look back into your family history. Was there a relative that was homosexual? Being gay is like being born with alcoholism in your family. (Bad analogy, I know) You can either play the cards you were born with, or you can simply choose to deny those feelings, cravings and choose the other. Think of this--you’re born, you grow up in your teens and you find out you love alcohol way too much; therefore becoming an alcoholic like Uncle Bob. Same holds true for homosexuality. Your great aunt was gay—leaving the gene pool to hold a bit more of the gay gene floating around. It runs in the family so to speak. Even if one doesn’t recall a relative being gay, there had to be some sort of gene that slipped its way through. This is debatable and can be argued. A lot of people think it’s a choice rather than a genetic nature. I know alcohol is a bad choice to make due to the genetic source, but the ‘gay gene’ travels the same route as well. Worse case scenario is you come out to your parents, and then they start drinking after they hear the news!

There is a theory that some people assume which bothers me to no end. “Oh she must have been sexually abused when she was younger.” What is that??? Do you know how many people were sexually abused when they were younger, yet they still lead a heterosexual lifestyle? We have to stop blaming and start accepting. Let me get back on a lighter note here… It’s as if every therapist or psychiatrist has it all figured out. They point the finger at the parents. “Well how was your life as a child?” Get out of my face and analyze someone else! My psychologist that I was seeing a few years ago was determined that I was sexually abused in some sort of shape or form. I assured her that my childhood while growing up had nothing but good memories. Oh yeah, must have blocked all those horrible memories out- I’m sorry, I just don’t agree with that. There are traumatic events that our brains cause us to block out, but subconsciously we can sense who did what---regardless of what they did. When I want to calm down, I think of my childhood. For that I am grateful; I’m fortunate to have had such a wonderful family surrounding while growing up. This therapist was determined to get the dirt out of me even if it meant to hypnotize me! Are you crazy? Now that is a question that is hardly asked to a psychologist. I am gay because I was born this way. I remember having crushes on the women who acted in soap operas at the age of four; I remember having crushes on my female teachers in my teen years and even on my close friends.

At the age of nine-teen I started seeing a girl who went to college. I was introduced to her by my best friend who went to the same school. My mother noticed that I was spending more weekends up at this college. She totally knew I wasn’t trying to get a better education… She knew when I was little, that I was gay—just by how I acted, dressed and had strong admirations for mainly females. When I told her I was gay, came out to her and told her I had a girlfriend that I was seeing—she suggested I see a therapist to see if I could change. She was a bit upset about this and thought it was ‘just a phase’. My mother had a cousin who was gay, his name was Anthony. She loved him very much. He would dress up drag and teach my mother how to put on make up. As far as Anthony being a homosexual, my grandmother would always say, “Oh things could be worse!” Unfortunately he passed away from AIDS.

My grandmother never knew I was gay, but as far as making a comment regarding my second cousin, that made me feel at ease. I thought that she would detest the fact that I was homosexual. “Don’t tell your fatha!” in that Brooklyn accent. She told me not to even say one word about it to him. My father is an old fashioned Italian man who lived with his wife and four daughters. Would it have been different if I was a boy? I’m not sure. One afternoon, as I was sitting with my dad watching the gay parade on television, my father says to me, “Wouldjya’ look at all these fairies prancing around?” I gave him a look and said to him in a jokingly manner, “Dad, you have four daughters, all of them are either married or have a boyfriend…don’t you think that one of them would slip through the cracks?” He turns to me and says in his Brooklyn accent, “Wha???--you a fairy?”
“Well, I’m gay dad. Madelene is the girl I’m dating.”
“Well das great! Whuta' nice girl! Hey- ya better off!”
he said as he waved his hand up in the air to brush off any thoughts of being with a man.
“What did ya mutha say? Does she know?” he asked.
“Yeah dad, she knows…she thinks I should see a psychologist.”
“Why is she gay too?”
he laughed and made it known that it was no big deal. The one person I feared coming out of the closet to had accepted me better than anyone else. Imagine, an old fashioned Italian man who is Catholic accepting my homosexual lifestyle.

A lot of people wait for the perfect time to tell their parents. Most think the perfect time is when they are dating someone more than six months or so. I think that’s a wise choice; I also think it’s even braver to come out all alone and see what happens—but this may wreak havoc on your life. What about the workplace? Discreet is the key. Why do I even say that? Well, for me, once I was ‘outed’, I had a lot of curious wonders asking me out for happy hour. You’ll get those women who will turn you into their personal guinea pig—or at least try to. Most of them are usually married with three kids and a baby on the way! Total package, huh? Total baggage if you ask me. Some leave their husbands for this fascinating lifestyle, and some just go right back to their husbands. The wise thing is to not even entice these ladies or flirt with the idea of satisfying their curiosity. They’ll eat you up and spit you right back out, leaving you hurt and deeply depressed. How do I know? I’ve been there… That is not a fun route to take if you are 100% homosexual seeking your soul mate. If you are bi and you want to have something on the side, well fine. Good luck with that.

Getting back to the workplace, you can only draw a curious crowd who wants to draw near to you, or you can get people who are very judgmental and want nothing to do with you whatsoever. The company I worked for had a number of ‘hens’ I used to go to school with. They already knew the fact that I was gay. When I received roses at work, no one asked who they were from due to the fact they feared me saying, “Oh it’s from my lover!” I just got smirks and weird stares. It was quite awkward. I managed to intrigue my boss who I worked for. She was ‘too’ interested in me and wanted to take me into the city to a play with her husband and her mother. I thought this was a safe haven so I went. Lynn, my boss was a nice girl, kind of on the shy side but always seemed to flirt with me a lot in the office. I never assumed that she was gay, but her demeanor and disposition told me otherwise. Her husband at home left me to believe another story. I was confused. Needless to say we got into this steamy affair that left us crazy for one another. We couldn’t be separated and ended up falling for each other. When it got too much, she withdrew and basically left me hanging. I was hurt, but it was expected. I had to quit my job due to the fact that it was so uncomfortable working for her. Never again will I get myself into a tangled web as I did that time.

Friday, July 29, 2005

What's My Identity?

I was never one to subject myself to women with huge political feminist points of views. These types of women would scare me. They would march in those gay parades topless holding picket signs as their boobs hung down to their knees; much like what you would see hanging from the ceiling of an Italian deli. Much of the gay community are full of angry lesbians who are so busy trying to defy the ways of life by identity crisis’ that they lose all sense of the word, ‘female.’ They start rebelling by dressing like a man, proving to the world that they can be a man, they can look this way or that way, and that they can go against how God made them; as a woman. Another observation I have made is that a lot of lesbian women do not want to dress up to impress when they go out. So many times I have walked into a gay bar only to see women dressed up in sweat pants, sweat shirts, sneakers and a bandana. What is so terrible about dressing up, doing your hair, getting dolled up to go out? Back in the 50’s- everyone was so dressed up. Even butch women would dress to the nines, wearing a nice suit with a scarf—they looked great. I don’t even give a second glance when someone looks as though they just rolled out of bed to go down to the club dancing. To me, it’s a sure sign of not caring about one’s appearance. What have we done to ourselves? Why don’t we get dressed up anymore? Is it that we no longer have to feel the need to impress? Women are very visual creatures; we love the beauty of a woman, the scent of the perfume, the stylish hair and trendy clothes. In some aspects, we are very much like the ‘male fish’--- they have beautiful fins that sprawl out in vibrant colors to attract the other female fish. Why do we want to change this so badly? We need to lure in women by appearance, by charisma, by charm and by your own individual beauty. I’m not saying that you have to be a size two, 36-D breasts with long hair down to your waist. I am saying, use what you got! Work with what you have. Each of us is beautiful in our own ways and we possess traits that no one else has. We sometimes limit ourselves to ‘types’. What is your type? Is it fair to us to limit ourselves to such a standard criteria? We may miss out on that special someone if our type is only blue eyes and blonde hair.
We all have different types of people that we tend to be attracted to, that is safe to say. My question is… do we resort to settling for less when the majority of lesbians seem to have this nonchalant way of presenting themselves? Is it a fact that we think no classy well-put together lesbian will walk into our lives? Have we become so impatient for waiting for the perfect woman that we lost all sense of our own standards? Are we lowering our standards more and more each day? Every October for Women’s Week, my partner and I go on vacation to Provincetown, MA. My girlfriend and I are both feminine women who love to dress up, do our hair and make up and make ourselves presentable. I’m not saying we’re a couple of hotties by any means—but we do love to relish in our femininity. We were amazed of how many women walking down the street were so underdressed and non-groomed. Well, okay—let’s give these girls a break, they’re on vacation having a good time and there is a lot of walking in that town so they want to be comfortable. I can understand that. Evening approaches, and my girlfriend and I enjoy a delicious dinner in a fancy restaurant on the beachside. We got all dressed up because this was an upscale restaurant. I took a look around to notice that women were walking inside ready to get a table wearing big frumpy sweatshirts, faded out blue jeans and a pair of tennis sneakers. Some women even wore baseball caps! As for me, getting dressed up and looking the best I can possibly look, makes me feel better about myself. It gives me more self-confidence and it does give people the sense that you do respect yourself. When I see someone walk into a nice place dressed like a sack of potatoes, I immediately detect low self-esteem. To me, it’s a red flag for insecurity. Do they think that they aren’t good enough to dress up? Do they want people to not notice them? A lot has to do with meshing into the crowd, so that they aren’t standing out. Why do so many lesbian women want to just mesh in with everyone else? Don’t they want to be unique? Don’t they want to have their own identity rather than looking like every other lesbian walking down the streets of Provincetown? Some women dress that way in fear that other lesbians may think that they are bi-sexual. When I talk to different people at the clubs there, I get a lot of questions from lesbians asking if I am a ‘true lesbian’. Hmmm, what is a true lesbian after all? They assume that I am bi-sexual because I wear make up, I do my hair and nails and dress like a woman. I don’t fit in – in their eyes. What makes a lesbian…..a lesbian? Have we gotten to the point where we have become so judgmental towards others, forgetting that we thrive on acceptance from society—that we completely lose all sight on accepting others for who they are? We have the nerve to judge bi-sexual women? What is wrong with bi-sexual women? Absolutely nothing! It is another preference.

Lesbians curse you if you judge them for being a lesbian, yet they want to be accepted? That to me does not make sense at all. We have no right judging someone else’s lifestyle if we are so determined to be accepted by society. We’re too damn picky and sometimes we aren’t picky enough. Most lesbians look for a certain ‘look’---a look that will give off, “Hey, I’m gay!” If you don’t look the part, you probably won’t get the part. The fact is, if you look remotely straight, you may end up leaving them for a man. (In their eyes) Goes back to fear of abandonment issues all over again. How can a woman compete with a man? They can’t. They are two totally different species. Most lesbians will only date other lesbians. Most bi-sexual women sometimes only date straight and bi-curious girls because they are looking for extremely feminine qualities. The hunt for Miss Perfect lies in the hands of what you feel comfortable with; who you feel comfortable with and if this person will be a good candidate for a long-term partner. What makes a good candidate for a long-term partner?

Well back in primitive times, the women would seek out their mates by the broadness in the man’s shoulders. This resembled that they can carry their burdens for them, they were strong and they could protect them. A good physique meant longevity. They were healthy, strong and could work with their hands---which brings another wonderful quality…wealth. Women longed to be taken care of. Did we stop wanting that? On the other hand, the men would look for qualities in women such as make up; they painted their faces up so much that it was almost clown-like. The more flamboyant their make up was, the more attractive the men were to them. It showed off their sense of style, sense of femininity and even their sexuality. It expressed who they were as a person to the male. Large hips were a sign that they were able to bear children. Now, we look at women with large hips thinking they should cut down on the fast food stops and join a gym.

Society has a lot to do with self-image and what a woman should look like. Whether you are skinny, medium or have a heavy build; you can carry yourself beautifully if you want to. A lot of women feel that if they are heavy, they need to wear huge sweat shirts and baggy jeans to hide themselves. Fitted nicely clothes can show off the curves they have instead of making them look more bulky. I see skinny girls wearing clothes that are also way too large for their physique, making them appear ‘straight’ with no curves. Some of these women want to hide any sign of femininity whatsoever. There are a number of women who actually put on one of those Ace bandages to strap their breasts in so that they appear flat. They simply cannot identify as a woman which leads them relating to the male gender more so. If a woman is truly unhappy with her identity, she may even resort to reconstructing her body into a male figure. There are a number of options that may be considered like hormone therapy, which leads into more facial hair, more muscle tone (with proper weight lifting) a lower voice and her body figure will have less curves. It may get to the point where they actually get a sex change to become a man—‘FTM’ (female to male) They identify with the ‘FTM’ label and no longer wish to be considered a woman from that point on. The operation is a big decision; especially if that person has a lover. These folks have to consider the consequences post op. Some women end up having penises that are so tiny---sometimes not even larger than the size of your pinky. It depends on what the doctors have to work with. If the woman wants extra skin to make her new found organ ‘bigger’, the chances of the extra skin that they add due to taking it from another source of their body may result in rotting off. There are a lot of complications to this procedure as well as emotional ones. To go to this extent, you really have to be unhappy and depressed about what God gave you; what body you were born in. Many ‘FTM’s’ claim that they were a man trapped inside a woman’s body. ‘MTF’s’ (male to female) claim that they are a woman trapped in a man’s body. (As a woman, I have way too much estrogen to make me wacky enough to consider screwing with my hormones...) The majority of these patients claim that it is a death of who they were, and a birth of who they have yet to be. Why are we so unhappy with ourselves? I’m sure that there are a lot of women that would get the procedure done if it weren’t for the scare of the whole process and the cost that goes behind it. I sometimes can’t even tell what gender one is when I come across a woman who disguises herself as a male. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against people who undergo these operations, my heart goes out to them because of the emotional turmoil that their mind goes through. Waking up every morning hating who you are and hating your gender has to be constant torment for that person. The main thing that a lot of people do not understand about ‘FTM’s’ is that this has nothing to do with their sexual orientation. For instance, I have a friend who was a male that got the operation to become a female. He was straight. He liked woman and he never claimed to be a homosexual. When he got the operation to become a female, he still dated women because that was ‘his preference’. Just because someone changes their sex does not mean that they are homosexual. I had to admit, I was very confused when I first met ‘her’ as she prefers to be addressed. I didn’t understand why a man would want to get a sex change to become a lesbian. It didn’t make sense to me until ‘she’ made it clear that having this procedure done has nothing to do with their sexual orientation.

My question would be would most lesbians consider dating an MTF? Studies show that there are 50% FTM’s and MTF’s that are gay and 50% that are heterosexual. I really feel that we should not assume their sexual preference; as we shouldn’t with anyone else. People are just afraid of the unknown and what they haven’t been educated on. It’s sad how many people can sit there and just judge people who change their sex without taking a good hard look at their own life. After post op, they live a normal and healthy life. They still have to undergo hormonal therapy, but it is a decision that was well thought out on their part. I just wish people would accept themselves a bit themselves a bit more...and be content knowing that God made them beautiful in their 'own' individual ways. Accepting others as who they are is a gift from God.

Wasn't All Roses

Maybe it’s a case of amnesia, or some sort of delusional thinking, however my eleven year relationship with Madelene was not a constant, nor perfect one. In those eleven years, we separated for approximately three years. We were still very close, and did things together, but we didn’t live together anymore. I thought I should point this out, so that other people in my life don’t feel as though I’ve wiped my memories of intimate moments with them right off my forehead. In the three years of that separation, I dated a woman who I fell madly in love with. We were both insane over one another. Our relationship was a bit turbulent though. On-off-on-off, we kept this trend up for three years. The constant bickering, arguing, and jealous rages—to great make up sex and back to lovey-dovey status. We were both jackasses, loved to act silly and laugh our butts off over the stupidest things. We were very much alike, but sometimes, too much alike where it caused a lot of conflict. Do I really want to date myself? The relationship with her ended for good in July of ’03. We didn’t speak again until recently, (two years later). We are now friends. I feel like I have my best friend back, and glad she is in my life again. As friends this time around, there will be less chaotic moments…

The year of 2003 was a learning experience for me. I went on blind dates. Ugh, yeah, blind dates. I recall one woman I met over a personal ad online. We spoke for weeks via internet and phone. What a personality she had! She was hysterical and I knew right away that we would get along. Her pictures were beautiful as well. She finally said to me, “Well are we gonna meet? Might as well before we start pushing up daisies..”
She had a dry sense of humor that I loved, and I immediately accepted. We planned on meeting at a favorite restaurant of mine nearby. I remember hopping in my car, driving to Hallmark to pick up a “glad I met you card” (blank inside—had to write in my own words) and a box of chocolate truffles. I planned on keeping them in the car until the date was over; just in case I didn’t like her very much, I can always use a few chocolate pick me ups.

Immediately upon arrival at the restaurant, I park my car on the side of the road. I call my friend Lisa who was single back then as well. We were both in the dating pool trying to weed em’ out and select the lucky winner. Yeh.
“Lisa, I’m here already, she said she was driving a blue Camry….I am not sure if I dressed right or if she’ll like me.”
I would tell Lisa all my worries and fears before my date, and she would always calm me down with words I needed to hear, even if it was bullshit. We did this for one another like two lunatics who just got out of an insane asylum.
“There she is! I gotta go! I hope I don’t trip on the way out of my car!” These heels suck!—Call you later, I’ll tell you everything tonight.”
There she was, gorgeous, feminine, and dressed to the nines. Wow. Now that I know about her bubbly personality and great sense of humor, this is going to be good, unless she doesn’t dig me. Hmm.

I approached her at the front of the restaurant. She hugs me…tight. Smiles from ear-to-ear on both of us, we talked for a few minutes, and then proceeded to enter the restaurant. “So, did you have trouble getting here? Did you find it okay?” I asked just to start the conversation.
Why do people always say that once arriving somewhere that they are not familiar with? Of course they found it okay or they wouldn’t be sitting smack-dab in front of you nimrod! Sad but true, we say it as a conversation starter. Admit it- you do it too. Surprisingly, the conversation was quite boring. Where’s this waitress! I want a drink! Please loosen this girl up! It was as plain as day that this woman was extremely nervous, because her personality took a long vacation. Maybe it was me…who knows! I tried to talk, she tried, but nothing came out. Just blank stares across the table with a ‘teethy’ smile. Lord help me.

The waitress comes to my rescue. I try to be all impressive, and took it upon myself to order one of the best red wines they had. What a freak—I should have just ordered an Amstel Light and a shot of vodka like I normally do. No, I had to be an idiot and take the ‘hoity-toity’ road.
“I’ll just have a cup of coffee please.” My date says in a low toned voice.
Did I just hear this correctly? It’s me, a bottle of wine, and her drinking coffee? You got to be kidding!
“Am I keeping you up?” I chuckled to make light of things.
“Oh, no, I’m sorry, I just got back from an AA meeting. I have a problem with alcohol.”
I felt so bad. If I would have known this girl had a drinking problem, I would have never, ever ordered something that would tease her temptation. I was Satan himself! It was way too late, because the waitress already popped the cork.
“Oh, please, I don’t mind if you have wine, in fact, it would make me uneasy if you didn’t drink it.” She said to me very convincingly.
I didn’t believe it, but what could I do now? I had to think of strategic moves in order to sip my wine. I even went as far as hiding the wine glass behind the bread basket. This was torture. I finally began to grasp the realization that I was not going to even drink this glass of wine, no less the whole entire bottle. The conversation was starting to liven up a bit, and she told me about her career as a massage therapist. Why are so many lesbians in this business? Please don’t answer that.

Anyway, after dinner, I asked her if she would like to come over my house for some cappuccino. I make the best cappuccinos and delicious coffees, she had to give in. It was a cold winter evening, so I made a huge fire and the cappuccinos, as promised. She asked if it was okay if she smoked. I had no problem with it, although I am a reformed smoker—this was quite ironic. Reformed smoker dates reformed alcoholic. Lovely.
“Do you have lotion?” She asks as she sips her coffee and lights her cigarette for the tenth time.
“Excuse me? Lotion? Umm, sure. Be right back.”
I get the lotion thinking that this chick is going to be aggressively forward. I was nervous. Why am I retrieving this lotion for her? Why did I agree? I could have simply said no, and that was that.

I come back into the living room with a bottle of lotion in hand. She ducks out her cigarette and sits next to me on the couch.
“Do you know that massaging arms are very relaxing and stress relieving?” She said as she starts pumping the lotion into her hands.
“Hmm, I guess I’m fine with any part of my body being massaged.” I chuckled due to this awkward moment.
She takes me left arm, and starts massaging this lotion on my forearm.
“I think forearms are very sexy.” She says as she rubs down my skin.
Embarrassed over the fact that I shave and/or wax my arms, and usually don’t admit to it, I was glad it was freshly waxed that day, or she would have had stubble burn on her hands.
“You know, drinking is so awful for you. It really does a lot of damage to your liver. Drinking even can cause major health problems other than that.”
This woman is lecturing me on drinking while she just puffed away half a pack of cigarettes in front of me while drinking her fourth cup of coffee that evening. Might as well just get it over with and smoke some crack! She was shaking like a leaf due to all the caffeine & nicotine intake. The nerve to lecture me you hypocrite! I brushed that comment off and said, “Ah well, we all have our evils.”
The night was coming to an end, and so was this arm massage. I decided that nothing else shaved or unshaved is going to get massaged.

I walked her to the door and gave her the card and chocolates. I thanked her for a lovely evening. She reached over and kissed my lips very softly.
“Goodnight, thank you so much Deb.”
I closed the door and walked up to my bedroom so I can go to sleep. I should have aired the smoke out, but I was way too tired. As I was putting on my T.V. and getting into bed, my phone rings. It’s her.
“Deb, I just wanted to say I had such a great time with you. I got a 'ping' with you--major chemistry..Do you want to go out for dinner tomorrow again?”
“Oh, yeah, great.”
I replied--too tired to dabble deeper into that comment.
Why did I say yes? Why did I just accept another date with this woman? Am I insane? I can’t even drink comfortably around her.

The next evening we met at a different restaurant. I was still kind of ‘tweeked’ over the fact that she lectured me about drinking wine. It’s not like I walk around the streets with a wine bottle in a brown bag. Come on! It’s wine with dinner. It’s normal. Get over it.
We sat down at a table and she looks around to notice that this place was very upscale…pricey, but it’s not going to break the bank.
“Are you rich or something?” She asks me as she giggles.
Who asks that? Even if I were super rich—who does that? What a rude question, even if done in jest.
“I hold my own, thank you.” I said anxiously waiting for the waiter to make his way over, because now I am ready to retaliate big time.
The waiter finally comes and greets us.
“Hi my name is Larry and I will be more than happy to serve you tonight. May I start you off with a cocktail?”
“I think I’ll have something clear…I’ll have a 7UP with lemon please.” My date says as if she had just ordered the finest scotch in the house.
“And you? What would you like this evening?” The waiter addresses to me.
“Hmm…I think I’ll have something clear too… I’ll have a Grey Goose martini straight up-- extra olives please.”
I look over at my date’s face to see her reaction, but she is too busy sipping her water. I believe it was a nervous reaction. During the whole course of that “last” date, I sipped my martini often, and I sipped my martini proud. I savored each vodka-soaked olive as if it were the most delicious thing in the world. That night, it was. Cheers!


How long before I get in
before it starts,before I begin
how long before you decide
before I know what it feels like
where to?
where do I go?
if you've never tried then you'll never know
how long do I have to climb up on the side of this mountain of mine

Coldplay rings through my head before my alarm clock does. Tossing around like big caesar salad, I found myself on Madelene’s side of the bed. As my hands tap every inch of the bed, I realize she’s not there.
“Honey, does this look okay?” She says as she walks in the bedroom with a dark forest green, sleeveless zipper up vest.
Trying to open my eyes the best I can, I can only make out a girl standing in thick fog.
“Uhh, yeah, it looks great.” I replied.
I managed to maneuver myself to sit upright on the side of the bed.
Thump! Thump! Thump! Thump! My head pulsates like a big bass drum. I grab my glass of water; drinking it as if I was dried up like a prune.
“Ugh. What happened?” I asked myself...
I walk into the living room to notice empty beer bottles and two shot glasses. It definitely looked as though more than two people were in this room partying. Sadly enough, it was just us; if there were chandeliers, they’d be all over the floor crushed in a million pieces.

Look up,
I look up at night
planets are moving at the speed of light
climb up, up in the trees
every chance that you get
is a chance you seize
how long am I gonna can stand
with my head stuck under the sand
I start before I can stop
before I see thing the right way up

I can’t seem to get this song out of my head. It’s been happening a lot lately. Madelene rushes off with two oranges and a banana. Weird. Just take the 1,000 mg of vitamin C and call it a day—I just can’t see eating two oranges. Blah. I go back to my ~hangover helper routine~ and start drinking my Gatorade. Am I able to write today? Will I get a major block? Will it all be crap? Looking above at what I just wrote, I nearly bored myself to death—sorry folks.

Yesterday was a “mental health day”---yes, shopping. I needed new dress clothes so I don’t look like a starving artist with a big ass that only wears faded out vintage jeans. I needed a new wardrobe. This is where plastic gets very dangerous. I walk into a clothing store that I go to frequently. I’m always bombarded by the owner.
“Ohhhhh, this just came in, it is fa-bu-lous! You have to try this on—this line was shown on the runway at the show, and it’s selling like hotcakes!”
It’s the same thing everytime I walk in there. Every piece she picks up has been selling like hotcakes—then why is it still here? She usually grabs some frilly-ass see through blouse with roses all sewed into it; protruding out like a horrific bouquet of ugliness. I give her the same line all the time which never seems to get through to her.
“How long have you known me? Twenty what years now? I’m not purchasing a blouse that’s going to make me look like some wacky artist’s canvas for a mere $120.00.”
I slide through the racks over to my idea of ‘taste’. I can feel her eyes darting at me; watching my every move; just in case she wants to throw another waste of money in my face. Apparently, I was taking too long—I got two dress pants and two tops thrown in my arms.
“Try these on…” She says to me all frustrated. She always knows what size I am, and always knows if I went down a size or two or went up a size or three…Oddly enough, she knew I went down a size and picked out the right ones.

This is where my hate for shopping comes in. The ‘try them on part’. This is as bad as stepping onto a scale for me. You either lost weight, or lost your mind when you went on a few eating binges.

“Ah, perfect!” I said as I glanced in that carnival mirror. I was so happy that all the clothes fit well. This is a rarity for me. I quickly threw everything in my arms and headed out to the front desk. Not realizing I was $500 dollars in the hole just with the few items I just purchased, I wasn’t sure to get upset over it, or to go with this ‘ah this feels good to spend so much’ type of feeling. It felt good. I went with it.

All that noise,

all that sound
all those places that I have found
and birds go flying at the speed of sound
to show how it all began birds came flying from the underground
if you could see it then you'd understand

Later that evening, Madelene came home and we went out for dinner & drinks. Dinner and drinks led to drinks on my deck...drinks on my deck led us straight in bed… It was a perfect evening. We talked, and laughed like two best friends. Not realizing the consumption of all the alcohol, we both woke up with puffy eyes and major headaches. It was so worth it though—but will we make it through another evening of festivities? We have a date tonight, in fact, she stole my hair appointment this evening which I wanted to get done & primp up for her—but seeing the receipt of my shopping spree, it’s her turn to splurge.

All I know is time definitely flies when I am with her. I hope that it doesn’t slip by too fast, because I want to enjoy the times we have ‘now’. Sometimes we focus way too much on the future, and a lot of us are still stuck in our past. Why aren’t we enjoying the present moment? Tic-toc-tic-toc---it’ll pass you faster than you realize. Let’s not regret our past, let’s not worry about the future, and let’s start focusing on what we have ‘now’.

Ideas that you'll never find
or the inventors could never design
the buildings that you put up
Japan and China... all lit up
the sign that I couldn't read
or the light that I couldn't see
some things you have to believe
but others are puzzles, puzzling me

all that noise,
all that sound
all those places that i have found
and birds go flying at the speed of sound
to show how it all began
birds came flying from the underground
if you could see it then you'd understand

all those signs I knew what they meant
something you can't invent
Some get made, and some get sent
words go flying at the speed of sound
to show how it all began
birds came flying from the underground
if you could see it then you'd understand ~Coldplay

Growth Spurts

Yesterday, someone shared a quote with me that resonated with me so much. She said, "Just remember, trying to hurt me by bringing up my...